Whitefish Named Top 10 ‘Coolest’ Small Town

By Beacon Staff

Each city in the Flathead has a unique personality that draws people because of their respectable attributes. Whitefish has garnered national attention for the outdoorsy, fun-loving atmosphere that we have all come to know well by being named one of the top 10 “coolest” small towns in America by Budget Travel Magazine.

The magazine chose Whitefish as one of the nation’s up-and-coming, affordable travel destinations with a population of under 10,000.

Budget Travel Magazine Editor in Chief Nina Willdorf described the town as a good choice because of good food, good coffee and a great environment.

“Whitefish rose to the top for its mix of folksiness and style. Residents definitely have a strong sense of pride in what they do, and they’re just as passionate about the rugged natural surroundings as the food and theatre scene.” Willdorf wrote.

Willdorf admits that it’s not an exact science as to what makes a town “cool”— but in general, there were three markers: you have to be able to get a good cup of coffee and excellent food, when people leave for the big city, they realize they’ve made a mistake and come back home, and lastly, you’ll see more art galleries than country stores.

The press release also gets a reaction from Whitefish Mayor Mike Jenson, who is not surprised by the distinction from the travel magazine.

“I thought it was pretty cool to hear that the rest of the country has discovered something we have all known for many years,” said Jenson. “I was born here and when we were young, a lot of people couldn’t wait to leave. We were just a little railroad town. After leaving for college and doing a little traveling, I never found any place I liked better. So after I got over the stigma of not being able to come home, I came home. It’s great for our town to get the recognition.”

Congratulations to Whitefish, and let’s hope some of that early season snow that the rest of the state is getting starts dumping on the ski hill.

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