The 10 Best Things to Do in Missoula, United States

July 30, 2017 Merry Kessler

Peacefully tucked away in the heart of the northern Rocky Mountains, Missoula is the perfect spot for a weekend of history, culture and outdoor fun. Home to the University of Montana, one of the most architecturally distinguished academic institutions in the country, the city offers a number of intellectually stimulating attractions. Spend a few hours browsing through the exhibits at the Art Museum of Missoula or take a trip back in time at the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula. The city's close proximity to three major rivers and acres of lush forest means visitors can also enjoy a host of recreational activities, from fly fishing and kayaking to hiking and biking. Missoula's historic downtown area has classic early-century buildings and boasts unique shops, galleries, fine dining and a lively nightlife. With kids in tow, don't miss Dragon Hollow, a magical playground that features an extraordinary hand-carved carousel.
Restaurants in Missoula

1. Aerial Fire Depot and Smokejumper Center

5765 W Broadway St, Aerial Fire Depot, Missoula International Airport, Missoula, MT 59808-9361 +1 406-329-4934
Excellent
72%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 187 reviews

Aerial Fire Depot and Smokejumper Center

Reviewed By ger w - Welshpool, United Kingdom

We called in here in September when there were wild fires all around.They still had the time to show us what these brave men do.We followed our guide through their daily routine and heard they were on a 11 minute call out.Most of them expected to have to jump that day.Thank god for people that still want to help others!

101 Carousel Dr, Missoula, MT 59802-4313 +1 406-549-8382
Excellent
74%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 524 reviews

A Carousel for Missoula

This beautiful carousel, completed in 1995, was the brainchild and vision of a local Missoula cabinet-maker, who carved much of the structure himself and also trained an enthusiastic team of volunteers to assist in the project.

Reviewed By lisajoyw - Falmouth, Maine

Each year for the last three years when I've visited my grandchild in Missoula, we've gone on the Carousel. It's a super fast ride, so exhilarating. Buckle up. The horses are beautiful, and we usually go around two or three times. My grandson is turning three. I'm a LOT older and still love it. Plenty of fun things to look at as the area is enclosed and there's a gift shop with snacks that comes in handy after the ride, and an excellent outdoor wooden castle play area with jungle gym right next door. The Carousel is inexpensive, so an excellent family treasure to donate to.

3. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

5705 Grant Creek Rd, Missoula, MT 59808-9394 +1 800-225-5355
Excellent
74%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 229 reviews

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Reviewed By lisajoyw - Falmouth, Maine

Three visits to Missoula and three to the Elk Foundation. It's a great place to take small children as there is much stuffed wildlife to see and hands-on audio exhibits of nature sounds that little ones love. Don't miss this free family experience and don't forget to donate!

4. University of Montana

32 Campus Dr, Missoula, MT 59812-0004 +1 406-243-0211
Excellent
72%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 193 reviews

University of Montana

This scenic university campus spans 200 acres at the base of a mountain and borders the Clark Fork River. Founded in 1893, Montana's leading liberal arts institution enrolls 13,000 students.

Reviewed By tj113 - Stevensville

Love the football games, but they need a winning team to keep my interest. The tailgates have gotten worse and need more warming tents for cold weather. I liked it better when there were more businesses with free food and a few beers. Cutting off beer when the game starts and before and after halftime helps. Keep the party going but don't get too greedy with the prices.
Need to do a better job of keeping transients off the walkways and bridges impeding the walking traffic. The smokers that light up in the tailgate area and the minute you exit the stadium are very annoying and make it difficult to breath.

5. Caras Park

Missoula, MT +1 406-543-4238
Excellent
65%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 156 reviews

Caras Park

This scenic downtown park on the banks of the Clark Fork River is the home of the popular Missoula carousel and a great place for a family outing, with a large jungle gym, walking and bike paths, frequent special events and concerts.

Reviewed By Alverda3 - Spokane, Washington

This is not an overly big park, but there's enough going on to make a visit worthwhile. While we were in Missoula for the weekend, we visited the park for bands, food trucks and a farmer's market. The park is next to the river which offers a nice view of water activities.

6. Garnet Ghost Town

Missoula, MT +1 406-329-3914
Excellent
63%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 225 reviews

Garnet Ghost Town

Reviewed By Tullamoretraveller - Midlands

Beautiful setting at around 8,000 feet above sea level. The remains of an old mining settlement that had a short and productive life before the miners packed up and moved to other mining sites. Remains of bar/brothel, hotel and housing with a lovely walk. Information center open during the summer with friendly and helpful and enthusiastic guides. We really enjoyed the visit and some beautiful scenery.

7. Missoula Farmer's Market

North end of Higgins Ave, Missoula, MT
Excellent
83%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 78 reviews

Missoula Farmer's Market

Reviewed By bandit83854 - Post Falls, Idaho

This market has a little something for everyone. There was a booth with belly dancers and that was really fun to watch. The vendors that sell produce is in a different spot then the ones who sold clothes, leather items and so on. Which I liked since I know farmer markets can get really busy. But it's sooooo worth going to.

8. Rattlesnake National Recreation Area

Missoula, MT
Excellent
80%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 83 reviews

Rattlesnake National Recreation Area

An all-season recreation area, this wilderness region is designated to promote the watershed, recreational, wildlife and educational values of the land.

Reviewed By elaine s - Missoula, Montana

Hike almost any time of the year in the Rattlesnake Wilderness Area. It is free, and easy and head directly North right out of Missoula along Van Buren Street. Skiing is popular here as well and most parts are pet-friendly. Be sure to lock valuables in your vehicle before hiking.

9. Dragon Hollow Play Area

Caras Park, Missoula, MT +1 406-549-8382
Excellent
77%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 73 reviews

Dragon Hollow Play Area

This fun and festive playground is literally a kid's dream-come-true: It was designed by and dedicated to the children of Missoula.

Reviewed By Abaylew - Missoula, Montana

What a neat play area! There are any things to do to keep kids busy! It's like a maze trying to get to the slides! Lots of levels. Lots of slides. Lots of fun. And it's right next door to the Carousel!

10. Fort Missoula Museum

Bldg. 322, Fort Missoula, Missoula, MT 59804 +1 406-728-3476
Excellent
49%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 113 reviews

Fort Missoula Museum

Located at one of Montana's first military posts, this museum houses rotating exhibits and devotes an entire wing to the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps. A recreated Western town of the late 1800s takes visitors back in time to the days of carriage houses and homestead cabins.

Reviewed By Michael W - Tokyo, Japan

Nicole Webb has done an incredible job at imparting the history of Missoula in this small but very marvelous museum. Her staff has worked to provide a real sense of history as well as a learning environment for young historians. The exhibits are very informative and are easily accessible. It is certainly worth the time to understand the early history of Missoula.

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