Nestled in the Northern Rockies, Missoula is an ideal base to explore the lush forests and expansive mountain ranges that pave the horizon. From scenic trails across national parks to skiing slopes, Missoula did not become the Mecca of outdoor recreation out of thin air. But what if rain stops your outdoor adventurers and keeps you from wandering off mountain trails and soaking up the sights? Even if clouds pile up above your head, there is a silver lining, as this laid-back town in western Montana is more than a magnet for nature lovers. With as many historical landmarks as cultural venues to explore, here are four great things to keep you busy in Missoula on a rainy day.
Hop back in time at the Fort Missoula Museum
Several Missoula landmarks allow history buffs to step back in time. Established in 1975 by community effort to save what remained of this 1877 historic building, the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula invites visitors to glimpse at the past of western Montana. With a collection boasting as many as 24,000 objects and artifacts, the museum spans centuries of Missoula history from early exploration to modern times. Visitors can find out about the establishment of this military post amid the Indian Wars, but also learn more about World War II internment camps. Rotating exhibits also tackle some thought-provoking historical topics, while educational events welcome kids and families throughout the year. And if rain has calmed down during your visit, you may as well hit the road and head east to explore the well-preserved ghost town of Garnet.
Go beer tasting at a local brewery
Aren’t you weary of sipping the same old beer? If you feel like expanding your horizons and pleasing your taste buds, all the same, you can visit one of several craft breweries around town. From quality Bavarian Lagers to traditional English Ales, Missoula has all it takes to satisfy all of you beer lovers out there. You may sign up for a brewery tour or rub elbows with local Missoulians and push the door open of a downtown taproom, many of which offer a range of tasty brews and some yummy snacks to boot. What’s more, local breweries might just be the perfect spot for University of Montana fans to get in on the action of a Griz game.
Get your entertainment fix
Missoula knows its way around rainy-day distractions, too. Visitors might check out what’s playing at the Wilma Theatre and the lavish Art Deco-style Roxy. Avid gamers also have more than a few arcades and fun centers to visit, while gamblers may aim for the jackpot at local venues like the Gray Wolf Peak Casino. With dozens of Penny machines, this small slot casino is a fun stopover on a gloomy afternoon. But if you’re on a somewhat tight budget, you can find thousands more free slots to play for fun online. The world’s biggest slots library is only a click away. Ranging from 3D animated slots to classic games, online slots cover a wide array of themes and styles. And free casino games are compatible with all devices, so you can have a blast anywhere and anytime.
Have fun with the kids
Missoula has no shortage of kids-friendly activities for families to spend a rainy day. An interactive museum, the spectrUM Discovery Area is a science center full of hands-on exhibits for children and parents to explore. Better yet, this educational venue offers free admission to all. Another spot that hits the mark across multiple generations, the Children’s Museum offers many creative settings for kids to enjoy. This activity center has even partnered with the local carousel to offer an all-day pass. A true kid’s paradise, fully hand-carved A Carousel for Missoula boasts 38 horses and two chariots. Kids might also have fun at Dragon Hollow, a magical playland next to the carousel.
Visitors coming to Missoula might expect to make the most of the great outdoors. From hiking the Blue Mountain to going fly-fishing like Brad Pitt in the 1992 motion picture “A River Runs Through It,” nature enthusiasts can have a field day in the scenic Rocky Mountains. But rainy days can be equally as fun in Missoula. So, whether you’d rather go museum-hopping or catch a game sipping a local brew, you have plenty of options to choose from.