Bismarck North Dakota

The city of Bismarck, which was founded in 1872, is the capital of North Dakota, though no official state document designates it as such. When North Dakota became a state in 1889, the city of Jamestown was set to take on capital status. Some Bismarck residents weren't too happy about this, however, as their city had served the prior role of capital of the larger Dakota Territory. Some of these unhappy Bismarck residents headed east on horseback and stole the state records from Jamestown. Eventually, the state legislature was persuaded to comply with their demands and decided it would meet in Bismarck. The state legislature never formally voted on Bismarck's capital status, though any debates about the matter essentially ended once the North Dakota State Capitol Building was erected here.

Bismarck North Dakota
Bismarck North Dakota

State Capitol tours are among the many fun things to do in Bismarck, and if you are further interested in learning about the city's and state's history, a visit to The North Dakota Heritage Center is also recommended. No other museum in North Dakota is larger than The North Dakota Heritage Center, which covers regional history. For those who are interested in learning more about regional Native American history, the Double Ditch Indian Village State Historic Site can be found just seven miles north of Bismarck North Dakota. The ruins of a Mandan Indian village are what draw visitors to this historic site. Historic sites figure prominently among the Bismarck attractions, and others include the Former Governor's Mansion State Historic Site and the Steamboat Warehouse State Historic Site. About 50 miles south of the city, the Sitting Bull Burial State Historic Site offers those who are enjoying Bismarck travel a terrific side trip option. Sitting Bull, a Hunkpapa Sioux Indian leader, fought to hold on to his people's land once white settlers arrived in the area. He lost his life in the pursuit in 1890.

Visiting historical sites is just one of the things that you can add to your Bismarck travel itinerary, and if you are traveling with kids, the Dakota Zoo also deserves inclusion. Of course, you don't have to be traveling with kids to enjoy this zoo's comprehensive exhibits, which feature more than 600 animals and 125 different animal species. Like the city of Bismarck North Dakota itself, the Dakota Zoo can be found on the banks of the Missouri River. The state's largest zoo is surrounded by Sertoma Park, which is a terrific place to enjoy some recreational activities. The paved trails that course through the park are connected to the more extensive city wide trail system, and they follow along the Missouri River. When you're not checking out the Dakota Zoo or taking to the paved trails at Sertoma Park, you might look to enhance your visit with an informative tour on the Lewis and Clark Riverboat. Lewis and Clark are two of the most famous explorers of all time, and there are plenty of North Dakota attractions that relate to their time in the state.

Should your Bismarck travel plans see you visiting between May and mid-September, heading over the SuperSlide Amusement Park in Sertoma Park is something else to consider. A large slide, batting cages, bumper cars, go-karts, and a miniature golf course are just some of the things the SuperSlide Amusement Park features. While miniature golf will satisfy the golfing urges for some, others will be looking to hit the larger links when visiting Bismarck North Dakota. There are five quality golf courses in the Bismarck area, so golfing enthusiasts will want to pack their golf shoes when during their Bismarck travel itineraries. Hunting and fishing are among the other outdoor activities you can enjoy on a Bismarck North Dakota visit, and if you are visiting in the winter, you can add skiing to the mix. The Huff Hills Ski Area is one of the top Bismarck attractions in winter months, and while it might not rival the ski resorts in Colorado and other high mountain states, it does well to satisfy those who enjoy time on the slopes.

The Bismarck attractions listed thus far are just the tip of the iceberg, so staying busy on your trip won't be hard. Visiting Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park and shopping at the downtown mall are two more ideas for things to do in Bismarck, and thanks to the city's rich cultural scene, taking in the performing arts is always a possibility as well. A number of entertaining events take place throughout the year in Bismarck, and they only serve to enhance the city's attractiveness as a premier North Dakota vacation destination. Find your ideal Bismarck hotel today, and come see for yourself just how much there is to see and do here. Chances are good that you will be pleasantly surprised.

Top image: NDDOT Photos (flickr)

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