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Bismarck [1] is the state capital of North Dakota, and is North Dakota's second largest city. In a Cambridge University Study Bismarck was one of the safest cities in America to live. Also included in the study Bismarck ranked number one in

View looking south from top of capital building
ND State Capitol


Bismarck (pop. 67,034) is located in Burleigh County. Mandan is located adjacent across the "Big Muddy" Missouri River. The local area code is 701. Bismarck uses the following zipcodes: 58501-58507

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

A new Bismarck Municipal Airport (IATA: BIS) [2] was completed in late 2005 and is now fully operational. It is served by:

  • Allegiant Air, [3]. Las Vegas, NV and Phoenix-Mesa, AZ (no one-stops or connections)
  • Delta, [4]. Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
  • Frontier, [5]. Denver, CO
  • United, [6]. Denver, CO
  • American Airlines,[7]. Dallas-Ft. Worth, Chicago-O'Hare

To get to Downtown Bismarck, take the Green Line (Route 3). [8] It also serves the University of Mary.

By train[edit]

Bismarck does offer freight stops however no public train transportation exists. The nearest Amtrak station is located in Minot, ND, which is around 100 miles north of Bismarck on US-83. There is also Amtrak service to Fargo, which is 190 miles east of Bismarck on Interstate 94. Both the Fargo and Minot Amtrak stops are on the Empire builder line which runs between Chicago and Seattle/Portland.

By car[edit]

You can get to Bismarck from the east or west via I-94, or from the north or south via US-83. Taxi 9000 and Metro Taxi offer cab service for the area. They are usually at the airport upon arrivals.

By bus[edit]

Jefferson Lines provides bus service along major interstate routes in North Dakota. The Bismarck-Mandan Transit Center is the hub of both the local bus system and Jefferson Lines routes.

Get around[edit]

The airport offers car rental services or you may use taxi services as well. The CAT (Capital Area Transit) now provides limited public transit service between the airport and Kirkwood Mall.

The city services public transportation by running several bus routes throughout the area. It is called the Capital Area Transit (CAT). Route maps and information should be available at all major bus stops and the airport.

See[edit][add listing]

Bismarck has the state's tallest building, the capitol.

  • Bismarck Art and Galleries Association[9], 422 East Front Ave., Bismarck, ND. Art, photography and sculptures exhibits by local, regional and national artists. Open year round, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 1-3 p.m. Free admission. Tel: (701) 223-5986. Fax: 701-223-8960. Email: [email protected] [10]
  • Buckstop Junction Missouri Valley Fairgrounds[11]. Reconstructed village with buildings from the late 1800s to the early 1930s. Turn-of-the-century atmosphere. By appointment. Tel: (701) 226-1217 or (701) 223-4838. Admission fee is $2.
  • Camp Hancock state historic site, 101 West Main, Bismarck, ND. Open May 16 to September 15, Wednesday-Sunday 1:00-5:00 PM. Originally established in 1872 as a military post, Camp Creeley, then renamed Camp Hancock in 1973. Its mission was to provide protection for work gangs building the Northern Pacific Railroad. The camp headquarters, a log building, is still standing on the site. Tel: (701) 328-2666. Fax: (701) 328-3710. Email: [email protected]
  • Chief Looking's Village[12], Burnt Boat Drive NW, Bismarck, ND. Native American village site with self-guided tour of the grounds, contains earthlodge depressions and a fortification ditch. Tel: (701) 328-2666.
  • Dakota Zoo[13], in Sertoma Park, Bismarck. Variety of animal exhibits, including endangered monkeys, moose, and brown bears, some in natural habitats. Open late April to end of September from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM daily. In the winter (October to late April), open Friday to Sunday, 1:00 to 5:00 PM. Admission fee is $5.50 for adults and $2.50 for children. Tel: (701) 223-7543. Fax: (701) 258-8350. Email: [email protected] [14]
  • Double Ditch Indian Village[15], 7 miles north of Bismarck on Highway 1804. Remains of a large Mandan Indian earthlodge village that is believed to have been inhabited for almost 300 years until 1781. Eight interactive signs provide information on the site. Tel: (701) 328-2666. Fax: (701) 328-3710.
  • Former Governor's Mansion State Historic Site[16] , 320 East Avenue B, Bismarck. Restored Victorian mansion and carriage house. Originally constructed in 1884, it housed 21 ND governors from 1893 to 1960. Exhibits explain the restoration process, architectural style changes, and furniture used by several governors. Open May 15 to September 15, 10 a.m - 5 p.m, Mon. - Fri. Noon - 4:00 pm, Sat. & Sun. October - May 1 p.m. - 5 p.m., Second combined Friday and Saturday of each month. Tel: (701) 328-2666. Fax: (701) 328-3710.
  • North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum[17] and Sakakawea Statue, 612 East Boulevard Ave., Bismarck. This is North Dakota's largest museum. It displays a collection of Plains Indian artifacts, as well as exhibits of North Dakota's military, agricultural, and natural history. Includes a special children's historical area. Sakakawea was the guide for the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-1806. Her statue is displayed near the center's entrance. Open year round, from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily. Tel: (701) 328-2666
  • North Dakota State Capitol[18], this art deco 19-story building is located at 600 East Boulevard Ave., Bismarck. After a fire destroyed the original bldg., the present structure was built on the same site in 1933, one of only 3 'skyscraper' style state capitol buildings in the United States. Open Monday to Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with hourly tours, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Tel: (701) 328-2471 or (701) 328-2480. Email: [email protected]
  • Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Hall of Fame in the State Capitol, 600 East Boulevard Ave., Bismarck. Displays portraits of recipients of the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the stat's highest, given to North Dakotans who have brought honor to the state. Open Year-round, Monday-Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM and during Memorial Day to Labor day, also open on Saturday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and on Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. Tel: 701-328-2480

