Getting Around Town
Public transportation is FREE in Missoula. The Mountain Line (public bus) has a great app which will let you know how and when to get where you need to go. Udash is associated with the University and offers late night service from downtown to the corner of Arthur and Sussex Ave. Uber is also available in Missoula (a great way to get to and from MSO airport).
Grace’s favorites in and around town
Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
Market on Front downtown by the river (and a parking garage- first hour free!) has great breakfast burritos, an upscale assortment of groceries, a salad/sandwich bar (try the hot hippie sandwich or a salad bar sampler) and full selection of espresso drinks, local beers by the bottle and a great selection of wines too.
Five on Black and Masala offer Brazilian and Indian inspired build-your-own bowls. I love to take these to The Dram Shop where you can BYO food and choose from around 50 micro brews, wines by the glass or kombucha.
The Good Food Store is like Missoula’s version of Whole Foods. They have organic and bulk foods, a salad bar, deli, pizza oven, wok bowls, smoothies/juice bar, coffee shop, kitchen store…everything! This is one of my favorite places to discover local products.
Plonk Wine Bar has a gorgeous upstairs patio in the warmer months but I love going to this cozy spot for a cocktail (Love the GFC) or a glass of wine all year round. They have great dinner options which are seasonal and locally inspired. Their Thursday night jazz concerts add extra charm.
Finn & Porter has what I consider Missoula’s best happy hour. I highly recommend going for a drink on the deck (4-6 daily)! You can’t beat a $3 Blackfoot IPA while gazing at fly fishermen on the Clark Fork river. A truly fantastic Missoula experience. They have great dinner too!
Biga Pizza has a seasonal butternut squash pizza which is THE BEST IN THE WORLD. Beats NYC, Sicily, Florence, everything in my opinion! The also have a great portobello burger and basil lemonade in the summer months. I adore the homey vibes and authentic tastes offered here. To me it’s a must. One of my favorite restaurants in Missoula. The Bridge is a good option if you prefer to order in.
Bakeries are plentiful in Missoula.
Bernice’s is my personal favorite. Not a birthday goes by without without a Bernice’s cake in our family. Hint: you can also try by the slice during happy hour 4-6 get a free espresso drink with each piece. Le Petite (best baguettes and scones) and The Break (try the pie) are also good.
Scotty’s Table (Weekends), Caffe Dolce (Sundays) and The Catalyst (every day) are my go to spots for brunch. Scotty’s and Dolce also offer delicious dinner. Really you can’t go wrong with any of these in my opinion. At Scotty’s I can’t skip the shakshuka. Dolce has very good toast with salmon, minestrone soup, homemade pasta… elegant Italian-inspired comfort. The Catalyst’s huevos rancheros have mole sauce and I can’t help but ordering a personal side of (cheddar) cheesy potato casserole each and every time. The Trough is also very good.
Coffee & Tea
If you’d like to sit and sip a tea in house head to Lake Missoula Tea Co. They have a tea bar with an extensive menu and knowledgeable baristas to help you find something unique then you can take it home (loose leaf) to enjoy again and again.
Drum coffee has two locations- one on South Ave (close to the apartment) and another off of Broadway (en route to the Blackfoot river). Artisan coffee- the best baristas in town in my opinion.
Black Coffee is a great place for drip. They sell beans by the bag and don’t shy away from creative roasts. Try a fancy toast with local honey or avocado and coconut oil… jam and brie.. Always a treat.
Kettlehouse “South” has an old-school Missoula vibe. It’s located on Myrtle Street. Their “North” location is built in a very cool building near the train tracks and offers shuffleboard and a constant rotation of new and exciting craft beers. Kettlehouse Amphitheater is located in Bonner (about 10 mins outside of town) along the Blackfoot river. If you can score tickets to a show you won’t be disappointed by the views or the brews! Coldsmoke is a must try beer.
Draught Works is a popular spot – always filled with a good crowd and thanks to a spacious deck outdoor seating is somewhat easy to come by.
Imagine Nation, in my opinion, makes the best beer in town. They have a riverside deck out back and you can order delicious Mexican food from Tia’s across the street (free delivery).
Big Sky Brewery hosts outdoor concerts in the summer. Arrive early to have a food truck picnic before the show.
Western Cider is for cider likers (I’m not incredibly into it). I like the riverside location and hipster vibes here…
Ten Spoon Winery is located in the rattlesnake valley. It’s casual and they often have live music. I enjoy renting the lawn for private events. There are also numerous hiking trails in the area so a hike (Try Sawmill Gulch for an easy stroll) then wine makes for an ideal afternoon.
Montgomery Distillery is a cool local cocktail spot and you can buy a bottle of local liquor to take a bit of Missoula home.
The Top Hat hosts live music almost every weekend. It’s my #1 nightlife spot.
The Rhino has 50 beers on tap. Great Caesar/Bloody Mary. Pool tables here.
Charlie B’s is full of characters and has The Dinosaur Cafe – a cajun spot with a cult following- in the back.
Note: children are allowed in Montana breweries under adult supervision until 9pm. Dogs, unfortunately, are not allowed inside or on patios.
The “M” is the most obvious choice for a hike with a city view. I usually take visitors up at least once. You get a great view of the University and the city. This is best at sunrise or sunset in fair weather.
