Putting Missoula on the Flight Map

We’ve known for years that Missoula is one of America’s best-kept secrets, but it seems that other people are starting to realize it too and Missoula airport has never been busier. Record numbers of people came through the airport in 2023, a clear indication that our beautiful city is establishing itself as a destination for business and tourism.

Let’s take a look at just what’s brought about this surge in popularity and the options for tourists looking to fly into Missoula.

Missoula makes its mark

Tourism is big business in Montana as a whole – 12.5 million people visited the state last year, spending over $5 billion – and Missoula is one of the most popular destinations. Over 3,700 jobs in the it are related to tourism, generating around $300 million of economic activity for the area.

While the city has always been a draw for tourists looking for that elusive mix of urban and rural, the development of the airport and an increase in the number of operators flying into the city has helped the tourism industry to flourish.

Missoula International Airport (MSO). Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.


Happy landings in Missoula

Missoula is becoming increasingly well-connected thanks to the expansion and modernization of its airport over recent years. Part one of the development is already complete and the second phase is underway, promising an expanded baggage claim area, a rental car center, and extra gates.

Travelers looking to visit Missoula can expect to find a bargain if they’re prepared to spend a little time shopping around, as there are plenty of deals to be had via online booking agencies. Make sure to search offers on eDreams before your next visit to make sure you keep as much cash as possible for spending in our stunning city!

Six carriers currently fly from Missoula Montana airport – Alaska Air, Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta, Sun Country Airlines and United – operating non-stop flights to 14 destinations within the US including Seattle, Denver, Dallas and Las Vegas. There are plans for an additional low-cost airline to join the line-up in 2024, meaning there will be more routes in and out of the city than ever before.

Making the most of the great outdoors

Once you’ve landed and made your way into Missoula it’s obvious why it’s so popular with tourists and visitor numbers are on the up – it’s not called the Garden City for nothing after all.

In the summer, the nearby Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountains offer plenty of hiking, camping, and other ‘off-the-beaten-track’ opportunities while the Clark Fork River, which bisects the city, is great for kayaking, rafting, and fishing. Mountain bikers can explore miles of scenic trails in the surrounding mountains, while hikers can discover hidden waterfalls and pristine alpine lakes.

When winter arrives, Missoula becomes a gateway to some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the Rockies. The nearby Snowbowl Ski Area and Lost Trail Powder Mountain are popular destinations for winter sports enthusiasts and just a short drive away is Glacier National Park – an absolute must for any winter itinerary.

More to Missoula than mountains!

Although it’s natural that people are initially drawn to Missoula for the outdoor lifestyle and high-adrenaline activities, many of our visitors are very pleasantly surprised to find that we have a lot more going on than just the great outdoors! We’re lucky enough to be home in Missoula to the University of Montana, and this adds a youthful energy and vibrancy to the city. The lively downtown area is full of shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions, making it a fun place to visit regardless of how much you like hiking and fishing.

Celtic Festival Missoula, MT

Missoula is certainly not short of culture either, with numerous festivals and events throughout the year appealing to a diverse range of interests. There’s the Montana Film Festival, the International Choral Festival, and the River City Roots Festival to name a few, all pulling in tourists from miles around.

For more regular cultural activities, Missoula’s downtown area is definitely worth exploring. We’ve got numerous art galleries, live theater, and a lively music scene if that’s your vibe. The historic Wilma Theatre is a must for a visit and regularly hosts concerts and performances by world-renowned artists. The Roxy Theater is a bit more quirky, but is a beloved local institution. The Roxy screens independent films and documentaries, so it’s the place to go if you’re looking for something a bit more alternative.

Missoula is also famous for its vibrant food scene, from local brewpubs and food trucks to fine dining. If you like to know exactly where your food comes from then be sure to pay a visit to the Missoula Farmers’ Market for the best locally grown produce.

Whether you come for the urban culture or more of an off-grid experience, Missoula really does have it all, and with more flights planned for 2024, the city looks forward to welcoming even more visitors.