Do[edit][add listing]

Missouri River[edit]

The Missouri River is a favorite with locals for fishing, swimming, and other water sports. Please keep in mind that rivers can be dangerous. It is important that young children wear life jackets and all people are conscious of those around them.

  • Lewis and Clark Riverboat is a 150-passenger paddle wheel riverboat based at the Port of Bismarck, River Road, Bismarck. Afternoon and evening round-trip cruises on the Missouri River from the historic Port of Bismarck to Fort Lincoln and the On-A-Slant Mandan Village. Dinner and beverage service available for regular cruises and charters. Narrations and reenactments provided during cruises. Call for regular scheduled cruises from April through October. Tel: (701)255-4233. Email: [email protected] [19]
  • The Desert is a local hangout in the summer. The desert is located on the east bank of the Missouri south of the University of Mary. It takes about 15-20 minutes to reach the desert by car. A boat ramp (Kimball Bottoms) is located in the area, and continuing past the boat ramp while following the shoreline for about another mile will bring you to a large sandbar beach where you may park your car and camp. This area is often extremely crowded during the summer, especially on holidays and weekends. During the week, it can be much more relaxing. A large area is located adjacent to the beach that is used by off-road vehicles, including dirt bikes and 4-wheelers.

While generally North Dakotans are very respectful and generous people, when large amounts of people are at the desert, it can be a hard place for families to enjoy time together. There is often plenty of partying and alcohol consumption. If you have small children, this is an area best avoided on weekends and major holidays (mainly the 4th of July), especially when the weather is good.

  • Boating is a great way to spend a long weekend or a lazy summer evening. A map showing boat ramps can be found here. There are generally many sandbars available in the Bismarck area to dock on. Much like the desert, sandbars near the bridges in the middle of Bismarck-Mandan often become crowded and rowdy on hot summer days. Head away from the middle of town, to the north or south, for some seclusion and relaxation.

Water-skiing, tubing, and wakeboarding are all popular activities, as well. Be aware that it is often dangerous to do these things within the vicinity of the four bridges spanning the river, as there is often too much boat traffic. Heading one mile up or down river will help you to have a safer (and more fun!) time. Be aware that state law requires two people on the boat/jet-ski in cases of pulling someone on a tube, wakeboard, etc. One person is required to sit at the back of the boat and 'spot' for the people being pulled. There are state Game & Fish boats enforcing these rules.

