Nestled in the Rocky Mountain grandeur of western Montana, Missoula is the hub of five valleys and three major rivers - the Blackfoot, the Bitterroot and the Clark Fork. Roughly halfway between Glacier and Yellowstone national parks, Missoula is a blend of small-town charm and big-city sophistication.
One of the first things visitors notice is how friendly people are here. With about 60,000 residents and visitors from around the globe, the city has an increasingly diverse population. On summer Saturdays, Missoulians congregate at the Farmer's Market for fresh produce, coffee and conversation. Year-round, they meet on the recreational trails that run alongside the river through the heart of downtown and past campus. Hiking, bicycling, fly fishing, river rafting and skiing are all big here.
Local restaurants serve up everything from steak and potatoes to Thai noodles, while an array of coffeehouses, pubs, nightclubs and movie theaters provide diversion. Residents come from around the region to shop the city's department and discount stores, shopping mall and specialty boutiques. Missoula boasts a thriving downtown. It's no wonder that the book "How to Get an Ivy League Education at a State University" called Missoula "a Rocky Mountain Berkeley ... the kind of place many people hate to leave."