The Flathead Valley is renowned for many things, but shopping may not be the first one that comes to mind. But for those of us who still love the tactile, in-store experience of picking out new goodies rather than risking sizing and quality in the boundless world online, hope is far from lost. With a little dedication and a lot of insight, you’ll be thrilled with what you can find shopping around the valley, no matter your budget or style. From high-end boutiques to quality discount options, all types of shoppers can find what they need – or don’t need – and did I mention, free of sales tax?
Like many small ski towns, downtown Whitefish is known for its eclectic boutique shopping. Peruse up and down Central Ave and duck into the historic doorframes to find endless treasures. Shops like Sappari, S M Bradford Co, Fifty Seven, and The Village Shop boast quality boutique items with a Montana flare. The Toggery is your go-to for any name-brand clothing items or shoes. Stop into Meriwether or Crystal Winters for a good laugh and some great gifts. There are plenty of places for that Montana souvenir piece, a beautiful Montana sapphire, or quirky antiques. Window shop or drop into one of many art gallaries in Whitefish including: Going To The Sun Gallery, Sunti World Art Gallery, Frame of Reference Fine Art, plus many more. Just off of Central Ave you can find a Flathead Industries thrift store and Chill Clothing Co. All of the shops are within about three blocks, so park anywhere and head out on foot. Just outside of downtown Whitefish to the south is Sportsman’s Ski Haus, a local sporting goods store where you’ll find all of your outdoor gear needs as well as popular clothing and shoe brands like Vans, Birkenstock, Chaco, Prana, and many more!
If you’re looking for more bang for your buck, head about twenty minutes south to Kalispell. There you will find many of the names you know well: Walmart, Target, Dollar Tree, and Costco, to name a few. In the same shopping center as Home Depot you’ll find name-brand discount stores TJ Maxx and Ross, both of which maintain an excellent selection year-round. Head to Pier 1, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Home Goods for all your home needs. Across highway 93 is a Cabela’s with a little bit of everything, and an Ulta for all of your beauty needs. Next to Ulta is a Buckle, a chain known for their jeans but has a great selection of everything for men, women and children.
Head ten minutes further south and you’ll be in the heart of Kalispell. The mall still houses a JC Penny, Zumiez, Sephora Beauty, and another Buckle. Continue south and you’ll find Main Street where you can to find many charming gift shops, antique stores, jewelry stores, a fly shop, a book store, and even a record store one block west. Head to locally-owned Rocky Mountain Outfitter for any outdoor gear needs. Flair is a fun stop for some local goods and clever gifts. There is also another Toggery located here.
Kalispell also boasts a dynamic pawn shop scene. Highway 2 is littered with pawn shops between its intersection with 93 to the west and Snappy’s sporting goods store to the east. Each pawn shop has its own character, so hopping from one to the next is sure to be an adventure. Machinery, tools, jewelry, leather goods, antiques, and electronics are just some of the things you can find.
It may take a little hunting around, but whatever your heart desires, you can find it here. Shopping in the Flathead Valley is sure to not only be fruitful, but like anything we do in Montana, it is sure to be an adventure!