The annual St Patrick's Day parade in Butte has been cancelled for 2021, but I doubt that will dampen the spirit of the holiday in the mining city. Irish Times called Butte the "most Irish town in America" and even with health officials nixing the traditional parade for a virtual event, you can bet that hundreds (if not thousands?) of people will be celebrating in the town with the highest population (per capita) of people from Irish decent in the United States. The LA Times cited 2010 census data that shows that one in four of Butte's residents are Irish, more than Boston (1 in 5).

I've only been to Butte once for St Patrick's Day and it was insanely fun. The town certainly knows how to party. But there is so much more to Butte than green beer, leprechauns and bagpipes. Here are five things to check out next time you're in Butte.

Historic Uptown

If you love old architecture and Montana history, you can spend days exploring Butte's historic "uptown" neighborhoods, built on the hills on the north side of the valley. Some neighborhoods have experienced revitalization in recent years with great breweries and restaurants to check out.

Copper King Mansion

William Clark was one of the richest men in America, thanks to his fortunes made in the mining business. At one point he was making $17 million a MONTH, so dropping $500,000 on his mansion was like spending a half-days wages. In summer months, the mansion is open daily for tours and is also a bed-n-breakfast.

The Pit

Yes, it's a toxic Superfund site (and in simplest terms, it's just a giant hole in the ground), but seeing it in-person is totally worth it. It's SO, DAMN, BIG. Started in 1955 and closed in the 1982, 1.5 billion tons of material were removed from the ground, delivering more than 290 million tons of copper ore.

Ringing Rocks

These aren't technically in Butte, but if you're heading that direction from the east, you'll pass the exit near Whitehall. These unique rocks actually chime like a bell when tapped with a hammer.

Authentic Irish food

Corned beef and cabbage or fish-and-chips is so cliche. For a truly authentic taste of Irish cuisine, visit one of Butte's famous restaurants, like Joe's Pasty Shop.

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Butte is frequently the butt of the joke in Montana, and that's not really fair to the people or town. There is an incredible amount of history in Butte and while parts of it aren't exactly the prettiest, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It's a fascinating place to spend a day or two. Head to Butte and eat, drink, explore and have fun in the "most Irish town in America." Learn more about Butte attractions at Visitmt.com

 

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