Missoula is the second-largest city in Montana, and also one of the most beautiful places to visit in the US.
It sits at a high altitude in the Northern Rockies and is flush with so much amazing wilderness.
It also has a remarkable arts community and lots of great places to go for food.
These are the 29 best and most fun things to do in Missoula, Montana.
Things To Do In Missoula
1. Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium
For insect lovers, visiting the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium is indisputably one of the best things to do in Missoula.
The Insectarium teaches visitors about the wonders of the world through winged and antennaed creatures.
These are some of the best science lessons you’ll ever receive, and possibly the most fun.
Some great activities take place at the Insectarium.
If you love beer, you’ll definitely want to check out the “Bugs and Brews” program, where you can sip great regional beer and learn about different bugs.
The Bug Ambassadors are essential to making the Insectarium one of the top things to do in Missoula.
The Butterfly House and Insectarium shows quite clearly that stuff to do in Missoula is really unique.
The insects here might not all be gorgeous, but they’re all fascinating in different ways.
You might not get the creeps from insects any longer after visiting the Insectarium.
Address: 120 Hickory St, Missoula, MT 59802, United States
2. Visit a Food Truck
Dining is one of the most popular activities in any city, and food trucks are some of the greatest tourist attractions.
Stop by one of these for a delicious taste of Missoula.
There are various places to visit in Missoula for food trucks.
However, the best place is Caras Park, as food trucks can be seen all over at events there.
Food from around the world can be enjoyed at the food trucks.
You might crave ice cream, barbeque, or some Thai food.
All that and much more can be found at Missoula food trucks.
If you’re going to be visiting Missoula this weekend, be sure to get at least one meal at a food truck.
3. Caras Park
The food trucks is one of the top draws of Caras Park, but they’re definitely not the only draw.
This is a truly phenomenal Missoula park.
People love coming here when the sun is shining and at night.
Caras Park is like the town square, where locals and tourists come to mingle.
It hosts all kinds of awesome events and has a lovely location around the Clark Fork Riverfront Trail.
You may come to Caras Park expecting to stay there for just a little bit.
Before you know it, several hours have passed and you don’t want to be anywhere else in the entire world.
Downtown Missoula attractions start with Caras Park.
It’s a great hub for activities and community fun.
With lots of exciting and free things to do, Caras Park is this city at its best.
Address: 123 Carousel Dr, Missoula, MT 59802, United States
4. Pattee Canyon Recreation Area
The Pattee Canyon Recreation Area is more than 3,000 acres of wilderness on the eastern part of Missoula.
This land is protected, but it’s also made ideal for guests.
For a chance to really feel like you’re roughing it, visit Pattee Canyon Recreation Area.
Spending time outdoors is what to do in Missoula, and Pattee Canyon Recreation Area has all you could hope for.
There’s plenty of trails, including ones for horseback riding and mountain biking.
You can get a meal going with their fire pits and picnic sections.
As if that wasn’t enough, they even have a complete disc golf course, with 18 holes.
Pattee Canyon Recreation Area is lots of fun, but you need to be willing to give yourself to nature, at least for a few hours.
There’s no electricity or running water on-site, so make sure you’re prepared with bottled water and any necessary battery-powered devices.
This region is so rich with things to see and is certainly one of the finest places to visit in Missoula.
Address: Missoula, MT 59803, United States
5. Art Galleries
All of the fantastic things to see in and around Missoula could bring even the most disillusioned artist out of a creative slump.
Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Missoula has some really great art galleries.
Visit any of these when you’re looking for places to go full of expression and vivid colors.
Don’t neglect the museums either.
The Montana Museum of Art & Culture has a stunning permanent collection, as does the Missoula Art Museum.
The works at these art galleries are painted, sculpted, and made with other high-quality materials.
What’s consistent, though, is the heart.
You can always find the joy of creativity in each of these galleries and in all of the pieces.
Perhaps they’ll help you better appreciate the area and want to delve further into its history as well.
6. Rattlesnake National Recreation Area
Rattlesnake National Recreation Area is near Missoula in the huge expanses of the Lolo National Forest.
There’s plenty to do at this, one of the greatest Montana tourist attractions.
In the warm and the colder months, the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area is just teeming with stupendous activities.
Outdoor enthusiasts will have to figure out what to do first at Rattlesnake National Recreation Area.
