Best Places to Live in Montana
If you’re thinking about moving to Montana, and you are looking for the Best Places to Live in Montana, also probably wondering which of the state’s areas is best for you to live.
Montana has a diverse and rich landscape. This state is still stretching from the Rocky Mountains to Glacier National Park and then to the Great Plains. There are vast parklands to roam and explore, particularly in the region’s west.
Just in case you are considering the best places to live in Montana because of its closeness to wildlife preserves and snowcapped mountains, or perhaps you are thinking about job opportunities and house prices. Montana is a happy and enjoyable place to live in any case.
Montana, with a population of just over one million people, is sparsely populated due to its vast size. Inner city areas, such as the state capital of Helena, provide a taste of metropolitan living while also providing easy access to the great outdoors.
Is it better to live in a big city or a small town? Lakes or rivers? We’re here to provide our list of the best places to live in Montana so you can find the best place for you.
What makes Montana a good place to live?
Having a place to call home is always a good feeling, no matter where you are in life. When you move, whether to a new apartment, your own home, or across the state, there are numerous factors to consider.
The livability of your home is frequently determined by its proximity to grocery stores, public transportation, shops, and other amenities.
To assist you in making your decision, we’ve compiled information on Montana towns: Whitefish, Bozeman, Billings, GreatFalls, Helena, Glendive, Glasgow, and others. To help rank these spots, we considered the following factors:
- Median household income
- Median home price
- Crime rates
- Educational access
- Cost of living
- Average commute times
- FEMA Risk Index ratings
Here are the top 15 best places to live in Montana:
- Big Sky
- Columbia Falls
- Great Falls
- East Helena
- Orchard Homes
- Four Corners
Belgrade is a bedroom community to the larger, more in-demand Bozeman, and its residents are mostly employed in Bozeman, Big Sky, or the surrounding areas. Its main draw is the slightly lower cost of living (in comparison to Bozeman) and easy access to all of Bozeman’s amenities.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any reasons to stay in the city. Spend an afternoon on the 4.5-mile Valley Center Trail inline skating, biking, or walking. Or stop by Madison River Brewing Company’s taproom for a taste of Belgrade’s local brews.
Big Sky is an excellent choice for a quaint little ski town with plenty of natural beauty. Big Sky is best known for its abundant recreational opportunities and is located halfway between West Yellowstone and Bozeman.
Hike, bike, or ride a horse. Ride the Gallatin Crest Trail, raft or fish the Gallatin River, or hit the slopes at Big Sky Resort or — if you know someone on the inside — the ultra-exclusive Yellowstone Club.
Billings is Montana’s largest city. Billings, nicknamed “The City Beneath the Rimrocks” because of the surrounding sandstone formations of the same name, began as a railroad town in 1882.
Billings, Montana’s county seat, is located in the state’s south-central region. It is best known for its thriving oil economy, large medical sector, and affordable housing.
Billings is one of the Best Places to Live in Montana because of these and other factors.
Bozeman has blown up to be the state’s technological and cultural center. It is currently one of the fastest-growing towns in America and is sometimes referred to as “Boz-Angeles” to reflect this growth.
Bozeman is known as Montana’s “most livable place,” with excellent schools, a nationally recognized public research university (Montana State University), easy access to a small but well-connected airport, a strong job market, and a vibrant, young, family-centric community.
Bozeman is experiencing a population boom, so homes are scarce and rental prices are higher than almost anywhere else in the state. When it comes to energy service affordability, the city ranks 16.1 percent lower than the national average. It’s also one of the most affordable cities for cellphone plans.
This city was once known as “Butte America” because of the role Butte’s super-productive copper mines played in powering America in the early 1900s.
While Butte is no longer the mining powerhouse it once was, and the Berkeley Pit is the most visible reminder of its glory days, it retains a rough-and-tumble attitude.
Today, Butte is known for its quirky, historic establishments (Anthony Bourdain once filmed an episode in Butte’s Pekin Noodle Parlor, America’s oldest continuously operating Chinese restaurant).
