The Top 10 Things to Do and See in Missoula, Montana

The Top 10 Things to Do and See in Missoula, Montana
Missoula is quickly becoming one of the best places to live in the U.S., and visitors to this city just north of the Rockies will not be disappointed. A college town with a thriving art scene and popular craft breweries, Missoula is also home to a plethora of outdoor adventure. Here are our picks of the top things to do and see in this incredible city.
Sunset over the Clark River in Missoula, Montana © Wesley Fryer/Flickr

Enjoy the Outdoors at Snowbowl Mountain

Located just 20 minutes from downtown Missoula, the rustic Snowball offers activities for hardcore ski-bums and novices alike. In the winter, Snowbowl provides 1,000 acres of skiing and snowboarding, and hosts a rare event for spectators – the Gelande Ski Jumping Championship. During the summer, it is open for zip-lining and mountain-biking, and showcases a summer concert series. The award-winning Last Run Inn serves fan-favorite bloody mary’s and wood-fired pizza. With a great atmosphere and a friendly bar, locals are known to show up even during the off-season.

Snowball Ski and Summer Resort, 1700 Snowbowl Road, Missoula, MT, USA +406 539 9777

Seasons: Winter, Summer (From June 27 to September 13)

Last Run Inn: Open Year-Round: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11:30am to 6:00pm

Rent a Bike

With 20 miles of bikes lanes, Missoula is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. Bike trails outside of the city are also numerous, including the Riverfront Trail, which follows the Clark Fork River through the heart of the city. Free bike rentals are even available at the Currents Aquatic Center, encouraging locals and tourists to see Missoula on two wheels. For the more adventurous bikers, Missoula offers incredible mountain biking, including 75 miles of trails at Rattlesnake National Recreation Area.

Scape Goat Pale Ale © Navin75/Flickr

Take a Brewery Tour

With an impressive number of craft breweries, considering its 69,000 residents, Missoula’s beer has been recognized throughout the country. Montana Brewery Tours offers a Missoula Hop-On tour that includes stops at 3 breweries, tastings, and guides by local brew-masters. For a self-guided tour, be sure to visit the wildly popular Big Sky Brewing Company and the Kettle House Brewing Company. In the downtown area, try a pub-crawl with friends: a great way to see the city and sample beer offerings. Local favorites Flathead Lake, Tamarack Brewery, and Draught Works are all within walking distance.

Missoula Hop-On Tour Meets at 411 W Front Street, Missoula, MT, USA +406 544 6864

Tap Room Hours: Monday-Friday: 11am to 6:30pm, Saturdays: 11:00am to 6:00pm (Tours: Tuesdays and Fridays at 3:00pm)

Kettle House Brewing Company: 2 Locations in Missoula +406 728 1660

Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 3:00pm to 12:00am, Friday and Saturday: 11:00am to 2:00am

Hours: Open Daily From 11:00am to 12:00am

Hours: Open Daily From 12:00pm to 9:00pm

Visit Rockin’ Rudy’s

For one of the most eclectic shops in Missoula, check out Rockin’ Rudy’s. Home to novelty gifts, souvenirs, vinyl records, and Rockin’ Rudy’s t-shirts, this store is truly unique and must be visited to be understood. Check out the cat who lounges around, and the helpful staff who are exceptionally knowledgeable on the surprising array of lunchboxes, music posters, and buddhist trinkets that line the walls. Truly strange and entertaining, Rudy’s is the hippy epicenter of Missoula.

Rockin’ Rudy’s, 237 Blanc Street, Missoula, MT, USA +406 542 0072

Hours: Monday-Sunday: 9:00am to 8:00pm, Sunday: 11:00am to 6:00pm

Stop at a Sweet Shop

Visit two local favorites to experience the best goodies Missoula has to offer. A must-have in the morning for the city’s best coffee and pastries, Le Petit Outre Bakery is also known for fresh artisan bread and pizza dough. It is a great place to post-up on a cold day, with a warm interior and the smell of fresh-baked goodies. For a post-dinner sweet-tooth craving, visit Big Dipper Ice Cream. With lines out the door on summer nights, Big Dipper’s homemade varieties include Huckleberry, a Montana speciality, and white-mint Oreo. Dedicated ice cream lovers are even known to track the Big Dipper Ice Cream truck, which makes rounds throughout the city.

Hours: Monday-Friday: 7:00am to 6:00pm, Saturday-Sunday: 8:00am to 4:00pm

Hours: Open daily from 12:00pm to 10:00pm

See Live Music

As the second largest city in Montana and home to 15,000 college students, Missoula is host to some of the most popular bands on tour. Groups such as My Morning Jacket and Cash Cash can be seen at The Wilma, Missoula’s premier music venue. As Montana’s cultural center, Missoula also includes smaller music venues, including a summer music series at Snowbowl and Big Sky Brewing, and local band performances at the Top Hat Lounge. Most nights at the Top Hat feature free concerts or a cheap ticket available at the door, making it a great place to enjoy a pint, have a gourmet burger and discover a new band.

Hours: Monday-Wednesday: 11:30am to 10:00pm, Thursday-Saturday: 11:30am to 2am

University of Montana with Mount Sentinel in the background © Jitze Couperus/Flickr

Hike the ‘M’

Located just off of the University of Montana’s campus is Mount Sentinel, a small mountain adored with the letter ‘M’ on its side. Hikers can climb 3/4 mile to the concrete ‘M,’ beginning at the trailhead on the university’s campus. A steep climb, it is well worth it for a spectacular view of Missoula and the surrounding wilderness. More adventurous hikers can continue the path a mile past the ‘M’ to the top of Mount Sentinel, which offers an even more stunning panorama. To make the climb an all-day adventure, the ‘M’ Trail links with Crazy Canyon Trail at the top of Mount Sentinel.

Trailhead located on the University of Montana’s Campus

Phyllis Washington Park, Missoula, MT, USA

Eat at Masala Food Cart

Missoula’s artisanal spirit has spread to its restaurants, with local eats you may not expect to find in Montana. Chef and restaurateur Theo Smith brings a taste of India to Missoula with his Masala food cart. Originally open during the summer and spring, providing residents with curry favorites such as chicken tikka masala and lamb rogan josh, Masala’s popularity has led to plans for a brick-and-mortar location opening in the fall of 2015. In the meantime, the food cart can by found parked at community events in Missoula.

See Masala’s Facebook page for their current location. +406 370 9407

Grab a Drink at The Jack Saloon

Located about 30 miles outside of Missoula, this watering-hole is worth the trip. With shuttles operating to and from Missoula, and cabins available for $60 to $80 a night, ‘The Jack’ caters to a wild clientèle. Cheap drinks, live music and great bar food make this one of the best dive bars in the area. The interior is adorned with signed dollar bills placed by patrons lucky enough to have found this dirt-road locale. Take a trip to ‘The Jack’ for an exciting, rustic experience with locals.

The Jack Saloon, 7000 Graves Creek Road, Lolo, MT, USA +406 273 6264

Visit Caras Park

Located at Missoula’s city center, at the banks of the Clark Fork River, Caras Park is host to community events throughout the year. Downton ToNight is a festival that hosts food trucks and local musicians every Thursday during the summer. With an active art scene in Missoula, Caras Park also hosts First Night Missoula, a performing arts festival held annually on New Year’s Eve. Regardless of the time of year, Caras Park is perfect for an introduction to the city and a picturesque view of the Clark Fork River. Caras Park, Missoula, MT, USA Luke Reppe
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