You can have fun going horseback riding down the trails, fishing in one of their ponds, or just wandering around, without any particular things to see.
Winter is a great time to visit Rattlesnake National Recreation Area, as skiing is a very popular pursuit here.
Stay alert for the wildlife in the area, including black bears and mountain lions.
Rattlesnake National Recreation Area also has many birds flying about, including owls and woodpeckers.
Then, there’s the bright plant life, such as colorful orchids.
Rattlesnake National Recreation Area has many of the best things to do in Missoula, Montana.
Address: Rattlesnake Dr, Missoula, MT 59802, United States
7. A Carousel for Missoula
Without context, A Carousel for Missoula might appear handsome but unremarkable.
However, when digging into the backstory of this carousel, you’ll see how lovely it is and its importance to Missoula.
The best part of this carousel is how it demonstrates the importance of banding together for a good cause.
A Carousel for Missoula was all built by volunteers.
Thousands of people came together to make this merry-go-round, and it came out so well.
Not only do all the ponies look amazing, but there are also gargoyles and chariots.
Plus, it includes the largest band organ in the United States.
For more than 25 years, A Carousel for Missoula has truly been a gift for the city.
It’s a delight for children as well as adults.
You can visit this carousel every day from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from September to May and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from June to August.
Admission is 75 cents for children and seniors, ages 55 and older.
Adults are charged $2.25, with or without a child.
A child and senior riding together cost $1.50.
Address: 101 Carousel Dr, Missoula, MT 59802, United States
8. Lewis and Clark Trail
There are many fun things to do in Missoula for aspiring explorers.
The Lewis and Clark Trail puts you in the shoes of two of the bravest and most notable figures in American history: Lewis and Clark.
While you won’t be going down their whole route, you can definitely get a good sense of all they endured.
This portion of Lewis and Clark’s journey went from Missoula to Lewistown, Idaho.
This was a very trying portion of the entire trail.
While you’ll be right by US Highway 12, your mind will likely go back more than 200 years, as the Corps of Discovery ventured through this wilderness.
Along the way, you can unwind in the Lolo Hot Springs, a great place to relax your muscles.
Lewis and Clark Trail is among the greatest points of interest in this city not just for its beauty but also for its historical value.
The world of today would not be the same without Lewis and Clark’s efforts.
This is what to see for a stunning journey through Montana and more.
9. The Montana Snowbowl
The Montana Snowbowl is a great place for fun and chilly activities near Missoula.
This is one of multiple ski resorts in Montana, but this one stands out for its affordability.
However, this doesn’t mean a low price should set you up for low expectations.
If you don’t know anything about skiing or snowboarding, the Montana Snowbowl is a great place to start.
They have very useful lessons to help you get comfortable on the slopes.
Already comfortable with this stuff?
The Montana Snowbowl should give you plenty of new achievements.
This is also one of the most awesome places to visit outside of winter.
During the summer, the Montana Snowbowl offers hiking and mountain biking.
Come to the Montana Snowbowl if you’re looking for tourist attractions that provide next-level thrills.
Address: 1700 Snow Bowl Rd, Missoula, MT 59808, United States
10. Ten Spoon Vineyard & Winery
While wheat is the main crop in Montana, it’s not the only notable thing growing there.
Grapes are a major food source in Montana, and that means you can find some great wine there.
Visit the Ten Spoon Vineyard & Winery for a marvelous trip through the Missoula country.
The grapes grown here are chemical-free, leading to wine that tastes absolutely sublime.
They’ve definitely earned their plaudits, and the tasting room creates a very comforting atmosphere.
You can feel like you’re in paradise with a cloudless sky, toe-tapping live music, and a good wine to sip on.
Going to Ten Spoon Vineyard & Winery is definitely what to do in Missoula if you love drinking wine and want to learn more about how it’s made.
Visit their shop to take home some wines you really love.
These can also be excellent gifts for holidays or birthdays.
Address: 4175 Rattlesnake Dr, Missoula, MT 59802, United States
Visiting other parts of Montana? Why not check out some of the things to do in Bozeman, MT?
11. Go Fishing
Three rivers come together in Missoula.
These are the Bitterroot, Blackfoot, and Clark Fork.
Lots of water means lots of opportunities to go fishing, which is one of the most popular activities in Missoula.
You can fish in these rivers from land or venture out onto the waters, with help of a guide.
