Today, Missoula has emerged as one of America’s finest cities to live in. Whenever one thinks of this college city, one definitely thinks of outdoor activities and adventures. It is known for its bustling art scene and boasts several well-known craft breweries. Missoula is strategically situated along the juncture of Blackfoot, Bitterroot, and Clark Fork rivers and is enclosed by beautiful wilderness and mountains. Outdoorsy tourists will love the summers here as there are a plethora of activities to indulge in, including white water rafting and kayaking. However, that does not mean you will find the place boring during other seasons. Here are some of the top things to do in Missoula, Montana, that can be done year round.
1. Explore the Montana Natural History Center
Welcome to this beautiful museum that houses a rich collection of displays on regional and local fauna and flora, geology, and ecosystems. Some of them are Nature Adventure Garden that is ideal for outdoor play, a naturalist lab, an art gallery, Discovery Room for the kids, Glacial Lake Missoula, and more. There are so many activities to choose from and you will get all their details on their website. It is the perfect place to be in for tourists of different age groups.
Montana Natural History Center
Address: 120 Hickory Street, Suite A, Missoula, MT 59801
Website: Montana Natural History Center
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm; Sat: 12pm - 4pm (closed on Sun)
2. Marvel at the architecture of St Francis Xavier Catholic Church
Located on West Pine Street, St Francis Xavier Catholic Church has the distinction of being one of Montana’s tallest churches. Set conveniently in downtown, it is also considered as Missoula County’s tallest church and it is worth visiting if you are in the vicinity. The church has many beautiful and ancient paintings, which are more than a century old. It is believed that a kitchen helper painted all of them during his free time.
St Francis Xavier Catholic Church
Address: 420 West Pine Street, Missoula420 West Pine Street, Missoula
Website: St Francis Xavier Catholic Church
3. Reignite your love for history at Fort Missoula
If you wish to explore the vivid culture and rich history of Western Montana, there is no better place to start than Fort Missoula. The fort exudes some fascinating history of Missoula County including its early history in the 19th century, the innovations and culture of the forest products sector, and so on. There are more than 20 carefully preserved ancient structures and buildings in this magnificent fort, that are worth exploring. The fort also features several rotating exhibits that are ideal for different age groups and cover various historical topics.
Address: 3400 Captain Rawn Way, Missoula, MT 59804, USA
Website: Fort Missoula
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed on Mon)
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4. Visit the Missoula Insectarium for an interactive tour
Take some time out from your busy schedule and definitely visit the Missoula Insectarium while you are vacationing in Missoula. Make sure to go on an interactive tour so that a guide can brief you on the significance of its various sections. A cool place for visitors of all age groups, the Insectarium will enable you to understand, as well as appreciate, the insects through innovative, interesting science exhibits and educational programs. Live invertebrates are featured in these science exhibits. There are as many as 18 terrariums and aquariums with a chance to hold and touch some of the bugs.
Address: 218 East Front Street Missoula, MT
Website: Missoula Insectarium
Opening hours: Wed - Fri: 11am - 5pm; Sat: 10am - 5pm (closed on Sun - Tue)
5. Enjoy live music and other cultural events at Caras Park
Caras Park is situated along the banks of River Clark Fork at the city center. It hosts a number of community events all through the year. Summers are great fun as the venue hosts a festival called Downtown ToNight that features local musicians and food trucks every Thursday. It also hosts an annual festival on every New Year’s Eve for performing arts, called First Night Missoula. Irrespective of what time of the year you are coming, Caras Park is ideal for a scenic view of the river.
Address: 123 Carousel Dr, Missoula, MT 59802, USA
Website: Caras Park
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
6. Hike up Mount Sentinel on the 'M' Trail
Hiking on Mount Sentinel along the ’M’ trail is the perfect way for outdoorsy people of all ages to spend time. While it is barely a mile long, the steep, zigzag path can be very strenuous. However, after a few minutes of hiking, the magnificent view of the University of Montana as well the valleys and all of Missoula is soothing and something to cherish for a long time. The ’M’ is the main tourist spot, but you can continue your hike to have a view more exquisite view from the top of the mountain.
Address: Mt Sentinel, Montana 59801, USA
Website: Mount Sentinel
7. Experience whitewater rafting on Brennan's Wave
Enjoy surfing in pure Montana style at Brennan’s Wave, which was created in the memory of a native of Missouri who was passionate about kayaking on the various rivers of the world. It is set right in the center of the river Clark Fork and enjoys proximity to downtown Missoula. Enjoy whitewater rafting and ride the spectacular man-made waves like never before. It is a must-do activity for outdoorsy tourists while they are vacationing in the city.
