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Western Montana


Missoula, Montana

Known as the "Garden City" for its dense trees and lush green landscape, Missoula is nestled in the heart of the northern Rockies in Western Montana. A community of approximately 85,000 residents, Missoula lies in a mountain forest setting where five valleys converge.

Web site: www.MissoulaCVB.org

Major Events and Festivals

March

Saint Patrick’s Day Parade
The Missoula AOH has sponsored the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade since 1994. This event grows every year and includes 30 to 40 entries. AOH fundraises this event and garners the generous support of local businesses to put on the parade. Irish Man and Woman of the Year: Outstanding Irish men and woman are honored at the parade with this award. www.missoula-aoh.org/PARADE.htm

May

Garden City Brewfest

Held the first Saturday in May. This favorite annual event features more than 50 beers on tap, a wine bar, food and live music. $7 gets you a 7-ounce signature tasting glass and two drink tokens - additional tokens are just $1 each. Come early for best selection. Bring your ID and please drink responsibly. www.missouladowntown.com/Brewfest

May - October

Missoula Saturday Market

Held Saturdays May - October. The city of Missoula closes a downtown street for a Saturday craft and food market run by local artisans. Enjoy traffic-free socializing, morning coffee and treats, local crafts, and interesting imports in historic downtown Missoula. www.missoulasaturdaymarket.org

June

Under the Big Sky Arts & Crafts Festival

Held in mid-June. Fine ceramics, photography, glassware, jewelry, paintings and more make up the region’s premiere event with over 100 booths of exquisitely hand-crafted fine art and craft items from artisans nationwide. Also food vendors. www.underthebigsky.net

Garden City River Rod Run

Held in late June. The Annual Garden City River Rod Run will feature nearly 200 classic and hot rod cars and close to 3,000 spectators to Downtown Missoula for the two-day event. www.missouladowntown.com/GCRRR

July

Missoula Street Jam

Held in mid- July. Missoula Street Jam is a three-on-three basketball tournament. Players of all ages and skill levels (as well as male and female squads) participate, from all over the state of Montana. Whether your trio of basketball players want to prove that they are the best team, or if they just want to play, this event is for you. www.missoulachamber.com/events/streetjam.asp

August

Western Montana Fair

Celebrate summer at Missoula's annual fair and rodeo, which features 4-H exhibits, art exhibits, cooking, 4-H livestock sale, a demolition derby, free stage acts, commercial displays, country-western concert and Christian concert. There is a rodeo Thursday through Saturday with live music performances each night. www.westernmontanafair.com

River City Roots Festival

Held in late August. Produced in partnership with a variety of Missoula organizations, the River City Roots Festival is Missoula's annual Signature Event that attracts more than 10,000 individuals to the heart of the community for a variety of fun activities. A celebration of the Missoula experience, this event will feature quality live performances on a big stage on West Main Street with a juried art show, entertainment for children and families, and 4 mile race throughout Downtown. www.rivercityrootsfestival.com

November

Missoula Festival of the Dead

A multicultural community celebration of life, death and the arts. 406.549.2984

December

Macy’s Parade of Lights

Held the first Saturday of December.

First Night Missoula

Held December 31. The annual New Year’s Eve community-wide, alcohol-free celebration of the arts. The celebration will showcase over 100 performances and activities in more than 30 venues throughout downtown Missoula, the University of Montana campus and Southgate Mall. Music, theatre, dance, children’s programs, visual arts, and more highlight this magical day-long event.

www.firstnightmissoula.org/firstnight/

Attractions

Art Galleries

Dragon Tales Puppet Theater

Puppet shows and workshops available for all ages. Puppets made to order. 406.728.6398

Garden City Ballet Company
A nonprofit organization dedicated to providing performance opportunities to promising artists as well as raising money for dance scholarships. 406.243.2875, 406.251.5148

Historical Museum at Fort Missoula

Established in 1975, the museum collects, preserves and interprets the history of Missoula County and western Montana. The museum, on 32 acres at the core of historic Fort Missoula (1877-1947), has an estimated 22,000 objects in its collection, including 13 historic structures. The museum consists of two parts: indoor galleries, with permanent and changing exhibits that cover the period of early exploration through modern times; and outdoor interpretive areas, comprised of original and relocated historic structures that show the life and culture of the region. The museum's major themes are community life, military history and forestry. 406.728.3476, www.Montana.com/ftmslamuseum

