Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Kalispell, MT

  • Published 2022/12/20

Are you going to Kalispell anytime soon?

This 23,000-person community is roughly a 40-minute trip from West Glacier.

Kalispell, Montana, may appear to be little more than a pit stop on the route to Glacier National Park, but it offers quite a bit to visitors.

In 1892, the town of Kalispell officially became a city.

Since then, Kalispell’s population has risen steadily, reaching 19,927 people in 2010.

Kalispell, the state’s second-largest city, is the seat and business district of Flathead County.

Its name means ‘flat land above the lake’ in Salish.

Kalispell, Montana, is teeming with many lakes, mountains, rivers, lakes, national forests, and national parks.

It’s an excellent place for anyone who wants to get out of the city.

It offers a wide range of lodging, dining, and entertainment options for those traveling to the Glacier National Park without camping gear.

There are plenty of things to do for couples, families, or friends, as it is an excellent place for hiking, fishing, mountain biking, golfing, boating, and many other activities.

Now let’s look at the 25 best things to do in Kalispell, MT.

Have a Picnic at Lone Pine State Park

View of Lone Pine State Park

Urban Images /

If you visit Lone Pine State Park, bring a picnic and allow yourself plenty of time to take it all in.

There are horseback riding, hiking, biking, and snowshoeing paths here all year round.

The Lone Pine is another exciting theme park with a lot of outdoor activities!

A Daughter and a Father in Snow at Lone Pine State Park

Karin Hildebrand Lau /

There’s also a gift shop to pick up some cool Montana-themed souvenirs and an archery range.

The park also offers guided hikes, workshops, family activities, and more, so have a look at the schedule on the website before visiting.

Scenic views from Lone Pine State Park's viewpoint

Urban Images /

Admire the Exhibits at Hockaday Museum of Art

Spend some time at the Hockaday Museum of Art while in Kalispell.

In addition to enriching the local culture, the museum strives to protect and preserve the artistic history of Montana-based artists and artists from across the world who draw inspiration from Montana.

As a bonus, there’s a gallery in the museum full of hands-on learning opportunities and games for children that often rotates so they’ll never grow bored.

Cool Off at Woodland Water Park

The Woodland Water Park is Kalispell’s only outdoor waterpark.

It is open from May to September. The Activity Pool includes a zero-depth entry and water elements, making it an excellent choice for families with small children.

There are also two 3-story waterslides, an enormous lazy river with water features, and a six-lane lap pool with planned times for fitness swimming, among other attractions.

Swimming lessons for children are also available at the water park, both in a group setting and individually.

It also caters to birthdays and private parties.

Stroll Around Downtown Kalispell

Shops in Downtown Kalispell

Juliana de O Lima /

If you’ve never been to Kalispell before, you may not know that it is a beautiful little city in the beautiful Flathead Valley.

It has a quaint downtown area full of shops, restaurants, and many more.

If you’ve never been to Kalispell before, you may not know that it is a beautiful little city in the beautiful Flathead Valley.

Take a stroll down the town’s historic main street to immerse yourself in its splendor.

A gallery at Downtown Kalispell

Publichall, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It has a quaint downtown area full of restaurants, pubs, breweries, boutiques, coffee shops, and many more.

If you’re in the mood for ice cream, we’ve got you covered.

Main Street has several of these stores and broad walkways, making it simple to wander around and see what each one has to offer.

You may also spot the historic structure that houses the Flathead County Clerk and Recorder offices as you travel along Main Street.

Buildings along Downtown Kalispell

Jeff the quiet, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Buy Fresh Produce From the Kalispell Farmers Market

One of the advantages of traveling to a place where there are more family-owned farms than people and more cows than humans is the opportunity to sample fresh food and locally produced meat.

The Kalispell Farmers Market welcomes shoppers on Saturday mornings from May through October in the south parking lot of Flathead Valley Community College.

Make a pit stop for farm-to-table items for a picnic or one of the many unique Big Sky Country keepsakes.

Check Out the Apple Barrel Country Market

If Kalispell’s Saturday-morning Farmers Market doesn’t work into your schedule, you may get locally produced fresh foods at the Apple Barrel Country Market, located on Highway 2.

Here, you may find huckleberry-flavored snacks, including ready-to-eat huckleberry popcorn and huckleberry barbecue sauce.

The Flathead Lake Gourmet Soda is a family favorite here.

Make sure to get your fix with black raspberry, sour cherry, strawberry orange, or Granny apple flavors of this locally manufactured fizzy drink!

Admire the Different Plants at Gatiss Gardens

Gatiss Gardens is a private garden with a flowing creek and several plants available to the public.

On the 5-acre property, you’ll find hardy plants from the family homestead in England, established in 1898, together with American heritage garden species collected throughout the years.

Memorial Day to Labor Day, it’s open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

While there is no charge to visit the Gardens, its owners greatly appreciate any donations.

