Discovering, North Dakota

The Best Things To Do In Bismarck, ND

If you’re heading to Medora, ND, we suggest breaking up your drive to spend at least a night in Bismark, North Dakota’s Capital. 

Planning a trip to Theodore Roosevelt National Park from the East? With its various attractions, Bismarck is the perfect place to stretch your legs and stay awhile before continuing your journey. You might be surprised by everything Bismarck has to offer. Stop and stay awhile!

The Best Things to Do in Bismarck, ND

Our motto is to dine, drink, and discover wherever we go. That’s how we’ll organize this guide for the best things to do in Bismarck. Since we don’t have kids, these attractions are for adults. 

Bismarck is not to be missed. It offers history, culture, art, and great food, making it a great city to explore before heading west.

The Bismarck-Mandan Convention & Visitors Bureau hosted some of our activities. All opinions are our own. This post may contain affiliate links, which cost you nothing but help support us.

Where to Eat in Bismarck

We love finding local restaurants when we travel, so one of the best things to do in Bismarck is eat. There are lots of great local restaurants in Bismarck. We’re highlighting those that offer plant-based or vegan options.

Related: vegan Guide for dining in Bismarck

Grab Pizza and a Beer at Stonehome Brewing Co

1601 N 12th St,  Bismarck, ND

Weather permitting, we suggest grabbing a table outside with views of a gorgeous water feature. Stonehome Brewing Co has two locations, Bismarck and Watford City, near the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. 

pizza and beer at stonehome brew co bismarck

The ambiance at the Bismarck location is great, and we really enjoyed the beer and pizza lunch while listening to the water feature on the patio. Although they are a brewing company, it’s more like a restaurant feel that serves beer. They have a large menu. 

Coffee By Day or Italian Pasta & Wine Bar by Night at Anima Cucina

101 N 5th St, Bismarck, ND

Anima Cucina really surprised us in a good way. We went for breakfast, but we would love to try the lunch menu on a future visit. The menu has several vegan options, and all of the choices have an Italian flair. It’s just one of those places where everything we ordered was better than expected. 

This breakfast may look like a fruit bowl, but the unexpected flavors of cold-press olive oil and lemon made it a delicious choice. Our avocado mash had the same pop of flavor from the EVOO. Anima Cucina is an excellent choice for grabbing a meal in Bismarck. 

Enjoy a Neapolitan Inspired pizza at Fireflour

111 N 5th St, Bismarck, ND

fireflour pizza bismarck nd

Fireflour Pizza is a sister restaurant to Anima Cucina. Take our word for it, you’ll want to eat at both restaurants during your stay in Bismarck. 

Pizza in a 3rd generation pizza oven straight from Italy tastes better. They use quality ingredients, and service is excellent at Fireflour. 

The Best Places for a Flight of Beer or Cocktail in Bismarck

After a day of exploring, one of the best things to do in Bismarck is to enjoy a cocktail or beer at a local establishment. We love to find a local brewery or place to grab a drink, and we found some great options in Bismarck. 

Grab a Craft Cocktail with a View at Huckleberry House

huckelberry house

Next to the Lewis & Clark Riverboat Cruise landing on the Missouri is a gorgeous spot to grab a cocktail or bite to eat at Huckleberry House. The menu and ambiance center around a Nordic-inspired theme. It’s a beautiful spot with indoor and outdoor seating, and they make amazing craft cocktails. 

We knew the cocktail with flaming rosemary would be exceptional, and we weren’t wrong. What a fun drink to enjoy!

Cool Off with a Flight of Beer at Gideon’s Brewing

107 N 5th St, Bismarck, ND

Gideon’s Brewing Company is a great stop for some local brews. We loved the game tables; they also have a nice outdoor patio. We really enjoyed the beer here and the “brewery vibe.” They brew hard seltzers, beer, and sours. 

The Best Things to Discover and Do in Bismarck

We shouldn’t have been, but we were surprised at how much there is to do in Bismarck. We definitely recommend exploring all the best things to do in Bismarck rather than just driving by this city on the interstate. Here are some highlights of the best things to do in Bismarck.

Visit the State Capitol

600 E Boulevard Ave, Bismarck, ND

Plan to stop at the stunning North Dakota State Capitol. The Art Deco style is beautiful, and we suggest an elevator ride to the top to enjoy the most amazing views from the observation deck. Historians will love a self-guided or guided tour of this stunning building.  

