With the vast majesty of Glacier National Park located just 20 miles (32km) away, Kalispell in northern Montana has become a gateway for adventurers seeking the Rocky Mountains and all things wilderness. Despite the presence of the mountains, Kalispell is an attractive settlement in its own right, resplendent in vintage Italianate architecture that evokes vivid statements of its Wild West past. Kalispell has also become a fixture in the Montana microbrew circuit, with a 10,000 sq.ft craft brewery on the corner of Fourth and Main streets having fast become a big attraction since it first opened its doors back in 2012.
Scrape beneath the surface, and you will discover a handful of art galleries and museums, as well as theatres and music events. Shopping is big business in Kalispell, largely due to the city’s lack of sales tax, and visitors are presented with a wide range of boutique stores selling a wealth of local arts and crafts. Looking further afield, the city is surrounded by a number of wineries and distilleries, as well as numerous opportunities for outdoor excursions. Fly fishing is a popular pastime, as is bird watching.
Due to the city’s proximity to Glacier National Park, it would be wise to visit Kalispell when the weather permits access to the peaks. Accordingly, plan a visit between May and October when average temperatures range between 18C and 27C, and the snow is long gone. Additionally, the summer sees the park’s celebrity animals at their most active, with grizzly bears, wolves and moose all having been reported by visitors.
Special events are held outside the peak tourist months, with the Cinch Bucking Horse Championships bringing all the fun of the rodeo to downtown Kalispell in early October, while the foodie heaven, Festival of Flavors, takes place the previous week.