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Trip Guide to Bismarck and Mandan

Innovation keeps history fresh here along the Missouri River. A museum expansion and the state’s first brewhouse-pub represent the novel things to check out in this south-central North Dakota area. Check out our trip guide for ideas on what to do, where to eat and where to stay.


Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park Interpreters in frontier Army Calvary uniforms explain life at this post from which Lt. Col. George Custer rode out to the Little Bighorn. See his re-created house at this park 12 miles southwest of town. At the On-A-Slant Indian Village, guests explore a replica of the earthen mound village where the Mandan tribe lived from about 1575 to 1781. 

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center Lewis and Clark spent more of their epic journey in North Dakota than any other state. Inside a timber-frame building 38 miles north of Bismarck, slick touchscreens and displays detail the duo’s expedition. Also on-site is a replica of the explorers’ winter home, Fort Mandan, made from 800 cottonwood logs.

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

Lewis and Clark Riverboat Narrated cruises on a 40-foot flat-bottom riverboat introduce passengers to the Missouri River from Lewis and Clark’s perspective.

North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum Stand beneath a T. Rex and a Triceratops as they battle. Stare down a mammoth. See casts of sea creatures that swam here millions of years ago. North Dakota’s past takes shape at this museum, which nearly doubled in size after a $52 million makeover. 

North Dakota Heritage Center

North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum. Photo courtesy of North Dakota Tourism.

North Dakota State Capitol Building and Grounds As the tallest structure in the region—241 feet, completed in 1934—the Capitol earned its unofficial nickname of The Skyscraper on the Prairie. An arboretum trail, statues and memorials dot the grounds.


The Blarney Stone Irish Pub Stop for a pint or a meal; you'll feel an old-world welcome among the hardwood paneling, small rooms and glowing fireplace of this downtown restaurant.

Kroll’s Diner We like local chain Kroll’s for all-day breakfasts, kuchen and knoephla. Check out the retro one in Mandan. 

Harvest Brazilian Grill South American food in North Dakota? You bet your Churrasco-style steak. The Parmesan-encrusted pork alone is worth crossing the river to this location in Mandan, but all the meats come perfectly seasoned on huge skewers. Reservations on weekends are recommended. 

Laughing Sun Brewery In the state’s first brewhouse-pub, taste a strawberry wheat or chocolate porter while looking into the brewhouse. Live music and works from an artist-in-residence continue the creative atmosphere. 

Little Cottage Cafe Fluffy French toast. Crispy bacon. Superb knoephla. Add cheap prices and friendly service, and it’s easy to see why locals pack this tiny diner. (701) 223-4949

Peacock Alley Black-and-white photos at this eatery in the former Patterson Hotel celebrate famous politicians who have stopped in through the decades. The two-for-$15 lunchtime option is a deal, and dinners of hangar steak, halibut and ribs are excellent for special occasions.

Peacock Alley

Peacock Alley

Pirogue Grille Walleye, bison and house-made venison sausage are staples at this chef-owned downtown spot. Locally inspired entrees change with the seasons.

Terra Nomad Minimalist surroundings, gourmet coffee and a vegan-friendly menu (think pureed asparagus soup) provide a fresh alternative to the area's meaty joints. 


Radisson Hotel Bismarck Perks at this downtown chain hotel include plush bedding and free Wi-Fi.

Rolling Plains Adventures For hunting and fishing adventures, check out this family-owned, 17,000-acre ranch 25 miles southeast of town. ATV excursions, cattle drives and horseback rides also are available. 

For information: Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 767-3555;


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