Shop Like a Local
From cozy boutiques to local shops featuring Made in Montana products to one-stop “big boxes,” Kalispell has it. As you stroll the sidewalks of our historic downtown district you’ll find everything from designer jeans and fine art to great outdoor gear and Western wear. And while you’re downtown, browse unique local shops, artist co-ops and vintage stores. On Kalispell’s north side you’ll find our new commercial district, featuring familiar favorites such as Target, Costco, Cabela’s, Petco, Best Buy and Wal-Mart, to name a few. With the added benefit of no Montana sales tax, you’ll find one-of-a-kind gifts, outdoor and designer clothing and original art throughout the Flathead Valley, from Bigfork — the Village by the Bay — to the ski resort town of Whitefish. Our 2,000 resident artists and craftspeople are always wowing us!
An itinerary to discover up-and-coming downtown Kalispell.
Over the last few years, Kalispell’s downtown has sprouted with new restaurants, shops, art galleries, yoga studios, breweries and even a distillery, opening next to our small city’s historic icons. But this is still a place where you’ll run into locals catching up over lunch, a young couple enjoying a milkshake at Norms Soda Fountain and farmers and brewers discussing the latest wheat crop — making downtown Kalispell an authentic Montana destination worthy of time well spent getting to know our special mountain town.
For your next trip to Kalispell, here’s a full day’s itinerary to help you get to know Montana’s most up-and-coming Main Street:
8 a.m. Wake-up call: If you’re going to experience downtown Kalispell to the fullest, we highly recommend staying downtown. The Kalispell Grand Hotel has been a Main Street pillar since 1912 and offers preserved charm, updated rooms and bed and breakfast-style hospitality. Kalispell is fortunate to have two overnight options downtown with the larger Red Lion Hotel just up the street.
9 a.m. Yogo to start: Begin the day stretched and refreshed with a yoga session at Yoga Hive Montana, welcoming drop-in yogis.
10 a.m. Breakfast fuel: After filling your mind with mantras, fill your tummy with breakfast. Sykes Diner is a local’s favorite for its all-day classic breakfast choices, like Prospector’s Breakfast chicken fried steak and the Light Rancher combo. Montana Coffee Traders with a new location right on Main Street serves its own specialty roasted coffee, offered with delicious scrambles, breakfast wraps and homemade granola. Or swing into Ceres Bakery if you’d rather do a latte and pastry on the go as you stroll through Woodland Park just a few blocks to the east.
11 a.m. Get your bearings: After breakfast, head over to the Kalispell Visitor Center at 10 Depot Park. The host will orient you to the attractions and give you a historic walking map of downtown, full of interesting facts about what buildings “once were” and the characters who started it all.
11:30 a.m. Shop and gawk: Walking south down Main Street there’s a shop for most everyone’s taste: outdoor gear at Rocky Mountain Outfitter, cowboy hats and boots at Western Outdoor, fine yarns and textiles at Camas Creek, bicycles and gadgets at Wheaton’s, prints of local artists’ work at Flair Gifts & Cards, toys and games at Imagination Station and much more. A number of art galleries also call downtown Kalispell home. For admirers of modern works, check out the latest exhibits at Montana Modern Fine Art. For oils featuring serene western Montana landscapes, visit the Mark Ogle Studio.
1:30 p.m. Late lunch or ice cream: If you’re ready for lunch, stop in at Bonelli’s Bistro for Italian pasta, salad and panini specials. The Knead Café offers locally sourced vegan and gluten-free options. But if breakfast had you filled and you’d like a treat to hold you over until dinner, stop in at Sweet Peak’s for locally made ice cream featuring huckleberries and seasonal creations.
2:30 p.m. History and art lessons: Spend the afternoon diving into Kalispell’s history. Take a tour of one of Montana’s most famous mansions, the Conrad Mansion, built by Kalispell’s founder and an impressive piece of restored state history. Mid-October through mid-May, be sure to call ahead to arrange a private tour. The Hockaday Museum of Art, housed in a historic Carnegie Library, offers rotating exhibits of contemporary artists and a permanent collection featuring beloved paintings of Glacier National Park. Or take the family to Museum at Central School offering perspective and hands-on exhibits about local Native American culture and the lifestyle of early Flathead Valley settlers.
5 p.m. Cocktail / beer hour: Time for a drink, relaxation and recounting the day’s favorite finds, and you have your pick of places to experience Kalispell’s burgeoning craft beverage scene. All have done an impressive job reinventing Kalispell’s historic buildings and bringing renewed energy to downtown. Kalispell Brewing Co. started the microbrew scene in Kalispell in 2010 with its German-style lagers, and today it has two new siblings. Bias Brewing is crafting popular IPAs and creative brews like ginger beer, blackberry sour and coconut stout. Sunrift Beer Company offers a wide variety of craft beers from IPA to ales and stouts varying in malt and hop flavor. If you’d prefer a cocktail for “cocktail hour,” pop into Kalispell’s first craft distillery, Vilya Spirits Distillery & Cocktail Lounge. Taste their award-winning clear or green absinthe made with local herbs, or enjoy an absinthe cocktail or another creative concoction featuring Vilya’s small-batch gin or huckleberry liqueur.
7 p.m. Dinner bell: It’s time to experience more of Montana’s casual, yet tasty fare. Head to Hop’s Downtown Grill for likely the best gourmet burger you’ve ever had and don’t be hesitant to try the locally sourced Yak burger — it’s a customer favorite. Or walk over to the old blacksmith shop for barbecue and authentic Montana atmosphere at DeSoto Grill, getting rave reviews from local patrons and those visiting from across the country. Don’t forget to order cheesecake for dessert!
9 p.m. Nightcap: If you still have energy, close out the day with a nightcap at 406 Bar and Grill. The 406 features live music every Friday and Saturday and a martini and wine menu worthy of the big city — mixed in with lots of Montana charm.
We wish you sweet dreams of Kalispell.