Main Street Montana

From bustling downtowns to main streets that dead-end at the foot of a mountain, Montana’s towns never disappoint. Even the smallest of towns has something, from surprising steakhouses (in a registered ghost town) to unique pottery from local clay, the Main Streets of Southwest Montana offer an eclectic array of unexpected experiences that never fail to delight. They might not all be very long Main Streets, but they’re all sure to have something interesting, something inviting, something unique. It’s just icing on the cake that even some of the biggest ones dead-end in the mountains.

As I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve been revisiting some of my favorite times wandering through SWMT towns. Window shopping in Philipsburg (drooling in front of a candy shop is window shopping, right?), taking the tour train in Helena, ranking Cornish Pasties in Butte, spending the whole day driving the 50-mile “Main Street” that is Highway 41. I quickly realized that there was no way I could capture all of the charm of these Main Streets in five hundred words or less. They are just too different, too unique to say anything more specific than wherever you are, I promise you, its a good place to be.

What I thought I would do instead is give you just a taste, the tiniest of tastes of the sorts of things you might expect in a Southwest Montana downtown. I mean besides the live music, the delicious food, the local artwork, and the carefully crafted brews, of course. Here are what sound to me like two of the most unique experiences taking place on the region’s “Main Streets” this month:

SnoFlinga: From Uptown to Downtown to Homestake Lodge (ok, so I’m taking some liberty with the phrase “Main Street”), Butte’s SnoFlinga is a celebration of all things winter. Ice skating, skiing, sledding, skijoring, movie watching (an essential winter activity, and everyone knows it), and fat tire bike racing, are just some of the activities you can take part in in Butte the 17-20 of January.

The Chili Ball: If, on the other hand, SnoFlinga sounds a bit too active for this time of year, you might think about heading over to Anaconda for the a celebration of two of the most common winter pastimes–making chili and making ice sculptures, or, if you’d rather, judging other people’s chili and ice sculptures. I must say, it sounds like a pretty excellent Saturday night to me.