So if you have company in march, and you want to impress your company with the idea that missoula is the best place in the world, what would you do?
I think the warmer months are much easier with the farmers market and out to lunch.
I can think of the carousel and all of the stories that go with it.
I remember about 15 years ago a friend came to town in winter and we went out for about three hours ..... I think it was a couple of weeks before christmas and she wanted to do some christmas shopping. It just worked out that I must have bumped into every friend I had, and, of course, they were lovely people. And we went to some super funky shops (a garden shop downtown and rockin rudy's). And when we were in a funky toy store downtown, there was andie macdowell hollering for her kids to hurry up.
Well, you can't arrange for all of your friends to wait for you downtown, let alone get andie macdowell.
I faced a similar situation when my mother visited in March of 2008. I was recovering from minor surgery and was somewhat laid up, so the outdoor activities that abound near Missoula were out of the question.
I was able to walk for a few miles however, so we did a walking tour of the city. This was actually really nice and was a great way to experience how well Missoula blends the city with nature. We started at the Holiday Inn Parkside, where she was staying and tromped over to the University. Then on down the Kim Williams for a bit. An hour or so later, we were at the Double Tree watching a fisherman pull cutthroats from the Clark Fork with warm drinks in our bellies. That was a nice afternoon.
Of course, if you can get out and your visitors are active, country skiing is great at Pattee Canyon, at Lolo Pass, in the Rattlesnake (if there's snow), and up the Blackfoot, from Johnsrud east/north up the river pretty much as far as you want to go (there is motorized traffic here).
First Friday is a downtown wide party where almost every business that supports art opens its doors for an exhibit and has free wine and snacks. It's fun. You just walk from gallery to gallery and check out the scene. Definitely worth attending, especially as it changes each month. Happens on the first Friday of each month from 5-8 ish. FYI restaurants are packed at 8, so get food early!
I asked this same question earlier this year on a list where, it turns out, is not a very appropriate place to ask this sort of thing.
But! I got loads of responses!
Paul, You may want to check out the Silk Road on the Hip Strip for some dinner. It's excellent and tapas-based. Also, Scotty's Table below the Wilma is great too. Both these places are decorated really cool as well and the people who own them are top-notch. Of course, same goes for Biga Pizza. And nothing could top some truffles or hot chocolate at Posh Chocolat downtown. Jason and Ana, over the past few years, have won numerous awards for the best truffles in the US!
I mean, hello? Erotic Massage 101 anyone? JC Superstar, or Hump Day Bingo could work as well. Anything at the Wilma is cool too.
Jerry Johnson hot springs!
Snowbowl is a world-class mountain. Head up there, even if it's only for a bloody mary or three. (best in town.)
Here's a good one-- stroll into Posh Chocolat on Higgins around lunch time. Get yourself a yummy bowl of soup (Caldo Verde is my favorite) and maybe a crepe. Their hot chocolate is the best in town and made with real chocolate...and then order a few truffles from behind the glass. Ana and Jason are the chef-owners and friends. Good people.
Another key one-- if you don~t have cross-country gear, rent for $8 at Brady's Surplus in the Trempers mall and then head up to Lolo Pass Cross Country Area. Maybe take a dip in the Lolo Hot Springs on your way home....or stop by the Lumberjack, a bar up Grave Creek Road off of the 12 just outside of Lolo. Really cool old bar with great burgers.
(1) Climb to the top of Waterworks Hill. (2) Look down.
Gluten free pizza at the Bridge (or Biga Pizza I hear now too). Gluten free beer! out-at Sean Kelly's. The Smokejumper center really does have a fabulous tour. good luck!
Go cross-country skiing in Pattee Canyon. Go for a drive up 93 to see the silhouette of the Mission Mountains in the alpenglow at sunset. Go to dinner at Pearl. Go to one of the great experimental theater productions at The Crystal and have tapas at Silk Road during intermission. Hike up Rattlesnake Creek along the creek. Go ice skating at the ice rink.
Go for a moonlit walk along the rattlesnake if nighttime skies are clear. Park beyond the main trailhead and park in front of the gate to the closed horse park trail head just a bit further up the road. Take traction devices incase it is slick
Garden City Harvest pint night at the Kettlehouse northside tonight. Good people, good cause, good beer. Also, a ski at Lolo Pass with a stop at "The Lumberjack" on the way back (turn at Graves Creek Road)...or ski at Lolo pass, night at the Lochsa Lodge and soak at Jerry Johnson or Weir Hot Springs. Good luck.
Snowshoeing/x-country skiing up pattee canyon!
I think you should go to the northside Kettlehouse tonight (5-8 PM) and have a locally brewed beer that supports (tonight) Garden City Harvest, www.gardencityharvest.org which in my opinion is one of the finest things about Missoula...and of course the Kettlehouse is a good selling point, though I may be showing my ignorance about the presence of wheat in beer…they make incredibly good root beer too, though I have heard it is not available at the northside location…
Well, there is cross country skiing, snow shoeing up one of the beautiful drainages, local hot springs natural and developed, art galleries, lots of amazing yoga classes including Bikram (hot yoga), lots of great live music, ... That is all I can think of for now
1) Outdoors activities 2) First Fridays 3) Missoula Urban Demonstration project 4) My friend Grace's bands: Cash For Junkers and Broken Valley Road show, both can be found on facebook.