Missoula, a town of about 75,000, is a cultural enigma in that its blending of stark contrasts pleasantly defines the region rather than detracts from it. It's hard to imagine that the state with the lowest average per capita income in the nation, yet with the third highest per capita taxation rate, could produce the level of excellence or contentment that permeates everyday life here. A town where 25 year old MacAllan scotch is readily available, and where the University produces the fourth highest rate of Rhodes Scholars of any public school in the nation, it's also the place where, when the 370 drinking establishments in town close down at 2 a.m., you can go to the landmark Oxford Cafe and have the waitress place your order for a plate of brains and eggs by shouting over the noise of the live poker games in progress, "he needs 'em!!!"
Known as the banana belt of Montana, Missoula area winters are not nearly as harsh as you might expect. Lasting snow usually occurs in December and stays on the ground until early March. January and February are typically the coldest months. The kicker about Montana weather, and Missoula in particular is that you can never count on anything. We've been fishing in t-shirts in February, and likewise been snowed on, big time, in July.
The summer season produces daytime highs in the 80's and 90's with the evening temperatures dropping back into the 50's or 60's. One thing that seems to constantly amaze people that come here is the length of a summer day. You can still see your dryfly at 10:15 p.m. in late June and early July! No matter when you visit Montana, bring clothing that will prepare you for anything! For our suggestions on what to bring, click here.
Missoula has a huge diversity of restaurants, bars and nightclubs for every taste. From locally raised prime rib beef to sushi, just pick your poison! The same can also be said for the bar scene. The one thing that can generally be said about the bars here is that whether you're in a biker bar or a cowboy bar, people are almost always laid back and friendly, even if your outward appearance doesn't quite fit in! During the summer there are lots of free outdoor concerts and any number of paid performance options. If none of these options appeal to you, you can always go back to the motel, watch the Brady Bunch Marathon and fall asleep in Twinkie crumbs.
Aside from the great fishing Missoula has to offer, there are plenty of other things to do while you're here. The national headquarters for both the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Boone and Crockett are here in Missoula as well as a number of museums and art galleries. The expansive University Campus is worth a look in and of itself and routinely has free lectures and paid concerts ranging from The Rolling Stones to Carrie Underwood (and everything in between . . .thank god). There is a large shopping mall and several smaller ones as well as two sporting clays courses and a trap and skeet range all within a short drive of Missoula. The National Bison Range has a one or two hour drive through tour for extensive wildlife viewing and the national smokejumper center is located in Missoula since smokejumping originated here. If you'd like more information, you can e-mail us here or contact the Missoula Chamber of Commerce (406) 543 6623.