The most-common catch is trout, but there’s also bass, whitefish, and perch lurking in these rivers.
Your greatest goal shouldn’t be to catch the right kind of fish.
It should be to have as much fun as possible.
Thankfully, fishing in Missoula, Montana is constantly fun.
Try to see all three of the rivers if you can.
For a top experience, come equipped with a strong rod and plenty of bait.
12. The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula
Missoula has lots of great modern buildings and tourist attractions.
However, they haven’t shunned their past to make way for the present.
The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula invites you to see what Missoula was like when it was first settled.
History buffs should find this to be one of Missoula’s biggest points of interest.
There are more than 20 historical buildings kept in great condition here.
You can also see many vintage items here and attend great events, like their Fourth of July festival.
If you’re curious about great points of interest for learning about Missoula, visit the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula.
Their operating hours are from Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m.
Entry costs $4 for adults, $3 for seniors, $2 for students, and up to $10 for families.
Address: 3400 Captain Rawn Way, Missoula, MT 59804, United States
13. Missoula Art Museum
Although it was brought up earlier, the Missoula Art Museum deserves its own spot on this list.
Visiting it is one of the most eye-opening and fun things to do in Missoula.
Focused on artists from the American West, particularly those from Montana, the Art Museum of Missoula hosts lots of moving and amusing pieces.
Along with the permanent collection, the Missoula Art Museum has great temporary exhibits.
These can feature work from the other side of the world.
They also have a section devoted to Montana’s indigenous peoples.
The Missoula Art Museum is definitely one of the neatest Missoula attractions.
They have free admission and tour guides to teach you more about the museum and the various pieces.
This museum is open every day except Mondays and Sundays, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Address: 335 N Pattee St, Missoula, MT 59802, United States
14. Montana Natural History Center
Natural history is one of the best methods for learning about an area.
Missoula and the rest of Montana have such an important natural history, one of majestic beings, whether animals or plants.
Visit the Montana Natural History Center for a great exposé into this region and its amazing natural world.
The interactive exhibits and plant garden at the Montana Natural History Center can give you a major sense of discovery and glee.
Your kids can explore the Nature Adventure Garden.
This is one time when you should encourage your kids to get dirty.
The Montana Natural History Center could be one of your favorite places to visit for natural history education.
They’re open between Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., as well as Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.
Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors, and $1 for children, from ages four to 18.
Address: 120 Hickory St A, Missoula, MT 59801, United States
15. Adult Art Classes
Remember how much fun art class was in school?
You got to be creative and even get a little messy.
At an adult art class, you can get yourself back into that youthful mindset, producing some great works and enjoy the company of new friends.
These take place at the Zootown Arts Community Center.
At ZACC, the staff is rich with enthusiasm for both art and teaching.
You can learn about cool and specific forms of art, such as printmaking.
There’s no age too old to have fun.
Adult art classes at Zootown Arts Community Center are a wild good time.
Look at the calendar tonight and see about any cool classes coming up.
Address: 216 W Main St, Missoula, MT 59802, United States
16. Lolo National Forest
Lolo National Forest is 8,000 square kilometers of unspoiled land.
To give you a better idea of just how big that is, Rhode Island isn’t even 3,000 square kilometers.
Come to the Lolo National Forest for a hike this weekend.
In 1906, the Lolo National Forest was declared, and it’s been rightfully respected and protected.
There’s a vast array of trails and lots of great animals to observe.
You might initially come to see the Rattlesnake Wilderness, but that spectacular section is the start of Lolo National Forest greatness.
If you’re seeking out free things to do in Missoula that show you nature at its most magnificent, come to Lolo National Forest.
You could only see one percent of it and still come out of the experience awestruck.
The Lolo National Forest demonstrates why nature is a top source of entertainment and introspection.
Address: Huson, MT 59846, United States
17. Brewery Tours
Missoula’s got a lot of great breweries producing beers with influence from different regions and nations.
While you can enjoy these in a nice bar or restaurant, the best way to experience beer is through a brewery tour.
These tours take you through great breweries via the Montana Adventure Shuttle.
A great tour is the “Best in the West” brewery tour.
This one takes you to Big Sky Brewing, the biggest brewery in the state, then to Missoula Brewing Co., also known as “Highlander” before ending the tour with a trip to Imagine Nation Brewing Company.
Other tours are the downtown-exploring “Beer Central” tour and the “Head South” tour.