  • Play Cro-Shoes. This is a great river tradition. The game was invented by Vern Peterson, a local, in 1987. The game combines elements of horse shoes and other games to provide a unique sandbar game. Game sets are available at Scheel's Sports, located at Kirkwood Mall, or through the Cro-Shoes website contact page.

Ski & Snowboard[edit]

  • Huff Hills Ski Area, located in the buttes on the western banks of the Missouri River, is the largest downhill ski area in North Dakota, with a vertical drop of 450 feet. Huff Hills is located 18 miles south of Mandan on ND State Highway 1806. The scenic drive takes around 45 minutes from Bismarck, and around 30 minutes from Mandan.

Cross-country skiing is often possible in Bismarck. Bismarck Parks & Recreation Department grooms trails at Riverwood Golf Course if snow conditions allow. It is often possible to ski in the countryside around Bismarck, but remember that trespassing on private property is a crime!

Bismarck offers two movie theaters (see movie showtimes):

  • Carmike[20] has a theater in Gateway Mall in North Bismarck.
  • Locally-owned Grand Theaters[21] is the favorite among local movie enthusiasts. It offers stadium seating in most of its theaters. The theater features curved screens, two giant screens, rocking seats, a theater with many loveseats, and lavish decor. If you find yourself in Theater 15, look up, there are twinkling stars in the ceiling. Grand Theaters is well worth the $7.75 to see a film.

The Bismarck Civic Center[22] is home to the Bismarck Bobcats(hockey), Dakota Wizards (Basketball) and the Roughriders (Arena Football.) The civic center also offers the occasional concert, featuring performers such as Clay Aiken.

  • Dakota Zoo[23] is located between Sertoma Park and the Missouri River in southwest Bismarck. It offers many fascinating exhibits, including moose, bears, and river otters. As of late 2007, admission is $3 for children 2-12, $6 for 13+, and children under the age of 2 are admitted free of charge.
  • Superslide Amusement Park, Riverside Park Road, Sertoma Park, Bismarck. Superslide, ferris wheel, carousel, batting cages, tubs, swings, bumper cars, critter track, whisper carts, mini-golf, bankshot basketball. Open from May through mid-September, weather permitting, daily from noon to 10:00 PM. Tel: (701) 255-1107 or 400-4273.
  • Camping General Sibley Park, 501 South Washington St., Bismarck, ND. 150 tent sites, 115 RV sites with electric. 4 miles south on Washington Street. Tel: (701) 222-1844. Fax: (701) 222-0774. Email: [email protected] [24]
  • Midway Lanes[25] just across the Missouri river in Mandan, is the only area bowling lanes. 3327 Memorial Highway, Mandan. Tel: (701) 663-0277
  • Dakota OutRight[26], a non-profit organization that serves as a regional community resource and provides gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) diversity education and promotes unity within the GLBT community and allies in western and central North Dakota.


  • Gateway to Science[27], located in the former Masonic Temple. Interactive exhibits for all ages for learning about science. Open Tuesday through Saturday, from noon to 5:00 PM. Tel: (701) 258-1975.
  • Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park[28] is made historically important because within its boundaries are the ruins of On-A-Slant Mandan Indian Village and the Fort Abraham Lincoln cavalry and infantry post. It was from this fort that Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and the Seventh Cavalry rode out on their ill-fated expedition against the Sioux at the Little Big Horn. It has 95 camping sites. There are special events year-round. Guided horse-back trail riding is available in the summer and offers a wide view of the Missouri basin in this area. Tel: (800) 807-4723


The average wage in Bismarck is about $43,460 (2014).

Buy[edit][add listing]

Bismarck offers two major shopping malls, newly remodeled Gateway Fashion Mall in north Bismarck, and Kirkwood Mall in south Bismarck. Kirkwood Mall is the city's largest mall. It is anchored by Target, JCPenney, Herberger's, Scheel's Sports, and I. Keating Furniture World.

Besides the mall Bismarck has Wal-Mart, Kmart, Staples, Office Depot, and Menards. Bismarck added about 1.5 million square feet of retail during the past 12 months including two Super Walmarts, Sams Club, Lowes, Kohls, and many other shops. The majority of the newer retail centers are in the northern part of the city.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Keep in mind that most of Bismarck's commercialized restaurants are off of I-94 Exit 159 (Hwy. 83/State St.) or near Kirkwood Mall on the south side. For a more unique dining experience, explore restaurants in the historic Downtown area. This district's Fiesta Villa, in the former train station, or Peacock Alley, in the former Patterson Hotel are local favorites.

