The world is full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the further one gets from Missoula, Montana.
-Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
The Best Thing About Missoula?
Green and Lush
As the second biggest city in Montana, Missoula offers locals the best of both worlds - a scenic and cost-efficient place to raise a family, but without the typical hustle and bustle of much bigger cities. Nestled in the Western mountains of the state, Missoula’s green and lush landscape is the perfect spot for outdoorsy millennials seeking an escape from the pressures of the 9 to 5. Located along the Clark Fork River, Missoula is ground zero for a serious hike, checking out the wildlife, enjoying an outdoor concert, or grabbing a delicious (and probably organic) bite to eat in the Downtown square. The best part is? All of this comes at a relatively low cost in comparison to what others are paying various western escape cities (see Park City, Jackson Hole, Boulder, etc.)
Here's a local on living in Missoula: I think folks that have lived here for a long time take Missoula for granted; it’s not just a random city of 80,000, it’s a beautiful place that a lot of interesting people have been drawn to, so it’s imminently more interesting than a random city. Last weekend I went to a backyard BBQ and the musician that was playing on the patio was someone I listened to on the radio as a kid. We’ve run into world renowned artists here, and Jane Goodall gave a live talk free to the public last weekend. This city is kind of random, but it’s not “just a random city”.
For more reviews of Missoula from locals check out: The Buzz
The Worst Thing About Missoula?
While the great outdoors might be right outside your door, getting from place to place is a bit of a drive. If you’re not big on spending a lot of time in the car to get to where you’re going (i.e. work, the grocery store, or to meet a friend for dinner), Missoula may not be the place for you. I mean, it is Montana though - how close do you expect everything to be when you’re living in the mountains? On the bright side, it might force you to finally spend time creating that road trip Spotify playlist you’ve been “meaning to start” for the past several years.
Here's a frank expression of a challenge facing locals by a local: Missoula is currently In Crisis as far as housing goes— and that’s not just dramatic Reddit rhetoric, Missoula is actively experiencing NO available housing, and what is available is shockingly unaffordable, ESPECIALLY if you are renting with two large dogs. And It will be astronomically unlikely for you to secure any housing if you both don’t have decently paying jobs already. It’s… been a terrible two years.
Lifestyle of Missoula
There’s not a ton of downtown housing options available, so most locals live in spaced out residential communities with that bed and breakfast style lodging. Missoula is very homey, and it’s easy to locate a safe and spacious housing option with lots of (eco) friendly neighbors at your beck and call. The one downside is that housing prices have risen somewhat significantly in the past 5 years, so if you’re looking to settle down now is the time. With a broad mix of suburban-style housing or less expensive apartment complexes, it’s easy to find a place that works for you. In other words, yes you can live in Montana, and no you don’t have to settle for a log cabin with horses in the back (although that’s available too).
Why You Should Move Here Now?
It’s beautiful, it really is. With a high quality of life, genuinely friendly people, and a lot of fun activities ready at your fingertips, Missoula is a great place to raise a family or just find solace in some of the most beautiful land in the country. Anyone who needs a break from reality, should definitely consider Missoula. You may have to invest in a proper winter coat, but hey it's worth it given the views you’re about to have in your backyard.