Address: Riverfront Trail, Missoula, MT 59802, USA
Website: Brennan’s Wave
8. Enjoy a fun-filled day at the Montana Snowbowl
Half an hour away from Missoula, the Montana Snowbowl is the best place for sports enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies. Even though the skiing trails are not easy, it has a fabulous team of instructors who can help sharpen your skiing skills. One can also enjoy the zip line course and enjoy some high speed runs with their bikes. It also has an 18-hole Frisbee golf course. So spend a fun day with your friends and family while also enjoying the delicious food available there.
Address: 1700 Snow Bowl Rd, Missoula, MT 59808, USA
Website: Montana Snowbowl
Opening hours: Fri - Wed: 9.30am - 4pm (closed on Thu)
9. Learn about wildlife conservation at Boone and Crockett Club
If you wish to learn more about the process of wildlife conservation, then you have definitely made the right choice. Boone and Crockett Club is dedicated towards preservation of hunting heritage, enhancing education on conservation, maintaining hunter ethics, and keeping records of the big game. This American nonprofit organization in Missoula champions fair chase hunting so that wildlife habitat can be conserved.
Boone and Crockett Club
Address: Missoula, MT
Website: Boone and Crockett Club
Opening hours: 8am - 4pm (daily)
10. Visit the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and learn about conservation in the area
If you wish to explore the relevance and beauty of the elk county, a trip to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation should definitely feature on your travel itinerary. It was founded in 1984 in the United States by four hunters who had a vision of ensuring the well being of elk, as well as other forms of wildlife, hunting heritage, and their habitat. Even today, the foundation works towards conservation and restoration of natural habitats.
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Address: 5705 Grant Creek Road, Missoula, Montana 59808
Website: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 5pm; Sat - Sun: 9am - 5pm
11. Go golfing at the Canyon River Golf Club
Welcome to the prominent good course community of Missoula. The Canyon River Golf Club offers a unique golf playing experience to the golf enthusiasts in Missoula. You can also check your accuracy as the site offers a number of sand traps, water hazards, and fairways. The club has everything for the players to enhance their gaming skills. There is an on-site restaurant where you can sample its culinary delights.
Canyon River Golf Club
Address: 1268 Bandmann Trail, Missoula, MT 59802
Website: Canyon River Golf Club
Opening hours: Mon - Sun: 6.30am - 9.30pm
12. Satisfy your bookworm soul at the Missoula Public Library
Bookworms will definitely have a fantastic time at the Missoula Public Library. So, if you are one of them, make sure that you spend some unforgettable hours in this public library in Missoula. Opened in 1894, it is one of the prominent landmarks in the city. The library offers free cards to the city’s residents and provides free resources for both guests, as well as, residents. It offers free Wi-Fi access, self-checkout stations, a self-printing facility, and two study rooms among others.
Missoula Public Library
Address: 301 E Main St, Missoula, MT 59802, USA
Website: Missoula Public Library
Opening hours: Mon - Wed: 10am - 9pm; Thu - Sat: 10am - 6pm; Sun: 1pm - 5pm
13. Try out some skating at MoBASH Skate Park
Thrasher Magazine has named the MoBASH Skate Park as one of the top five skate parks in the country. In fact, skating is an extremely popular activity in this city. The park is famous for its benches, rails, ramps, and bowls. It accommodates skaters of each level and also provides an excellent outdoor place for your children. The park enjoys close proximity to Missoula and is hence very convenient to visit.
MoBASH Skate Park
Address: 600 Cregg Lane, Missoula, MT 59801
Website: MoBASH Skate Park
14. Soak in the soothing waters of Lolo Hot Springs
A preferred site for several centuries, Lolo Hot Springs is situated on the border of Montana and Idaho. It is an ancient bathing spot. The hot spring functioned as a meeting point for early trappers and explorers. By the late 19th century, Lolo Hot Springs had emerged as a preferred vacationing site for sports lovers, as well as, families. Even today, you will enjoy taking a relaxing bath in its soothing waters.
Lolo Hot Springs
Address: Montana 59847, USA
Website: Lolo Hot Springs
Opening hours: (Summer) Mon - Thu: 8am - 10pm; Fri - Sun: 8am - 12am; (Winter) Sun - Thu: 10am - 9pm; Fri - Sat: 10am - 12am
15. Explore the quaint downtown Missoula
Welcome to Downtown Missoula, which is a great place to be with its eateries, shops, art galleries, cafes, and a number of exciting events. In fact, there is also a river flowing through the locality. It is set in the heart of the city where each of your family members can engage themselves with something interesting to do. It is commonplace to find visitors returning here again and again.
