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Kalispell, Montana ranks as the largest city and commercial hub of the state’s northwest region. As the county seat, we were unsure we would find Kalispell, MT activities for tourists – and we almost skipped it in favor of other area destinations. However, we made a last-minute decision to spend an afternoon in the city – and we discovered a few of the best things to do in Kalispell, Montana.
We focused our exploration on the old town center, where there are a cluster of Kalispell, Montana attractions. Historic buildings, an array of restaurants and breweries and nearby Montana nature are just a few of the things to see in Kalispell.
5 Best Things To Do in Kalispell, Montana
The Kalispell, MT attractions on our list are all centrally located – and most are within walking distance from the old town center. In addition to our list of Kalispell tourist attractions, we provide other tourist information – like things to do near Kalispell, where to stay in the city and how to get there – at the end of the article.
Save, Pin or Bookmark our list of Things To Do in Kalispell so that you can use it while planning – and during – your trip to Montana!
#1 Stroll Kalispell Main Street
Topping our list of Kalispell Things To Do is walking down Main Street, where it feels like you are stepping back in time.
Main Street marks the heart of Old Town Kalispell, Montana. The street features buildings that date to the early 1900s…and occupying the historic buildings are boutique shops, antique stores, locally owned restaurants, and charming cafes.
Shopping: Kalispell Main Street
Shopping at the stores on Main Street is one of the top things to do in Kalispell – and there is something for everyone! From outdoor apparel to western wear to Made-in-Montana art to used book shops and entertaining thrift stores, there is a range of goods for sale on Main Street. A few of the top places to shop on Kalispell Main Street are Rocky Mountain Outfitters, Sage and Cedar and The Toggery.
Pro Tip: Start your visit at the Kalispell Visitor Center for more information and brochures about activities in Kalispell, Montana. The city of Kalispell, Montana visitor bureau is located on the north end of Main Street.
#2 Explore Historic Kalispell On Foot
One of the Kalispell activities that we most enjoyed was discovering the entire Kalispell Historic District, which extends beyond Main Street.
The city of Kalispell dates to 1891 – and much of the city’s original plan and several structures still exist today. We wandered the streets by walking down tree-lined lanes, past historic dwellings and by a few of the beautiful churches in Kalispell, MT.
We were happy to roam the Kalispell downtown district without purpose, but there is a useful Self-Guided Walking Tour that can help lead the way, too!
Pro Tip: The Conrad Memorial Cemetery might not be one of the highly rated Kalispell attractions, but history buffs will want to check it out! The cemetery, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located on the northwest side of Kalispell historical downtown.
#3 Visit Museums in Kalispell, MT
Visiting one of the city’s museums is one of the top Kalispell, Montana things to do! There are three Kalispell museums located within the heart of the historic district: Conrad Mansion, Northwest Montana History and Hockaday Art Museum.
Conrad Mansion Museum
Charles E Conrad is credited with founding the city of Kalispell – and, in 1895, he built a mansion in the city where he resided with his family. Today, the house stands as the Conrad Mansion Museum, fully decorated as it might have been when it was first built.
Northwest Montana History Museum
Housed in an old school building, the Northwest Montana History Museum features exhibits detailing the history of Flathead Valley. Visitors can learn about the first people to live on the land – and the logging industry that helped shape the region to what it is today.
Hockaday Museum of Art
The Hockaday Museum of Art is located in the iconic 100-year-old Carnegie Library Building. The museum hosts a permanent collection of art depicting Glacier National Park (including photographs, paintings and collectibles) – all of which have been created by Montana artists.
Pro Tip: Travelers who are not interested in visiting a museum may still want to seek out these buildings – as they are all beautiful, historical structures.
#4 Go to a Kalispell Park
It’s a well-known fact that the region surrounding Kalispell, Montana boasts incredible nature. However, visitors don’t need to go far to find beautiful green spaces. There are several parks where guests can get a full dose of nature – which just happens to be one of the best things to do in Kalispell!
Just a few blocks from Main Street, Woodland Park is a fantastic city park – and visiting is one of the fun things for families to do in Kalispell. In addition to the playground and skate park, the park features a duck pond, walking and biking trails and picnic areas. The adjacent Woodland Water Park is a top summertime attraction in Kalispell, too.
