When we researched places to stay in Montana, we quickly landed on Whitefish and fell in love with the town as we researched it online. Whitefish is a town that’s made for tourists, with a charming downtown area and a ski resort on Big Mountain. It’s about forty minutes away from Glacier National Park, so close enough that you can visit the park whenever you’d like, but you can also get away from it at the end of the day. Whitefish is also a great town to walk around in. If you’re near the downtown area, everything is within walking distance and the people of Whitefish have a great respect for pedestrians. Cars stopped for us whenever we were waiting for traffic to pass when crossing a street. It caught us off guard every time! But what really captured my heart is how dog-friendly Whitefish is. There were so many dogs out with their owners; it was so sweet to see and made me miss Little One even more each time I saw another dog. It would have been so much fun to have her there, although she would have been a little out of place as all of the dogs that we saw were bigger.
After a week of walking through Whitefish, here are the activities and restaurants that stick out in my mind.
WHAT TO DO
>> Walk around the downtown area. We spent a day exploring downtown Whitefish and we returned every day throughout the week. There are a lot of shops filled with huckleberry products, t-shirts and other souvenirs. You’ll also find a rock shop, a chocolate shop and a couple of bookstores.
>> Visit the Bonsai Brewing Project. We went to Bonsai on our last day and wished we had gone earlier. We probably would have made multiple trips if we had! We greatly enjoyed the beer and the atmosphere. My fave was the Unkindness Stout. And a huge plus, Bonsai welcomes well-behaved dogs!
>> Go to the ISO Float Center. This is a nice oasis to go to for some time to relax. At the float center, you float in a pod of highly-concentrated salt water to relax, relieve muscle aches and tension and help with insomnia. I have a post all about the ISO Float Center coming soon.
>> Visit the Great Northern Brewery. Even if you’re there when you can’t tour the brewery (like us, much to my friend’s chagrin), go to the second floor to grab a beer and enjoy the beautiful view of Big Mountain! My fave was the Good Medicine Red Ale.
>> Go up to Big Mountain. It was so much fun to walk around Whitefish each day and see the beautiful mountain, so of course, we wanted to go into the mountain. We went to the ski village, which was so beautiful! We only spent an hour there, but we loved having the chance to spend some time on the mountain that we looked at every day. (Quick tip: if you’re there during winter, take advantage of the SNOW bus. It’s a great way to get up to to the ski village and around the rest of Whitefish.)
WHERE TO EAT
>> Mackenzie River Pizza Co. This is where we ate on our first and last day in Whitefish and it’s the only place that we went to twice. I’m a bit picky when it comes to pizza as my dad makes fantastic pizza so I often don’t think it’s worth it to order out, but this was fantastic! I’d even go if they had locations in Minneapolis. The Mackenzie River Pizza Co. has a variety of pizzas that you can choose from and the crust is delicious.
>> Tupelo Grille. We decided to treat ourselves to one pricier meal while on vacation, so we went to Tupelo. The food all had a southern flair to it and the cajun chicken pasta that I ordered was so good! It was so hard to choose one dish, with a variety of delicious-sounding options like chicken and dumpings and chicken marsala with butternut squash ravioli. Our waitress was originally from Minnesota, so we had fun chatting with her! The whole experience was so wonderful that we wanted to return.
>> The Craggy Range. If you’re looking for great “bar and grill” type fair, look no further than Craggy’s. They had a great selection of sandwiches and burgers and their fries were fantastic!
>> Whitefish Hostel. I might be a little biased, since we stayed at the hostel and had a lot of fun chatting with the two sisters who own it, but their food is fantastic too. In addition to the hostel, they have an organic cafe. You can come for delicious veggie soups, a great salad bar and juices and smoothies! We ate here whenever we needed a break from bread-filled meals and were ready for some nutrients. I greatly enjoyed their salad bar and tried a few of their juices during my stay.
WHERE TO GET COFFEE
>> Montana Coffee Traders. Go to the one in downtown Whitefish. I loved the atmosphere and the decor. The coffee was fantastic and I loved the beautiful latte art! We also stopped by the coffee roastery, but didn’t have a chance to try the coffee there. When we asked if they had breakfast sandwiches, the lady sent us out the door with suggestions of diners to check out.
>> Red Caboose. The decor has a more rustic feel and the chai that I got was delicious. However, if you’re looking for a wide variety of options, this isn’t the place to go. They had limited drink and pastry options. The Red Caboose also has frozen yogurt and there were quite a few people ordering yogurt the day we were there.