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
Photo of Veronika J Spencer
1 April 2021

Montana is one of America’s most naturally beautiful states. Its stunning mountain scenery accentuates the rustic charm of the small towns that sit within it, such as Whitefish and Hamilton. We check out some of the coolest urban spots.

Bozeman

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Main Street in downtown Bozeman, Montana, USA
© Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo

Bozeman, in the southwest of Montana, is a great place if you’re seeking clean, fresh air and a relaxing environment. While Bozeman 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 in Bozeman, and this college town is always buzzing with activity.

Whitefish

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

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

Hamilton

Architectural Landmark
Map View

The small city of Hamilton can be found in the western part of Montana, nestled in between two mountain ranges in the Bitterroot Valley. While it still has a small population, it is the fastest growing city in Montana. This creates a perfect combination of small-town charm with the amenities of a bigger city. 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, Hamilton has a number of beautiful, historic buildings including the Daly Mansion, Old Ravalli County Courthouse and the City Hall.

Polson

Architectural Landmark
Map View

Polson lies on the southern shore of Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana, on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Located in one of the best farming areas of Montana, Polson has vast cherry orchards, which it celebrates 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 is not far from Polson, 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
Map View

Located in the very center of Montana, Lewistown is where the mountains and the plains meet. Lewistown first became a popular destination for visitors during the 1880s gold rush and when the gold supply ran out, many decided to settle in Lewistown permanently. The ‘Heart of Montana’ is an outdoor recreation paradise. Hunting, fishing, skiing, hiking and biking are just a few of the endless possibilities for those who enjoy the great outdoors. Lewistown is surrounded by five mountain ranges and embraces its traditional Western heritage. This small, quiet town has a strong sense of community and offers many events in which everyone can get involved.

West Yellowstone

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Strasse in West Yellowstone Montana USA
© moehligdesign / Alamy Stock Photo

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
Map View

Located in the southwestern part of the state, Anaconda is surrounded by mountains, lakes and densely timbered forests. Founded as a copper mining town, Anaconda is now a popular destination for those visiting Montana. The beautiful Washoe Theater on Anaconda’s main street is a must-see for those 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 activities in Anaconda.

Butte

Architectural Landmark
Map View

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

Stevensville

Architectural Landmark
Map View
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 quiet community set with the stunning Bitterroot and Sapphire mountains in the distance. Stevensville’s 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, and is home to various types of wildlife.

Choteau

Architectural Landmark
Map View

Choteau is affectionately known as the ‘Front Porch of the Rockies’. This charming small town made headlines in 1999 when famous late-night talk show host David Letterman purchased a vacation home nearby. Choteau is 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 Choteau’s Old Trail Museum. This fossil draws dinosaur enthusiasts from all over the world to Choteau. 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 April 1, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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