Because of its shared resources, Riverfront folks welcome Missoula into their neighborhood everyday.
The Riverfront Neighborhood teems with life, but that’s really no coincidence. Bordered on its north side by the Clark Fork River, all things in this neighborhood logically flow in that direction. The proximity to the water and the nearby Riverfront Trail system is one of the area’s most distinctive characteristics, but the personal connections run much deeper. Residents are tied to the greater Missoula community because of their location. All Missoulians enjoy the trail system that turns the daily commute into a scenic journey, an afternoon jog into more of a sightseeing tour, and an evening lit by the full moon into a magical family adventure. Riverfronters are no exception. They also take part in local activities near home, like downtown lunch and dinner gatherings and festivals and University of Montana events, all without ever having to get in the car. The neighbors range from the young to the young at heart, the well established and those just starting out. They share a common pride in the aesthetics and diversity of the neighborhood and proudly support the wide variety of nearby businesses that are also among Missoula’s most treasured.
- Riverfront connects to the Riverfront Trail for bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Riverfront is served by Mountain Line Route 10.
- To find the public schools in this neighborhood, visit the Missoula County Public Schools website and view the Attendance Boundary Maps located here.
City of Missoula
Thinking of moving to this neighborhood?
Visit Riverfront and find a place where lasting connections are made.
In this neighborhood, it’s all about connections. The Riverfront Trail that runs along the Clark Fork River is arguably the most interesting route between Points A and B in the city. Many Riverfronters use the trail to get to other outdoor venues near home including McCormick Park, the headquarters for Missoula Parks and Recreation. This sprawling green space is home to baseball games and Missoula’s Le Kickball league in the summer and indoor swimming at Currents in the winter. Little ones and new anglers can practice casting in the nearby fishing pond before they hit the bigger waters of the Clark Fork. For seven years, the Missoula skateboarding community endeared themselves to the whole city and took on a monumental fundraising effort to build the Missoula Skatepark (MOBASH) in McCormick Park. No matter the weather, you can always find die-hards negotiating the curves and edges of the concrete terrain that world-famous skateboarding pioneer Tony Hawk christened in the park’s September 2006 dedication. Just west of McCormick Park and within easy walking distance of most Riverfront homes is Ogren Park at Allegiance Field, home to the Missoula Osprey minor league baseball team. The construction of this stadium was another civic undertaking involving fundraising efforts of the entire community. Because of this type of involvement there’s certainly never a loss for family activities in Riverfront.
Some of Riverfront’s local businesses also happen to be among Missoula’s most popular. Folks are so comfortable with these mainstays that they start feeling like a second living room. Named with a little tongue-ring-in-cheek humor, the Hip Strip on Higgins between the river and 5th Street is the place to find one-of-a-kind fashion, boutique fabrics, homemade dog treats, and a killer Saturday morning breakfast all within a few sidewalk squares of one another. The Hip Strip also hosts an annual block party, among the coolest in town. Off the main Strip, there are several businesses making happy use of Montana’s abundant wheat products including two bakeries and a brewery. Le Petite Outre has spoiled Missoulians with fresh-baked breads and treats since 1998. Bernice’s Bakery provides a constant temptation behind the counter with cakes and confections that are as beautiful as they are delicious. The Kettlehouse Brewery and Tap Room turns wheat into frothy, liquid gold. It’s not unusual for neighbors to meet in the growler line for a refill to discuss the merits of both the Kettlehouse’s Cold Smoke Scotch Ale and Double Haul IPA. If your kind of “cold one” is better served in a waffle cone, then head around the corner on 5th to the Big Dipper, where unusual and unforgettable homemade ice cream flavors abound. If you need to stock up for a home-cooked meal you can head to the local grocery store. The Orange Street Food Farm, on the cusp of the Riverfront and Rose Park neighborhoods, is a convenient, locally owned store that nostalgically displays the weekly specials in hand-painted signs on butcher paper in its windows.
Local non-profit organizations can also be found in this neighborhood. The Missoula Food Bank is located on South 3rd Street, serving Missoula individuals and families in need. Free Cycles is an innovative program helping provide sustainable transportation for those who can’t afford it. Folks can build and refurbish donated and salvaged bicycles. Payment is doled out by volunteers in sweat equity. So it has also become quite the hang out for budding bike engineers looking to construct a creative cycle. Community gardens are also located in this area and are cared for by neighbor volunteers. The neighborhood continues to work on the western area towards Russell Street. They came together to landscape an area and celebrated with an ice cream social. They were active in the continuation of the paved trail to the California Street bridge, which has increased the aesthetic and access of the trail. There are also efforts underway to revive the Old Sawmill District to attract a mix of residential and commercial businesses to this historic part of town. It may seem as if Riverfront is overflowing in its attractions, but no one is happier to share than the residents of this neighborhood.
The First Presbyterian Church on 5th Street was designed by Missoula’s ubiquitous and distinctive architect A.J. Gibson. From the pulpit of the church preached another famous Missoulian, the Rev. John Norman Maclean. Rev. Maclean’s son Norman grew up in the church and went on to write the story of his childhood and his family in the acclaimed novella, “A River Runs Through It.” In 2009, church members helped dedicate a monument to both Rev. Maclean and A.J. Gibson in front of the church.
High above the ball field where the Missoula Osprey play on summer nights, a curious fan boasts the best seat in the house. Atop a utility pole a real osprey has built its nest just beyond the outfield fence. The unassuming mascot can be seen swooping in to land or taking flight often during games and is a testament to the shared relationship Missoulians have with our natural world.
The Orange Street Food Farm is mentioned in the lyrics of a song by the band The Decemberists. Front man, Colin Meloy, is a Helena native and went to the University of Montana. You can link to the song’s lyrics here. And contrary to song’s words, bike theft in Missoula is still pretty rare.
Bears are a part of life for some Missoula residents, a manageable part of life, but sometimes these wild and wooly neighbors can be a little wacky too. If you ever received a YouTube link featuring a bear on a trampoline, you’ll be happy to know that bouncing bruin was filmed right here in the Riverfront Neighborhood.
Many of us remember the various ways we kept up on the comings and goings of our hometowns and neighborhoods. Whether it was through the grapevine, a community group, or the weekly newspaper, we had a resource for information and an outlet to share our thoughts. The LiveMissoula! neighborhood blogs revisit that concept in a new way by providing an open, online destination where neighborhood stories can be posted and shared. To contribute to the discussion, we encourage you to add your comments. If you have an idea for a story, contact the Neighborhood Volunteer Advocate listed under each neighborhood’s Fast Facts pages.