15 Best Places to Live in Montana

Written by Darren Griffiths
Updated on
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Montana is home to a rich and varied terrain. From the Rocky Mountains to the Glacier National Park and then the Great Plains, this state is still something of a wilderness. Particularly in the west of the region, there are vast parklands to roam and explore.

Perhaps you are looking at Montana as a place to live for its proximity to the wildlife preserves and snowcapped mountains, or maybe on a more practical level, thinking about job opportunities and house prices. Either way, Montana is a happy and enjoyable place to live.

Home to just over 1 million people, Montana is sparsely populated, due to its large size. Inner city areas like the state capital of Helena give you a taste of metropolitan living while, at the same time, give you great access to the great outdoors.

We have created our list of 15 best places to live in Montana by looking at crime statistics, the standard of public schools and overall cost of living. On top of that, we have taken into consideration the opinions of the people who live in each community to give you the most authentic and rounded opinion of each neighbourhood on the list.

So, without further ado, here are the 15 best places to live in Montana:

1. Bozeman

Bozeman, MontanaSource: Colton Stiffler / shutterstock

Straight in at first place is the gorgeous Bozeman. Home to over forty thousand residents, it is worth remembering that Bozeman is, in fact, a city; this is easy to forget for your eye is immediately drawn to the beautiful mountainous backdrop provided by the Rockies.

Bozeman offers its residents access to some top-grade schools and natural outdoor activities too, making the city one of the best places to raise a family in the state.

Cost of living here is a little dearer than you would want, ideally, but taking into consideration the local amenities, health facilitates and local economy, it is understandable. An acceptable downside to accommodate.

For those looking at commute-ability in a place to live then, Bozeman offers you great transport options. Transected by Route 90 and Highway 191, being at the very centre of Montana has its benefits.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Bozeman are:

  • Museum of the Rockies
  • American Computer & Robotics Museum
  • Ellen Theatre
  • Bozeman Spirits Distillery
  • Bozeman Public Library
  • Montana Ale Works
  • Bridget Creek Golf Course
  • Hyalite Canyon Road

2. Four Corners

Four Corners, MontanaSource: picnetinc / Flickr
Four Corners

Small but perfectly formed in second place we find Four Corners. Again, this suburban neighbourhood is transected by Highway 191 providing residents with great commuting options.

Four Corners is home to the best public schools in all of Montana, which unsurprisingly, leads on to the fact that Four Corners is considered to be the best place to raise a family in the state.

Local businesses are the backbone of this small community of just over three thousand residents. This community ethos adopted by all who live here not only makes Four Corners a happy place to live but a safe place to live too. Proudly offering residents some of the lowest crime rates in Montana.

Although median home value is steeper than the national average, the median rent is below the national average.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Four Corners are:

  • Summit MotorSports
  • Montana Whitewater Rafting
  • Bozeman Pond
  • Montana Science Center
  • Gallatin History Museum
  • Little Bear School House Museum

3. Livingston

Livingston, MontanaSource: Nick Fox / shutterstock

Tucked down away in the south-west of Montana is the Park County city of Livingston. Situated on the Yellowstone River, it is only an hour by drive to Yellowstone National Park.

Livingston is certainly worthy of being in the top three best places to live in Montana. A solid all-rounder, the city offers low crime rates, good schools, and quality housing. Add in plenty of nightlife opportunities and a fair cost of living, there is little to dislike about Livingston.

The city is becoming more and more popular with Millennials, with house prices below the national average. It is not hard to see why young people are adopting Livingston as their home for the foreseeable future. With median rent at below the national average, the city is a great place to buy some time while saving to get on the property ladder in Montana.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Livingston are:

  • Yellowstone Gateway Museum
  • Sacajawea Park
  • Blue Slipper Theatre
  • Faye’s Cafe
  • The Historic Murray Hotel
  • Murray Bar
  • Music Ranch Montana
  • Pinky’s Restaurant
  • Empire Twin Theatres
  • Montana Fly Fishing

4. Whitefish

Whitefish, MontanaSource: Pierdelune / shutterstock

Although the population of over six thousand residents is not that diverse by nationwide standards, the friendly and welcoming atmosphere of Whitefish pushes that statistic to the wayside.

Being a popular holiday destination for many domestic travelers, there are plenty of jobs in Whitefish, particularly in hospitality and even more so in the high season. Panic not, Whitefish is seldom overrun with tourists, but by having that influx of people keeps the place fresh and means there is plenty going on of an evening.

