The Most Beautiful Towns in Montana

The city of Butte in Montana is overlooked by the Rocky Mountains
The city of Butte in Montana is overlooked by the Rocky Mountains | © Patti McConville / Alamy Stock Photo

The stunning mountain scenery of Montana only accentuates the rustic charm of the small towns beneath it, such as Whitefish and Hamilton. Here, check out some of the coolest urban spots.

Bozeman

Architectural Landmark
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Main Street in downtown Bozeman, Montana, USA
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Bozeman, in the southwest of Montana, is a great place if you’re seeking clean, fresh air and a relaxing environment. While it may be one of the larger towns in the state, it retains a small-town feel: national forests and trails are easily accessible, making it a great place for outdoor recreation. There are also many shops, parks, arts opportunities and museums; this college town is always buzzing with activity.

Whitefish

Architectural Landmark
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Downtown Whitefish, Montana
© Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo

Whitefish, near Glacier National Park, is a popular ski destination. You’ll be enchanted not only by the snowy mountains, but by the tight-knit community and laid-back atmosphere. The welcoming smiles of the residents make this a great place to visit at any time of year. In the winter, enjoy the Whitefish Winter Carnival, which includes skijoring races, snow sculptures and non-stop parties. Stream fishing, alpine hiking and animal watching await anyone visiting in the summer months.

Hamilton

Architectural Landmark
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The small city of Hamilton can be found in the western part of Montana, nestled between two mountain ranges in the Bitterroot Valley. While it still has a small population, it’s the fastest growing city in Montana. Hamilton offers easy access to mountains and millions of acres of public forested land, making it a great place for outdoor recreation of all kinds. Founded in 1890, it has a number of beautiful, historic buildings, including the Daly Mansion, Old Ravalli County Courthouse and the City Hall.

Polson

Architectural Landmark
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Mission mountains behind Polson High School
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Polson lies on the southern shore of Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana. It has vast cherry orchards, celebrated every year with a Cherry Festival. Polson is bordered to the south by the Mission Mountains, providing a jaw-dropping backdrop to this charming town. Animal enthusiasts will be delighted to find that the National Bison Range isn’t far, and there are also bird refuges nearby. Polson offers a wide variety of attractions, including several interesting museums, a golf course and a popular car show.

Lewistown

Architectural Landmark
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Located in the very center of Montana, Lewistown is where the mountains and plains meet. It grew to prominence during the 1880s gold rush; when the gold supply ran out, many decided to settle permanently. The aptly-named Heart of Montana is an outdoor recreation paradise: hunting, fishing, skiing, hiking and biking are just a few of the possibilities for those of you who enjoy the great outdoors. Lewistown is also surrounded by five mountain ranges. Embracing the western heritage it has, it maintains a strong sense of community and offers many events in which everyone can get involved.

West Yellowstone

Architectural Landmark
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Strasse in West Yellowstone Montana USA
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The town of West Yellowstone is adjacent to Yellowstone National Park and is a popular spot to stay for those planning to visit one of America’s greatest treasures. West Yellowstone itself also has tons to offer, no matter the season. Outdoor enthusiasts will be delighted with the range of activities available, such as ATV trails, biking, birdwatching, fishing, boating, golf, swimming, hunting, kayaking, horse riding, skiing and snowmobiling. West Yellowstone also offers many opportunities to visit local museums and learn more about the area’s Native American heritage.

Anaconda

Architectural Landmark
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Anaconda is surrounded by mountains, lakes and densely timbered forests. Founded as a copper mining town, it is now a popular destination for anyone visiting Montana. The beautiful Washoe Theater on main street is a must-see for those of you interested in architecture. There are also a lot of sporting opportunities available in the area: hunting, fishing, skiing, golf, hiking and darts are all popular.

Butte

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Butte is full of rich history, small-town charm, vintage architecture and friendly hospitality, which attracts visitors from all over. A mining town initially, it experienced an economic boom during the gold rush and became one of the largest copper hotspots. What sets it apart from other mining towns, however, is the sense of individualism and architectural diversity. Butte has welcomed a large variety of immigrants, who have all left a cultural impact. The availability of Cornish pasties, povitica (a sweet bread) and huckleberry products are reminders of a colorful past, as is the popular Montana Folk Festival.

Stevensville

Architectural Landmark
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Catholic Church at St Mary's Mission, Stevensville, Bitterroot River Valley, Montana, USA
© Witold Skrypczak / Alamy Stock Photo

As the officially recognized first permanent settlement in Montana, Stevensville has a long and interesting history. The town was founded when Jesuit missionaries came at the request of the local Native Americans who were interested in learning about Christianity. Today, the quaint town is a community set with the stunning Bitterroot and Sapphire mountains in the distance. The charming downtown is great for a relaxing stroll and offers many opportunities to experience the friendly hospitality of the locals. The nearby Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge is a main attraction in this area, home to various types of wildlife.

Choteau

Architectural Landmark
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Choteau is affectionately known as the Front Porch of the Rockies. This small town made headlines in 1999 when famous late-night talk show host David Letterman purchased a vacation home nearby. It’s also home to one of the most important paleontology finds in the world. The maiasaura-type fossil, discovered in the nearby Egg Mountain, can be viewed in a 3D display at the Old Trail Museum. A number of charming locally owned shops are to be found in the quaint downtown and several wilderness trails are easily accessible from here, making it a place with something for everyone.

These recommendations were updated on May 6, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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