Billings, Montana. The Magic City. A historical railroad town of the 1880’s. Located in the southwestern region and named for President Frederick H. Billings of the North Pacific Railroad, it is severely underrated as a town of economic growth, increasing tourism, and great location in the Treasure State. It boasts many jogging and bike trails, museums, theaters, art institutions, and several colleges within the city, and beautiful mountain views, rock formations, and even wild horses in the surrounding areas.
With over 166,000 people, it accounts for almost 20% of the entire state’s population and is the largest city in Montana. There are tons of restaurants, local attractions, nightlife, and historical buildings to explore. While there are plenty more, here are our 10 Top Reasons to Love Billings:
1. There’s a Low Cost of Living – The median home price in Billings is only $138,000. It’s also considered to be a good state tax climate. Oh, and don’t forget about Montana’s “no sales tax” gig. That’s right - $4.99 means you actually pay $4.99. Cha-ching!
2. It Has Above Average Air Quality – Placed around 3,000 feet above sea level, Billings has excellent air quality. This means easier breathing, better sleep, reduction of allergens, and lower energy costs. Did you know that it was featured on the TV show The Amazing Race? Athletes prefer good air quality and high elevation for training, while outdoor hobbyists come for the awesome views and fewer odors. In the case that you do get sick? Billings is known for its abundant doctors. You’re all set!
3. ZooMontana – Known to be the only zoo in the state of Montana, this family-friendly attraction houses 58 species in its 70-acre wildlife park in Billings, including a North American and Asian region for their native inhabitants. It was started in 1982 as a non-profit organization and now boasts an annual 70,000 visitor count. Siberian tigers, red pandas, bald eagles, boa constrictors, and a barn full of domesticated animals are just a few that you’ll see there.
4. It Has a Strong Economy – Billings happens to be a primary trade and distribution center for most of Montana, Northern Wyoming, and parts of North and South Dakota.
5. Lewis and Clark Were There - William Clark of Lewis and Clark passed through Billings in 1806 during their expedition, leaving his name and date onto a sandstone rock formation he named Pompeys Pillar, in honor of Sacajawea’s baby. A national monument since 2001, this writing is known to be the only physical evidence of their travels.
6. It Rules in Energy - It has been ranked first in US energy in the 20th century due to discovery of oil fields, natural gas and coal reserves. The Bakken oil play, called one of the largest oil discoveries in US history, and the Heath shale oil play to the north, both contribute to speedy growth in the 1900’s and continued support of the city’s economy.
7. It Has the Tallest Building in a 5-State Region- The First Interstate Center measures 272 feet high, which is pretty tall for a building in Big Sky Country. This 20-floor tower is used as a commercial office building in downtown Billings.
8. It’s Great for Local Businesses - In 2009, Forbes named Billings as the best small city to start a business. While Montana is generally known by its inhabitants to be extremely supportive of local businesses, Billings got the national recognition for it.
9. A River Runs Through It - The Yellowstone River runs right through the city. Also, you can see 6 mountain ranges from the city limits: Bighorn Mountains, Pryor Mountains, Beartooth Mountains, Crazy Mountains, Big Snowy Mountains, and the Bull Mountains.
10. It’s Billings, MT - It’s in Montana, and what’s not to love about Montana?