Charlie Russell slept here. The beautifully restored Kalispell Grand Hotel celebrated its 100th birthday in 2012. In its early years, the hotel was the choice of celebrated visitors of the day, among them Charles M. Russell, Montana’s renowned and beloved cowboy artist. Booking a room at the Grand will plant you right in the middle of Kalispell’s quaint historical downtown.
Then head for the Visitor Center in the old train station in Depot Park to pick up your historic walking tour brochure, a chronicle of Kalispell’s birth in the cradle of the old west. Make sure to ask for a wooden coin, good for $5 toward a purchase of $25 or more from one of the many local businesses you’ll find as you follow your itinerary.
As you’re following the historic walking tour down Main Street be sure to stop in and visit the unique local shops such as Camas Creek Yarn, Imagination Station, The Toggery, Beckman’s Furniture & Gifts, Noice Gallery and the artist’s co-op Sassafras.
Western Outdoor — Just look for the life-sized horse and wagon on the awning. Inside you’ll find a breath-taking array of western gear with any inventory of more than 1,500 hats, 2,500 pairs of boots, clothing for all sizes, jewelry and accessories.
Kalispell Antiques Market — Walk downstairs into old Kalispell where more than 30 antique vendors feature first-edition books, antiques, toys, jewelry, furniture, posters and memorabilia.
Norms News — The historic McIntosh Opera House is home to this local favorite. The menu features hamburgers made from local beef. Try a huckleberry milkshake or old-fashioned phosphate. Pick up your favorite magazine or newspaper and choose from more than 500 varieties of candy.
Central School Museum – Kalispell’s first school now tells the story of Kalispell and the surrounding area. Permanent exhibits include the Linderman Collection; a collection of Western Indian Culture and “Sand Monkeys, Tie Hacks & River Pigs” covering the history of the logging industry. Admission charge.
Hockaday Museum of Art – Located in the historic Carnegie Library, Hockaday’s exhibits represent both Montana’s artistic legacy and its vibrant future. Crown of the Continent: Glacier National Park Exhibition includes paintings by artists such as Russell, Winold Reiss and John Fery, whose works were used by the Great Northern Railroad to convince wealthy easterners to “See America First.” Admission charge.
Conrad Mansion – Built by Kalispell founders Charles and Alicia Conrad in 1895, this 13,000 square foot, Norman-style mansion is perhaps the most authentic example of luxurious railroad boom-town architecture and life style in the Pacific Northwest. The mansion is a short walk from Downtown Kalispell, through a neighborhood of huge shade trees and beautifully-restored early 1900s homes. Admission charge.
Round out the day with a hand-crafted lager or ale at the Kalispell Brewing Company and dinner at one of these favorite downtown restaurants: Scottibelli’s Ristorante Italiano, Moose’s Saloon, Hop’s Downtown Grill or the 406 Grill.