Welcome to Fifty Grande’s Best of the U.S. Bucket List series. This is your one-stop travel guide to the best, most unique and quintessential experiences of a city, state or event. Curated by experts, vetted by in-the-know locals, this is all you need to have the best trip ever. If we’ve written a Bucket List, we recommend you go. If it’s on this list, it’s the best the city has to offer right now. Consider this your one-stop answer to “What are the best things to do in Missoula, Montana?”
A small college town in Big Sky Country, Missoula is beloved by fly fishers, skiers, ranchers, conservationists and hippies for its easygoing pace and generous access to wilderness. In winter, snowcaps cover the two nearest mountains, Jumbo and Sentinel, which in summer are bright with sage and bitterroot flowers. The city’s location in a valley at the foot of the Rocky Mountains might draw the obvious comparisons to Boise or Boulder, but Missoula (affectionately known as Zootown to locals) still has the magic of a well-kept secret, delighting anyone who’s ever spent a week, a night or even driven through. Steinbeck said, “For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love.” Come to Missoula to see what he meant.