Take a Ride on the Lewis & Clark Riverboat Cruise

1700 River Road, Bismarck, ND

For a special outing, consider a cruise on the Lewis & Clark Riverboat. This tour does not include area history; it is just a beautiful cruise up and down the Missouri River. 

There is both outdoor and indoor seating on this Riverboat. Plan on 1 – 1.5 hours. 

lewis & clark paddle boat

Take a Morning walk at Keelboat Park

1605 River Road, Bismarck, ND

Enjoy a peaceful morning walk along the Missouri River on one of Bismark’s Park Trails. The trail features sculptures, a Keelboat, and a historic paddleboat. You’ll find historical information along the way and can see a Keelboat up close. 

Take in the Views at Chief Looking’s Village

2023 Burnt Boat Drive, Bismarck, ND

Head up to Chief Looking’s Village for stunning views of the Missouri River.

chief lookings village in bismarck

While you’re up there, Sonali’s Garden offers a serene spot to sit and take in the views. 

Bismarck Art Alley

117 N 5th St, Bismarck, ND

Head downtown in Bismarck, and between Fith and Sixth Streets, you’ll find Alley 5.5. Checking out all of the vibrant murals is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Bismarck. The vibrant murals were created by 15 local artists chosen through a juried process in 2017. Check out their Facebook page for more information.

art alley in bismarck

There’s more mural artwork to see in Bismarck. In fact, there is an entire Bismarck-Mandan Art Trail. A free app allows you to win prizes by checking in at over 100 locations on the Bismarck-Mandan Art Trail

Play Retro Video Games at The CraftCade

405 N 4th St. Bismarck, ND

OK, if you grew up in the 80s, you’ll love the 25 retro video games at The CraftCade. We also enjoyed the Pour-Your-Own Beer Wall. Self-serve beer is not something we’ve seen anywhere else. CraftCade serves pizza and hot dogs (no vegan options).

Explore parts of the Lewis & Clark Trail in Nearby Washburn, ND

Take a 40-minute scenic drive from Bismarck to Washburn, ND, to visit two sites along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. These are great opportunities to learn about the Lewis and Clark Expedition and one of the best things to do in Bismarck.

The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail winds nearly 4,900 miles across the United States and through the homelands of more than 60 Tribal nations. 

Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center

2576 8th Street Southwest, Washburn, ND  58577

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is a beautiful stop for learning about the Mandanan and Hidatsta Tribes and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. 

You’ll also find world-class art that showcases the Plains Indian life along this area of the Missouri River. 

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center Statues Washburn ND

We especially enjoyed the George Caitlin collection of art. Catlin was an attorney but left that career to travel up the Missouri River from St. Louis. Over his career, he painted more than 500 portraits, scenes, and landscapes of the Native Americans.

Catlin’s work is also on display at the Smithsonian Institution

Explore Fort Mandan State Historic Site

2576 8th Street Southwest Washburn, ND 58577

Explore the full-sized replica of Fort Mandan as it was in 1804. Fort Mandan served as the winter home for Lewis & Clark in 1804-1805. 

 It’s at Fort Mandan that the Lewis and Clark Expedition met Sacagawea.

Take a guided tour to learn more about the expedition and the hospitality shown to Lewis & Clark by the Mandan and Hidatsa Tribes. 

There is also a visitor center on-site. 

Wrapping Up The Best Things to Do in Bismarck

Bismarck really surprised us! This capital city is easy to navigate, with a great downtown that is very walkable.

We loved all of the best things to do in Bismarck, and we hope you take the time to explore this city!

Related: Medora, North Dakota

1 Comment

  1. Kavita Favelle

    June 20, 2024 at 2:59 am

    Many many moons ago I made a brief visit to North Dakota as part of a bus tour of a number of states in the US. As such, it didn’t give us the chance to really see much of each individual state, and I was left with very little impressions of ND as a destination and definitely appreciate seeing some of the places that would be great to visit on a future trip. Like you, a key holiday activity for us is to enjoy local food and drink, and I like that Stonehome covers off both in one go! I’m drawn to the Huckleberry House cocktails and the Gideon’s beer flight too. On the sights front, the riverboat cruise appeals, and the Art Alley.

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