Western Montana’s Glacier Country is charging into 2024 with new tourism related products, including new experiential offerings like western hat making with The Hat Edit, new charter services with Western Pleasure Tours and, of course, tasty culinary options. Here is just a sampling of what’s been rolled out recently and what’s coming in the year ahead.
Activities + Shopping News
Birdie Thatcher brings “charming interiors” to Missoula’s Higgins Avenue, where you’ll find gifts, goods and an adorable children’s selection, plus the added bonus of sharing a space with Bake Sale bake shop, creating a one-of-a-kind shopping and snacking experience.
Columbia Falls Chamber/DMO is the newest destination marketing organization in Montana, and their friendly staff is here to help you with all your group travel questions.
Discover Kalispell and the Kalispell VIC have a new location on Main Street. Stop by for a warm welcome, maps and helpful information.
Flathead Lake Alpine Coaster offers a new coaster adventure in Lakeside. Soar through the scenic Flathead Lake landscape, speeding at your own pace.
Ho + Ko boutique in Missoula has a curated collection of clothing, unique home decor and gifts for those looking for stylish and eclectic goods.
Revolvr Menswear in The Wren hotel downtown Missoula is a boutique men’s clothing store offering a curated selection of stylish and contemporary Western clothing and accessories.
The Hat Edit in Stevensville is the perfect place for a unique, and authentically western experience—pick your hat, choose your accessories, and let your hat bar designer create your new favorite hat and Montana souvenir. They also offer demonstrations for groups.
Two Kays Flower Farm blooms with a selection of fresh flowers, walking tours and botanical delights in the Flathead Valley.
Western Pleasure Tours extends its services with an office in Kalispell, providing an array of tours, bus transportation, step-on-guide and charter options for Western Montana exploration and adventure.
Xplorer Maps opened a storefront in Missoula, where they sell beautifully hand-drawn (then reproduced) illustrated story maps that capture the essence and spirit of various locations across the world—perfect for souvenirs with free shipping from the store.
Artisan Brews & Spirits + Restaurants
Our local brewing and spirits industry is home to 35+ breweries, 10+ wineries, 10+ distilleries, several cideries and a plethora of taphouses. New to the scene, Games N Taps in Kalispell offers a good mix of family-friendly gaming with great food and drinks. Tap Club is Missoula’s new gastropub, featuring clubhouse food with a diverse selection of craft beer and wine in a chill industrial ambiance. Golden Triangle Brew Co. in Bigfork touts tasty craft brews in an inviting space alongside the Nimble Goat Pub, where you’ll find equally delicious cocktails, cider and seltzer.
New restaurants are opening throughout Western Montana. Texas Roadhouse makes its way to Missoula, serving up delicious, hand-cut steaks and hearty American cuisine. Also in Missoula, Tres Bonne boasts “boozy brunch all day” with eclectic French-American fare, creative craft cocktails, and a 50’s retro atmosphere.
101 Central in Whitefish features three hot spots for mountain-town fun: Herb & Omni, offering an elevated dining experience with a well-curated menu; Second Story, an intimate live-music and party venue entertainment venue; and Open 101 Sky Lounge, opening in 2024. Beldi supper club, also in Whitefish, merges a warm Montana ambiance with farm- and ranch-to-table, globally inspired sharables.
Joining Kalispell is Clubhouse Lounge golf bar, which beckons golf enthusiasts with its four Trackman Golf Simulators and inviting, family-friendly atmosphere, including cold drinks and mouthwatering burgers made from Montana-raised and locally sourced beef. Dusty Star Saloon just rolled out a brand new menu featuring American-style bar and grill fare, like sandwiches, burgers and delicious comfort food. Freestone Restaurant and Bull Trout Bar now calls Kalispell’s Hilton Garden Inn home after the hotel’s 2023 remodel.
In Columbia Falls, Monaco Steakhouse & Sports Bar has opened two restaurants under one roof, with menu options that will satisfy every craving and a full swing golf simulator for after-dinner fun.
Airport and Airline News
Missoula Montana Airport (MSO) completed phase one of its brand-new terminal and south concourse in June of 2022, with the second phase of construction and east concourse underway. Glacier Park International (FCA) is expanding and remodeling the terminal scheduled to be complete in 2024.
Western Montana is serviced by seven major airlines including Allegiant, Alaska, American, Avelo, Delta, Sun Country and United, with 17 direct flight markets providing easy access.
Glacier National Park Updates
To help ease the congestion and enhance the visitor experience, Glacier National Park is continuing to institute an online vehicle reservation system. The details for each entrance are below.
West Entrance: One reservation per vehicle will be required to travel the Going-to-the-Sun Road beyond the Apgar Village area from May 24 through September 8, 2024, between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. New in 2024, vehicle reservations will be valid for one day only, down from three days in 2023. Also new in 2024, visitors will be able to access Apgar Village amenities, including the Apgar Visitor Center, without a vehicle reservation.
This does not affect motorcoaches that enter the park from the West Entrance, because they cannot travel past Avalanche Lake and ascend the Going-to-the-Sun Road and must arrange the transfer of their clients to a park concessionaire (Red Bus Tour or Sun Tour) for transport.
North Fork Entrance: One reservation per vehicle will be required at the entrance station May 24 through September 8, 2024, between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Reservations are good for one day. No motorcoach access.
Many Glacier Valley Entrance: One reservation per vehicle will be required at the entrance station from July 1 through September 8, 2024, between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Reservations are good for one day. Motorcoaches are subject to the one-time entrance fee and do not need a vehicle reservation.
St. Mary or East Side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road Entrance: Also new in 2024, visitors will be able to access the Going-to-the-Sun Road from the east side beyond Rising Sun without a vehicle reservation. Visitors will also have access to the St. Mary Visitor Center and shuttle stop on the east side of Glacier National Park, as in 2023.
Vehicle Reservations and Park Passes: Vehicle reservations will be available on recreation.gov, the Recreation.gov mobile app, or the Recreation.gov Call Center (Reservation Line: 877.444.6777). Each of the specified areas of the park will require a separate reservation.
For the coming year and beyond, stay up-to-date on all the happenings in Western Montana’s Glacier Country by subscribing to our B2B blog here. If you need assistance with itineraries, feel free to drop us a line. We are always here to help.
Happy 2024 to all.
DP and AS
January 11, 2024