Montana may seem like a far-off, even magical place, full of untouched wilderness and friendly people. But we can assure you it’s very real and it’s closer than you might think. Located in western Montana, Missoula is home to the state’s flagship university, the University of Montana, as well as several world-class hospitals and medical facilities. Above all else, people love living in Missoula because it offers unparalleled access to nature — residents love to hike, bike, fish, golf, ski, snowshoe and every other outdoor activity you can dream of. Missoula has retained a small-town atmosphere with a population of roughly 70,000. The economy is stable and growing, the quality of life is off the charts and it’s a great place to raise a family — need we say more?
Top Industries and Employers: The University of Montana, several healthcare facilities, the U.S. Forest Service and the local school district are the largest employers in Missoula.
Best Coffee Shop: Bernice’s Bakery, which has been a Missoula staple since 1973. Grab a cupcake to go with your coffee and sit outside on the sun-soaked patio.
Best Local Beer/Brewery: Delicious beers? Check. Food trucks? Check. Live Music? Check. Draught Works is the place to be in Missoula when you’re craving an IPA. Plus, their patio is open year-round.
Must-Have Meal: Whatever the rotator burger is at Wally & Buck, a tasty burger joint that never disappoints.
Best Co-Working Space: C3 WorkLounge, which has personalized memberships for entrepreneurs, consultants, micro-businesses, remote workers and more.
Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): Whether you need to finish up some last-minute work or you’re ready to unwind with a few arcade games, Gild Brewing has you covered. There are three floors to choose from, each with its own bar. And you can get “Mexican-inspired drinking food” no matter your mood.
Creative Hub: For a hands-on experience, pay a visit to Create Art Bar, a woman-owned DIY arts and crafts space where you can choose from 15 projects like string art or felt succulents.
Favorite Weekend Activity: Grab your four-legged friends and head to Jacobs Island Bark Park, a six-acre dog park along the Clark Fork River. Head to the Clark Fork River Market for some fresh-baked bread, flowers and other shopping. Finish the day with a concert at The Wilma.
Free Way to Have Fun: Take the family to Dragon Hollow, an absolutely massive inclusive play area with a three-headed dragon. On certain days, the nearby carousel is free for kids to ride, too.
Local Dream Job: Wolf technician for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, a seasonal position that involves driving around, hiking and sometimes camping to conduct wolf surveys.
- Sarah Kuta