Montana is known as Big Sky Country because of its beautiful mountain views and plethora of outdoor activities. You’ll be able to enjoy world-class skiing, snowboarding, hiking, fishing, boating, and more. But natural scenery isn’t all the state has to offer. Towns like Bozeman and Missoula are expanding fast and developing thriving art and restaurant scenes that you’d only expect to find in much bigger cities.
Although housing prices are on the rise, Montana is still pretty affordable, which makes it a great place to settle down. If you’re interested in moving to the Treasure State, here are seven cities you should consider.
Bozeman is regarded as one of the best cities to live in Montana. It’s a quaint mountain town of 49,000 that sits high up in the Rockies. It has fantastic views, great skiing, and lots of innovative restaurants, which is surprising given its small size.
Bozeman also skews young—the median age is just 28. So it’s a great place for young working professionals who want access to lots of amenities without giving up that small town Montana feel.
Another great thing about Bozeman is that the cost of living is right on par with the national average. However, housing costs about 8% more than the US median, so you’ll need to account for that in your budget. Homes in the area sell for $583,000 on average and rent will run you $1,700 per month for a 1-bedroom apartment. But with Bozeman’s strong job market and high average salary of $58,000, you should easily be able to afford all of your bills.
Missoula is the second largest city in Montana with a population of around 73,000. It’s home to the University of Montana, so it has an artsy college town vibe. There are four different shopping centers and lots of restaurants and breweries to enjoy downtown.
Missoula is also near 400 acres of parkland and three mountain ranges, so you’ll have access to lots of great skiing in the winter and hiking trails in the summer.
Like Bozeman, Missoula is affordable. Its cost of living is 3.2% lower than the national average. However, housing is getting a bit pricey. Homes in the area sell for $447,000, which is about $100,000 higher than the median in Montana. But the fact that the city has no sales tax and low transportation and utility costs helps make up for it.
Helena, the capital city of Montana, is the perfect place for outdoor lovers. It’s located between Yellowstone and Glacier national parks, so you’ll be surrounded by nature. You’ll have access to Lake Helena as well, which is a great place to fish, hike, and kayak.
Your kids will also be happy in Helena because it has one of the top ten school districts in the state. Homes are cheaper here than in Bozeman or Missoula, so you’ll be able to afford a bigger place for your growing family. The average home costs $364,000 and rent is only $775 per month, making it easier to save for a house.
Dillon is one of the best cities to live in Montana because of its affordable housing, rich history, and beautiful natural surroundings. The average home price is $257,000 and the median rent price is $571 for a 1-bedroom apartment, leaving plenty of room in your budget for savings and entertainment.
History buffs will love exploring Bannack State Park, the site of Montana’s first gold rush. It still has 60 buildings from the original town and a campground where you can vacation with your family. Dillon also has some of the best brown trout fishing in the country at Beaverhead River.
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Livingston is a small town with 7,500 residents that’s nestled in the mountains. It’s conveniently located 25 miles from Bozeman and 45 miles from Yellowstone National Park, where you can fish, raft, and hike. There are also two hot springs in the area, several museums and parks, music venues, breweries, and more. If you settle down here, you’ll get to enjoy annual events like the Livingston Roundup Rodeo and Tap Into Montana, a craft beer festival.
Livingston has lots of amenities at a low price. The cost of living is 7.2% less than the national average and rent is just $725 per month. You’ll also save big on transportation, which costs 75% less than the US average.
Whitefish, Montana is one of the best ski towns in the country. It’s home to the renowned Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort, where you can ski and snowboard during the day or night. The downtown area has art galleries, gift shops, breweries, and top-rated restaurants that serve everything from elk carpaccio to fresh sushi. Whitefish also has beautiful lakes and beaches you can enjoy during the summer, plus plenty of scenic trails for hiking and mountain biking.
The only downside of this beautiful resort town is the cost of living, which is 11.8% higher than the national average. The median home price is $590,000, but luckily rent is more affordable at $1,300 per month.
