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Downtown Whitefish, Montana
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Whitefish is obviously a very changed place from its humble beginnings as a railroad town that lied in the middle of a bunch of stumps. Yet, Whitefish does retain much of its original character – something that so many towns have lost or willingly surrendered to fuel growth.

Today, downtown Whitefish consists of nicely restored buildings along its Main Street – with much of the sidewalk being covered. While some strange buildings have recently been built in Whitefish, many of the buildings in town more or less resemble the buildings that were originally built.

Most noticeable in Whitefish have been the restoration of the train depot area and the creation of a nice, new large park. This park has quickly become a focal point in town, with many new buildings built around it – including a very nice new library and the O’Shaughnessy Cultural Arts Center. The park also allows for very nice views of the mountain outside of town, especially the Whitefish Mountain Resort. Additional parks in Whitefish are located along the Whitefish River – including the creation of some short walking and biking paths.

If you like trains, be sure to visit the Stumptown Historical Society, which is located in the Whitefish Train Depot. The Historical Society is open 9am to 5pm during the summer and other times during the winter. Inside you’ll find a small museum that contains information about the Great Northern Railway and the town of Whitefish. There is no charge to wander around the museum, either. The museum is also a good place to load up on souvenirs if you need them.

Great Northern Engine in Whitefish
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The downtown area of Whitefish itself consists of many specialty stores as well as some “real” stores still, which is nice. The specialty stores sell everything from tourist trinkets to art to clothing, while the “real” stores concentrate in selling outdoor gear. Many restaurants and bars are also found along the Main Street in Whitefish (for a good hamburger, go to the Great Northern Bar).

Whitefish, like all other towns in the US, does have a shopping development outside of town. This section, which lies to the south of town on Highway 93, consists of the usual suspects of fast food joints, motels, auto dealers and, somewhat surprising, a small movie theater and a very small indoor mall. Whitefish also has a hospital in case something bad happens – like a blown knee while skiing or a bear mauling while hiking.

Another very popular place in Whitefish that people visit and spend far too much time in is the Black Star Brewery. Black Star brewery is a small microbrewery right in the downtown of Whitefish. Besides having daily tours of the brewery (much of which can be seen from outside through the windows), it also has a free tasting room. More than a few people have disappeared into this tasting room for literally hours at a time.

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