20 Best Places and Things To Do in Bismarck, North Dakota

Bismarck, the capital city of North Dakota, is a vibrant and culturally rich destination with plenty to offer visitors. Surrounded by scenic landscapes and boasting a wealth of historical and recreational attractions, Bismarck provides an excellent opportunity for exploration. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Bismarck.

1. North Dakota State CapitolĀ 

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Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the North Dakota State Capitol building, an architectural gem in Bismarck. This magnificent building, with its 19-story Art Deco tower, offers guided tours that allow visitors to admire its grandeur and learn about the state’s government and history.

2. Dakota Zoo

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If you’re traveling with family or simply enjoy wildlife, the Dakota Zoo is worth a visit. Located along the Missouri River, this charming zoo is home to a variety of animals, including grizzly bears, gray wolves, tigers, and monkeys. It provides a pleasant and educational experience for all ages.

3. Missouri River

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The Missouri River is a significant waterway that winds through the heart of North Dakota, including the city of Bismarck. As one of the longest rivers in North America, the Missouri River stretches approximately 2,341 miles (3,767 kilometers) from its source in Montana’s Rocky Mountains to its confluence with the Mississippi River in Missouri. The Missouri River offers stunning scenic beauty as it meanders through North Dakota. The river is flanked by picturesque bluffs and rolling hills, providing a breathtaking backdrop for outdoor activities and leisurely drives along its shores.

4. North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum

North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum front entrance

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Start your exploration of Bismarck by visiting the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum. This impressive museum showcases the history, culture, and natural heritage of North Dakota. It features exhibits on topics such as Native American history, dinosaur fossils, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the state’s agricultural and industrial development.

5. Former Governors’ Mansion State Historic Site


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The Former Governors’ Mansion served as the official residence for North Dakota’s governors from 1893 to 1960. The Queen Anne-style mansion was built in 1884 and has since been restored to its original splendor. It showcases the architectural style popular during that era and offers a glimpse into the life of the state’s early political leaders. The mansion features a collection of exhibits that provide insights into the lives and accomplishments of North Dakota’s governors. These exhibits showcase photographs, artifacts, and historical documents, highlighting the political, social, and cultural contexts of different eras. Visitors can learn about the challenges faced by the state and the individuals who shaped its development.

6. McDowell Dam Nature Park

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Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at McDowell Dam Nature Park. This picturesque park offers hiking trails, fishing opportunities, and a peaceful lake where you can relax and enjoy nature. It’s an ideal spot for birdwatching and picnicking as well.

7. Gateway to Science

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Gateway to Science is a science center and educational facility located in Bismarck, North Dakota. It serves as a hub for interactive learning, exploration, and discovery in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Gateway to Science offers a wide range of interactive exhibits that engage visitors of all ages. These exhibits cover various scientific disciplines, including physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and engineering. Visitors can participate in hands-on experiments, puzzles, and activities that make learning about science fun and engaging.

8. Sakakawea Statue


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The Sakakawea Statue, also known as the Sacagawea Statue, is a prominent landmark located in Bismarck, North Dakota. The statue pays tribute to Sakakawea (also spelled Sacagawea), a remarkable Native American woman who played a crucial role as an interpreter and guide during the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The Sakakawea Statue stands as a symbol of the important contributions and cultural significance of Sakakawea to the history of North Dakota and the United States. The statue honors her role as an explorer, interpreter, and symbol of unity and cooperation between cultures.

9. General Sibley Park & Campground

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General Sibley Park & Campground is a scenic recreational area located in Bismarck, North Dakota. This park offers a range of outdoor activities, beautiful natural surroundings, and a campground for those looking to immerse themselves in nature. General Sibley Park & Campground is situated on the banks of the Missouri River, offering breathtaking views and a tranquil atmosphere. The park covers a significant area, providing ample space for various recreational activities.