Lone Pine State Park
Want to go hiking in Kalispell, MT? Check out the nearby Lone Pine State Park, which is just a short drive from downtown Kalispell. The park is known for fun and relatively easy hiking trails that lead to fantastic viewpoints.
Trails for hikers of every level, Herron Park is a favorite local spot. In addition to the family fun hiking trails, visitors can go mountain biking, skiing, sledding and horseback riding.
Flathead National Forest
The nearby 2.4-million-acre Flathead National Forest is a perfect place to escape into nature and one of the top things to do in the Flathead Valley. Featuring incredible vistas, beautiful lakes and miles of trails, it is one of the best parks in the region.
Pro Tip: If you are visiting Montana to go to Glacier National Park, use our GNP Itinerary to help plan your trip!
#5 Sip Craft Beers at the Breweries in Kalispell, MT
If you follow our blog (and we hope that you do!) you know that we are big fans of craft beer…and it just so happens that tasting locally produced brew is one of the fun things to do in Kalispell, MT! There are three Kalispell breweries located within the downtown historic district (and just beyond). Bar hopping from brewery to brewery is one of the fun things to do in Kalispell at night.
Kalispell Brewing Company
Established in 2014, Kalispell Brewing was the first craft brewer on the scene in downtown Kalispell and is one of the popular craft breweries in Montana. The taproom is staffed by friendly bartenders – and the open-air rooftop offers a birds’ eye view of the surrounding area.
SunRift Beer Company
SunRift is a fun spot to have a pint in the heart of downtown Kalispell. Their line up of beers is inspired by the surrounding nature. On-site food is provided by food trucks – and they have a stellar happy hour!
Featuring an experimental range of beers, Bias Brewing is a fun place to check out to see what they have brewing! Located one block from Main Street on 1st Avenue, Bias is open daily from noon until 8pm.
Sacred Waters Brewing Company
Sacred Waters Brewing Company is one of the Kalispell, MT breweries located outside the historic center along Highway 2 – but is well worth a visit, in our opinion.
The Sacred Waters Brewery (MAP) was built with the great Montana outdoors in mind – both in their beers and the taproom space. The inside is as cozy as a family room and the outdoor lawn space is as comfortable as a friend’s backyard. Oh, and the beer is delicious!
The Best Places To Eat in Kalispell, MT
When it comes to eating, there is no shortage of restaurants in Kalispell, Montana! Whether looking for breakfast, lunch or dinner, many of the best restaurants in Kalispell, MT are located along Main Street.
Kalispell Restaurants for Breakfast
For the first meal of the day, Ceres Bakery is considered one of the best bakeries in Kalispell, MT. For something a little more filling than pastries, try Sykes Diner, The Knead Café or Montana Coffee Traders.
Lunch and Dinner Restaurants Kalispell, Montana
For lunch and dinner in the city, Norm’s Soda Fountain, Hop’s Downtown Grill and Moose’s Saloon are top picks!
The Best Ice Cream in the City of Kalispell, MT
If you are looking for a sweet treat, get an ice cream cone from Sweet Peaks, which is also on Main Street.
All of our top tips for Kalispell things to do are marked on the map. Use this link to Google Maps for our Kalispell, Montana Map online.
Things To Do in Kalispell, MT on a Rainy Day
We were lucky with the weather on our trip to Kalispell – it was sunny and bright! However, if you are wondering what to do in Kalispell, MT when it is cold and wet outside, we have a few tips.
Movies in Kalispell, MT
Movies are always a good idea when the weather outside is unpleasant – and it’s one of the top indoor things to do in Kalispell, too. There are a few movie theaters in Kalispell that show current flicks. The most popular place to see a movie in Kalispell is at Signature Stadium 14, which is located north of the historic center along Highway 93 in Hutton Ranch Plaza.
Malls in Kalispell
The Kalispell Center Mall is another good place to escape foul weather – and it is right in the center of the city off Main Street. Although rather small, visitors can go shopping in Kalispell Center Mall at a nice selection of chain stores. In addition to Kalispell shopping, the Magic Diamond Casino is located at the mall.
