If you’re wondering just how few people live in Montana, consider this. Kalispell is the state’s 7th largest city, yet the population stands at only 14,223 (as of the 2000 census). So it really came as no surprise that I was all alone, as I explored the streets after dark. Kalispell feels a bit larger than it actually is, thanks to its location outside Glacier National Park. I had hoped that being a tourist town, perhaps a few stores would be open. They were not.
Kalispell has a nice enough downtown. Several blocks of storefronts line up along US Hwy. 93, which travels right through the middle of things. It seems the stoplights are timed so that every visitor can appreciate a few extra, unscheduled minutes in downtown.
The only thing that looked interesting after dark was the Kalispell Grand Hotel, a nice old structure in the middle of downtown. It receives rave reviews from most visitors, although it’s a bit expensive. Then again, any place to stay will be a bit expensive here, since your choices are limited (about the only other town with a few hotels is Whitefish, 15 miles to the north, beyond that, there’s very little for at least an hour’s drive in any direction).
Note: This trip was first published in 2006. Much of the same area was covered in the Big Sky trip in 2014.