10. Superslide Amusement Park

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The park is known for its waterslide attractions, which provide thrilling experiences for visitors of all ages. The slides vary in size and intensity, allowing guests to choose the level of excitement that suits them best. Superslide Amusement Park features go-kart tracks where visitors can race against friends and family. This activity offers a fun and competitive experience for both children and adults.

11. Buffalo Statue

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The statue depicts a majestic American bison in a standing position. It is crafted from bronze and mounted on a stone pedestal. The statue was designed by renowned artist Elmer Petersen and dedicated in 2007. Petersen’s goal was to capture the strength and beauty of the bison, which holds significant cultural and historical importance in the region.

12. Bismarck Downtown Artist Cooperative


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BDAC operates a gallery space that exhibits a diverse range of artwork created by local artists. The gallery showcases various art forms, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photography, and mixed media. It offers a dynamic and ever-changing display of creativity, providing a venue for artists to share their work with the public.

13. Keelboat Park


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Located along the Missouri River, Keelboat Park offers a glimpse into the past with its life-size replica of the keelboat used by Lewis and Clark during their expedition. Take a stroll along the riverfront, learn about the explorers’ journey, and enjoy the serene surroundings.

14. Buckstop Junction

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Within the historic buildings, Buckstop Junction houses a variety of exhibits that offer insights into different aspects of local history. These exhibits cover topics such as pioneer life, agriculture, transportation, and early settlements in the area. The displays often include artifacts, photographs, and interpretive panels that provide context and enhance the visitor’s understanding of the region’s past.

15. Camp Hancock State Historic Site


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Immerse yourself in history at Camp Hancock State Historic Site. This former military post played a significant role in the area’s early settlement. Explore the reconstructed buildings, including barracks, officers’ quarters, and a hospital, to learn about the military history of the region.

16. United Church of Christ

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The UCC was formed in 1957 through the merger of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches. It has its roots in the Reformed and Congregational traditions, which trace back to the Protestant Reformation. The UCC is a diverse denomination that values inclusivity, social justice, and the freedom of individual interpretation of Scripture. The UCC is known for its motto, “That they may all be one,” and its commitment to ecumenism and interfaith dialogue. The UCC believes in the importance of a personal relationship with God, the authority of the Bible, and the call to seek justice and promote the well-being of all people.

17. St George’s Episcopal Memorial Church

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St. George’s Episcopal Memorial Church has a rich history that dates back to its establishment in 1880. The church building itself is a beautiful example of Gothic Revival architecture and has been a prominent landmark in Bismarck for over a century. St. George’s Episcopal Memorial Church is an Episcopal congregation that holds regular worship services and offers spiritual guidance to its members. The church follows the liturgical traditions of the Episcopal Church, which includes elements such as scripture readings, prayers, hymns, and the celebration of the Eucharist.

18. Cornerstone Community Church

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Cornerstone Community Church is a non-denominational Christian church. As a non-denominational church, it is not affiliated with any particular denomination or hierarchy. Non-denominational churches often prioritize a focus on biblical teachings, personal faith, and community outreach.

19. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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The LDS Church considers itself a restorationist Christian denomination, believing that it is a restoration of the original Christian church established by Jesus Christ. The church follows the teachings of the Bible, including the Old and New Testaments, and also regards the Book of Mormon as a sacred scripture alongside the Bible. They believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, his role as the Savior and Redeemer, and the importance of living a Christ-centered life.

20. Roman Catholic Diocese Of Bismarck

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The Diocese of Bismarck encompasses the western half of the state of North Dakota in the United States. It covers an area of approximately 35,786 square miles and serves a significant Catholic population in that region. The diocese is led by a bishop who serves as the spiritual leader and overseer of the diocese. The current bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bismarck is Most Reverend David D. Kagan, who was appointed to the position in 2011.

Whether you’re interested in history, nature, arts and culture, or simply enjoying the outdoors, Bismarck, North Dakota, has something to offer. With its welcoming atmosphere and a range of attractions, this capital city is definitely worth a visit.