Missoula Art Museum

The Missoula Art Museum’s exhibitions showcase diverse and thought-provoking work from local and international artists.  In addition to caring for the Missoula County Art Collection, MAM’s diverse permanent collection is uniquely distinguished by its Contemporary American Indian Art Collection.  MAM develops and hosts over 20 exhibitions annually and is home to quality educational programming including a diverse array of art classes, film screenings, literary readings, music events, artist lectures, exhibition tours, and social receptions. 406-728-0447, www.MissoulaArtMuseum.org

Missoula Children's Theatre
Missoula Children's Theatre is the largest touring children's theater program in the nation, sending 27 teams of actor/directors to more than 900 communities worldwide to stage productions with local children. MCT Inc. also provides a full season of community theater and local children's productions, and operates a performing arts summer camp at Flathead Lake, attended by more than 200 young people from around the world. MCT's summer series, "Broadway in the Rockies," brings professional theater to Missoula June through August. Performances are in the MCT Center for the Performing Arts. 406.728.7529, www.MCTInc.org.

Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Chorale
The Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Chorale present five pairs of concerts annually and offer a variety of outreach activities. The Missoula Symphony Guild provides music scholarships, contributes to the orchestra, and sponsors educational and social events.

Missoula Youth Symphony

A 70- to 80-member group made up of students from Missoula and outlying high schools. A variety of local concerts are performed throughout the year. 406.728.2400

Montana Museum of Art and Culture

The Mission of the Montana Museum of Art & Culture is to actively engage The University of Montana community and a diverse public in the appreciation of arts and culture through collections stewardship, exhibits and programs that educate and enrich.

The Montana Repertory Theater.

The Rep is the professional theater company in residence at the University of Montana. It produces one or two mainstage shows a year, which tour the United States, as well as mini-shows and workshops as part of an educational outreach program. 406.243.5288.

Montana Transport Dance Company
406.243.4481 

Museum of Mountain Flying

The museum was established in 1993 to offer aviation-education programs, as well as to preserve the legends, lore and historical legacy of pilots and others whose pioneering aviation exploits helped bring America's Rocky Mountain West into the air age. The museum contains artifacts relevant to the history of mountain flying in the Rocky Mountains and several restored antique airplanes. 406.721.3644

Northern Rockies Heritage Center

A nonprofit organization housed in the historic district at Fort Missoula. Located on 16 acres of parkland in nine historic buildings. Provides a location for museums, educational and civic organizations and visitor centers. Office space and parade-grounds use offered to qualifying individuals and community groups. Lease space is currently available for nonprofit organizations. Indoor space also available for short-term meetings and events. 406.728.3662, www.nrhc.org

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Wildlife Visitor Center

The center features a world-record elk display, full mounts of grizzly bear, mountain lion, lynx, wolf, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, bison, a cow elk and her newborn calf and more. It also features a wildlife theater, art gallery and gift shop. Extended summer hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends, from Memorial Day through Labor Day; the rest of the year, the doors are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday. Admission is free. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is an international, nonprofit wildlife conservation organization whose mission is to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. 406.523.4545

Rocky Mountain Museum of Military History

The museum promotes the commemoration and study of the U.S. armed forces, from the frontier period to the present, drawing upon a collection of military artifacts and documents. The museum is engaged in restoring the Fort's Great Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps building for use as a permanent headquarters; when completed, the complex will provide permanent exhibition outlets for the vehicle collection of the Northwest National Military Foundation and the rare World War I items of the National Doughboy Historical Society. The museum is now open year-round in Building T310, where it presents a variety of exhibits and programs on military history topics. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays during the fall and winter and noon to 5 p.m. seven days a week from June 1 through Labor Day. The museum welcomes contributions of military and home-front items as well as wartime memoirs. 406.549.5346

Smokejumper Visitor Center

The Visitor Center features exhibits on wildland fire ecology and behavior, current wildland firefighting gear and several videos on smokejumping and aircraft in fighting wildland fire. Check out a reconstructed lookout tower, exhibits of men and women fighting wildfire, historical photos and artifacts and other displays in the center. The Visitor Center is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and five daily tours are available on the hour starting at 10 and 11 a.m., and 2, 3 and 4 p.m. Smokejumpers are trained here, and may lead your tour. 406.329.4934

Recreation

Biking

Montana offers some of the most exciting cycling adventures in the world. Feel the soft summer breeze, smell the scent of fresh pine, and hear the screech of eagles as you pedal through Montana. On a bike you can experience Big Sky Country up close and personal, free from the confinement of a car. What can compare to the thrill of cruising up a mountain trail and watching elk graze or viewing a mountain goat perched high on a cliff? What could match the adventure of visiting historic battlefields, dinosaur digs, or riding along ancient Indian trails? Visit Montana for a cycling adventure of a lifetime. www.MissoulaCVB.org/Biking.php

