The 6 Best Christmas Towns in Montana
Montana is a pretty wonderful place to be at Christmastime. When the snow blankets the mountains, you feel like you're living inside a snow globe. Some say that the whole state is like one giant Christmas town, but I think there are a few towns that have something a little extra that makes them feel special at Christmas.
In Whitefish, you'll have the chance at some classic and unique holiday activities. If you like to decorate Gingerbread Houses, consider entering The Great Whitefish Gingerbread contest, which is also a fundraiser for Housing Whitefish.
A spectacular opportunity, Whitefish Mountain Resort also offers Night Skiing from December 26 - 31, 2023. They say, "It's a little known secret, but when those late-day storms sock the resort in, the night riding is all time."
For a classic Christmas with a bit of nostalgia, visit Philipsburg, Montana. You'll find holiday decor both inside and outside the businesses downtown. Stop in the Phillipsburg Creamery or the Sweet Palace for a sweet holiday treat and visit this year on December 8 for Yule Night, an evening of shopping, music, and a parade.
Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana
The Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana has become a Christmas destination. Along with classic Montana winter activities like dog-sledding and skiing, they even create a Christmas experience for guests by giving them the choice of a real or artificial tree in the guest cabins. The ranch is currently nominated by Travel + Leisure Magazine for the World's Best Awards for 2024.
What makes Bigfork, Montana, special at Christmas is what they call "The Big Fork Elves." A tradition that is more than 40 years old, every year before Thanksgiving "an army of volunteers" come together to "deck the town with over 10,000 feet of garland and lights." The Bigfork Area Chamber of Commerce shares how they have a bit of fun with the Elf selection.
"New volunteers start with no rank but quickly progress from Lieutenant to Captain to Major and ultimately to General with each year of service. Who can be an Elf? Absolutely anyone!"
Red Lodge, Montana
Red Lodge is certainly known for its 4th of July celebrations, but that doesn't mean it's not a lovely town at Christmas time. The annual Christmas Stroll draws visitors from almost 100 miles away to enjoy wagon rides, shopping, and The Blade Parade, which of course is a parade of snow plows.
Billings might be Montana's most Christmasy town, in my humble opinion. The season kicks off on Black Friday with the annual Holiday Parade and only gets more festive after that. Not only is the holiday light display at ZooMontana currently nominated by USA Today as one of the 10 best zoo lights in the country, but the residents of Billings have cherished holiday light displays for decades.
Christmas Wreath Lane, a street where the houses all have coordinated antique decorations, has been delighting residents for almost 60 years. There's also Christmas Tree Lane, a street dedicated to the Land of Misfit Toys, and of course, the neighborhood that is known year-round as "Whoville."
But possibly one of the most breathtaking Christmas displays is the luminarias on Mariposa Lane. The paper lanterns with candles have been lit for over 60 years in memory of a boy who passed away on Christmas Eve. Each year the luminarias seem to expand down more of the adjoining streets in the neighborhood. The city turns of the street lamps and cars turn off their headlights so that the only light comes from the luminarias. It's truly beautiful.
Visiting any one of these Montana towns in the month of December will certainly put you in the holiday spirit.
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