Many North Dakotans are meat eaters and these restaurants do not disappoint in this area. Pasta entrees and seafood are quite popular as well, rounding out most menus. Due to ND's landlocked location, seafood must be flown in regularly, so a seared ahi tuna steak is likely to be at least 'good'. However northern pike, walleye, buffalo, and pheasant are likely to be local and fresh. These items are worth a try to capture a more authentic taste of North Dakota.


Bismarck offers multiple fast food restaurants.


  • The Walrus[29],1136 N. 3rd St., in Arrowhead Plaza, (701)250-0020 has been a locally owned restaurant for over 10 years and is a local favorite. Try any one of their signature pasta dishes, unique pizzas, house-made soups, or select from the 20+ beers that they have to offer in addition to their reasonably sized wine menu.
  • DiDonna's[30], 505 East Bismarck Expressway, (701) 223-0012. Excellent Italian restaurant located just off the Bismarck Expressway. Most pasta dishes range from $10-$13 while seafood costs slightly more.
  • All American Steakhouse Buffet. Offering steak or chicken as their primary meat of choice, and all the extras you could think of. Also The Golden Corral opened in 2007. Excellent buffet! Bring your appetite.
  • Fiesta Villa, (Downtown Bismarck). In the historic train station in the heart of downtown Bismarck enjoy the quiet and calm restraunt that is a local hit. Famous for its salsa, margaritas, wings, tacos, and other Mexican dishes that are sure to satisfy.  edit
  • Meriwether's, (On the Missouri River). This restaurant also offers rides on a large steamboat.  edit


  • Peacock Alley American Grill and Bar[31], 422 E. Main Ave., (701)255-7917. Located in the historic Patterson Hotel Building, within walking distance of the Bismarck Civic Center and Bismarck's downtown events. Peacock's dining room reflects the original glamour of this historical jewel. The wide variety of American entrees are individually prepared to perfection using the freshest local ingredients available. A healthy fresh lunch menu is available daily. Voted the best martini year after year and featuring 23 different tap beers.
  • Bistro[32], 1100 East Front Ave, (701) 224-8800. Consistently rated best restaurant in Bismarck by readers of the Bismarck Tribune. It features a variety dishes including regional Italian specialties. Thursday night is Sushi night with live music.
  • East 40 Chophouse & Tavern[33], 1401 Interchange Avenue (just southeast of I-94 Exit 159), (701) 258-7222. Another well-known fine-dining establishment in Bismarck. Monday night is sushi night with live music.
  • Pirogue Grille[34], 121 N. 4th St., (701)223-3770. The restaurant concept features Midwest regional cuisine that changes with the seasons. Featured menu items include walleye, bison, duck, and house-made venison sausage. Great selection of desserts and breads, all made in house; extensive wine list featuring many different varietals.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Bismarck has multiple local adult establishments. Popularity shifts as frequently as the weather. If you're into the nightlife, you'd be better asking the locals where most people in your age group hang out. Borrowed Bucks Roadhouse, simply called Bucks, is consistently popular with 20- and 30-somethings. The Elbow Room can be a veritable local high school reunion on some weekend nights.

If you like a variety of beers, try O'Briens, Sport's Page, or Peacock Alley.

The hangout for politicians when the state legislature is in session is the Peacock Alley Bar, located in the historic Patterson Hotel building in downtown Bismarck. Government-types have been calling the "Peacock" their after-hours home for more than half a century. The regular crowd includes a variety ranging from 20-somethings to middle-aged downtown business folk, generally people that appreciate the atmosphere, good conversation, and variety of libations the location has provided since first opening in 1911.

Steep Me, (Downtown Bismarck by the Kirkwood Mall.). A tea shop that is a daily stop for locals. Once a dream by a local tea-maker is now a bustling business.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

See also Mandan listings.

