Best Places To Live In Montana


Our state’s capital, Helena, is located in the central part of the state. With our state government headquarters located in Helena, it is the perfect location for any professional. Helena is surrounded by lakes, the Missouri River, and beautiful mountains for hiking and biking. We are conveniently located between Missoula and Bozeman, so if you are looking for a weekend getaway, it is just a short distance away!


Helena provides a multitude of professional career opportunities. It is home to Montana’s state offices and many private companies, with many more deciding to open branches and offices here because of the quality of life our city offers. Some of the most notable employers include St. Peter’s Hospital, Blue Cross Blue Shield, VA Hospital, and Sofi.

After work, enjoy the after-hour excitement in downtown Helena.


Helena is the perfect destination for someone who enjoys all seasons. The average July temperature is 85 degrees, making for the perfect lake and river days. The leaves change in the fall as temperatures start to drop. In the winter Helena receives about 40 inches of snow per year, so if you are interested in hitting the slopes, you are sure to have a successful ski season!



The historic “Last Chance Gulch” walking mall offers local brews, food trucks, coffee shops, small boutiques, and much more.

Helena was born when gold was discovered in Last Chance Gulch on July 14, 1864. The area takes its name from the “Four Georgians,” the miners that discovered the gold. Helena was their “Last Chance” to discover gold before heading home. The gulch is now Helena’s Main Street and the state’s only downtown, outdoor walking mall. Highlights of the gulch include unique shops, eateries, boutiques, coffee shops, and architectural masterpieces dating back to the late 19th century.

Many of Helena’s well known landmarks can be seen from Downtown including the Cathedral of St. Helena, the Fire Tower, and the unique architecture of the Civic Center.


Helena has a booming art community. The Holter Museum of Art has been gracing the community with unique galleries since 1987. The Myrna Loy Center presents live performances and feature films every week and has been doing so since 1976. There are also many local galleries in the downtown area that feature local artists and larger shows from out of the area.

For those passionate about pottery, you can visit the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, which was established in 1951. This residential artist program is known around the world as a place for upcoming and well known ceramic artists. The campus sits on the site of the former Western Clay Manufacturing Company and is located only 3 miles from Downtown Helena. Many artists decide to stay and set up shop in Helena after their residency which continues to grow our art scene and attracts more artists to the area.

To enjoy a live symphony performance or the Nutcracker Ballet during the holidays, you can do this at the Helena Civic Center.


The recreation opportunities in Helena are nearly endless. Whatever your passion or interest, our area is sure to provide an experience for you.


If you enjoy time on the water, Helena is the place for you! North of Helena, the Missouri River forms 3 large lakes including Canyon Ferry, Holter, and Hauser lakes. These bodies of water offer sailing, boating, and fishing in the summer as well as ice fishing in the winter. Visit the local marina to rent a paddle board and hit one of the sandy beaches on Canyon Ferry.


Fly fishermen are sure to enjoy the area too. The longest river in North America, the Missouri, was the main route for Lewis and Clark during their expedition west. Native Americans and explorers have depended on the Missouri and its tributaries for transportation and sustenance for thousands of years. Now, the river is a main fly fishing destination and recreational site. You will find an abundance of caddisflies, midges, and mayflies while traveling on the Missouri. Fish rise out of the waters almost every day of the year. It’s known for successful dry fly fishing, and you are sure to catch a Montana trout if you spend a day on the water. In addition to the Missouri, Helena is surrounded by smaller rivers and streams that provide endless fishing possibilities.


Activity in Helena does not stop in the Winter. During the winter months, Great Divide Ski Area is bustling with snowboarders and downhill skiers. Great Divide is a locally owned ski area known for being the first ski area in Montana to open each year. The ski hill hosts a variety of events and provides “night skiing” on Fridays which is a blast for all levels of riders.

You can also visit one of the many snowshoe and cross-country ski trails surrounding the city. Snowshoeing around the Helena area is a great way to view the mountains during the winter that many others don’t get a chance to see when there is snow on the ground. The Helena area offers a few options for cross country skiing. Bill Roberts is a flatter, right in town option, while places like MacDonald Pass and Stemple Pass are out in the mountains where you can enjoy nature. (Provided by

Snowmobilers know there’s nothing quite like the feeling of weaving through the forest with the wind in your face as you experience the thrill of gliding over powdery snow, hearing only the sound of your snowmobile cohorts nearby. The Helena area is full of great trails just waiting for you and your machine. The Marysville area, for example, has 45 miles of groomed trails. The Minnehaha-Rimini area (ten miles from Helena) features 120 miles of groomed trails. Finally, the Magpie-Sunshine area, northeast of Helena, has 45 miles of groomed trails and spectacular views of the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness. (Provided by

Hiking & Biking

Helena, Montana is also known for their extensive trail system which provides great biking and hiking opportunities. Many Helena residents brag that the trails are “in their backyard,” which is a perfect way to describe it. Helena offers over 80 miles of trails that you can access right from Downtown. These trails are part of the South Hills Trail System and are managed by the Prickly Pear Land Trust cooperatively with the City of Helena, Helena National Forest and Bureau of Land Management.

Beyond Helena, there are hundreds miles more of trails that are ready for you to explore on your Montana day hiking experience. (Provided by

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AREA: 16.39 sq mi



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(Source: Helena Area Chamber of Commerce Trends Report 2017)
82% of Lewis & Clark County’s Population lives in the greater Helena Area
Lewis & Clark County Unemployment rate is currently at 3%
78% of all businesses in the Helena Area have 10 or less employees
There are approx. 3,500 businesses in the entire Helena Valley
Historically, Helena has the most stable economy of the larger cities in Montana
60% of workforce is connected to state and government positions
2016 had an increase of 516 jobs in Lewis & Clark County



INDUSTRY (Annual Averages, 2016)
Agriculture (3.1%)
Construction (6.4%)
Manufacturing (2.5%)
Wholesale Trade (1.5%)
Retail Trade (10.1%)
Transportation (3.0%)
Information (1.0%)
Finance and Insurance, Real Estate (7.5%)
Professional, Scientific, Management (9.3%)
Education, Health Care (21.6%)
Arts, Entertainment, Accommodations (9.6%)
Other Services (5.1%)
Public Administation (19.3%)


(2016 Helena Chamber of Commerce Trends Report)
2016: Helena remained in the top 100 best places to live in ranked #61 of 2,000 small to mid-sized cities across the nation (

2016: Policom Report – ranked #8 of 577 micropolitan cities (under 50,000 people in economic strength (

2014 – #1 of 10 best cities in Montana to live (

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