Garden City Guide to the Little Bigtown

In his classic, A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean writes, “The world is full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the further one gets from Missoula, Montana.” Though historians don’t agree unanimously on the exact translation of the word “Missoula”, the trading post that started out as the “Hellgate Village” has come to be known by many names over the decades, including the City-with-Soul, Zootown, the Hub of Five Valleys, and the Garden City. It’s also been referred to as the Little Bigtown, not only in reference to the Custer Battleground in eastern Montana, but because Missoula is the best of both worlds. It’s a bustling urban area with deer frolicking in the streets and Osprey hovering over Missoula’s many rivers, all teaming with fish. This emerald of the Rockies is the Golden Mean between urban and rural; progressive and classical. Missoula’s modern influence is world renowned, attracting worldwide attention from a wide range of audiences for it’s university, biodiversity, artistic relevance, outdoor enthusiasm, cultural tolerance, community focus, and stunning beauty. And while the community has been compared to places like Berkeley and Amsterdam, there really is nowhere quite as weird or as free as Missoula, Montana.

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