Butte is also home to Montana Tech, the state’s premier STEM university. It is also known for its traditional western hospitality; affordable housing and high quality of life.
Columbia Falls is a former mining and logging community that has been converted into a residential area. The town is only a few minutes away from the popular resort town of Whitefish.
Columbia Falls’ main draw is its recreation. The North, South, and Middle Forks of the Flathead River, as well as the larger Main Fork, are all just minutes away from residents. You’re also only about 20 minutes from Glacier National Park’s entrance.
Great Falls, located on the banks of the Missouri River, is a history buff’s dream come true. The C.M. Russel Museum of Cowboy Art is located in the city.
There are also many exhibits dedicated to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which passed through Great Falls and the adjacent Giant Springs State Park.
Even if history isn’t your thing, you’ll appreciate Great Falls’ natural beauty, affordable housing, strong job market, and quality schools.
Helena is Montana’s state capital. Helena is a welcoming, mid-sized arts community with stunning mountain views and rich history. It is an excellent place to live, work, and play.
Helena is home to Carroll College, a private, four-year Catholic college. It also has excellent schools and higher education opportunities, great jobs (the state government is a major employer), and plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities.
Kalispell is a Whitefish suburb that serves as a gateway to Glacier National Park. The city has a similar economy to Whitefish and is primarily populated by families who work in Whitefish but do not want to pay the high real estate prices that the popular “Fish” commands.
Kalispell has excellent schools and a charming downtown with 19th-century buildings housing unique shops, pubs, and breweries. Frosty the Brewfest, a popular winter festival where you can jam to live music while drinking craft beers in a heated tent, is not to be missed.
When people think of Missoula, three things come to mind: rivers, farmers’ markets, and mountains. Missoula, Montana’s second-largest city, is located at the confluence of five distinct western Montana mountain ranges and is known as “the hub of five valleys.”
The city is located on the Columbia River’s Clark Fork, near the confluence of the Bitterroot and Blackfoot Rivers. As a result, it is one of America’s best fishing cities.
Want to live somewhere where you can earn $40,612 per year while paying only $116,300 to buy a single-family home or $715 to rent one? If so, Lewistown might be a good option for you.
It’s a great place to raise a family in a safe, peaceful environment without breaking the bank, thanks to excellent commuting options (the local airport serves Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Seattle), a calm, friendly vibe, and plenty of affordable housing.
Affordable housing is a minor issue, forcing those who cannot stretch their budget to $293,900 to rent at an average monthly cost of $1,095 (over a thousand more than the national average).
Aside from that, Orchard Homes checks every box: low crime, good schools, a good household income of $55,802, and some excellent local amenities and facilities.
If you were thinking about Helena, take a break and think about East Helena. If the inner-city feel of Helena was too much for you, East Helena might be the perfect compromise.
This community has a much smaller population of only 2,306 people. East Helena has a village-like feel despite being within city limits.
This area is one of the safest in the state and thus popular with a diverse demographic, including retirees, young families, and millennials. East Helena has a few flaws, including good schools, job opportunities, and commuting options.
Want to live in a town where the median income is nearly $30,000 higher than the national average? Then consider Four Corners, a small town with only 4,051 residents and one of Montana’s highest living standards.
With excellent commuting options thanks to nearby Highway 191, some of the best public schools in the state, an almost non-existent crime rate, and a diverse range of shops, bars, restaurants, and leisure sites, it’s easy to see why Four Corners is such a popular destination for families.
Glasgow’s low house prices and monthly rent are key attracting factors. With median rents as low as $500 per month, it’s easy to see why Glasgow is a popular millennial destination. When you consider that the median home value is $134,400, you’re on to a winner.
Glasgow is ranked as the second safest place to live in Montana, with the only drawback being the long distances required to access Montana’s epic natural landscapes.
Best Places To Buy A Home In Montana
Are you looking for the best places in Montana to buy a house? We’ve compiled a list of some of the best places to live and buy a home in Montana.
Below are the Best Places To Buy A Home In Montana:
- Columbia Falls
- Miles City
- Anaconda-Deer Lodge County