December in Downtown Missoula: The Best Place to Be for the Holidays


Downtown Missoula is a special place during the holiday season with exceptional shopping, dining and entertainment for everyone in the family. When you spend your time and money in Downtown Missoula, your dollars stay in in our community and circulate through the local economy an average of four times more.

This year Downtown is the destination for several activities and events for Missoulians and our guests to enjoy in the heart of the community. Activities include, but are not limited to:

  • The 15th Annual Missoula Festival of Trees will be December 5-7 at the Holiday Inn Downtown. Enjoy the Tour of Trees, holiday Wine & Pine, and Teddy Bear Tea throughout the weekend.
  • Grizzly Football Helment. Photo by Austin Smith for Make It Missoula.First Friday Gallery Night on Friday, Dec. 6 from 5-8 pm. This is a great time for shopping, meeting local and regional artists, wine tasting and dining in the core.
  • The Missoula Symphony Orchestra will showcase its annual Holiday Pops Concert December 7-8 at UM’s Dennison Theater.
  • The Grizzly Football Team will host an NCAA Football Championship second-round game on Saturday, December 7 at high noon at UM’s Washington-Grizzly Stadium. Tickets can be found online at Griz Tix.
  • The Missoula MADE Fair will be Sunday, December 8 from 11 am-6 pm and has been moved to a larger space at the UM Adams Center, where parking is free on weekends.
  • Christmas Music. Photo courtesy of Missoula Downtown Association.The Wilma Theater is hosting Chris the Rapper on Thursday, December 12 and the Cold Hard Cash & Cigarette Girls Burlesque Show on Friday, December 13. Tickets for both events can be purchased at Rockin’ Rudy’s in Downtown Missoula.
  • The Garden City Ballet will be performing the 29th annual production of The Nutcracker December 13-15 at the UM Montana Theatre.
  • The Missoula Community Theatre is featuring Willy Wonka this season with performances December 13-15 and 18-22 at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts.
  • FREE visits with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Photo courtesy of Missoula Downtown Association.The String Orchestra of the Rockies will host its Winter Solstice Concert on Sunday, December 15 at the UM Music Recital Hall.
  • Santa’s Breakfast will be held at A Carousel for Missoula on Saturday, December 21 from 9-10:30 am.

The Missoula Downtown Association will host its annual MDA Christmas Party on Wednesday, December 11 from 5-7 pm, and all members are required to confirm attendance via phone (543-4238) or email by December 6. Additionally, the MDA and its partners – the Downtown BID and the Missoula Parking Commission – are also offering the following:

  • Downtown will also feature Free Visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Liquid Planet (223 N. Higgins) on December 14-15 and December 21-22.
  • FREE Horse Drawn Carriage Rides by the Resort at Paws Up. Photo courtesy of Missoula Downtown Association.Paws Up will provide Free Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides on Saturdays and Sundays from 2-7 pm on East Pine Street December 14-15 and December 21-22.
  • The MSO HUB (140 N. Higgins) will offer Free Gift Wrapping throughout the month of December with tips going to local non-profit organizations in Missoula.

There are a wide variety of other activities taking place in Downtown Missoula this month, including art shows, art classes, dance classes, trivia nights, wine tastings, fitness classes, live musical performances at local bars and breweries, concerts, movies, book readings, children’s play time, adult events, as well as lots of shopping and dining throughout the month.

Lit Christmas Tree in Downtown Missoula. Photo Courtesy of MDA. Finally, the month – and the year – will close with the 20th annual First Night Missoula, the Garden City’s annual non-alcoholic New Year’s Eve Celebration of the Arts. Buttons can be purchased for $15 each at a variety of locations, including the MDA office at 218 East Main Street, and the full event schedule can be found online. More than 100 performance groups will entertain the masses throughout Downtown and on the UM Campus with the Grand Finale taking place at the University Center. Folks can choose entertainment by the Drum Brothers in the UC Commons or the Ed Norton Big Band in the UC Ballroom.

December is a special time of year, and Downtown Missoula is the place to be this holiday season.