Waterworks hill (aka The Northside Hill) offers comparable Missoula views and is dog friendly. The main trailhead is located just off of Rattlesnake Drive (near Black Coffee and Rattlesnake Creek park – a nice place for a light walk/bike ride) another trail sits right off the Orange Street exit on I-90.
Blue Mountain has many easy to intermediate trail options and a “folf” (frisbee golf) course. Lots of dogs on the main loop. I’m a regular.
Sawmill Gulch is a great hike on a hot day (lots of shade) very level and lined with scenic creekside stop-offs.
Snowshoe or Cross-Country Ski in Pattee Canyon or The Rattlesnake in the winter. (see UM Rec Center or The Trailhead or Gull Ski for rentals)
The wildlife in Montana are, well, WILD. Please be respectful and give them their space. Don’t feed the deer. Bear spray is recommended in Glacier National Park. I often throw a bottle in my day pack just in case. If you see a bear, stop, don’t run, but walk slowly away keeping an eye on the animal as you go. If you encounter a Mountain lion make yourself bigger, louder, scare it off. Moose can also be quite aggressive. Making a little noise will usually keep the wildlife away. Be aware and enjoy sharing beautiful Montana forests with these amazing animals.
Rentals available at Missoula Bicycle Works. There is a new bike path from Missoula into Lolo and the Bitterroot valley. Start on Russell and Mount then head South. Lolo Peak Brewing is a fun destination on the path. There are also paths along either side of the Clark Fork River downtown. Mountain biking trails can be found at Blue Mountain and in The Rattlesnake. I love to bike from the apartment through the University campus and across the walking bridge into Rattlesnake Park along the creek, perhaps stopping to dip my feet in the (ice) cool water.
Fishing access is plentiful around Missoula. Rafts and waders can be found on the Blackfoot, Bitterroot and even right downtown in the Clark Fork Rivers. Rock Creek is a destination for fly fishing.
A fishing license can be picked up at most outdoor stores and even gas stations. Adults need a license for all types of fishing on state waters.
Swimming in rivers can be dangerous/deadly. Please be cautious of strong currents and take the necessary precautions and preparations. Children always need a life vest.
Public tennis courts are plentiful in Missoula. We recommend Bonner Park, Playfair Park, The University of Montana and Kiwanis Park.
Folf (disc/frisbee golf) at Blue Mountain or Snowbowl (in the warmer months).
Bowling at Westside Lanes.
Rockin Rudy’s is the first place I send people for keepsakes/gifts. The vibes is very quirky and originally Missoulian. I can’t even tell you what you will find here… EVERYTHING! It is a fun but time-consuming shopping experience. Make this stop, you won’t regret it.
The Green Light is eco-focused and carries Missoula/Montana themed products to take home and remember us by.
The Trailhead is Missoula’s local version of REI. Grab all of your outdoor essentials and ask for local tips regarding whatever outdoor activities you’re looking to do. Super friendly people and excellent quality of merchandise here.
The People’s Market happens alongside the Farmer’s Market downtown on Pine street every Saturday late Spring through early fall. Local products/crafts galore!
On the First Friday of every month galleries and cafes downtown (along Higgins Ave.) host free shows open to the public (often providing wine and appetizers) art and music abide and the streets are full even in the darkest days of winter. Events usually run 5-8pm or so.
Radius Gallery and Dana Gallery are downtown. The Missoula Art Museum/MAM has free admission. The University of Montana has two small galleries: the MMAC/Montana Museum of Art and Culture and Gallery of Visual Arts on the first floor of the Social Sciences building. All of these are free and open to the public.
For the kids
The Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium showcases bugs in a friendly and enthusiastic environment. Kids can hold and learn about all kinds of cool insects. It’s memorable for all.
A Carousel for Missoula & Dragon’s Hallow are located next to the Clark Fork river and Caras Park downtown. They are always crowded and (for the kids) it’s worth the hype. Walk by the viewpoint above Brennan’s Wave to see river boarding/surfing/kayaking while you’re in the area. During the summer check out food and music at Caras Park Out to Lunch on Wednesday afternoons and Out to Dinner on Thursday evenings.
SpectrUM is a science museum featuring interactive and interesting experiments and facts for kids and curious adults. It is run by the University of Montana.
Kids fishing at Silver’s Lagoon next to MOBASH skatepark and Currents indoor wave pool are fun.
The Missoula Children’s Theater/MCT has a great reputation for shows- check one out if they’re on while you’re in town!
U of M Griz Football, Basketball, Hockey etc. draw crowds.
For tickets: griz tix
MOBASH skate park is located near The Missoula Osprey Stadium. This minor league baseball stadium is located along the banks of the Clark Fork River and osprey nests can be seen from the stands.
The U of M golf course and Dornblaser field are located steps from our house. See the new women’s softball field or track and field, soccer and more here. Also a great place to go sledding and to cross-country ski during the winter months! (Pick up rentals from Campus Rec at U of M or Gull Ski or The Trailhead).
Go to a Movie
The Roxy is a retro indie option. Here you can sip microbrew beers while enjoying the film. Another fun theater option is the AMC dinner theater (new to Missoula) located in Southgate Mall. Blockbusters can be screened at AMC on Reserve Street. There are also movie screenings at the UC theater (also see Movies on the Oval free movies at U of M)
How to find upcoming Festivals/Concerts
Top Venues: The Wilma, Kettlehouse Amphitheater, The Top Hat, The Adams Center and Big Sky Brewery
Find a full local events calendar at http://www.missoulaevents.net