Get to Know the City’s Founder at Conrad Mansion Museum

Outside View of Conrad Mansion Museum

Royalbroil, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1868, Charles Conrad, at 18, emigrated to the Montana Territory.

Here he established trade and freighting empire, which he used to form the city in 1891, which had a lasting impression on Montana.

He began construction on the Norman-style mansion, which would become the Conrad Mansion Museum, in 1895.

The house is stunning, abundant, and historically significant in and of itself.

On three acres, the palace has 13,000 square feet of living space.

Drystone fences and other original elements like these have remained on the property.

Its one-hour tour is definitely worth the price of admission on its terms.

Travel Back in Time at Northwest Montana History Museum

The Northwest Montana History Museum is the largest and most comprehensive local history museum in the Northwest Montana region.

A solid brick and stone tower, one of the few remaining specimens of classic Richardsonian Romanesque architecture, houses the museum.

The building’s wainscoting, tin-plate ceilings, and hardwood floors are original, as most of its original hardwood flooring and wainscoting.

The City of Kalispell refurbished the structure and has leased it to the Northwest Montana Historical Society since late 1999, which uses it for exhibitions, concerts, and community gatherings.

The Northwest Montana Historical Society, a non-profit organization, is responsible for the operation of the Northwest Montana History Museum, which serves the Flathead Valley and surrounding areas.

To ensure that the museum runs efficiently, over 60 volunteers, including its diverse and capable board of directors, work with one full-time and five part-time employees to accomplish this.

Go Horseback Riding in Montana Horse Works

If you’re looking for a place to explore Montana, there’s nothing like Kalispell.

The scenery is impressive, the climate is excellent, but what makes it even better is the people here.

The number one thing to do in the city is horseback riding, and you’ll find some of the best horse riding in the country at places like Montana Horse Works.

Take a lesson and spend a day on a trail ride learning about Montana and its history.

Dine at Sykes Diner

Sykes Diner is a local diner with a unique menu of American classics.

It offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a few different options for each meal.

The restaurant makes most of its menu from scratch, including their signature homemade gravy and biscuits.

Its breakfast menu is a treasure trove of comfort food, from pancakes and French toast to ham and egg sandwiches.

Go Hiking at the Flathead National Forest

River in Flathead National Forest

Jason Patrick Ross /

The Flathead National Forest is considered one of the most beautiful places in Montana, filled with waterfalls, mountains, and beautiful forests.

If you are looking for a great place to enjoy the outdoors, the Flathead National Forest should be at the top of your list.

Landscape of Flathead National Forest

Zoe Rae /

The Flathead National Forest is one of the largest National Forests in the lower 48 states.

If you are out there looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure, you can always go hiking in the Flathead National Forest.

Try Sweet Peaks’ Ice Cream Creations

After a day of seeing Kalispell and the surrounding area, reward yourself with some delectable ice cream from Sweet Peaks Ice Cream.

This homegrown business specializes in flavors inspired by Montana.

Try its huckleberry flavor, made with real huckleberries obtained right from Libby, Montana.

Experience the Wild West at Moose’s Saloon

A vintage saloon is a Western town’s trademark.

Include Moose’s Saloon, a must-stop on every vacation to Kalispell, in your itinerary.

Moose’s has been a historic stop in Northwestern Montana for 60 years, attracting everyone from workers and politicians to artisans and business tycoons.

With its sawdust flooring and swinging wooden doors, Moose’s has been a renowned destination in Northwestern Montana for 60 years.

Get your hands on some pizza, drink some beer, carve your name into some wood, and take in the atmosphere of the Wild West!

Discover What the Guest Ranch in Artemis Acres Paint Horse Ranch has to Offer

Artemis Acres Guest Ranch is a Western hotel, and horseback riding establishment tucked away in the Salish Mountain Range’s lowlands, a section of the Mountain Range in Northwest Montana.

They offer a guest ranch vibe in a more private environment.

Western-style meals are prepared, including filling breakfasts and flavorful entrees with all the fixings for dinner.

They emphasize high-quality products served simply with plenty of vegetables and tropical fruits to appeal to everyone’s palate.

Acres Acres Paint Horse Ranch boasts eighty deeded acres.

They lease hundreds of acres next to the ranch from a private forestry business, giving miles of hiking and horseback riding opportunities.

Trails also link to huge tracts of Forest Service property available for your use.

Practice Your Swing at Buffalo Hill Golf Club

Buffalo Hill Golf Club, a notable public golf course in Kalispell, Montana, was established in 1918.

The club has two golf courses—the Cameron 9 and the Championship 18—and a comprehensive bar and restaurant.

The Championship 18 offers the dedicated golfer plenty of challenges along with beautiful vistas of the Flathead Valley.

Throughout the year, breakfast and lunch are served at Buffalo Hill’s comprehensive-service restaurant and bar.