Four Corners has been named the best place in Montana to raise a family because of its low crime rate and excellent public schools. It’s just 15 minutes away from Bozeman, so you’ll have lots of job opportunities and kid-friendly entertainment options. There’s an arcade, an escape room, a robotics museum, a horse ranch and more all within driving distance.
Homes in Four Corners are pretty expensive and cost around $565,000, which is $200,000 than the Montana average. However, the median household income is $86,834, so homeownership is still achievable.
What is the safest city in Montana?
Glendive is the safest city in Montana. It has a property crime rate of just 2.8% and a violent crime rate of 1%. Dillon was a close second with a 3% property crime rate and a 1.9% incidence of violent crime.
However, Montana has pretty low crime rates overall, so you’re likely to feel comfortable in any city you decide to settle down in. Studies have shown that 66% of Montanans feel safe, which is higher than the national average of 55%.
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Bozeman. With world-class skiing facilities, miles of hiking, quick access to Yellowstone National Park, and a beautiful natural setting, Bozeman is not only one of the best places to relocate in Montana, but also one of the best cities to live in the country.What is the best city to move to in Montana? ›
- Dillon. ...
- Whitefish. ...
- Missoula. ...
- Glasgow. ...
- King Arthur Park. ...
- Butte. ...
- Polson. With a population of just over 5,000 residents, you're not going to experience a big city lifestyle there. ...
- Other Places We Considered: Four Corners.
Bozeman. With world-class skiing facilities, miles of hiking, quick access to Yellowstone National Park, and a beautiful natural setting, Bozeman is not only one of the best places to relocate in Montana, but also one of the best cities to live in the country.Where is the cheapest place to retire in Montana? ›
- Miles City. The cheapest place to live in Montana is Miles City. ...
- Anaconda. The second-cheapest place to live in Montana is Anaconda. ...
- Butte. Butte is another one of Montana's cheapest cities to live in. ...
- Great Falls. ...
- Havre. ...
- Sidney. ...
- Billings. ...
The data suggest Billings and Missoula are leading the way, Billings with 3.9 times more inbound than outbound moves. Missoula actually saw a decrease from 7.1 times more inbound than outbound moves in 2020 to 4 times more inbound moves in 2021.What is the booming city in Montana? ›
Montana will achieve a population of 1,236,000 by the year 2040. And the largest city in Montana? That would be Billings, known since 1882 as “Magic City” for its booming growth. This growth continues today, and the city will stay the largest city in Montana for the next 20 years.Where is the best place to retire in Montana? ›
This retiree-friendly community is perfect for those who want to leave behind the crowds to enjoy all nature has to offer. Kalispell is surrounded by mountains and lakes that offer hiking trails and fishing spots, as well as thrilling slopes for skiing in the winter.
Billings has an average snowfall of 55 inches per year and the city enjoys 205 sunny days per year. Billings, and south central Montana in general, is one of the warmest areas of Montana.Where in Montana are Californians moving? ›
The airport's direct flights to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Long Beach contributed to the ease of California residents moving to the greater Bozeman area. It's no surprise why so many people want to live in Montana.Why are people leaving Bozeman MT? ›
Some people can't afford housing in the Bozeman area, others are simply not interested in the rapid growth that has taken over the Gallatin Valley. There are so many different reasons for people to move out of Bozeman, just as the onslaught of new comers continues. Most often the reason is money. Plain and simple.
Montana is moderately tax-friendly toward retirees. Social Security income is partially taxed. Withdrawals from retirement accounts are fully taxed. Wages are taxed at normal rates, and your marginal state tax rate is 6.75%.Is Wyoming or Montana a better place to retire? ›
Based on the findings, Wyoming ranked 2nd overall. According to the study, the region surrounding Wyoming is a good place to retire to in general. The study ranked South Dakota 3rd, Colorado 5th, Idaho 6th, and Montana 8th.What are the advantages of retiring in Montana? ›
Not only does this state have an overall lower tax burden than the rest of the United States, but its income tax rates are also capped at 6.65 percent. Certain amounts of social security payments and pensions aren't taxed, and there is no sales tax in Montana at all.
