The northwestern state of Montana is known for wide-open spaces, acres of woodlands, and mountain ranges galore. If you’re looking for gorgeous mountain views, small-town charm, and a tax credit for being a renter, Montana is a great western state with a variety of neighborhoods you can call home. Here are six of the best places to live in Montana:
While this city is the state’s capital, you can score a one-bedroom apartment in Helena, Montana, for an average of $850 per month. It often feels like a steal when you have access to culturally rich neighborhoods hosting a number of events, unique restaurants, live music, and plenty of local breweries to sample from. With nearly 30,000 residents and a population mixed somewhat equally across every age group, Helena has a great small-town, suburb feel with a lot of opportunities to explore the area.
It’s sandwiched between Yellowstone and Glacier national parks, so you can take a day trip to these stunning locations. Or, you can stay local and hang out at Lake Helena for fishing, boating, and hiking. And since many of the town’s residents are really involved in the community, you can really become part of something special here in Helena.
Bozeman is primarily known as the home of Montana State University, and it’s one of the fastest-growing college towns in the nation, making it a great, youthful location for singles, couples, and families alike. There’s an active arts environment, lots of live entertainment, galleries and theaters, high-quality museums including one partnered with the Smithsonian Institute, and plenty of rental properties. A one-bedroom apartment in Bozeman, Montana, costs $1,600 per month on average, but the exceptional school system and bustling economy make it well worth it.
Set against the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, Bozeman plays host to many coffee shops, bars, parks, and top-notch healthcare facilities. Anglers can find some of the best rainbow trout fishing this side of the Rockies, and other outdoorsy folks can enjoy the acres of woodlands, waterways, and mountainous hiking trails in Custer-Gallatin National Forest, Big Sky Resort, and Yellowstone, which isn’t too far away.
Livingston, Montana, is one of the cheapest places to live in Montana since you can get a one-bedroom apartment for $725 per month. This town is known as the “northern gateway to Yellowstone” because it sits right next to the Yellowstone River, giving outdoorsy folks access to amazing fly fishing and the namesake national park, where you can hike on some of the most beautiful landscapes you have ever stepped foot on.
But you’ll also love staying local in the quaint downtown area of Livingston. The residents are big on community, there’s a lot of history to appreciate, and there are even a few celebrities who call the Livingston area home, including singer-songwriter John Mayer and actor Jeff Bridges, so you may have an encounter with a famous person over 1,000 miles from the Hollywood Hills.
If you’re into skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports, this destination town in the vicinity of Glacier National Park could be your ideal hometown. Visit the Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort for fun in the fresh, powdery snow or warm-weather activities like mountain biking, zip-lining, and hiking. Be sure to grab a latte at a local coffee shop, a bite to eat at one of the stellar local restaurants, and a brewski or cocktail at the bars.
But never fear, living in this resort town doesn’t mean you’ll have to handle swarms of tourists, making this community the perfect blend of visitor-friendly and tight-knit. To call Whitefish home, get a one-bedroom apartment for an average of $1,300 per month.
Missoula is a great mixture of all of Montana’s best outdoor activities, including Blue-Ribbon fishing, kayaking, mountainous hiking, and every cold-weather hobby you can think of. You’re just a hop and a skip away from Idaho if you’re looking to go out of state for the day, or you can stay close to home and enjoy Mount Sentinel, the Clark Forest River, and Pattee Canyon Recreation Area.
This suburb is brimming with cultural activities thanks to the Missoula Art Museum, the Wilma Theater, diverse restaurants, the symphony, an annual film festival, and First Friday celebrations at the start of each month. You can become a fan of the University of Montana and attend college sports events every season and throughout the week. Call Missoula home for an average of $905 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.
Located in the southern part of the state, this lively city is packed with live music and entertainment venues, kayaking spots, and downtown destinations for shopping and dining. Billings is an underrated beer haven, with a plethora of local breweries and bars where you can taste some of the best microbrews you’ve ever had. And if you love motorcycles, you can join in or just watch the annual Hot Bike Tour that travels through the city.
Save a bit of money living in Billings — Montana’s largest and most populated city — and pay $718 per month, on average, for a one-bedroom apartment.