In Glacier Country, small-town America thrives. Our vibrant communities are chock-full of local boutiques, eclectic shops, restaurants and coffee shops dishing up Western Montana flavor, and our locally owned accommodations are always ready with warm western welcomes. Western Montana’s communities love supporting mom-and-pop businesses, and we’re continually expanding our offerings. Here’s what’s new in our neck of the woods.
MISSOULA + SURROUNDING AREA
Missoula continues to be the arts and culture hub of Glacier Country, now with more spots to create and view art. Radius Gallery has moved into the heart of downtown. The new gallery nearly doubles its contemporary art exhibit space and includes a second-floor gallery dedicated to ceramics and the central role Montana has played in this red-hot art form. Another remarkable feature, the brick alleyway offers infrastructure for more than 30 feet of rotating murals, imbuing this downtown corridor with artistic verve. Next door is Missoula’s newest hotel, the Residence Inn by Marriott, nicknamed The Mercantile. Inside the hotel is an interior design that reflects the history of the original Missoula Mercantile—a supply store built in 1885—mixed with contemporary art curated by Radius Gallery. Located on the first floor of the hotel are four new restaurants: 1889, an upscale steakhouse; Zoo Thai, dishing up authentic Thai food; The Camino taco and tequila bar; and Basal, serving fast, fresh and fabulous smoothies and salads. That’s not all—you’ll also find a DIY art studio and bar named CREATE Art Bar, and a beat-based spin studio, SOBBA CYCLE.
Rounding out Missoula’s newest dining options is Second Set Bistro, offering an innovative dining experience; a new hip burger joint, Wally & Buck; and Roosterloo, a farm-to-table eatery, market and farm. Montana Snowbowl, just 15 minutes north of downtown Missoula, has opened a new chairlift, almost doubling the size of Snowbowl with an additional 1,000 acres of skiable terrain. The Missoula surrounding area boasts two new places to wet your whistle; Backyard Tap House in Florence holds 32 craft beers on tap, along with a selection of wine and spirits plus creative and tasty “backyard” eats in an inviting atmosphere. Old Bull Brewing in Frenchtown has a rotating selection of meticulously crafted beers. Come see what’s on tap! Lastly, an hour outside of Missoula in Ovando, the Cliff Ranch is an ideal stay for large gatherings. Fill your days with fly-fishing, horseback riding and mountain biking, and at night rest your head in a rustic yet elegant log cabin.
WHITEFISH + KALISPELL + SURROUNDING AREA
The quintessential mountain town of Whitefish has new eateries, shops and boutiques that are not to be missed. The Farmhouse Inn & Kitchen is an elegant farmhouse bed-and-breakfast. After a good night’s sleep, wake up and walk downstairs for a farm-to-table, organic meal at the cafe. You’ll also find a bakery preparing traditional Czech pastries made from scratch, and both the cafe and bakery are open to the public for breakfast and lunch. Downtown, delight your palate at Fleur Bake Shop, where you can choose from French-style pastries, specialty cakes and breads. For an epic pour-over coffee and a killer pastry line-up, check out Folklore Coffee. Roasting beans is their passion, and now, in addition to having two of their own coffee shops (Conrad and Whitefish), they distribute beans to coffee shops all over Montana. When you’re ready to shop, walk to Le Marché by NP, a local boutique carrying both popular and indie brands of women’s and children’s clothing, as well as beauty products and gifts. If you haven’t grabbed a cup of joe yet, you’ll want to at the Boudoir Bar, located inside the shop, where you’ll find delicious espresso drinks. If you’re looking to gear up for adventure, Out West Trading Co., located a block away, will hook you up. Carrying trustworthy brands to outfit you for yearlong adventure, mixed in with gifts and boutique clothing, you’re sure to find a piece to take home or wear on your Montana adventure.
Kalispell has significantly increased its lodging properties over the past few years, and 2019 welcomed My Place Hotel, perfect for extended stays. Downtown continues to bustle, and a new store has found a home on Main Street; Honey Home & Design sells new and upcycled farmhouse chic home decor and furniture. Further south on the shores of Flathead Lake, HandMade Montana has opened a shop in Polson. Selling only made-in-Montana items from more than 65 local artists, the captivating collection will make it easy to take home a piece of Montana.
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
Adventure abounds in Glacier National Park year-round, and now you can take daylong or overnight cross-country snowshoe and ski tours with Glacier Treks. As an official park concessionaire, Glacier Treks can take you to locations closed to other guides, and you’ll get to experience the serenity and quiet winter wonderland of Glacier in an intimate way. During the warmer months, camp at the newly opened West Glacier RV Park & Cabins. Tucked behind West Glacier Village, these fully-equipped RV sites feature 50-amp power, full hookups, fire pits and green space. The cabins sleep up to four and feature a full kitchen, a private bedroom and a standard bathroom. Biking in the park also just got easier; beginning in the summer of 2020, e-bikes will be allowed in the park (and the state) everywhere traditional bikes are allowed. Be one of the first to e-bike the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road!
Traveling to Western Montana and getting to Glacier National Park are both easier than you might think, and we’re adding more options all the time. With two international airports—Missoula (MSO) and Glacier Park (FCA)—we have service from Allegiant Air, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines and United Airlines. There are plenty of routes to help provide a smooth and quick transition into vacation mode, and we have several new flights we’re excited about. New flights into Glacier Park International include American Airlines seasonal (June – September) daily nonstop flights to Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles and Chicago, and American will offer seasonal Saturday flights direct to New York City. Coming to Missoula in March 2020, Alaska Airlines will offer daily nonstop flights to LAX.
December 30, 2019