Montana's low cost of living, low crime rates, and booming job market make it a favorite state for many families and millennials. The state's low property taxes, zero sales tax, and shorter commuting time make moving to Montana appealing to many people.Is Montana worth moving to? ›
Montana can be a good state to move to for those who prioritize outdoor recreation, natural beauty, and a slower pace of life. The state offers abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, including skiing, hiking, and fishing, as well as stunning national parks and forests.What is the sunniest city in Montana? ›
Bozeman is the sunniest city in Montana, averaging over 300 sunny days per year. Bozeman's average annual precipitation is 16.23 inches. Humidity is low in both summer and winter.What is the most beautiful region of Montana? ›
Of course, when searching for some of the prettiest places in Montana to visit, Glacier National Park has to be at the top of that list. This stunning national park boasts more than one million acres that are filled with 175 named mountains, 762 lakes, 562 streams, and 200 waterfalls.What is the best state to live for retirees? ›
The best state to retire: Vermont
Vermont quietly has a lot going for it, including very good scores in public health, crime, quality of life, and cost of living. It also has lower-than-average housing costs as well as reasonable taxes for retirees.
Billings, Montana is known for the highest crime rate in the state of Montana. Part of the reason is that Billings is the state's most populated city. Billings also has one of the highest crime rates per capita in the country.
Havre. With a population of 9377, Havre has a crime rate of 37 per 1000 residents. The town has a total crime rate of 42 per 1000 residents, and one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation. Additionally, the town also has a high rate of property crime, specifically larceny and burglary, car theft, and arson.Is bozeman or billings safer? ›
Kalispell and Bozeman tied for the state's safest city, each earning a "Safety Index" score of -0.17, the survey states. Great Falls came in third place with a score of -0.6, while Missoula scored -0.74 to place fourth and Helena took fifth with a score of -0.85. Billings scored -0.97 on the survey.Where do the rich live in Montana? ›
The cost of living in Montana is 2% higher than the national average. Housing is 5% higher than the national average, while utilities are 10% lower. When it comes to basic necessities such as food and clothing, groceries are around 2% higher than in the rest of the country, while clothing costs 2% higher.What's the warmest it gets in Montana? ›
The warmest temperature ever recorded in Montana was 117 degrees at Glendive, July 20, 1893, and at Medicine Lake, on July 5, 1937. The temperature at Medicine Lake in northeastern Montana reached 117 degrees on July 5, 1937.What part of Montana gets the most snow? ›
It should come as no surprise that Cooke City checks in as the Snowiest Town in Montana, with an average annual snowfall of about 195 to 200 inches. It's also famous for being one of the coolest places in America because of its location...on the Beartooth Highway and as an entrance to Yellowstone National Park.What is the coldest month in Montana? ›
The average coldest month is January with typical winter temperatures ranging from a low of 15 degrees to a high of 55 degrees. The lowest recorded temperature was -43°F in 1936. For the winter sports enthusiast, the relatively low humidity and light winds provide an ideal climate for outdoor winter activities.Where do most people live in Montana? ›
Billings. This southeast Montana city is the most populous in the state. Newcomers will find plenty of big-city amenities, such as popular breweries, quality restaurants and music venues, along with a wide range of things to do outdoors.Why are the ultra rich moving to Montana? ›
“Homes in the mountains serve as sanctuaries of privacy and security for newcomers and second homeowners,” says Philip White, CEO of Sotheby's International Realty. “The clean air and space are also a big draw.”What state has the most residents moving to? ›
- The most popular state people moved to was Florida, while the state people most often moved from is California.👇
- If money were no object, Americans would prefer to move to Los Angeles and California.
