Bismarck is the state capital of North Dakota, and is North Dakota's second largest city.

ND State Capitol


Bismarck (pop. 61,389) is located in Burleigh County in the Coteaus and Plains region of the state. Mandan is located adjacent across the "Big Muddy" Missouri River. Bismarck was founded in 1872, and became the state capitol in 1889.


 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 23 28 40 57 68 77 85 84 72 58 40 26
Nightly lows (°F) 2 8 19 31 43 52 57 56 45 32 19 6
Precipitation (in) 0.4 0.5 0.9 1.3 2.4 3.2 2.9 2.3 1.6 1.3 0.7 0.5

   Data from NOAA (1981-2010)

Get in

By plane

Bismarck Municipal Airport (IATA: BIS) was remodeled in late 2005 and is now fully operational. It is served by:

By train

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.

By car

You can get to Bismarck from the east or west via I-94, or from the north or south via US-83. Taxi 9000 does offer cab service for the area. They are usually at the airport upon arrivals. The city is spread out, so a vehicle of some sort is recommended.

By bus

Greyhound provides bus service along major interstate routes in North Dakota.

Get around

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.



Missouri River

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.

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.

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.

Ski & Snowboard

Bismarck offers two movie theaters (see movie showtimes):



The average wage in Bismarck is about $31,000


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.


Most national chain restaurants are off of I-94 Exit 159 (Hwy. 83/State St.), near Kirkwood Mall on the south side, and in the Pinehurst area (Exit 157, Tyler Parkway and Divide Ave.) on the west 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.


  • I-94 & Highway 83, +1 701 223-1907
  • 1915 East Main Avenue, +1 701 255-3850 $5-12.




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.


See also Mandan listings.

Stay safe

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.

Go next

Routes through Bismarck

Dickinson Mandan  W  E  Steele Fargo
Minot Washburn  N  S  Linton Pierre

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, March 25, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.