As the gateway to the Rocky Mountains, there are so many opportunities to get outdoors. With above average schools on offer in the town, Whitefish would be a great place to raise a family.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Whitefish are:

  • Glacier National Park
  • Spotted Bear Spirits
  • Whitefish Depot
  • Flathead National Forest
  • Whitefish Farmers Market
  • Hugh Rogers Wag Park
  • Whitefish Lake State Park
  • Whitefish Lake Golf Club

5. Helena

State Capitol in HelenaSource: Henryk Sadura / shutterstock

There are certainly benefits to living in the state capital. Helena is home to a resident population of over twenty-nine thousand residents. With this many people comes the suburban feel and all the amenities and facilities to match.

House prices in Helena are very reasonable, despite being above the national average. For less than the national average, you could own a quaint, cozy and charming 2-bedroom home near Helena City Park.

Residents say that Helena is a little behind the times which is both endearing and frustrating. Shopping facilities and infrastructure could do with a bit of attention but overall resident satisfaction is high.

The City Hall building is very impressive and there is a lot of history to brush up on too! A stroll along Prickly Pear Creek is a pleasant pastime enjoyed by many locals.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Helena are:

  • Holter Museum of Art
  • Mount Helena
  • Montana State Capitol
  • Montana Historical Society
  • Lewis & Clark Brewing Co.
  • Spring Meadow Lake State Park
  • Great Northern Carousel

6. Dillion

DillionSource: Raymond Hitchcock / Flickr

Dillion is one of the most affordable neighbourhoods in Montana. Home value is well below the national average. Although some properties on the market right now are what you would consider a ‘project’ and in need of a little TLC, for below the national average, you can buy a pretty perfect 4-bedroom family home that you can just walk into and decorate to your taste.

The resident population of over four thousand residents are friendly and welcoming and very much a tight-knit community. This is reflected in the low crime rates and a number of families that choose to grow together here in Dillion.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Dillion are:

  • Frontier Anglers Fly Shop
  • Beaverhead County Museum
  • Sparky’s Garage Dillion
  • The Daily Yarn
  • Big Sky Cinema
  • Bannack State Park
  • The Office Bar

7. Missoula

Missoula, MontanaSource: Jon Bilous / shutterstock

Arty, cultural, natural, Missoula has universal appeal. This city in the west of Montana is home to the Missoula Art Museum and the historic Fort Missoula built in 1877.

Although the residential area of the town has a suburban feel, you are only ever a few minutes drive from Montana’s spectacular landscapes, including Mt Jumbo.

With good schools on offer from elementary level right up to high school, parents should seriously consider Missoula as a place to raise a family.

The only reason Missoula narrowly misses out on the top five best places to live in Montana is due to less than ideal crime rates. Residents, however, are keen to assure people that they feel happy and safe living in this charming city.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Missoula are:

  • Caras Park
  • A Carousel for Missoula
  • Missoula Farmers Market
  • University of Montana
  • Missoula Art Museum
  • Bayern Brewing
  • Dragon Hollow Playground
  • Garnet Ghost Town

8. East Helena

East HelenaSource: Trevor Sokolan / Flickr
East Helena

If you were starting to consider Helena as an option, then pause for thought on East Helena. If the inner city feel of Helena was a bit much for you then East Helena may provide the perfect balance. 

This neighbourhood is home to a much smaller population of over two thousand residents.

Despite being within the city limits, East Helena has a village-like feel. This area is one of the safest places to live in the state and in turn, popular with a wide demographic; retirees, young families, and millennials too.

With good schools, job opportunities and commuting options, there is little to find fault with in East Helena.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in East Helena are:

  • Steve’s Cafe
  • The Hardware Cafe
  • Jackson Creek Bar & Grille
  • ExplorationWorks
  • Tizer Botanic Garden & Arboretum

9. Orchard Homes

Orchard HomesSource: sevenMaps7 / shutterstock
Orchard Homes

The endearingly named Orchard Homes is a suburb of Missoula. With over five thousand residents living in the neighborhood, you have the best of both worlds. Access to the good schools and job opportunities of Missoula but also the more relaxed and small town-like feel too.

Housing is an issue in Orchard Homes, with little residents living in owned properties there are few affordable homes regularly coming on the market. Homes on the more affordable side of things are either small and pokey or require renovation and investment in improvements.

Regardless, with some of the best public schools in the state, Orchard Homes is popular with young families, you may just be waiting a while to find the perfect home for you.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Orchard Homes are:

  • Historical Museum at Fort Missoula
  • Maclay Flat Nature Trail
  • Big Sky Park
  • Ranch Club Walking Trail
  • Blue Mountain Trailhead

10. Lewistown

Lewistown, MontanaSource: afiler / Flickr

For those who have to commute across the country for work, Lewistown should be high on your consideration list. Lewistown Airport flies to six cities across the country on a daily basis; Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and to Seattle too.

Despite the close proximity to the airport, Lewistown is calm and quiet. Home value here is staggeringly low and you get good value for money too. A 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom family home with offload parking and a manageable garden way under the national average.