|Category||Average Annual Per-Capita Cost in Montana|
|Food and Beverages (non-restaurant)||$3,971|
|Gas and Energy Goods||$1,388|
|All Other Personal Expenditures||$26,532|
Wyoming has the lowest average cost of living among all of the Rocky Mountain states, beating out neighbors like Utah, Colorado, Idaho, and Montana. It also ranks among the top 20 most affordable states in the nation, according to MERIC data collected in 2022.What is a livable salary in Montana? ›
|1 ADULT||2 ADULTS (BOTH WORKING)|
|0 Children||2 Children|
According to Montana's Continuum of Care Coalition and a nonprofit organization called Pathways MISI, the rate of homelessness in Bozeman increased by 35% from 2019 to 2021, and the number of people seeking out the Warming Center increased by 47%.What celebrities live near Bozeman MT? ›
Notable members include a number of American celebrities & icons such as Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Warren Miller, Phil Mickelson, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, Dan Quayle, Greg LeMond, Jack Kemp, Tom Brady, Jeff Bridges, and of course, Bill Gates. Apparently, Montana is the place to be.Who is the largest employer in Bozeman MT? ›
WHAT DO PEOPLE DO FOR WORK? As for employers, Bozeman Health is the largest employer, with nearly 2,600 employees and growing.Is it a good idea to move to Montana? ›
Montana can be a good state to move to for those who prioritize outdoor recreation, natural beauty, and a slower pace of life. The state offers abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, including skiing, hiking, and fishing, as well as stunning national parks and forests.What are the safest cities to live in in Montana? ›
- Columbia Falls.
- Deer Lodge.
- Miles City.
|Category||Average Annual Per-Capita Cost in Montana|
|Food and Beverages (non-restaurant)||$3,971|
|Gas and Energy Goods||$1,388|
|All Other Personal Expenditures||$26,532|
Montana is an affordable state compared to many others, but it is not a good choice for those who prefer to live in big cities. While Montana has cities, they are relatively small compared to the major cities in big states such as California. As a result, the cost of living is also lower.
Con: Long and Dark Winters
Montana winters are long, dark, and cold. If you're into winter sports, the winters pass pretty quickly. If you're not, it can feel like a survival mission peppered with bouts of cabin fever.
Montana is moderately tax-friendly toward retirees. Social Security income is partially taxed. Withdrawals from retirement accounts are fully taxed. Wages are taxed at normal rates, and your marginal state tax rate is 6.75%.Is bozeman or Billings safer? ›
Kalispell and Bozeman tied for the state's safest city, each earning a "Safety Index" score of -0.17, the survey states. Great Falls came in third place with a score of -0.6, while Missoula scored -0.74 to place fourth and Helena took fifth with a score of -0.85. Billings scored -0.97 on the survey.What is considered a good salary in Montana? ›
|Annual Salary||Monthly Pay|
Montana is a western state known for its diverse wildlife terrain, including mountains, prairies and badlands. The state's economy largely depends on industries like tourism, agriculture, ranching, oil, mining and health care.What is Montana upper class income? ›
How much does an Upper Class make in Montana? As of Jun 10, 2023, the average annual pay for the Upper Class jobs category in Montana is $52,664 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $25.32 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,012/week or $4,388/month.What is the average electric bill in Montana? ›
Utilities. According to 2021 data from the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average monthly energy bill in Montana was $97.84, well below the national average of $121.01. That's not the lowest energy bill across the 50 states, but it's certainly within the top 10.What is the average price of a house in Montana? ›
$440,339. The average Montana home value is $440,339, up 3.3% over the past year and goes to pending in around 12 days.Is Montana a good state for taxes? ›
Montana has a graduated individual income tax, with rates ranging from 1.00 percent to 6.75 percent. Montana has a 6.75 percent corporate income tax rate. Montana does not have a state sales tax and does not levy local sales taxes. Montana's tax system ranks 5th overall on our 2023 State Business Tax Climate Index.