Downtown Missoula Welcomes All For Amazing Holiday Happenings

With a showcase of many different holiday activities, Downtown Missoula will be the place to be for the 2021 Holiday Season. The Downtown Missoula Partnership and its member organizations are providing a variety of experiences for people of all ages throughout the coming weeks. Here’s the overview:


A long-standing national promotion by American Express, Shop Small Saturday was converted to Shop Small Season last year, and Missoulians love to support locally-owned businesses. Downtown businesses are extending their hours of operation, offering special promotions, and providing personal touches and connections. This year features Small Business Saturday on both November 27 and December 4, and shoppers are encouraged to visit Shop Small Headquarters at the PaddleHeads Post (140. N Higgins). As always, Downtown Gift Cards are a great way to support small businesses and can be purchased online (, at the DMP Office (218 E. Main) and at the Paddleheads Post.


For the 24th year in a row, the Missoula Festival of Trees features decorated Christmas Trees for 10 days – November 26 to December 5. With 10 different locations throughout Downtown Missoula, the Tour of Trees is free, and anyone can purchase raffle tickets to win one or more of the beautifully-decorated trees. Raffle tickets are $3 each and can be purchased at the tree locations, as well as the Downtown Missoula Partnership office. The winning tickets will be drawn and the trees will be delivered on Monday, Dec. 6. Tree locations include: Frame of Mind, Bitterroot Flower Shop, Clyde Coffee, Missoula Bicycle Works, Board of Missoula, Mary’s Mountain Cookies, One Eleven, Residence Inn by Marriott, the Missoula Public Library, and Worden’s Market. Due to the pandemic, the DMP will offer Teddy Bear Tea Kits (instead of tea parties) for online purchase and mailing here:

Instead of a large gathering for a single event, this year’s Lighting of the Tree will take place every night at 6 pm from November 26 through December 5. The Downtown Holiday Tree has new Christmas lights and a brand-new 5-foot star topper, thanks to the Missoula Downtown Foundation and Washington Companies. The Downtown Holiday Tree is located on North Higgins next to the Red XXXXs.


Santa Claus will make his debut in Downtown Missoula this year at 1pm on Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Missoula Public Library (455 E. Main). Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the Library for visits and photos from 1-4 pm.


Because Missoula-area hospitals and their employees are still dealing with significant Covid cases, the Downtown Missoula Partnership will offer a REVERSE Parade of Lights on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 4-8 pm on Higgins Avenue. Floats will be parked curbside on Higgins from Main to Alder, and parade attendees can view the floats from the comfort of their car. Alternatively, families can park and walk to view the floats or ride the electric Mountain Line bus (mask required). All streets will remain open, and the floats will be on display for four hours.


Thanks to the generosity of Downtown businesses and the Resort at Paws Up, horse-drawn carriage rides will be available December 4-5 and December 11-12. Offered free of charge, the horses and carriage will be located at the Missoula Art Park (corner of E. Pine & Pattee) from 11am-4pm.


For more than 25 years, Downtown businesses go all out to decorate their windows with the hope of winning one of six awards given annually, alongside cookies from Bernice’s Bakery. Following several visits to Downtown to view all the beautifully-decorated windows, Missoulians can vote for their favorite windows from December 1-15 online here:


Each year the Downtown Missoula Partnership and Missoula Urban Forestry staff prepare and mount nearly 150 Christmas decorations on the streetlights of Downtown. The candlesticks and trees are nearly 40 years old, and the white snowflakes were acquired in 2007. Last year the Missoula Downtown Foundation invested in new garland and white lights to wrap around 90 street lights in Downtown. The holiday décor brightens up Downtown Missoula during the darkest days of winter, making Downtown an inviting and welcoming destination for all.

“It takes a lot of time, energy and resources to build out such a robust holiday season,” said Ashley Larkin, President of the Missoula Downtown Association Board of Directors. “Our staff and volunteers do so much to bring holiday spirit and life to our community, and we are grateful for our partnerships with local businesses and non-profits to make the magic happen. This long-term pandemic has had a dramatic impact on everyone in our community, and Downtown Missoula is a place where we can all come together safely to celebrate the holidays and support our neighbors and friends.”

For more information on Downtown Missoula Holiday Happenings, visit or connect with the Downtown Missoula Partnership staff via phone (406-543-4238), in person (218 E. Main) or by email (