Regardless of which tour you choose, you’re sure to taste some great beer and have tons of fun.
These breweries are among the most enjoyable places to visit in Missoula.
Hopefully, you’ll have the time and budget to experience them.
18. Elk Country Visitor Center
Elk are some of the most visually striking species of animals on this planet.
Their rich coats of different hues, dark eyes, and fierce antlers all make for a distinctly impressive being.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s existence isn’t just nice.
It’s absolutely mandatory.
Through the RMEF, elk, one of the greatest Missoula attractions, have been able to keep their lands and lives free from danger.
When you come here, you can see lots of great exhibits on elks and the need for conservation.
The Elk Country Visitor Center is what to see for a thorough elk education.
Hopefully, you’ll join in the effort to help these hooved wonders as best as you can.
Explore the Elk Country Visitor Center this weekend.
Address: 5705 Grant Creek Rd, Missoula, MT 59808, United States
19. Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Chorale
What do you get when you cross an 80-person orchestra with a 100-person chorale?
In the case of the Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, you get an incredible addition to a city’s arts community.
Both organizations have five concerts per season, with two performances of each show.
They also hold a free downtown concert in August.
For more than 50 years, these performers have been renowned throughout the state and have even performed in different countries.
The performers may change, but the quality also stays high.
The Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Chorale provides entertainment with real meaning.
Get tickets for one of their performances before you visit this city.
The craft and passion emanating onstage is just unreal.
20. Spa Town
Seeing all the fun Missoula attractions can be a little exhausting.
That’s why you need to schedule a message.
Spa Town, located at The Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, Montana, has incredible massage therapists, ready to work your body to its very essence.
When you’re all done, you may feel like a whole new, refreshed person.
“Spa Town” is its own special community.
It’s kind of like a joint indoor and outdoor experience, as massages take place in white tents.
The sounds of nature lull you into a relaxed state, and the heated tables help soothe you into an amazingly blissful state.
Study their spa menu closely, and see what other offerings you might like.
If you think you might need a massage, get one.
Going to Spa Town is what to do when you’ve been putting your needs aside for too long.
Journey 30 minutes outside of Missoula for a chance at one of these awesome, semi-outdoor massages.
Address: 40060 Paws Up Rd, Greenough, MT 59823, United States
21. Clark Fork Riverfront Trail
You can cover a lot of ground in Missoula by going down the Clark Fork Riverfront Trail.
This is a path that not only gives you a gorgeous glimpse at the region, but it also shows you how well laid-out the whole city is.
At Clark Fork Riverfront Trail, you’ll have access to many cool places to visit in this amazing city.
This trail cuts through the heart of Missoula.
You can start downtown and see places like the Milwaukee Road Depot and Caras Park along the way.
It also reaches the University of Montana, great to know if you want to see a dazzling campus.
Taking a walk is always a good way to clear your head.
The Clark Fork Riverfront Trail has such elegance and things to see along the way.
Get a good pair of shoes on and perhaps a bike to ride as you get ready to go down this great trail.
22. The Roxy Theater
The top way to see a movie is by going to the theater.
However, the theater also needs to be special.
With multiplexes having huge screens but little soul, it can feel like all the heart and charm is leaving movie theaters.
However, places like The Roxy Theater show that doesn’t have to be the case.
The Roxy Theater has been one of downtown Missoula’s premier attractions since it opened in 1937.
They show films new and old, including some of your likely favorites.
They also host live theater performances.
Seeing a movie at the Roxy Theater is a blissful experience.
You can jointly enjoy watching the movie or other performance and the immaculate space of the theater.
If you can, give a donation to help keep this non-profit theater thriving.
Address: 718 S Higgins Ave, Missoula, MT 59801, United States
23. Hub Family Entertainment Center
Trying to figure out what to do with your family can be tough, as there are so many things worth doing.
However, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the Hub Family Entertainment Center.
The fun never stops nor lets up when you’re there.
The Hub’s greatest feature is its go-kart track.
They have karts that go as fast as 32 miles an hour.
Sure, it might not seem like much but it can feel really fast.
There’s also laser tag, an arcade, and plenty of hearty food to munch on.
The Hub truly is a hub for excitement.
It’s great to visit even if you don’t have any kids.
