Are you an ever-wandering soul looking to explore new places? This summer, you can make – Missoula, Montana your destination. Settled amidst the confluence of Bitterroot, Blackfoot, and Clark Fork rivers and wrapped around by mountains and the wilderness, there are a plethora of activities for a wayfarer. To help you kickstart your next summer vacation, here’s a listicle of things to do in Missoula.
We have taken the assistance of travel-guide veterans and respective area-tour experts to prepare this trip guide for you. Let’s not waste any more time and skip to the good part –
What are the things to do in Missoula?
For starters, when you visit Missoula – you will be treated to the blessed views of mountain terrains, historical formations, museums depicting the art and culture of the city, peaceful parks, and ghost towns. Therefore – for lovers of adventure and culture-loving souls along with Instagram-worthy pictures, there’s a bevy of things to do in Missoula. Here’s checking them out –
If you love going to parks and fairs
When you are a wanderer, there’s nothing stopping you from checking out what the fairs of Missoula offer to your ever-searching heart.
Making it to the top of the list of things to do in Missoula – a visit to the riverside Caras Park in downtown Missoula is a must! An urban oasis – this boasts a series of nature trails against the river bank. Almost similar to a town square where the tourists meet the towners – you can take a walk along the Riverfront trail, check out the crafted wooden horses and participate in the cultural festivals held around the year.
Built in 1995, this holds the Brewfest, held every spring. The Brennan’s Wave, where the white waves battle with the local kayakers is a treat to catch up.
Missoula Carousel Ride
When in Missoula, you cannot miss out on the carousel rides! Whether you are tripping with the kids, or you have made some time out alone – a carousel spin is one of the top things to do in Missoula. Hand-carved by volunteers, who contributed 100,000 hours of labor – this spin on the wooden horses delights people of all ages!
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
A museum dedicated to the elks, and a range of other Montana wildlife – this is a conservation area and has its name listed on America’s hunting heritage. As an interactive museum – you can get an outdoor trail for hiking and get to catch some films on conservation.
In for some water time? Splash Montana is the city’s premier water park. Accommodating visitors only in the summers, this offers triple-storied water slides, wild river rides, and pools!
What’s more? It has a cafe with a barbecue.
Missoula Farmer’s Market
Running from May through October – this sells a range of local products along with honey, pastries, and dairy products. On since 1972, this sets up its fare every Tuesday and Saturday – and has live performances on Saturdays.
Are you a nature lover?
Then there’s a plethora of things to do in Missoula for you. Let’s get there-
Clark Fork Riverfront Trail
For a nature lover, one of the key things to do in Missoula to kickstart your mornings is to take a jog around the riverfront trail. Newly designated as the Ron River Trail, there are footbridges and hiking areas for adventurous souls.
Rattlesnake National Recreation Area
Nestled in the Lolo National Forest, this is one of the best camping sites featuring cliff-banded slopes, ridges, and scenic lakes. You can hike along the Rattlesnake Corridor trail and explore the Rattlesnake Wilderness spread to the north of the area.
Tour the Historic Downtown of Missoula
Your things to do in Missoula list will remain incomplete if you do not visit downtown Missoula. From a range of hotels to historical buildings to the architectural displays of Missoula’s buildings – there’s nothing you would want to miss here!
Located on the border of Montana and Idaho – it is one of the largest wilderness areas and hosts valleys, peaks, and forests. Home to the Selway and Lochsa rivers, this offers a combo of canyons and cliffs along with wildlife watching, whitewater rafting, and camping.
Found in the Lolo National Forest – this is the ultimate skiing locale in Montana!! Lying north of Missoula, this alpine ski area is categorically known for its vertical rise and steep snow-skiing area.
Are you a lover of art culture?
You might consider it a new township, but, Missoula does have a history dating back centuries!
Fort Missoula Museum
Visiting this is one of the most crucial things to do in Missoula. With its origins in the military domains demarcated for the natives, you can continue exploring the historical buildings and the preserved buildings of the country.
Garnet Ghost Town
Do you know that this was once upon a time a thriving gold mining town? Well now this town amidst the Garnet Mountain range is a discarded now, waiting for tourists with bated breath who wish to explore the haunting beauty of the structures left behind in this town.
