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Where to stay when visiting UM

Shaftsbury, Vermont
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Where to stay when visiting UM

My son and I are traveling out to Missoula in early February so he can check out the University. We want a place to stay the is sort of centeral in location. We want to get a feel for the town as well as the school.

Billings, Montana
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1. Re: Where to stay when visiting UM

Hello fellow Vermonter! I grew up in Morrisville and moved out to Missoula 7 years ago. We are now in Billings, but could give you a couple of suggestions. There is a double tree hotel downtown... pretty close to the campus. It would be a little of a walk, but a pretty nice hotel. When we first got to town we stayed at the creekside inn, also downtown, but not as nice (exterior corridors). The creekside is right next to a 24hour Denny's like restuarant, Finnigans. If you go west of town, there are a whole bunch of nice places. A nice Best Western, C'mon Inn and several others. They are going to be about a 10-15 minute drive from campus. There are a few others in the southern section of town by the walmart and such. The town has really grown since we've left, so I'm sure there's more there now. Some really good restuarants too. Have a great time.

Shaftsbury, Vermont
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2. Re: Where to stay when visiting UM

Thanks for your help mcgovfam. I think we will give the Double Tree a try. Normally we stay in chain hotel, but we'd like to be near the campus.

montana
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3. Re: Where to stay when visiting UM

The Doubletree is a bit run down. We go to Missoula several times a year (plus our daughter graduated from there) and we like either Holiday Inn. Both are walking distance to the campus. The Holiday Inn Select is closer, just look out your window and see the campus, walk across the river via a nice footbridge. Or, the Holiday Inn Parkside is walking distance to the charming Higgins Street downtown, with plenty of great restaurants and shops. HI Select is newer and quieter than HI Parkside, plus you get breakfast in the deal. We've found the Holiday Inns to be the best value in the best location for visiting the campus. Missoula just does not have outstanding accomodations, and even though we like to go down there for nice romantic getaway weekends, we end up staying at the Holiday Inns and we're quite happy there. (Who would have thought???)

Missoula is a confusing town to drive in, so don't fret over getting lost, we all do! Fortunatly, there's a big "M" up on the mountain, so you can get your bearings and find your way back to the campus. Plus, the whole town itself is not that huge, so plan on getting lost and see some new places!

Our daughter loved the school, and we felt very good about the education she received there. It's quite different here in the West than your East Coast schools, but the feel of the U of M campus reminds me just a bit of Dartmouth (was last there several decades ago!!) Love your state of VT and can't wait to return there someday for a visit.

Billings, Montana
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4. Re: Where to stay when visiting UM

Sorry about the Double Tree advice. We haven't stayed there for 5 or 6 years... I guess things change. Forgot about the Holiday Inn downtown. Using the M to get around I think is what we did at first too. Try Mackenzie River Pizza while you're there. Pretty good. Also liked the Staggering Ox and Wardens for Sandwiches. It looks like I'm sort of out of date, but hopefully they'll still be there. Also some good little shops and resturants downtown.

montana
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5. Re: Where to stay when visiting UM

mcgovfam--Staggering Ox is still going great, but has moved to a different location (check the phone book or ask the locals). MacKenzie River Pizza is wonderful as always. Restaurants around the Wilma Theatre on Higgins Street are diverse and good. The Mexican one on the corner still gets awards for family style eating. My mind isn't working great tonight for remembering names, but there's an elegant new Italian one that has an entrance in the alley within a block or two of the Wilma--the Red Bird?? Something like that. It was excellent for fine dining. Rockin' Rudy's is still our favorite store for buying music, plus they've expanded into a huge gift and greeting card selection.

Shaftsbury, Vermont
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6. Re: Where to stay when visiting UM

Sounds like we'll go for one of the Holliday Inn's, at least one this trip. My son wants to go UM in the worst way. We will most likely be making many trips to Missoula.

I like the sound of all the places to eat. Is Missoula a touristy town, or all these places thriving because of the school?

A friend of our who lived in Missoula once in the 70's tells there used to be the best Mexican food she ever had, there, but she can't remember the name of the place.

montana
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7. Re: Where to stay when visiting UM

vtmom, I believe that Mexican restaurant is still there. It's on Higgins St. one block away from the Wilma Theatre (old moviehouse that shows cool films). It's been voted #1 in the People's Choice favorites once again.

Also, I remembered the name of the B&B walking distance to the campus where we once stayed. It's Goldsmith's B&B Inn, 866-666-9945. If there is space there that meets your needs, it's decent. Owners are off-site, and you walk next door to the restaurant to have breakfast, so it's more like a small inn than an owner-occupied B&B.

What's drawing your son to U of M? It's got a great journalism school, and an outdoor recreation school, amongst other things. About 50% of the students were from out of state, the rest Montanans, when our daughter went there just a few years back. We liked the sense of safety and well-being. Missoula itself is one of just two fairly liberal communities in all of Montana. The other is Bozeman, home of Montana State University.

I hope your visit doesn't disappoint. Oh, I also got the name of the fine dining restaurant I highly recommend: Red Bird. 120 W. Front St. 406-549-2906, entrance in the alley. The Staggering Ox is great for informal sandwiches, 123 E. Main or 1220 Southwest Higgins.

Enjoy!

montana
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8. Re: Where to stay when visiting UM

vtmom, I forgot to answer your question: Missoula is not a touristy place. It thrives for a few reasons: the University, plus it's on the main Interstate Highway, so plenty of cross-country travelers stop there (I'd avoid all those hotels on the Interstate and instead go for one right in or near downtown). It also thrives because there are many small towns all around it, so locals drive in for shopping and business, as it's a regional center of commerce. The surrounding area does offer lots of outdoor recreational activities, so that does draw some tourists.

Missoula,Montana
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9. Re: Where to stay when visiting UM

I own and operate Goldsmith's Bed and Breakfast in Missoula. We are the closest lodging to the University Campus and 2 years ago we moved our breakfast room to the B and B itself and not in the restaurant next door anymore. We are right on the banks of the river and a 5 minute walk to campus. The house itself was built for the University President's residence in 1911, so we have quite a long history associated with University of Montana.

montana
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10. Re: Where to stay when visiting UM

Skidad--You own probably the most peaceful lodging accomodations close to the U of M. We had the pleasure of staying there at Goldsmith's Bed and Breakfast in the top suite overlooking the river for our daughter's graduation. I believe we reserved 8-9 months in advance, and it was well worth it!

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