Known in local parlance as the East Side, the area around the capitol is directly south of the downtown area and contains many buildings of historic interest.
Probably the first thing a summer visitor should do while in Helena  is take the hour-long train tour offered by Last Chance Tours (406/442-1023, www.lctours.com , $7 adults, $6.50 seniors, $6 children 4–12). This open-air train tour does a quick drive-by of most of Helena’s historic and scenic properties; the traveler can decide what to explore in further depth.
Catch the “Last Chancer,” as the tour train is nicknamed, just outside the Montana Historical Society  at 6th Avenue and North Roberts Street, across the street from the capitol. In June tours are at 11 a.m., 1, and 3 p.m.; in July and August at 11 a.m., 1, 3, and 5:30 p.m.; in September at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.