When you are considering art and culture of this city, your listicle of things to do in Missoula must have a visit to the Wilma Theater. It is the hotspot of cultural activities in downtown Missoula, and also the first steel-framed high-rise in Missoula.
Missoula Art Museum
One of the free things to do in Missoula is visiting the Art Museum in Missoula – that hosts a range of literary arts, exhibitions, paintings, sculptures and sketches.
Museum of Mountain Flying
One of the newest places to check out in Missoula, this museum holds a memorabilia and artifacts associated with the accomplishments of flying from the mountains.
You cannot leave before –
That was the listicle of things to do in Missoula when you go visiting the domain from the summer months through the autumn seasons. Though this is an exhaustive list, however, before you switch tabs to check the available tickets – read up on the other things you might not want to miss out on –
Check out the foods to eat in Missoula – The French fare of Missoula is lip-smacking!! Once you are done with that – you can always visit the legendary Big Dipper Ice Cream Missoula for its Mint Orea and Huckleberry creamy ice-pops that have made it to the global list of regional delicacies multiple times.
If you are a fan of alcohol – you must check out the breweries of Missoula! The Montgomery Distillery is a place of attraction! It sends out the batch of Missoula’s first-distilled whiskey. Next in line on the listicle of things to do in Missoula are a visit to the Ten Spoon Vineyard and Winery. End your fine-dine-wine tour with a peek into Big Sky Brewing, the biggest brewery in the State.
Did you miss out on a visit to – The campus of the University of Montana? The second-largest university in the state, its campus set up in Missoula offers you a walking trail with The Oval (the heart of this campus), Great Griz (a bronze statue of the University’s mascot – the Grizzly Bear), and the University Hall that stands against the Mount Sentinel.
Let your heart wander with the – Hip Strips of the Missoula streets, the concerts of Missoula, the Smokejumper Visitor Centre, biking along the Lewis and Clarke trails of Missoula, and doing some quick shopping along the Missoula streets!
When is the correct time to visit Missoula?
If you are looking for the maximum amount of things to do in Missoula then the ideal time for you to visit this domain is between May to August (the summer months) and September through November (the fall months). In summer the temperature can go up to a maximum of 29 degrees while the fall nights could embrace you with a minimum temperature of 4 degrees (the temperature goes down drastically at night).
If you visit Missoula in the summers, you must pack – light wear such as short–sleeved shirts for the daytime and a coat and jumper for the night (there are instances of temperature fall at night, not too much though). If you are a pre-winter visitor planning to have a look at the trees shedding their tresses – pack a thick coat, thermals, and a muffler for the night. Throughout the day, a warm coat with scarves will pave your way amidst the shredded leaves.
- If you plan to visit Missoula in June, make sure to add the literary celebration of the Norman Maclean Festival to your things to do in Missoula list.
- If November is your month of visit – add a trip to the National Museum of Forest Service History for its celebration of the old-fashioned Forest Service Christmas. Enjoy your sleigh rides as you sip on your hot cocoa with the Santa Claus gifting one and all!
How will get to Missoula?
For the record, Missoula is located in the western end of Montana, and it only takes an hour to reach it from Idaho city’s border area. Also, if you are coming directly from the National Park visits of Montana – either Yellowstone or Glacier National park, you will roughly take two to four hours.
If you are at Yellowstone National Park, Missoula is to your southeast and it will take four hours to reach the borders of the college city. Standing at Glacier National Park – you will have to drive for two hours to your north to reach the idyllic Clark Fork riverfront city’s borders.
For those looking out for flight options, the town has its own airport. You can also drive into the city from the Bozeman Airport in Montana.
Get your bags packed
This was the list of things to do in Missoula on your summer outing (or autumn, if you are a fan of the fall). Assuming you have read this trip guide well, you will pack the clothes accordingly. Keep a sanitizer and mask following the health guidelines. If you have any queries or any updates for us, leave your comments behind. Keep checking this page for more.
Monalisa Mukherjee is a content writer and copywriter with close to 3 years of experience. She has written for websites like Biography Talk, Contour Cafe, He And She Fitness and Fiction Pad. She is currently associated with a noted Digital Marketing Agency and specialises in writing articles for travel, entertainment, cooking, celeb, lifestyle, tech, health, fashion and film news.