They’re open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. from Mondays to Saturdays and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
Address: 5055 Expressway, Missoula, MT 59808, United States
24. Mount Sentinel
Mount Sentinel could be called “Mount Sentimental” because being up here can conjure some very strong emotions.
This peak is 1,958 feet high, and it’s a powerful lookout above the city.
Once known as “Mount Woody,” this mountain is loved among the city’s residents.
There’s a giant “M” on Mount Sentinel’s face.
Local university students put that there.
There are many hiking trails available on this peak, including more challenging ones that bring you over to the “M.”
Hiking Mount Sentinel is another of the great free things to do that feel so invaluable.
The trek up the mountain is amazing, as is standing atop it all and even going back down.
Check it out for an inspiring experience every step of the way.
25. Garnet Ghost Town
An hour outside of the city is Garnet Ghost Town, located in what’s today the town of Drummond.
This was a mining town that was thriving with gold at the turn of the 20th century.
However, a loss of fortunes meant a loss of residents.
Since the 1940s, Garnet has been completely abandoned.
Despite all this, Garnet has expert preservation.
Many of its buildings have been kept in shape.
They might not look brand-new, but that’s the point.
Visiting Garnet Ghost Town is like traveling through an actual western mining town.
The area also has plenty of places for hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, biking, and other awesome activities.
The Garnet Mountains make for a beautiful backdrop.
While Garnet Ghost Town isn’t especially near Missoula, the trip is worth the effort.
Explore the many attractions of this Montana spot.
Think as well about all of the history in this beautiful region.
Address: Drummond, MT 59832, United States
26. Missoula Community Theatre
Patronize the local drama community by seeing a performance from the Missoula Community Theatre.
Over one million people have seen MCT shows since starting in 1998.
Besides their great shows, they do a great job of giving back, as the majority of their budget is spent within the city.
MCT performances are vibrant and constantly engaging, with great work from everyone on stage.
They also have sensory-friendly performances of certain productions.
Under the same umbrella is the Children’s Theatre in Missoula, which is awesome for teaching kids about the thrill of live theater.
Visit the Missoula Community Theatre to witness dramatic excellence from a great community.
You can come here for a date or a wonderful family outing.
There’s so much excitement and joy at these shows.
Address: 200 N Adams St, Missoula, MT 59802, United States
27. Hip Strip
When you’re looking for funky shops and charming restaurants, check out the “Hip Strip.”
This is a very cool section of town, great to visit early in the day and at night.
Get your money ready, as you’ll have lots of reasons to spend here.
Some of the hippest shops on this strip are Ear Candy Music, Shakespeare & Co., and Bathing Beauties Beads.
The food also deserves plenty of raves.
Among the finest eateries on the Hip Strip are Taco Sano and Hob Knob, a fantastic breakest spot.
You don’t need to spend money when you’re on the Hip Strip, either.
For great free things to do in Missoula, just wander around, seeing what you can, and talking to the business proprietors and other customers.
Address: 501 S Higgins Ave, Missoula, MT 59801, United States
28. Southgate Mall
Another ultimate shopping destination in Missoula is the Southgate Mall.
This is the biggest mall in the western part of the state.
You’ll have more than 100 shops and other businesses to explore.
A day at the Southgate Mall is a day of true therapy, retail or otherwise.
Explore the Southgate Mall’s boutiques and give your wardrobe a boost.
You can also get some great new electronics, and relax at their spa and salon.
When you need some fuel, their food comes through.
You’ll have pizza, ice cream, sandwiches, and more to select from.
The Southgate Mall delivers on what a mall should be.
Try to spend at least a few hours there, so you can really get the full experience.
You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars here, either.
Focus on finding the right things for you or perhaps a loved one.
Address: 2901 Brooks St, Missoula, MT 59801, United States
29. Farmers’ Markets
One great farmers’ market would be worth talking about.
However, this city boasts three.
Try to see at least one of these during your trip, and make room for all three if you can.
These are all open between May and October.
They’re also within walkable distance of one another.
They all form a trio of local goods and pure community heart.
Going to a farmers’ market means really bringing yourself into a community.
Don’t just see it like a quick stop to the store.
All three of these markets are absolutely remarkable, and a fourth one and beyond would be totally welcomed.
Start Planning Your Trip To Missoula
Missoula has beauty, fun, and great people throughout its acres.
There’s art to be found all over, human and nature-made.
Come to this great city to see how incredible Montana and the western United States both are.