  • AmericInn, I-94 and Exit 159, north on Highway 83, Tel: (701) 250-1000. Toll Free: (800) 634-3444. Fax: 701-250-1103
  • Best Western Doublewood Inn, 1400 East Interchange Ave. Located at I-94 and Exit 159. Tel: (701) 258-7000. Toll Free: (800) 554-7077. Fax: (701) 258-2001. [
  • Ramkota Hotel, formerly Radisson Ramkota, 800 South 3rd St,, Bismarck, ND. Located across from Kirkwood Mall. 306 rooms, 8 suites, indoor water park with 150 foot waterslide, sauna, whirlpool, fitness club. Tel: (701) 258-7700. Toll Free: (800) 528-1234. Fax: (701) 224-8212. [35]
  • Bismarck Motor Hotel, Tel: (701) 223-2474. Fax: (701) 223-3190
  • Budget Inn Express, . Tel: (701) 255-1450
  • Comfort Inn, 300 East Interstate Ave., I-94, Exit 159 north. Tel: (701) 223-1911. Fax: (701) 223-6977
  • Comfort Suites, 929 Gateway Ave., I-94, Exit 159 north. Tel: (701) 223-4009. Fax: (701) 223-9119.
  • Courtyard Bismarck North, 3319 North 14th Street Bismarck. Tel: (701) 223-6667. Fax: (701) 223-8606.[36]
  • Days Inn, 1300 E. Capital Avenue, I-94, Exit 159 north. Tel: (701) 223-9151. Fax: (701) 223-9423.
  • Expressway Inn and Suites, Across from Kirkwood Mall. Tel: (701) 222-2900. Toll Free: (800) 456-6388. Fax: (701) 222-3311. [37]
  • Fairfield Inn North, I-94, Exit 159 north on Highway 83, Bismarck, ND. Tel: (701) 223-9077. Fax: (701) 223-9077. Email: [email protected]
  • Fairfield Inn South, near Kirkwood Mall off Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND. Tel: (701) 223-9293. Toll Free: (800) 228-2800. Fax: (701) 223-9293.
  • Hillside Motel, 1601 N 12 St., Tel: (701) 223-7986
  • Kelly Inn, 1800 North 12th St., I-94, Exit 159 S on State Street. Tel: (701) 223-8001. Toll Free: (800) 635-3559, (Fax: (701) 221-2685. Email: [email protected]) [38]
  • Motel 6, 2433 State St., I-94, Exit 159 north on Highway 83. Tel: (701) 255-6878. Fax: (701) 223-7534
  • Radisson Hotel, 605 East Broadway Ave., Tel: (701) 255-6000. Toll Free: (800) 333-3333. Fax: (701) 233-0400. Email: [email protected] [39]
  • Ramada Limited Suites, 3808 E Divide Ave., I-94, Exit 161. Tel: (701) 221-3030. Fax: (701) 221-3030. Email: [email protected] [40]
  • Select Inn, 1505 Interchange Ave., I-94, Exit 159 S. Tel: (701) 223-8060. Toll Free: (800) 641-1000. Fax: (701) 223-8293. [41]
  • Super 8 Motel, I-94, Exit 159 N. Tel: (701) 255-1314. Toll Free: (800) 800-8000
  • White Lace Bed and Breakfast, 807 N 6th St., 1918 historic Victorian style home with 2 guest rooms, antiques. Tel: (701) 258-6877

Stay safe[edit]

Bismarck is a relatively safe town. Your biggest danger is the winter weather.
In the winter don't forget proper clothing for harsh weathers. For 20 days in Jan 04-Feb 04, the temp did not get above 0 deg F. The coldest temp was in Minot, ND, at -45F (-75 windchill) while Bismarck was at a "balmy" -43F.
If your car has a block heater, remember to plug it into a wall outlet. Local rental cars will have block heaters installed. If you don't know what to look for, ask the rental place; they will know. Block heaters will keep the car from freezing up during sub-zero temps.
From April-October, most of the state will conduct its road construction projects. During this season, plan for occasional delays in the city of Bismarck and on the roads to get to the city.

Get out[edit]

Routes through Bismarck
DickinsonMandan  W noframe E  SteeleFargo
MinotWashburn  N noframe S  LintonPierre

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