Pro Tip: Several big box stores and chain restaurants are located in Hutton Ranch Plaza and the surrounding area – including Cabela’s, Ross, Ulta Beauty, Target and Walmart. Additionally, Snappy’s, located on Highway 2, is an excellent sporting goods and outdoors store.
Things To Do Near Kalispell, MT
Above, we feature what to do in Kalispell, but there are many more things to do around Kalispell, MT, too. The cute town of Whitefish is to the north, amazing hikes in Glacier National Park is to the east and Flathead Lake is just a short drive to the south!
Visit Whitefish Mountain Resort
A popular ski area and summer mountain retreat, visiting Whitefish Mountain Resort is highly rated as one of the Top Thigs To Do Kalispell, MT.
Deciding between Whitefish or Kalispell? The distance from Whitefish, Montana to Kalispell is only 15 miles – so seeing both places is quite easy! Read our blog post, Things To Do in Whitefish for tips on what to see and do in the town!
Go to Glacier NP
To get from Kalispell to Glacier National Park takes about 45 minutes, and it is well worth the trip! In fact, visiting GNP is one of the best things to do in Montana. We feature top tips on hiking in the park in our article, Hike Glacier National Park!
Check out Flathead Lake
Ranking as the largest freshwater lake in the western United States, Flathead Lake is a must-see when visiting the region! The lake shoreline is dotted with six state parks, which together are known as the Flathead Lake State Parks.
Many visitors opt to simply drive around the lake, but we recommend making stops in Bigfork, Bear Dance and Polson – and even on Wild Horse Island! Find more details in our guide to the Best Montana Road Trip.
Spend an Afternoon in Columbia Falls
The third largest city in Flathead County (after Kalispell and Whitefish), Columbia Falls offers heaps of family fun activities and culinary experiences.
Home to attractions – like the Big Sky Waterpark, Glacier Ziplines and the Montana Vortex and House of Mystery – Columbia Falls is a fun destination…and it’s just 20 miles from Kalispell. Other top reasons to make a trip to Columbia Falls from Kalispell are sampling beers at Backslope Brewing, feasting on a Mudman burger and dining at one of the local establishments on Nucleus Avenue.
Go Horseback Riding at Artemis Acres Paint Horse Ranch
Artemis Acres is a guest ranch in Kalispell, just south of Old Town, that offers guided horseback riding adventures. Visitors can ride horseback to beautiful vistas – and then stay for a fireside BBQ cookout.
Guests looking for romantic things to do in Kalispell can make a weekend of it and stay at the on-site Bed and Breakfast.
Learn about the Blackfeet Nation
The Blackfeet Indian Reservation sits on the east side of Glacier National Park and is about a 2 hour drive from Kalispell. Visitors to the Native American tribal lands can learn about the history of the Blackfeet Nation Tribe at the Museum of the Plains Indian or join one of the guided tours.
Kalispell, MT FAQs
Now that you know what to do in Kalispell, we want to cover a few of the most frequently asked questions about the city.
What is Kalispell Known For?
Kalispell is best known for its central location amidst some of the most beautiful wildness in the United States. Additionally, outdoor adventures – like downhill skiing, boating, fishing, hiking – abound in the area.
Where is Kalispell, Montana?
Kalispell, MT is located in western Montana – about 75 miles south of the Canada border and 120 miles east of Idaho.
What Does Kalispell Mean?
The word Kalispell comes from the Salish Native American Tribe. It means Flat Land above the Lake.
What is the Kalispell, Montana Weather?
Kalispell weather varies by the season. Summers are warm with average high temperatures in the low 80s. Winter in Kalispell is cold – high temperatures generally max out in the mid-30s. It is usually quite snowy in the wintertime, too. Spring and autumn in Kalispell are fairly nice, but the weather in Montana is often be unpredictable!
Is Kalispell, MT a Good Base for Montana Adventures?
The region’s biggest commercial airport is located in Kalispell, so many people who arrive by plane contemplate making Kalispell the base for their entire trip.
