Introduction to Great Falls, Montana

Great Falls is situated next to the Missouri River in Cascade County. The name was given due to the collection of water falls which the members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition encountered. The city is surrounded by mountains on three sides and expansive plains on the north side. Great Falls is also known as the "Electric City" which is attributed to the five hydroelectric dams located along the Missouri River. The nearby Roe River is recognized as the shortest river in the world. Malstrom Air Force Base and the 341 Space Wing are located in the town.


Great Falls was founded in 1883 by Paris Gibson and railroad tycoon James J. Hill. The city was established to generate power from the nearby waterfalls. In the early days it was known as a businessman's town. Industries and the supply business were flourishing. The Anaconda Copper Mining Company was the largest employer.

Significant growth occurred with the construction of a military base in the 1940's. However, during the late portion of the century, declines in the rail transportation business and the farming population as well as the shutting down of the smelter reduced the city's population. In 1950 a citizen filmed what he perceived to be a UFO. The claim received national attention and is considered to be one of the first major UFO incidents in the country.

Entertainment and Nightlife

The popular Sip and Dip bar had been ranked #1 by GQ Magazine as the top bar that was worth flying to. The venue features mermaids that swim around in a see-through pool. Other popular nightspots include Stein Haus, Brick Sports Pub and The Other Place. Sports enthusiasts enjoy the Great Falls Explorers of the Continental Basketball League and the Great Falls Voyagers baseball team.

The Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts is utilized for social events and for a wide variety of entertainment. The building is a national historic landmark. The popular River Fest includes live entertainment, art shows, water sports events and other activities. The PRCA Montana Circuit Finals Rodeo and the Lewis and Clark Festival are noteworthy events. Citizens and visitors enjoy the music concerts of the Great Falls Symphony Association.


  • Children's Museum of Montana.
  • Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.
  • Malstrom Air Force Base Museum.
  • C.M. Rusell Museum features the home of Charlie Russell, the renowned cowboy artist.
  • First Friday Art Walk.
  • The Cowboy Museum is an authentic log cabin and contains a vast number of artifacts.
  • Giant Springs Heritage State Park includes one of the biggest natural cold water springs in the entire world.
  • The city's water falls are notable attractions.
  • Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is an attractive structure made from sandstone and is a National Historic Landmark.
  • Cascade County Historical Society Museum features exhibits on the history of the region's cowboys.

Outdoor Activities

The region provides opportunities for hunting big game and birds. Hunting guides are available. Fly fishing is popular at the numerous streams and rivers. Golf enthusiasts enjoy the city's golf courses including Emerald Greens Golf Club. Guided tours are available for hiking the Lewis and Clark Trail. Riding the trolley in the historic downtown is popular with tourists. The Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge is situated on a large acreage and is popular for wildlife photography.


The city is served by the Great Falls International Airport.


Total Population 59,563
Male Share of the Population 49.1%
Female Share of the Population 50.9%
Senior Citizens 17.2%
Employed Population 16+ 28,172
Age of the Population 38


% of people married 48.3%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 25.2%
Median Earnings25+ $30,309
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $13,635
Median Earnings With High School Degree $23,253


Median Family Income $57,410
% Above Poverty Level 82.6%
% Below Poverty Level 17.4%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 14 minutes
% Working from Home 2.5%
% Walking and Biking to Work 3.8%
% Using Public Transportation 1%


People Living Alone 34.1%
Median Gross Rent $613
Median House Value $160,900


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 20.6%
US/American 0.1%
English 9%
Irish 14.4%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Great Falls Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 514 miles E of Seattle, Washington
County Cascade
Metro Area Great Falls
Standard Zip Codes 59401, 59402, 59404, 59405
P.O. Box Zip Codes 59403, 59406
Phone Area Codes 406
Time Zone Mountain (-7 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 47.5
Longitude -111.3

Great Falls Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 4.5 miles
Jan Temp 11 to 32 F
Apr Temp 30 to 56 F
Jul Temp 50 to 82 F
Oct Temp 33 to 58 F
Annual Precip 14.8 inches
Station SUN RIVER 4 S
Distance 20.3 miles
Jan Temp 12 to 34 F
Apr Temp 30 to 57 F
Jul Temp 50 to 82 F
Oct Temp 33 to 60 F
Annual Precip 12.7 inches
Station CARTER 14 W
Distance 21.1 miles
Jan Temp 7 to 30 F
Apr Temp 30 to 56 F
Jul Temp 51 to 83 F
Oct Temp 32 to 59 F
Annual Precip 12.4 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Great Falls, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Malmstrom A F B (59402)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Belt 683 $55,938
Cascade 648 $50,833

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Great Falls Public Libraries

Great Falls Public Library
Great Falls, Montana
(406) 453-0349
Library Web Site

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More Information for Librarians

Great Falls Hospitals

1411 9TH ST S
(406) 727-5577
Emergency Service: No

1101 26TH ST S
(406) 455-5000
Emergency Service: Yes

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Great Falls High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 1,873 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 16

Serves 1,736 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 15.9

A Special Education School
Serves 33 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 4.2

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