The holiday season in Glacier Country is pure magic. Our charming small towns are chock-full of all things merry and bright and our snow-covered landscape makes for a peaceful escape. Make the most of the season and bring your family to Western Montana to have fun in our winter wonderland and enjoy some festive holiday frolic. We’ve rounded up our top 7 things to do with family while you’re here.
1. DOWNHILL SKI
Head to the hills and enjoy one of our seven downhill ski areas, from local favorites to large resorts. Lift tickets are affordable, lift lines are a rarity, and 300+ inches of yearly snowfall make for a great ski day. First-time skiers or traveling with young kids? Bunny hills and ski lessons are offered at most resorts, and learning to ski is a spectacular experience to gift this season. End the day fireside in a ski lodge sipping hot cocoa and reminiscing. Most ski hills are open every day around the holidays, and some are even open Christmas Day. BONUS: Whitefish Mountain Resort holds a fiery Torchlight Parade down the slopes on Christmas Eve with Santa leading the way before he makes his trip around the world.
2. SHOP LOCAL
‘Tis the season, and our downtowns are downright delightful. Stroll our main streets and shop local for last-minute gifts. Our eclectic shops, bookstores, art galleries and local boutiques are well-stocked with Montana made items, gourmet kitchen supplies, funky stocking stuffers, upscale clothing and hidden gems. Find the old-fashioned candy store for a sweet treat or stop by one of our decadent bakeries. The best part about shopping is the holiday decorations adorning each store, and, who knows, you may even see Santa. For a guaranteed Santa sighting, head to Southgate Mall in Missoula, where you can also vote on your favorite gingerbread house. BONUS: On December 20 visit Santa and his reindeer in Bigfork.
3. ATTEND A SHOW
Celebrate the sights and sounds of the holiday season at the theater. From community plays to Broadway-caliber theater to live concerts, Western Montana boasts a critically acclaimed performing arts scene. Check out the Roxy, a historic theater playing popular holiday movies, or take the family to see a classic tale come to life at the theater.
+ Yuletide Affair, Whitefish, December 19, 20
+ A Christmas Story, The Musical, Bigfork, December 20, 21
+ A Christmas Carol, Hamilton, December 21
+ Glacier Symphony’s Christmas Holiday Pops, Kalispell, December 21, 22
+ A Charlie Brown Christmas, Missoula, December 23
+ The Muppet Christmas Carol + It’s a Wonderful Life at the Roxy, Missoula, December 21, 23, 25
+ View more events here
4. DALY MANSION CHRISTMAS TOUR
Take a step back in time and discover a vintage Christmas at the Daly Mansion. The home of copper baron Marcus Daly is transformed every December. Bows and bells, ribbons and a breathtaking Christmas tree adorn the 24,000- square-foot historic home. Schedule a guided tour to learn about the rich history of the home and its inhabitants. BONUS: The Conrad Mansion, in Kalispell, hosts the Valley Voices Community Choir Christmas Concert on December 19, where guests get cozy in the Great Hall while enjoying Christmas carols.
5. VIEW CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Driving to look at Christmas lights is a timeless holiday tradition, and Western Montana boasts some vibrant displays. Stay cozy when you hop aboard the Montana Trolley in Kalispell for a Christmas Light Tour. When in Missoula, visit “Grinch Island.” This family home has been featured on Entertainment Tonight, and invites you to stop by for family photos, treats and hot chocolate. Lights are on from 6 – 8 p.m. December 20, 21 and 24.
6. SKIJORING AT REBECCA FARM
Watch the skijoring competition at Rebecca Farm. This outrageously entertaining winter activity involves a skier being pulled by a horse and rider through the snow. Eighty teams and thousands of spectators come to watch this major skijoring event near Kalispell, so bundle up, bring the hot cocoa and come enjoy this unique winter pastime December 28 and 29.
7. NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATIONS
Close out the decade at one of our most-anticipated events. First Night Missoula, a community wide music and art festival, takes place from noon to midnight on December 31. This year marks the 26th anniversary of this much-anticipated event, which has more than 80 performances and activities like ice sculpting exhibits and an American-Idol-esque competition. Or watch the skier/snowboarder competition at Whitefish Mountain Resort’s New Year’s Eve Rail Jam. Both events will leave a memorable impression of 2019.
December 16, 2019
Related: Arts and Culture, Bigfork, Bitterroot Valley, Downhill Skiing, Family Fun, Guided Tours, Hamilton, Holidays, Kalispell, Missoula, Montana, Performing Arts, Shopping, Skijoring, Vacation, Whitefish, Winter Fun