There is no doubt about it, Montana is a great place to live. In our opinion, it really is the last best place! We're also a diverse state so whether you are looking for a small town, a bigger city, mountain landscape or rolling fields, Montana has you covered! Here are the best places to live in Montana.
We are totally biased, but Bozeman has to be on the top of the list of best places to live in Montana! The only problem is it isn't a secret anymore! In Bozeman, you will find a thriving downtown full of restaurants and boutiques, an amazing public school district, an abundance of parks and trails, and picturesque mountain views all around. There are two ski areas within an hour's drive and some of the best rivers for fishing nearby. It is home to Montana State University, the largest school in the state - Go Bobcats! The best part of Bozeman is the people and the community. Even with the influx of newcomers, it is still a special place. We just hope it stays that way! Click here if you are thinking of moving to Bozeman!
Missoula is home to the University of Montana and could be considered Bozeman's laid-back sister. It is the second-largest city in the state so it has a real urban vibe. They have a beautiful downtown with the Clark Fork River running through and miles of walking paths. There's a thriving music scene with two amphitheaters and the downtown area lends itself to many community events. They have a local ski hill and fantastic access to water recreation with several rivers nearby. There's one thing to know about Missoula, they love their Griz so if you're going to live there you better get on board!
Photo credit Missoula Downtown Association
We'll check out a smaller town for this next one! Dillon, Montana sits in the gorgeous Ruby Valley with the Big Hole and Beaverhead Rivers surrounding it. With a population of just over 4,000 it is the perfect size for those looking to get out of the city but still have some amenities like restaurants and shopping. It's home to a Patagonia outlet store so they have that going for them! The University of Montana Western is located in Dillon and has a population of around 1,500 students. This keeps a college-town feel that appeals to many. Butte is the closest city about an hour away and Bozeman is a two-hour drive. Like most places in Montana, Dillon offers so much for outdoor recreation with a small ski hill nearby, blue-ribbon trout fishing, and miles of hiking trails.
Great Falls has recently come into the news as one of the most affordable places in Montana to live. The Great Falls Development Authority reported that the cost of living in Great Falls was around 87% of the national average. This is an exception to the rest of Montana which came in at over 103% of the national average. This isn't the only reason you should consider Great Falls! The Missouri River flows through town, there are five separate waterfalls with parks and walking trails nearby, and it has a rich history. There is a two-year college that is affiliated with Montana State University and an air force base, both of which contribute to the community. Downtown Great Falls has a mix of new eateries and a good amount of old standbys. Sip and Dip anyone?
Photo credit visitmt.com
Right in the center of the state sits Lewistown, Montana! Surrounded by mountain ranges and a nice-sized town, it has a lot to offer! The population is around 6,000 so you get small-town living with a vibrant downtown and plenty to do. They even have a Starbucks! (although we recommend finding a local coffee shop). They are known for their Chokecherry Festival each fall which brings in more than 5,000 people. Lewistown is surrounded by outdoor activities with lakes, creeks, and rivers nearby to play in. If you are going to check it out make sure to get a Wagon Wheel at the Dash In!
Photo credit enjoylewistown.com
Billings is the largest city in Montana with a population of nearly 120,000. Because of its size and various industries (agriculture, energy, livestock and tourism) it offers a ton of opportunities for employment. It is also a more affordable city than Bozeman or Missoula. The Rimrocks, a sandstone formation, line the edge of the city and offer miles of trails. Downtown is a bustling area with shops and restaurants. Montana State University Billings is located here, as well as some of Montana's largest healthcare facilities.
Photo credit visitbillings.com
We'll wrap it up with one last small town in Montana. Located just 25 miles east of Bozeman sits this gem. With the beautiful Paradise Valley as the backdrop and the artsy/cowboy vibe it's hard not to fall in love with Livingston. Downtown offers restaurants, breweries, music venues, and the lovely Sacajwea Park with trails along the Yellowstone River. It is a dream for anyone who enjoys the outdoors with endless trails and miles of rivers. There are around 8,000 residents in Livingston and many live here and commute to Bozeman for work. For anyone who misses the old Bozeman days, Livingston is a good option. As long as you can handle the wind!
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