Camping
If you are looking for a quiet, secluded camp site nestled deep within the most beautiful mountain valley you can imagine, with the wind blowing through the trees and the gentle murmur of a stream just beyond view, you're definately in the right place! Montana's Glacier Country and Northwestern Montana are hiding some of the most incredible camping sites imagineable. Come enjoy the pristine beauty of Holland Lake or the majestic peaks of Glacier National Park. Whatever your tastes, if you like the Great Outdoors, Montana's Glacier Country is the place to be. www.MissoulaCVB.org/Camping.php

Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing

There are hundreds of miles of groomed and non-groomed trails througout the Missoula Area. This area extends into seeley Lake Nordic Run, which is a few miles past Seeley Lake, These runs are used by the Olympic Cross Country teams to train on before the Olympics. Plenty of room for every one and the trails are the very best. 406.329.3750, www.MissoulaCVB.org/XCountry.php

Fishing
Come discover the most pristine, undisturbed waters that nature has to offer. Northwestern Montana offers competitive fishing for the hardcore angler as well as an abundancy of easily accessible streams and rivers for the casual fisherman. Simply step off the side of Highway 200 and fish the deep holes of the Blackfoot River. Take a float trip down the Middle Fork of the Flathead for some of the most difficult yet rewarding fishing offered anywhere in the world. With fishable waters just a step off the road to three day trips into deep, quiet canyons offering peaceful solitude that can be so hard to obtain elsewhere. Northwestern Montana is definately the place for any and all anglers. With well over 200 fishable rivers and streams, Montana's Glacier Country is a truly, unique experience for any angler. For more information on streamflows or outfitters and guides take a look at the resource links below. www.MissoulaCVB.org/Fishing.php

Hiking
Hiking in Montana is possibly the only thing that can go on forever. Endless mountain trails and paths lead into deep hidden valleys and lakes that are just begging to be discovered. Wildlife and beautiful scenery are just a couple of the things that you will find hidden away in Montana's mountains. You can also find things here that are less tangible; Peace, freedom, serenity, and happiness. From overlooking Wildcat lake in the Jewel Basin to standing on the very tip of the continental divide while hiking the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park, Montana's Glacier Country has something to offer hikers of all shapes and sizes. www.MissoulaCVB.org/Hiking.php

Golfing
Hit Some Balls in Western Montana
28 golf courses across western Montana offer summer fun for the public.  www.MissoulaCVB.org/Golfing.php

Rafting

The Missoula Area was know to Indians as "Nemissodatakoo," a Flathead Indian term meaning "by or near the cold chilling waters." At the confluence of the Clark Fork, Blackfoot and Bitterroot Rivers, Missoula lives up to its name. www.MissoulaCVB.org/Rafting.php

Skiing & Snowboarding
Montana Snowbowl - Snowbowl is built on two peaks with a skiable saddle, with two high capacity, double lifts. From top to bottom there's 2600 feet of continuous verticle. And on the backside there is an entirely different world, created with families in mind. 35+ trails and groomed runs, open powder bowls and tree skiing. 1,200 acres on the Lolo National Forest. 20% beginner, 40% intermediate, 40% advanced 700 acres of "extreme" skiing. Snowmaking at lower elevations. 406.549.9777, 800.728.2695, www.MontanaSnowbowl.com

Blacktail Mountain - Nestled above the town of Lakeside along the west shore of Flathead Lake, Blacktail Mountain Ski Area offers the kind of experience you just can't find anywhere else. Surrounded by one thousand acres of National Forest. 24 uncrowded groomed runs await. More than 13 miles of terrain. 360 degree views of the Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park.
3 chairs: 2 doubles, 1 triple and a handle tow. 406.844.0999, www.BlacktailMountain.com

Lost Trail Powder Mountain - \This family owned ski area offers beautiful and uncrowded slopes and is considered the Rocky Mountain's hidden jewel. Experience affordable family skiing from the top of the Continental Divide. Located south of Darby, MT it is close enough and affordable enough to attract all levels of skiers. 406.821.3211, www.LostTrail.com

Lookout Pass - Imagine a ski area of pristine beauty, exceptional snow quality, and a four lane expressway right to the parking lot. At Lookout Pass they are committed to providing you and your family with a great skiing experience. The snow comes early, it snows regularly and our climate results in snow that tends to be light and fun to ski. 208.744.1301, www.SkiLookout.com

Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling in Montana, you'll find some of the longest snowmobile trails in America. You'll have access to thousands of miles of groomed and ungroomed trails. And, you'll meet plenty of other folks who love sledding as much as you do. www.MissoulaCVB.org/Snowmobiling.php