Travel is different now. Over the last few years, we’ve heard from a number of guests who are opting to extend their vacation beyond rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon River and continuing their travels by road tripping around Idaho and Montana. We couldn’t agree more; one of the immense joys of traveling is stepping out of our familiar routines and confines and experiencing something different. We asked a few of our Middle Fork Salmon guides who live in Missoula to share some of their favorite things to do in and around the city. We hope the list will add value to your road trip, or intrigue you to plan your own.

Draught Works Brewery

The best Brewery in Missoula is Draught Works (Draft Works). Since we serve Draught Works beer on our Middle Fork Salmon trips, we may be slightly biased, but locals voted Draught Works the Best Brewery of Missoula since 2018. The brewery offers a variety of beers, delicious food trucks, and our favorite; a large outdoor patio with misters during the summer.

IRJ Guide Local tip: Check out Draught Works music and event calendars, there’s a ton of terrific shows happening every week at the brewery. 

Big Dipper Ice Cream

An iconic handcrafted ice cream store with something for everyone. You’ll know you’re at Big Dipper Ice Cream when you see the line of people. Enjoy the line, it’s part of the experience, and discover why Big Dipper is viewed as the best Ice Cream stand in Missoula.

IRJ Guide Local tip: If you love the Big Dipper ice cream. You can buy pints of the ice cream at local grocery stores.

Hike the M

This steep, semi-strenuous hike up to the “M” on the side of Mount Sentinel offers beautiful and expansive views of Missoula. A great way to see Missoula from above and get some exercise.

Local Tip: If you’re looking for a longer hike, you can continue to the top of the mountain past the “M.” There are several different ways you can go and they’re marked on Google maps. Bring water and a snack to enjoy the beautiful view.

Tagliare Deli

Sandwiches that make you go, “wow.” The quality of the ingredients found in the Tagliare Delicatessen is impressive. From using daily fresh made bread, mouth-watering garlic ailio, to incredible specials named after rock bands. Whether you’re staying in Missoula or driving through, a detour to Tagliare Deli is worth it.

Local tip: Tagliare offers more than delicious Sandwiches. A variety of imported and local seasonings, sauces, and Italian wine can be purchased at the deli.

Kettlehouse Amphitheater

Located on the banks of the Blackfoot River, the Kettlehouse Amphitheater is the premier concert venue in not just Montana, but the US. Besides the incredible views and atmosphere, the venue has an impressive lineup of musicians every year. View the Logjam calendar for the best information: Log Jam Presents

Local tip: We highly recommend taking the shuttle service from downtown Missoula at the Top Hat Restaurant and Bar to the Kettlehouse Amphitheater. It’s by far the easiest and most fun way to get to and from the event. Learn about the best way to get to the Kettlehouse Amphitheater

Visit the National Bison Range

A bit outside of Missoula (1 Hour), the National Bison Range is an amazing wildlife experience. At $10 dollars per car, it takes about 2-3 hours to complete the loop. The views are amazing, and you have an opportunity to see deer, elk, bear, bison, and many types of birds. Along the drive, you can get out and hike along designated trails. Visiting the Bison range is well worth the trip if you’re looking for an incredible wildlife experience.

Walk Downtown & View the Surf Wave

Discover the sights, sounds, and pace of Missoula by walking downtown and along the river. Missoula has many easy paved paths that follow the river and go into town. Start at Caras Park, there’s a good chance something fun will be happening around the park, then walk towards Brennan’s Wave and watch surfers and kayakers play on the man-made feature in the river. From the observation point above Brennans, pick a direction and go. Enjoy the walk and the interesting people around.

Local tip: If you have any experience surfing an ocean wave, you’ll love seeing this river wave and may want to try it. Visit Love Boat Paddle to rent a surfboard.

Eat, Drink Downtown

Downtown offers a great window into the culture of what makes Missoula, Missoula. A melting pot of different ideas and sometimes rather strange sights, but also an incredible variety of foods, music, and entertainment. Here’s a quick list of some of our favorite downtown sites.

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