Charming neighborhoods and vibrant communities offer an assortment of fun things to do in the Williston area.
Williston is the economic, educational and health care hub for northwest North Dakota and northeast Montana. The region continuously focuses on innovation and technology, creating an ecosystem that attracts highly advanced businesses and flourishing startups and entrepreneurs.
Stop…and Check Out the Art
Art is on display throughout Williston, even on its traffic equipment.
As part of a beautification campaign, 14 traffic signal cabinets in Downtown Williston have been wrapped in vinyl and now feature high-resolution images of paintings and photography.
The initiative started as a Leadership Williston class project in 2017-2018, aiming to have more public art on display. This effort concentrated on transforming existing objects into colorful canvases around town. The initiative ended in 2020.
In addition to the canvases, art can be seen at n a number of venues throughout the area.
Warm-weather months offer concerts by the Williston State College City Band at Harmon Park. Plus, the Williston Downtowners Association hosts the Summer Nights on Main concert series, which is made up of nine concerts. Along with the music, the events include food vendors, drinks, activities for kids and more, making them fun for the entire family. For more information on the concert series, visit willistondowntown.com/summer-nights.
Williston is home to a number of top organizations that keep the region running smoothly, including the Williston Area Chamber of Commerce and the Williston Downtowners Association.
The chamber has served the area since 1907, representing, supporting and advocating for Williston businesses, organizations and residents. As the area has seen tremendous growth over the last decade, the chamber has also worked to make Williston a place people want to live, work and thrive.
The Williston Downtowners Association was launched in 2010 in an effort to bring life back to the Downtown area. In addition to keeping the area vibrant, the nonprofit promotes and supports Downtown businesses and events.
Known to locals as “The James,” the James Memorial Art Center is housed in what was once Williston’s first library, which opened in 1911. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
The library closed in 1983, with the building sitting vacant for 10 years and earmarked for demolition until a group of citizens formed the James Memorial Preservation Society and saved the historic site, developing it into a center for the visual arts.
Today, the James is an art and cultural center that offers rotating art exhibits and art classes as well as hosts the annual ArtFest every September.
The 4-1-1 on Williston, ND:
- Forward Momentum: Over the past 10 years, the City of Williston has worked diligently to meet the infrastructure demands of a fast-growing community and attract diversified industry. New schools, a state-of-the-art recreation center, a beautiful new international airport and millions of dollars in road improvements are just a few examples of how Williston has positioned itself for the future.
- Plenty of Opportunity: Thanks to the area’s thriving oil and gas industry, Williston’s population has more than tripled over the last decade. The average age in Williston is about 38, with more young families continuing to settle in this area thanks to excellent career opportunities and quality of life. Along with oil and gas, Williston is active in alternative energy, including wind, water and biofuels.
- Energy Rich in Williston: Williston is located in the center of the Bakken Formation, a massive source of oil under parts of North Dakota, Montana and Canada. The Bakken produces more than 1 million barrels of oil per day, and drilling there has vaulted North Dakota in the nation’s top three most significant oil-producing states, along with New Mexico and Texas. This booming industry has helped fuel Williston’s tremendous growth.
- More Than Oil and Gas: Williston is 18 miles from the North Dakota-Montana state line and 60 miles from the U.S.-Canada border. The city’s location at the crossroads of U.S. highways 2 and 85 gives it a distribution advantage. In addition, the 180-acre Stony Creek Rail Yard is a trans-loading facility in Williston with more than 4 miles of dedicated track and is open 24/7.
- Home of the Tetons: Williston State College, part of the North Dakota University System, offers 10 career and technical programs and six varsity sports programs — men’s baseball, basketball, and ice hockey; and women’s basketball, softball and volleyball. In addition, the campus includes a 250,000-square-foot recreation center.
- Awash in Fun: Williston offers world-class fishing and water recreation opportunities, thanks to its location at the upper end of the Lake Sakakawea reservoir and near the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers.
- Getting Around: Amtrak has a rail station in Williston and runs a once-daily passenger train in each direction to Chicago and Seattle, and Portland, Oregon. In addition, Williston Basin International Airport (XWA) recently opened a 103,000-square-foot terminal. The airport offers daily service to Denver and Minneapolis.
If you’d like to learn more about the Williston area, check out the latest edition of Livability Williston, North Dakota.