Missoula, MT Attractions

  Nightlife – Outdoor Fun
University of Montana

Missoula, MT (pop. 72,364) is the gateway to the beautiful Bitterroot Valley in southwest Montana.  The Bitterroot Valley is flanked by the rough and ragged peaks of the Bitterroot Mountains on the west and the Sapphire Mountains on the east.  The Wilderness Highway (an unofficial name for U.S. Highway 93 in Montana from Sula in the south to Eureka in the north) is the primary road through the Bitterroot Valley.  The region is an outdoor paradise.

Missoula Montana Downtown
Aerial view of downtown Missoula, Montana, with Bitterroot Mountains in the background. Photo courtesy Missoula Parks and Recreation, City of Missoula.

Missoula is  home to the University of Montana and the mighty Grizzlies. The Grizzlies hang around the University’s athletic department and are famous for smashing opponents in the Big Sky Conference. The Grizzly football team won NCAA Division I-AA national championships in 1995 and 2001.

Enrollment at the University of Montana is about 12,668. As might be expected in a college town, many tea sippers populate local hangouts. Away from the university, Missoula is a regular sort of town. Many folks work in forestry and forest products industries.

Wild and scenic Bitterroot River offers abundant opportunities for fishing and float trips near Missoula, Montana.

Beer drinkers in Missoula, Montana stop at the Bayern Brewery for a mug of Bayern Pilsener or Bayern Amber, brewed by the resident Master Brewer. The brewery, the only German microbrewery in the Rockies, is know for its quality lager beers. Before leaving, patrons often pick up a baseball cap, stitched with the nifty Bayern logo.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Wildlife Visitor Center in Missoula draws many nature lovers and conservationists to Missoula.  Visitors to the Center enjoy educational exhibits, a display of trophy elk mounts, wildlife conservation films, plus a gift shop with clothing, wildlife art, and calendars. The 22-acre site features a delightful Outdoor Walking Trail. Native wildlife can often be viewed on the property. Don’t miss this place!

The natural environment is on full display wherever you go in Montana.  You can get a head start on understanding nature in Montana by visiting the Montana Natural History Center.  Some very well-done and educational exhibits are found here.

Missoula Montana
Easy way to find Missoula, Montana: www.Missoula.MT Destination Missoula and Bitterroot Valley.

The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula is another top attraction in Missoula. The museum features over 22,000 objects and 13 historical structures. On site are five fort buildings, a homestead cabin and barn (circa 1900), a rural schoolhouse (1907), a church (1863) built by the Jesuits, and a railroad depot (1910). The museum offers a rare opportunity to see how pioneers lived in western Montana.

Missoula offers old-fashioned family fun too.  The Missoula Carousel features 40 ponies, chariots, and dragons.  This is a cool place, even if just to visit.

Shopping is great in Missoula, Montana.  Southgate Mall has many shops, including major department stores.  Located on Highway 93 South.

This is a college town, so don’t leave without visiting Missoula’s  great book stores:  Fact & Fiction; Shakespeare & Co.; and The Book Exchange.

Holiday Inn
Missoula Downtown
(406) 721-8550
Gibson Mansion
Bed & Breakfast
(406) 251-1345
DoubleTree by Hilton
Hotel Missoula -
(406) 728-3100
Residence Inn by Marriott Missoula(406) 542-6252

Missoula restaurants and bars are tops. Most of the best restaurants and bars are concentrated along a five-block section of Higgins Street, a major north-south artery though the downtown area. The Shack Cafe is a good choice for breakfast, lunch and evening dining. For fresh pastries, breads, and desserts, don’t miss Bernice’s Bakery.

The Iron Horse Brew Pub sells every beverage imaginable, plus has good food, especially sandwiches. The Iron Horse Brew Pub rocks even on weekdays. Tasty sandwiches and veggies are served at Worden’s Market and Deli.  Tamarack Brewing (downtown) is a popular sports pub with a low-key, dining experience on the upper level.

The Pearl Café  is open for upscale dining. Try the “Boneless trout with Dungeness crab,” cost a mere $29. The menu at Caffe Dolce  lists house-made pasta, pizza, salmon, lamb burger and more. Wines are from Italy, France, and Spain.  Red Bird at 111 N. Higgins offers upscale dining.  Scotty’s Table has tasty delights, local meat, produce, and grains for an exceptional dining experience.

If you’re just looking for a snack head for KornUtopia downtown on Higgins Street.  This is Missoula’s popcorn destination.  Gift tins available too.

Top Ethnic Cuisine:

  • Caffe Dolce (Italian)
  • Fiesta En Jalisco (Mexican)
  • China Garden
  • Kobe Seafood and Steak (Japanese)
  • Edelweiss Bistro German restaurant

Missoula’s events are highlighted by Missoula Downtown. Order a guide to Missoula.

Missoula has suburbs, too. Sort of. The city of Stevensville (pop. 2,187) is located 30 miles south of Missoula on U.S. Highway 93. Stevensville claims to be Montana’s oldest town, dating back to a Jesuit settlement founded in 1841.

For a nice evening rest in complete privacy and a rural setting try the Farmhouse on Burnt Fork Creek guesthouse (866-776-3992) in Stevensville.  An added bonus, Stevensville visitors can pick the best java around at Bitterroot Coffee Roasters.

Photo gallery of Missoula.  View map of Missoula. Use two fingers to navigate on map. View map, terrain or satellite images.

Car rentals are available at the Missoula International Airport:  Avis (406) 549-4711, Hertz (406) 549-9511, Alamo (406) 543-0926.  airport.  For taxi service, call Missoula Green Taxi (406) 728-8294 or Yellow Cab of Missoula (406) 543-6644.  A Web page by Missoula airport lists shuttle services.

Enjoy Missoula, Montana and the scenic Bitterroot Valley.

Montana travel vacation

Copyright © 2019 John Sandy

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