Tucked along the crooked path where Last Chance Stream once meandered, Helena is the town that was built by gold, an honor no other modern Montana city can claim. While other gold camps boomed and dwindled into ghost towns, veins of yellow metal transformed remote Last Chance Gulch into Montana’s golden capital. The “Queen City of the Rockies” lives up to its nickname. Helena’s nineteenth century architecture dazzles, its gold rush history compels and its arts and culture reflect a richly talented community. Helena’s cosmopolitan lifestyle and recreational kaleidoscope speak to the spirit that is still the heart of the West.
Born during the Gold Rush of 1864, Helena is a rare U.S. town that’s managed to become a modern city while retaining the character of its early years; a perfect place to relive the Old West. To begin following the footsteps of Helena's history, start at the Montana Historical Society Museum. By 1888, Helena was home to 50 millionaires per capita, more than any other city on earth. Many of those millionaires created palatial homes in the city's Mansion District and you can still see them today. Among them is the Original Governor's Mansion.
Helena’s rich blend of beauty and historical heritage attracts a wide variety of artists and performers, from first class painters and ceramic artists to musicians and dancers. Helena celebrates its artistic heritage with the successful "Last Chance Bear Encounters" art auction. Bear sculptures, decorated by area artists, decorate the city streets and are auctioned at the end of the season to benefit a local charity. For nearly three decades, the Western Rendezvous of Art has auctioned hundreds of paintings and sculptures from the West's most talented artists.
The Queen City Ballet Company and the Premier Dance Company are two regionally based dance schools producing a variety of live performance and workshops throughout the year. Film buffs and music lovers will always find something entertaining at the Myrna Loy Center, which highlights foreign films as well as jazz, folk and blues music. The center, originally the county jail, also hosts ballet and modern dance.