Montana, as a whole, gets lumped into stereotypes about people being friendly. We’re known for saying “hi” to everyone, and you’re expected to give the two-finger wave on backroads. But lately, everyone everywhere has gotten a little less friendly. 

That is until I moved back to Missoula. After living on the east coast, and then on the eastern half of the state, I have to say—Missoula is full of nice people, and here’s where I found them.  

At Your Local Coffee Shop 

The baristas of Missoula are fantastic. When I first moved back I went on a quest to try every coffee shop I hadn’t been to and at every one, the baristas didn’t just give good service, they were personable. And they were more personable than the baristas I’ve met in other places I’ve lived.  

Related: Here's How to Win Free Coffee for You and Your Coworkers

On Any Road That Blocks a Parking Lot 

I think this common courtesy is more prevalent here because it’s no secret that Missoula’s roads are confusing, at best. You’ll never know when you’re going to need someone to let you in, and as a result, kindness gets paid forward.  

Take for example the Winco parking lot on Reserve Street. Everybody loves to complain about how busy/backlogged Reserve Street is, and for a street with a 45mph speed limit, it doesn’t seem like people would stop for much. Yet, if you’re exiting the Winco parking lot, more often than not, somebody will let you in. And in my experience, you don’t have to wait long. 

That’s the case for a lot of parking lots in Missoula. Sure, Missoulians don’t use their turn signal and may not know how to use a roundabout, but they’ll let you merge into traffic.  

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Walking/Running/Hiking on *Just About Any Path or Trail 

Missoulians practice good trail etiquette for the most part. The exception would be the Kim Williams trail, and that might be simply because of the volume of foot and bicycle traffic. If you said hello to every person you met on that trail, your head would explode.  

Floating the Clark Fork River 

You’ll find yourself bumping into the floatation device of your fellow revelers, but they won’t be mad about it. They’ll probably laugh, give you some tips, offer you a beer, or invite you to sing a round of whatever song they’re amusing themselves with.  

Tailgating at a Griz Game 

Everyone is a Griz fan when they live in Missoula and everyone who tailgates is like family. Walking through the pregame festivities is like trying the samples at Costco. For a round of beer pong you could be rewarded with a brat. You’ll get slaps on the back and smiles for miles. Nobody likes a poor sport anyway.  

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