Likewise, rental properties here in Lewiston are plentiful and affordable.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do Lewistown are:

  • Judith Theatre
  • Snowy Lanes
  • Lewistown Art Center
  • Charlie Russel Chew Choo
  • Adventure Whitewater

11. Billings

Billings, MontanaSource: David Harmantas / shutterstock

Just like Livingston, Billings is too on the Yellowstone River flow. Tucked away in the south of the state, this city is hiker’s paradise. From sandstone cliffs to rough and rugged scrublands, there is so much to explore just outside Billings’ city limits.

With a large population of over one hundred thousand residents, Billings is very much a city. For those looking for a bit more going on in terms of social life and entertainment facilities, then start thinking about Billings.

Popular with retirees, Billings has a diverse demographic of inhabitants. The good schools attract young families, the job opportunities and easy commute options attract millennials and the pace of life, cost of living and proximity to the ‘wild’ attracts the older generations.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Billings are:

  • ZooMontana
  • Moss Mansion Museum
  • Yellowstone Art Museum
  • DanWalt Gardens
  • Yellowstone County Museum
  • Alberta Bair Theatre
  • Dehler Park
  • Lake Elmo State Park

12. Kalispell

Kalispell, MontanaSource: Nick Fox / shutterstock

As the gateway to the spectacular Glacier National Park, Kalispell offers a great mix of city living and natural escapes. With alpine trials to explore, as well as grizzly bears to encounter, this is one of the most varied places to live in Montana.

Cost of living in Kalispell is very reasonable but housing availability and quality is a bit of an issue. With only a handful of properties on the market at a time, you will need to strike while the iron is hot if you want to cost up in Kalispell.

We can expect to see Kalispell featuring higher up on our list of best places to live in Montana in years to come, for it is becoming something of a hotspot for young millennials.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Kalispell are:

  • Conrad Mansion Museum
  • Northwest Montana History Museum
  • Lone Pine State Park
  • Woodland Water Park
  • Moose’s Saloon
  • Buffalo Hill Golf Club
  • Glacier National Park

13. Glasgow

Glasgow, MontanaSource: jimmywayne / Flickr

Flying across the state daily, Glasgow Montana Airport delivers you safely to Billings in just over an hour.

It is low house prices and monthly rent that is a key attracting factor for Glasgow. With median rent below the national average, you can see why Glasgow is a popular town with millennials. Then take into consideration that median home value is on the lower side and you’re onto a winner.

Glasgow is ranked as the second safest place to live in Montana, it is only really the long distances you have to go to access Montana’s epic natural landscapes that is the downside to Glasgow.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Glasgow are:

  • Valley County Pioneer Museum
  • Children’s Museum of NE Montana
  • Valley Cinemas
  • Great Plains Dinosaur Museum
  • Northeast Montana Fairgrounds

14. Belgrade

Belgrade, MontanaSource: Leigh Anne Meeks / shutterstock

Belgrade is just 8-miles down the road from the number one best place to live in Montana, Bozeman. Living in Belgrade gives you access to all the wonderful things on offer in Bozeman but is more affordable, especially in terms of house prices.

Rent and mortgages are below the national average in Belgrade. Think about it, $200,000 can get you a charming 3-bedroom family home just 8-miles away from the outstanding schools on offer in Bozeman. 

If you’re thinking a compromise is needed, then Belgrade is the place to consider.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Belgrade are:

  • Madison River Brewing Co.
  • Lewis and Clark Park
  • Laser Dash Laser Tag
  • Mint Cafe and Bar
  • The Local American Saloon
  • Rocky Mountain Rotors
  • Gallatin Speedway

15. Great Falls

Courthouse Great Falls MontanaSource: Glenn R. McGloughlin / shutterstock
Great Falls

Last but by no means least we come to Great Falls. Home to around sixty thousand residents with an Air Force Base next door, there is a big military community here, creating a wonderfully diverse group of residents.

Local people note the access to hiking, biking and camping opportunities are key factors in their happiness here. What’s more, with plenty of locally owned restaurants in the city, there are lots of opportunities to socialise and get out and about.

With the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art right on your doorstep, there is a great deal to enjoy in this city.

The 15th place ranking is largely due to crime levels but residents note that they seldom feel unsafe or threatened in their homes.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Great Falls are:

  • C.M. Russell Museum
  • Gibson Park
  • Children’s Museum of Montana
  • Electric City Water Park
  • West Bank Park
  • Great Falls Ice Plex
  • Big Falls


15 Best Places to Live in Montana:

  • Bozeman
  • Four Corners
  • Livingston
  • Whitefish
  • Helena
  • Dillion
  • Missoula
  • East Helena
  • Orchard Homes
  • Lewistown
  • Billings
  • Kalispell
  • Glasgow
  • Belgrade
  • Great Falls