Address: 218 East Main Street, Ste. C, Missoula Montana, 59802
Website: Downtown Missoula
16. Witness a local theatre performance at the Missoula Community Theatre
MCT or Missoula Community Theater is an amazing place to be at if you are looking for a dose of healthy entertainment after a hectic day of sightseeing in Missoula. MCT is known to produce a few outstanding theater productions every year. It also produces a comedy or musical drama every season. The theater also produces an opera every other year and it is quite popular among the theater buffs.
Missoula Community Theatre
Address: 200 N Adams St, Missoula, Montana 59802
Website: Missoula Community Theatre
17. Go fishing on the shores of Clark Fork, Blackfoot and Bitterroot Rivers
Love fishing and want to pursue fishing even when you are enjoying your holiday in Missoula? The city is a fishing hub and logistics is not an issue at all. There are plenty of fishing opportunities in and around the city on the shores of rivers like Bitterroot, Blackfoot, and Clark Fork. Montana River Lodge, for instance, is a great place to stay and enjoy fishing in the Clark Fork River. The river is very close to the lodge, and by car, the lodge is just about 49 minutes from Missoula.
Montana River Lodge
Address:822 River Gorge Road, Superior, MT 59872, USA
Website: Montana River Lodge
18. Watch a game of football at Washington-Grizzly Stadium
There is hardly anyone who does not love football. After all, it is one of the most loved sports in the world. So, if you wish to enjoy watching a game of football while you are in this city, Washington-Grizzly Stadium is one of the best places to visit. The stadium is situated within the University of Montana campus in Missoula. Opened in 1986, the stadium is the home ground for the Montana Grizzlies team.
Address: Campus Drive; Missoula, Montana, U.S
Website: Washington-Grizzly Stadium
19. Go ice skating at the Glacier Ice Rink
A nonprofit ice arena in Missoula, Glacier Ice Rink offers a number of activities like youth hockey, skating, and adult hockey for visitors of different age groups and skill levels, at an affordable price. Every week, the rink offers public skating sessions while you can also celebrate your birthday in style as private ice rentals can be also be arranged here. Children, as well as, adults are going to love spending some fun-filled hours here.
Glacier Ice Rink
Address: 1101 South Ave West, Missoula, MT 59801
Website: Glacier Ice Rink
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 7am - 11pm; Sun: 7am - 10pm
20. Go mountain biking in the Rattlesnake Recreation Area
A perfect spot for mountain bikers, horseback riders, and hikers, the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area is a must-visit for outdoorsy visitors and aerobic-junkies. There is a wide network of trails enabling the users to combine a number of tides of different difficulty levels. It is always recommended to take a map along, which is available at the “South Zone” or Rattlesnake Recreation Area Trailhead. You can also plan an overnight mountain biking trip using this map.
Rattlesnake Recreation Area
Address: Missoula County, Montana, USA
Website: Rattlesnake Recreation Area
21. Learn aerial firefighting at the Smokejumper Visitor Center
This smokejumping base in Missoula began back in the year 1939 and it is currently the largest base in the United States. Visitors are educated and informed about the actions taken by smokejumpers both off and on fires. You can avail free tours and learn aerial firefighting here, with free admission for both the tours and the visitor center.
Smokejumper Visitor Center
Address: 5765 W Broadway St, Missoula, MT 59808, USA
Website: Smokejumper Visitor Center
Opening hours: 8.30am - 5pm (daily)
22. Join a cooking class at the Good Food Store
You can not only enjoy fantastic meals at Good Food Store but also participate in the cooking classes conducted in their contemporary demonstration kitchen. Operating in Missoula for over four decades, the demonstration kitchen of Good Food Store offers cooking classes every month. The hands-on demonstration cooking classes held here are immensely popular and are conducted by the chefs of some of the best restaurants, in the locality, and their experienced staff.
Good Food Store
Address: 1600 S. 3rd St. West | Missoula, MT 59801
Website: Good Food Store
Opening hours: 7am - 10pm (daily)
23. Fall in love with the carousels of Missoula
The Carousel was built to provide good, old-fashioned enjoyment to the people of Missoula and it continues to engage both children and adults with the fun rides on the wonderfully crafted horses and their various family events. An essential part of the history of Missoula, you can enjoy a fun-filled time and take part in the various festivals, parties and giveaways often taking place throughout the year.
