A WEEKEND IN MISSOULA, MT

36 hours in the garden city.

Photo by Mack Reed.

Fall in Missoula is Montana's best kept secret. The mornings are chilly, perfect for wrapping yourself up in a blanket and enjoying a steamy cup of coffee on the porch. The afternoons are bright, sunny, and usually warm enough to walk amongst the leaves in a light jacket. 

We have created the ultimate weekend guide for your visit to Missoula, full of our favorite activities and secret spots. 

We've been feeling the travel bug hard, and after our founder, Noelle's, trip to Denmark, we couldn't resist creating a fun itinerary for your va- or stay-cation! 

We also want to acknowledge that Covid remains a threat to our community. If this article inspires you to explore any of these places, please remember to stay socially distanced and to wear your masks when inside. 

Friday Evening

A burger, a beer, a walk across the bridge, and a big ol' ice cream cone.

Grab a spot on the patio at Top Hat and have a burger and a beer, if you're lucky there just might be some live music. Don't worry if it's a little chilly, they have heaters (and maybe they'll bring the bubbles back this winter!).

After dinner, walk down to Caras Park to get a view of the river, be sure to check if there are any surfers on the wave! This is the perfect spot to sip a beverage and talk about the rest of your weekend plans.

Head across the Higgins bridge to grab another drink at Gild, a funky little brewpub with an arcade in the basement! If you're not into beer, don't worry; they have alcohol free kombucha on tap as well!

End the evening with a trip to quite possibly the best ice cream spot in the West, Big Dipper. Don't get overwhelmed with their list of flavors, there's plenty of opportunities to come back and try each one! My all time favorite is the cardamom, perfect for fall.

Photo from Big Dipper Missoula twitter.

Photo by Mackenzie Reed

Photo from Aikos Instagram.

Saturday Morning

A quick hike, a damn good cup of coffee, and a trip to the farmer's market.

Start your morning with a walk along the Water Works trail on the North side of town. There are few loops you can choose, the shorter one will give you a stunning view of the entire city. The longer loop will take you past an old, crumbling homestead. 

After your hike, stop by Black Coffee and grab a cup of joe to go. They have some of the best pastries from Grist bakery so if you're a little hungry, I recommend grabbing an almond croissant. 

Walk through town to the Clark Fork Farmer's Market, one of the best farmer's markets I've ever been to. Be sure to stop and grab a bouquet from our favorite flower sellers at the very beginning of the market loop. You honestly can't go wrong with anything you pick from the market, but two of our all time favorite spots are Morning Birds Bakery for cruffins, and Aikos for mochi donuts.

Saturday Afternoon

A walk down Front Street and a trip to the Hip Strip.

After you've gotten your fill of fresh veggies and good food, head on up to Front Street to do some serious shopping. Stop by APORTA Shop, obviously, and say hello to all of us! Pop across the street to The General Public for all your cozy fall clothing needs. 

Head back across the Higgins bridge towards the area of town known as the Hip Strip. Stop in at Betty's Divine to see the latest crop of fabulous vintage goodies, and then head over to Shakespeare and Co to grab a book, or two or three!

Keep heading up Higgins and stop in at one of our favorite new shops in town, Sunday School, to pick up a fresh pair of kicks. End your shopping extravaganza with a trip to the newly renovated Clyde Coffee, our all time favorite coffee shop in Missoula. This would be a perfect time to try the next flavor on your list at Big Dipper, too!

Photo by Mackenzie Reed.

Saturday Evening

A feast fit for a king.

After your whirlwind day of hiking and shopping, you should definitely take a nap. Go ahead, you deserve it!

But after that, head over to one of our favorite restaurants in the city, The Camino. Be sure to get the corn. And the beans. And the escabeche. And the tacos. And the churros. You're gonna over order and that's okay!

You have two options for your next move: end your evening with a night cap from Plonk, or head back over to Big Dipper for another cone!

Photo from The Camino instagram.

Sunday Morning

One more hike, a sweet treat, and a big decision to make.

You can sleep in today! A little bit, at least. Once you're awake, head over to the University of Montana campus to hike to the top of the M trail. Be sure to take plenty of breaks along the way to get in some gorgeous views of the valley! 

After your trek, head over Golden Yolk Griddle to get perhaps the greatest breakfast burrito of your life. If you don't make it on the hike, don't even worry! Golden Yolk delivers within the city!

From here, you have two options...

Photo from Golden Yolk Griddle instagram.

Photo by Mackenzie Reed

Sunday Afternoon

A choice, a chicken, and a chilly dip.

Option 1: Head to Tagliare and grab some sammies to go. Make sure to grab a pickle or two! Get in the car and drive two hours outside of town to Holland Falls. It's a quick little trek up to the top of the falls for an absolutely breath taking view. If you're feeling adventurous, take a dip in the lake on the way back down! 

Option 2: Take a self-guided brewery tour of Missoula! Missoula has a fantastic craft beer scene that shouldn't be missed. Be sure to stop by Imagine Nation Brewing to try some of the best IPAs in the country. Walk a few blocks to Draught Works for a bit of a larger selection, there's sure to be something to please everyone! End the day at Cranky Sam's Public House. Bring a deck of cards and hang out on the patio while you get a corn dog from Wish Bone, the best food truck in Missoula!

October 21, 2021 — Mackenzie Reed