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Discover Williston, ND

Charming neighborhoods and vibrant communities offer an assortment of fun things to do in the Williston area.

By Livability on April 23, 2021

City of Williston

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.

City of Williston

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.

Strong Leaders

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.

Jerrye & Roy Klotz MD/Wiki Commons

The James

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.

New Hospital & Clinic

A big splash is coming to the health care industry in Williston. The city and Sanford Health recently announced their intent to build a new hospital and clinic. The facilities will be located in Williston Square, the 800-acre site that used to house Sloulin Field International Airport.

A community board will be formed to guide Sanford on local health care priorities.

“We have listened to our community’s health care needs and want to ensure that local voices remain a core component of planning going forward,” said Williston Mayor Howard Klug at the time of the announcement. “We look forward to working with Sanford in the coming months and welcoming them to our community and region. The future hospital and clinic in Williston Square speaks to Williston’s exciting future.”

Heather LeMoine/North Dakota Tourism

Healthy & Active

Good health is a high priority in Williston, and residents have a number of opportunities to stay active and fit.

The city features a half dozen walking trails, and several others are in the works. The more adventurous types can enjoy canoeing, kayaking and other watersports along Lake Sakakawea and the Missouri River.

Residents have access to Williston Area Recreation Center, which offers amenities such as a waterpark, a pool, four indoor tennis courts, a 200-meter track, four basketball courts, a weight room, a spinning classroom, an elevated walking track and an indoor turf field. Plus, should a health issue arise, residents can access care at CHI St. Alexius Health Williston Medical Center.

Heather LeMoine/North Dakota Tourism

The 4-1-1 on Williston

  • 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, men’s basketball, men’s ice hockey, women’s basketball, women’s softball and women’s volleyball. The campus includes a 250,000-square-foot recreation center.

  • Development-Heavy: Over the past 10 years, more than $2 billion in new construction has provided housing and infrastructure to meet the needs of Williston’s growth.

  • All Aboard: Amtrak has a rail station in Williston and runs a passenger train three days a week to Chicago, Seattle and Portland.

  • All For Fun: Looking for places to get active? Try local favorites like Davidson, Harmon and Spring Lake parks. Williston Area Recreation Center, which has numerous activities, is another must-visit location.

  • Regional Hub: Williston is the economic, educational and health care hub for northwest North Dakota and northeast Montana. Williston is 18 miles from the North Dakota-Montana border and 60 miles from the U.S.-Canada border.

  • Fueling Growth: The Williston Basin is rich in petroleum and part of the Bakken Formation that produces more than 1 million barrels of oil per day.

  • Waves of Residents: Thanks to the area’s thriving oil and gas industry, Williston’s population has soared. The U.S. Census Bureau says the population grew by more than 82% between 2010 and 2019 to an estimated 29,033.

If you’d like to learn more about the Williston, ND area, check out the latest edition of Livability Williston, ND.

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