Grab a seat at the lovely patio featuring an outlook of the putting greens throughout the summer, and then place an order from the fully equipped tiki bar and outdoor food service.

Embark in a New Adventure with Glacier Aviation Services

Glacier Aviation Services is undoubtedly an expert in crafting thrilling aerial tours.

As professionals in aerial film, they are familiar with the locations, times, and distinctive lighting that go into producing those breathtaking aerial shots on TV.

They mostly use the MD 520N, one of the most technologically modern helicopters being produced right now, and the tried-and-true Cessna 207.

Their single-engine helicopter is the latest one currently providing private flying and air tour services in the area.

Book from one of the numerous services provided, from exclusive customized helicopter and aircraft trips, one-hour helicopter trips, airplane photo flights, and more.

Attend an Event Held at Majestic Valley Arena

Majestic Valley Arena, a multi-event venue, is the hub of the valley’s activities.

The arena can be divided to accommodate various events both inside the buildings and from outside.

It provides exciting family entertainment for everybody, no matter the sort or size of the event.

Across the year, Majestic Valley Arena is the site of local, regional, and national contests.

The arena frequently hosts rodeos, bull riding contests, team roping competitions, barrel races, and English equestrian competitions.

A comprehensive concession stand and an outside pavilion for traditional Montano barbecues are available as additional features.

Book an Appointment at Mirabelle Salon & Spa

The concept behind Mirabelle was to combine traditional charm and elegance with the most up-to-date hair and spa treatments, methods, and products.

The deliberately chosen staff takes pleasure in keeping up with the most recent beauty treatments and products that can help your skin regain its unique features.

Pamper yourself and make an appointment for one of their hand treatments, manicures, or gel nails.

Their pedicure services are created to accommodate individuals constantly on the go.

Come by Mirabelle Salon & Spa, offering a soothing experience catered to your wants and needs.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit Glacier National Park

Scenic view of Glacier National Park

kan_khampanya /

Glacier National Park in Montana is just 42 minutes’ drive away from Kalispell.

It is one of the most beautiful places globally, with mountains covered in snow year-round.

Hiking at Glacier National Park

Galyna Andrushko /

The park is home to dozens of rivers, streams, lakes, peaks, and waterfalls.

If you’re an avid fan of nature or traveling in general, you will certainly love this place.

Kayaking at Glacier National Park

EB Adventure Photography /

Have Fun in Whitefish Mountain Resort

Aerial view of Whitefish Mountain Resort

Alexander Oganezov /

Whitefish Mountain Resort is located in Whitefish, Montana, which is 35 minutes’ drive away from Kalispell.

This place is known for its proximity to Glacier National Park, which attracts close to a million visitors a year, and is a popular ski resort.

Skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort

Ronnie Chua /

The scenery of Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana is stunning, and that’s before you’ve even stepped foot in the resort.

Located in Montana, the resort offers skiing and snowboarding in the winter and hiking, biking, and fishing in the summer.

Ski-lift chairs at Whitefish Mountain Resort

davidmarxphoto /

Visit Flathead Lake Park

Scenic view of Flathead Lake

James R Poston /

Flathead Lake, which is about 25 minutes’ away from Kalispell, is one of the many beautiful lakes in Montana.

Mountains surround this place, so it has a tinge of wilderness in it.

The lake’s natural beauty is perfect for visitors to enjoy, and a popular spot for boating, swimming, camping, and fishing.

If you are looking for a unique getaway spot, a trip to Flathead Lake Park is a must.

The waters of Flathead Lake

Urban Images /

Driving Around Swan Lake

The waters of Swan Lake

Lambert Heenan /

There are endless activities to do in Kalispell, MT, if you plan a trip to this beautiful part of the world.

If you want to do swimming, you can visit Swan Lake, which is 40 minutes’ drive away from Kalispell.

With thousands of visitors, this beautiful lake is everyone’s favorite place to visit.

Swan Lake is a great place to spend time with friends and family.

It is also a great place to bring your children for fun activities.

Be Adventurous in Jewel Basin

Mountain goat in Jewel Basin

Mark Peugh /

Kalispell, Montana, is one of the most affordable and accessible mountain towns in the U.S.

When you’re here, there’s always something to do, and the best part is you can do it all year round.

At Jewel Basin, an hour’s drive away from Kalispell, you can hike and explore the surrounding mountains and lakes and go canoeing, kayaking, skiing, and snowboarding.

Should you visit this place alone or with your family and friends, you will undoubtedly love it, for there are numerous activities you can do.

Lush greenery at Jewel Basin

Danita Delimont /

Final Thoughts

Kalispell, Montana, is a great place to visit for those who like the outdoors, and you can explore a lot of scenic spots when you are here.

The views of the mountains and the lakes are excellent, and it is a great place to go and get away from the daily stress and strain of the day-to-day world.

Perhaps it’s about time to plan ahead of time and visit this place pretty soon.

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