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Explore the Best Activities and Attractions in Missoula, Montana

Explore the Best Activities and Attractions in Missoula, Montana

Welcome to Missoula, Montana, a vibrant city located in the scenic western region of the state. Nestled within breathtaking natural beauty, this charming destination offers a wide range of exciting activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a memorable experience, Missoula has something to offer. In this article, we will explore the top things to do in Missoula, allowing you to make the most of your visit to this remarkable city.

1. Discover the Outdoors in the Garden City

Missoula, often referred to as the “Garden City,” is renowned for its abundant natural beauty. Surrounded by picturesque mountains, valleys, and rivers, outdoor enthusiasts will find themselves in paradise. Start your adventure by exploring the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area, located just north of downtown Missoula. This area offers numerous hiking trails that showcase the area’s diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes.

For fishing enthusiasts, the Blackfoot River is a must-visit. Made famous by the novel “A River Runs Through It,” this iconic river boasts excellent fishing opportunities and provides a serene atmosphere for all. You can also rent a kayak or a paddleboard to enjoy the calm waters of the Clark Fork River, which flows through the heart of Missoula.

2. Immerse Yourself in Art and Culture

Missoula is a city that takes pride in its art and cultural scene. The Missoula Art Museum is a must-visit for art lovers. With rotating exhibitions featuring contemporary works by local and international artists, this museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of art.

For a unique experience, take a stroll down the Missoula Art Park, an outdoor sculpture park that showcases an impressive collection of artworks. If you’re visiting during the summer, don’t miss the International Choral Festival, where choirs from around the world gather to perform in breathtaking venues throughout the city.

3. Wander through History in Historic Downtown

Take a step back in time by exploring the historic downtown area of Missoula. This vibrant neighborhood is home to a multitude of charming shops, galleries, and eateries that are sure to captivate your interest. Admire the beautifully preserved architecture as you wander the streets, and don’t forget to stop by the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula to learn about the city’s rich cultural heritage and pioneer history.

4. Embrace Education at the University of Montana

The University of Montana, located in Missoula, is not only an excellent institution of higher education but also a hub of cultural and intellectual activity. Take a scenic walk through the university’s stunning campus, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

While on campus, make sure to visit the Montana Museum of Art and Culture, where you can immerse yourself in a vast collection of artworks spanning various periods and styles. Don’t forget to check for any events or performances happening at the university, as they often showcase the talent and creativity of the local community.

5. Indulge in Locally Crafted Delights

Missoula is home to a vibrant food and drink scene, with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and craft beverages. For a true taste of the city’s culinary offerings, visit the Missoula Farmers Market, where you can browse a wide variety of local produce, baked goods, and artisanal crafts.

Additionally, Missoula boasts a burgeoning craft beer culture, with several local breweries producing exceptional beers. Take a brewery tour and sample some of the region’s finest brews while enjoying the friendly and laid-back atmosphere.

6. Engage with Nature at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Visitor Center

For wildlife enthusiasts and those interested in conservation efforts, a visit to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Visitor Center is a must. Learn about the elk’s habitat, behavior, and the organization’s ongoing efforts to promote conservation. The center also offers interactive exhibits, educational programs, and stunning displays that highlight the importance of preserving wildlife and their natural habitats.


Q: When is the best time to visit Missoula?

A: Missoula offers something unique throughout the year, so the best time to visit depends on your preferences. Summer months (June to August) are ideal for outdoor activities and festivals, while the fall (September to November) brings vibrant foliage. Winter (December to February) offers opportunities for skiing and snowboarding, and spring (March to May) showcases the beauty of blooming wildflowers.

Q: What is the elevation of Missoula?

A: Missoula sits at an elevation of approximately 3,200 feet (975 meters) above sea level.

Q: Are there any nearby national parks?

A: Yes, there are several national parks within a reasonable driving distance from Missoula. Glacier National Park, known for its stunning mountain vistas and pristine lakes, is about a three-hour drive away. Yellowstone National Park, famous for its geothermal features and diverse wildlife, is roughly a five-hour drive from Missoula.

Q: Are there any family-friendly activities in Missoula?

A: Absolutely! Missoula offers plenty of family-friendly activities. The Montana Natural History Center, Dragon Hollow Play Area, and Splash Montana water park are just a few examples of attractions that cater to families with children.

Q: Is Missoula easily accessible?

A: Yes, Missoula is easily accessible. The city is served by Missoula International Airport, with direct flights from several major cities. Additionally, Interstate 90 runs through Missoula, making it easily reachable by car.

Q: Can I go camping near Missoula?

A: Certainly! There are several campgrounds and RV parks in the vicinity of Missoula. The Lolo National Forest, just a short drive away, offers a range of camping options amidst breathtaking natural surroundings.
what to do in missoula montana