Kalispell, Montana sits at the crossroads of US Route 2 and US Route 93 – making it a great base for Montana adventures. Use our guide to the Ultimate Montana Road Trip – and decide if Kalispell will be a good base for your trip.
That said, if the main purpose of your trip is solely to visit Glacier National Park, we would recommend staying closer to the park. Find tips in our complete Glacier National Park Itinerary.
Are There Free Things To Do in Kalispell, MT?
Yes! There are several things to do in Kalispell for free. Exploring the town on foot and visiting the nearby parks are completely free of charge. While the city’s museums do charge admission, most museums in Kalispell only charge a nominal fee.
Is Kalispell Worth Visiting?
Yes! We certainly think it is worth visiting Kalispell, Montana – even if only for a day!
Tips for Visiting Kalispell, Montana
We have covered the top things to do in Kalispell, MT – but we have a few more Kalispell travel tips to help you plan your trip!
Airports in Kalispell, MT
The main Kalispell, Montana airport is Glacier Park International Airport (FCA); it is where commercial flights to Kalispell land.
Note that there are other Kalispell airports, including Kalispell City Airport, that are general aviation airports – which are not serviced by commercial airlines.
We arrived by flight to Kalispell from Portland, OR – but Kalispell can also be reached by non-stop flights from Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Denver, Phoenix and Chicago (among others!).
The Missoula Airport also has several direct, year-round flights – and Missoula is definitely worth visiting as well!
To find the airlines that fly to Kalispell – and the best fares on flights into Kalispell – start your search on Skyscanner!
Renting a Car for Your Trip
We highlighted the best things to do in Kalispell, Montana – many of which you can reach on foot once you are in the city. However, to get around the region and into nature, you will need a car.
It is easy to rent a vehicle at the airport – and we do recommend upgrading to an SUV for a more comfortable ride on Montana roads.
Use our top tips for getting the best price on your rental – and start your search for rental cars here.
Where To Stay in Kalispell
On our month-long trip to Montana, we were exploring several attractions. Although we considered staying in Kalispell, we opted to base ourselves in a small town that was more centrally located to the sights we wanted to see in the region. That said, there are several options for accommodations in – and around Kalispell – and the city makes a great base! Read our tips for booking the best accommodations.
Hotels in Kalispell, MT
Visitors who want to stay in the Kalispell historic district should check availability at the Kalispell Grand Hotel. The iconic hotel opened in 1912, serving elite guests and featuring amenities such as running water and door locks. The hotel retains a rich history, modern rooms and an on-site spa.
Check rates and availability for Grand Hotel and other Kalispell hotels on Booking.com!
Airbnb is our go-to resource for accommodations when traveling – as we find the spaces are usually bigger than hotel rooms and we like having a kitchen and other home comforts.
There are several Airbnb rentals in Kalispell to fit a range of budgets and styles – many of which are within walking distance to our recommended Kalispell Things To Do.
Read our Tips for Airbnb Guests that will help you find the perfect place to stay!
What To Pack for your Kalispell Trip
Now that you know what to do in Kalispell, Montana, how to get there and where to stay, we have some find packing hacks for your trip!
Spending time outdoors is one of the top Kalispell, Montana things to do – so you will want to pack appropriate footwear. Use our tips on the best travel shoes.
On our autumn trip, I packed a pair of New Balance sneakers that worked great for city exploration and nature trails. Kris brought his Merrell trail shoes – and could wear them everywhere!
Kalispell, MT attractions – from the main thoroughfare to the incredible landscapes – are stunningly beautiful! You will want to capture the beauty of the city with a real travel camera. Be sure to read our tips for the best budget travel cameras as well.
In our travels, we use a Canon Rebel with an everyday 18-135mm lens – although a longer 55-200mm lens would have been better for wildlife photography.
There are so many things to do around Kalispell, Montana – and you will need a map to find your way to them! Make sure you buy a map before your trip!
Pro Tip: Get (and stay) organized for your vacation to Montana by utilizing our Trip Planning Printables!
Start planning your trip to Montana! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing! Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!
We Want To Know: What are your favorite things to do in Kalispell, MT? Is there anything you would add to our list? Tell us in the comments below!
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