The New Student’s Guide to Missoula’s Art Scene


Congratulations. You may not know it now, but you picked an awesome place to go to school. Of course, you probably noticed that driving into to town. The tree lined streets, the mountains, the river running through the center of town. Missoula is beautiful, but there’s more to Griz Nation than the natural beauty and great football.

Missoula is the cultural center of Montana, consistently outperforming other cities in the region when it comes to art, music and fun. It’s why Huffington Post recently declared Missoula one of the Top 20 places to Visit in your 20’s, why Outdoor magazine rates us as one of the 16 Greatest Places to Live in America, and why Livability put us on the list of the Top 100 Places to Live in America.

To help you get acquainted with your new town, here’s a short list of awesomeness. Keep in mind this is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out MissoulaEvents.Net and the Missoula Cultural Council to stay up on all art, music, and festivals you don’t want to miss.

Welcome to Missoula.


roxy interior-w800-h800Big Sky Documentary Film Festival – The festival takes place over the course of a week in February featuring some of the most innovative documentaries from across the nation. They also happen to be a qualifier for the Oscars in some categories. But you don’t have to wait until February to enjoy it. BSDFF keeps the quality coming all year long with weekly screenings of award winning documentaries every Monday night at the Top Hat.

Downtown Missoula / More Info

The Roxy Theater – Home to the International Wildlife Film Festival, this is Missoula’s community cinema screening films you won’t see anywhere else. Whether you’re a diehard cinemaphile or just looking for something different the Roxy has you covered. You can catch an indie film, a kung fu movie marathon, or even broadcasts of performances from the London National Theater and the New York Metropolitan Opera.

718 S. Higgins Ave. / More Info



Live Music – Missoula is packed with musicians and bands playing everything from bluegrass to death metal and all points in between. Catch the best local talent at Stage 112, Monk’s Bar, and the Top Hat Lounge. Not 21 yet? Head to the Northside and check out Missoula’s best all ages venue, ZACC below.

More Info

Missoula Symphony – You’ve made it here, you’re on your own and the law considers you an adult. It’s time to class it up a bit. World renowed conductor Darko Butorac leads an outstanding symphony with a season full of unique and moving performances. With tickets often starting as low as $15 (in the cheap seats), it’s the perfect date night on a budget.

More Info


First Fridays – Over 30 galleries, museums, coffee shops, breweries, and other businesses open their doors from 5 to 8 on the first Friday of every month showcasing artists from every discipline and style. It’s easily one of the biggest art events in Montana and it happens every single month. Head downtown on October 3rd to catch the next one, and if you’re not sure where to go, the Missoula Cultural Council puts out a monthly Gallery Guide to steer you in the right direction.

10201123060479005-w800-h800Downtown Missoula / More Info

Art on Tap – Not content to just look at art? Grab a drink, grab a brush, and have fun! That’s the motto of Missoula’s Art on Tap, a two hour class happening at wineries, breweries and bars across town. Whether you’re an art major, or can barely draw a stick figure, Art on Tap will guide you from blank canvas to finished masterpiece – and you get to drink while you do it!

More Info

Missoula Art Museum – Located in the heart of downtown Missoula, the MAM boasts an impressive 8 galleries contstantly running exhibitions of the best contemporary and modern art you’ll find in the region. You don’t have to be an art history major to appreciate the beautiful, the stunning, the provocative works that hang on these walls. And the best part? Admission is always free.

335 N. Pattee St. / More Info

To learn more about the event and Frontier Space Missoula, check out the Missoula Cultural Council’s blog.


Matt Anglen HeadshotMatt Anglen is a prodigal Missoulian who has returned to the valley after a brief stint as a starving artist in the Windy City. He is currently the Program Director for the Missoula Cultural Council and lives with his wife and son at the base of Mount Jumbo.