Carousels of Missoula
Address: 101 Carousel Dr, Missoula, MT 59802, USA
Website: Carousels of Missoula
Opening hours: 11am - 5.30pm (daily)
24. Sample drinks at Montgomery Distillery
Welcome to this craft distillery in the heart of Missoula that uses Montana ingredients as well as traditional techniques to create exotic cocktails and spirits. It is an excellent place to hang out for the entire family if you wish to come here with young kids. They serve delicious homemade cocktails and the young kids will love the non-alcoholic drinks served here. The ambiance is pretty good too.
Address: 129 W Front St, Missoula, Montana 59802
Website: Montgomery Distillery
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 12pm - 7.45pm; Sun: 2pm - 7.45pm
25. Boost the wine connoisseur in you by visiting Tea Spoon Winery
This charming and cute winery is a real gem in Missoula, where you will get an opportunity to sample excellent wines. They also have a vineyard where they grow hybrid grapes. Some of their award-winning wines are Cherry Blossom and Flathead Cherry Dry that is created from fresh organic cherries. You can savor your preferred wine while relaxing in their outside seating area and enjoy the scenic mountain views.
Tea Spoon Winery
Address: 4175 Rattlesnake Dr., Missoula, MT 59802
Website: Tea Spoon Winery
Opening hours: Thu - Sat: 4pm - 9pm (closed on Sun - Tue)
26. Go camping at the Lewis & Clark Trail
Amidst the arid landscape, the Lewis and Clark Trail beckons all travelers. Setting up a tent and enjoying the views, one will be refreshed and ready to continue down the trail. You can spend the day taking a dip in the Touchet River, bird watching, catch fish for your meals or explore the diverse flora here. After some hiking, spend the night under the stars in order to share some peaceful moments with your loved ones.
Lewis & Clark Trail
Address: Lewis and Clark Trail, Missoula, MT 59801, USA
Website: Lewis & Clark Trail
27. Bring your kids to the Children's Museum Missoula
There are so many activities to keep the children engaged for a couple of hours. In case the weather outside is bad in Missoula and you are confused about what to do, head straight to this museum with your little ones. Learning is really fun in this museum, which is situated in Front Street. Kids will love playing with bubbles, see the bones of dinosaurs and enjoy face painting and water tables. They will also enjoy the exciting puppet show. To put it simply, the kids will be thrilled after coming here.
Children's Museum Missoula
Address: 225 W Front St, Missoula, MT 59802-4301
Website: Children’s Museum Missoula
Opening Hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed on Mon)
28. Watch a movie at the historic Roxy Theater
A non-profit organization, the Roxy aims to rouse, educate and captivate the multi-cultural audiences about the human world and nature through its cultural and cinematic events. Programs are year-round and the film academy provides education for youth as well as promotes the films and filmmakers of Montana. Enjoy a host of foreign and classic films and theater seven days a week, with triple-organic popcorn, wine and beer in the heart of Missoula.
Address: 718 S Higgins Ave, Missoula, MT 59801, USA
Website: Roxy Theater
29. Treat your eyes to beautiful curated antiques at the Montana Antique Mall
One of the largest antique malls in downtown Missoula, The Montana Antique Mall features over 15,000 square feet (1400 square meters) and 4 floors of fascinating and sometimes old, quirky stuff in what was previously the Montana Hotel. It is a common man’s hotel with a restaurant and bar and is the home to 60 antique dealers and an eclectic mix of clothing, furniture, glassware, collectibles, and bits of everything else. Also, enjoy a library filled with regional and historical books and avail the parking space provided and spend your time away.
Montana Antique Mall
Address: 331 W. Railroad St.Missoula, MT 59802
Website: Montana Antique Mall
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 6pm; Sun: 12pm - 4pm
30. Stroll along the Clark Fork Riverfront Trail
This lovely walking trail covers the Clark Fork River’s South and North shores. Located strategically in downtown Missoula, this trail can help you to catch glimpses of scenic beauties like Caras Park, John H. Toole Park, McCormick Park, and the Old Milwaukee Depot. You should definitely halt at Brenan’s Wave and observe the surfers and kayakers riding the stunning man-made kayaking waves.
Clark Fork Riverfront Trail
Address: Near St. Regis, Saint Regis, MT
Website: Clark Fork Riverfront Trail
Enjoy your time in fascinating Missoula
As is obvious from the above article, Missoula is a perfect vacation destination for outdoorsy travelers. If you are also one of them, make sure that these top 10 things to do in Missoula, Montana, feature on your travel itinerary.
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