I've lived in this town for 9 years, off and on. Long enough to know a thing or two about our great metropolis. OK, metropolis may be a bit of a stretch, but hey, at least it has a Best Buy and an IHop. Heck, this place even has a Hooters! (editors note: I just go for the wings....Really!) In fact, I moved to Missoula simply on the condition of those amenities. I had to have an electronic store and chocolate chip pancakes with the smiley face near my home, otherwise I had to move elsewhere. (Oh, and wings. Really, really good wings. Seriously!!)

But see, Missoula is more than just a place that offers higher end shopping stores and restaurants in Montana. Any medium sized town in America can offer all of the above. It's when you settle into this amazing contemporary college town that you begin to realize that our little hipster dwelling offers more, much more than just the standard and run of the mill city living advantages. Take this for what this is worth, but here are my Top 5 favorite, truly stand out and locally "Famous Landmarks in Missoula":

 

 

1. The "M"

OK, I gotta put this one right at the top of my list because not only is it THE most recognizable landmark in our town, but it also holds a close meaning to me in a very personal way. It's where I met my wife! 5 years ago I met my lovely girl on top of Mount Sentinal as I was giving away tickets to a concert on this station to the first person that met me at the top of the "M". She just so happened to be working on campus, heard the broadcast on 107.5 and ran up the switchbacks to claim the concert tickets. I was so smitten that I offered her better seats at the concert if she gave me her phone number. We have been together ever since.

2. Malfunction Junction

I must admit, over the years it has improved immensely from the redesign, but man! Who remembers back when it was just one big cluster you-know-what? I can't confirm this story but I heard stories of when Missoula was first being formed there were four different contractors that built this town from the outside on into what is now the center of Missoula and each contractors projects finally collided at this intersection. Someone please confirm this urban legend for me? If that's true then I hope that city planner from back then got demoted. Still, Malfunction Junction is easily one of the most familiar landmarks in all of Missoula.

3. The Badlander building

What was once The Ritz when I first moved here and then changed owners to become Hammerjacks and now most recently The Badlander is simply the true essence of Missoula nightlife. Honestly, try to imagine downtown without this building? Nah, me neither. Being there on any given Thursday, Friday or Saturday after 11pm will pretty much solidify anyone's doubts that this is one of our more famous landmarks.

4. The Elbow Room

It's a bar. It's was a double wide trailer, now a multi-function event center. What more needs to be said? It's sad that we lost this landmark in the new city block remodel plan. However, with the owners aspirations of a new, and very massive entertainment venue we may all soon be happier in a bittersweet kind of way. I'm personally very excited for the future of this mid-town establishment. Just keep saying to yourself, "change is a good thing!"

 

5. The UC Center.

This spot pretty much has it all.  You can grab a quick bite to eat before class. Watch a movie, get an energy drink, buy school supplies, even do a little open mic poetry on certain nights in the game room. It's a wonder how students manage to keep their grades up with all of these distractions in the center of campus. This is the one place that I think gets taken for granted the most because college students use it practically every school day and are so accustomed to all that it offers. If you really think about it, it's one the most universally functional buildings in all of the city, besides maybe our shopping mall.

These are just five of our cities most famous landmarks, in my humble opinion. Five big reasons why I'll never plan to leave this town. Five, not including the kiddie pancakes and my trusty Geek Squad. (..and damn good wings. No, really!)

What local landmarks are in YOUR top five? Share yours in the comments below.


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