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Interested in moving to Missoula or Bozeman

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Hi Everyone,

My husband and our boys, Liam and Patrick, age 15 months, are considering a move to Missoula or Bozeman areas. We are currently in Minnesota and my husband is thinking about quitting his very stressful and time consuming corporate job so that he can spend more time with us and we can all have a better quality of life. We have moved around quite a bit with his work, but now we will be able to choose where we want to live and be able to settle down! I am thrilled!

We want to live in a child friendly area with other AP folks and a community of homeschoolers. We want accessibility to holistic practitioners and a healthfood store. We love outdoor activities such as skiing and hiking. We want to live at a slower pace and much more simply. I don't mind cold weather, but would like a place where there is some sunshine!

One thing I noticed about Minneapolis is that people are more reserved and also have very established friendships and family close by. It was more difficult to get to know people here--is Montana this way at all? Are there many transplants?

Is it a good place to raise children?

Is it easy to travel by plane?

I have read some of the past threads about these areas, but would appreciate any new input anyone has Missoula or Bozeman or any other area you would recommend. Also, the places where we have loved living include the Seattle area and Alaska.

Thank you much for any help you can provide!

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First of all, congratulations on what sounds like a new adventure in your near future. It sounds like a wonderful change for your family.

I live in Missoula, and have for 5 years. It is very ap, health food store, hiking/skiing close by, etc. The only downside to what you mention is that Missoula is very cloudy in the winter... but not to terrible... I'd check out some online websites that compare weather/sunny days between Missoula/Bozeman. I don't know much about living in Bozeman... so don't know if there's that much of a difference from here and there. I know historically and stereotypically that Missoula was known as a hippie town and Bozeman as a cowboy town... but I don't think that really is the case anymore. I think both communities have a mixture of family lifestyles... I do know that Missoula is an excellent place for families, however finding a job here can be a challenge. THe airport here and bozeman have connecting flights to major hubs, so that's pretty convenient (for Montana)...

As for getting to know people, I think it depends. I think there is a mix of those in Missoula who've been here for a long time, and those just moving through. So I don't think one dictates how friendships are formed. I have found a mothers group here that is very open and friendly.

HOpe that helps. Let me know if you want more specific information. Both towns have generally mild winters (for Montana). I would recommend reading the newspapers from both towns if that would help you get a feel for the areas. Oh, and I just googled both towns... both searches came up with information you may like.
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Hi Heidi,

Thanks so much for all of your great feedback! I really appreciate your thoughts. Missoula sounds wonderful. We are planning a trip out in May to check it out and probably will head on down to Bozeman, too.


you said you have found a mothers group that is friendly... could provide name of it and number? i have lived here a year now and am having a hard time finding new friends, partly because i am a stay at home mommy right now. i would REALLY appreciate the input and other suggestions to meet other women.

I have lived in the bozeman area since 2000. Big sky, to Gateway, to 3 Forks, to Manhattan, back to Gateway. We do love it here however, we are on baby #2 and I don't work, which might be forcing us to move due to cost of living. We have paid off all of our bill and are living for the most part simply, not as simple as I'm sure some have gone, but to our comfort level.

There are some ap families here, I'm sure, but I am currently and newly searching. La Leche group is the only one I've found so far.

It is a great place to raise kids, laid back mentallity, but it is a cowboy town and I have heard Missoula is definately more progressive as far as ap friendly environment is concerned.

There is an airport in Bozeman, but it's very small, and pretty expensive. We usually go to Billings (3hrs) or Salt Lake (6hrs) to get better rates, but with gas now it's almost better $wise to suck it up and absorb the extra expense.

The winters are gorgeous, alot of sunny/snowy days and cloudy too. There's LOTS AND LOTS of outdoor stuff to do if you are willing to take advantage of it. My downhill snowboarding/skiing days are over, but we love to xc ski and there are cabins to ski in and out of in the winter, however I haven't taken much advantage of this since I've had kids. The winters are very long though. 9 months min. But when summer comes, OMG it's gorgeous, beautiful, breathtaking, all the wonderful adjectives you can think of.

I used to live in Portland, OR, and from what I know Seattle is very AP, very progressive and very expensive and very populated. Beautiful in a different way than here, and as we all know rainy and cloudy. But you are very close to many of outdoor things not so far away. It's in your backyard here. AK, wow I have always wanted to move there too. I think it might be comparable to here as far as job market, not as progressive, but vast and very beautiful. Very beautiful. Probably remote airport sit. and probably expensive too. Just depends what your priorities are. I think raising kids would be great there to just because, I think beautiful place are great to raise kids. Ayway, good luck.
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Thanks for the info on Bozeman area. We actually just returned from a week in Missoula and loved it. If we do decide to move to Montana, we would definitely check out Bozeman as well. Thanks so much for your insights!
I have lived in Boze (the city proper, not Gallatin Gateway, which is waaay different, wouldn't even qualify as Bozeman, in my book, more like Belgrade-ish) and love it. We did go visit Missoula, and loved the crunchy factor, it's also cheaper for housing than Boze. The only thing I didn't like is the weather, because they (missoula) are west of the divide, the weather is much more Pac Northwest, less sunny days. There's also a nasty inversion in the winter, and the air quality isn't as good. That said, it's a bigger place, with more options and a more settled in ap community.

But Bozeman is a place of good people. I would absolutely not characterize it as cowboy, that's more like Helena, Butte or Billings, even. There's a ton of arts, culture, and it is a college town more like. There's even an annual Hatch festival (film). There's lots of outdoor street concerts in the summer, a christmas walk, very active and fun for kids. The outdoor sports abound, Bridger Bowl is just by, and Big Sky about an hour away. Then there's Yellowstone, if you like camping, it's heaven.

The only thing is Bozeman is growing so fast! it's the happening place in MOntana, so it's kind of sad in a way, if less people moved here, that's okay, I should probably keep it secret.

Montana is in my mind the most gorgeous state ever, I like seattle, but that's a BIG city...whole nother ball of wax. AK would be nice, too. I'm glad you like Missoula, and hopefully whatever your family decides, you will all be welcomed by friendly and caring Montanans, I've lived in so many places, and really appreciate the warmth friendliness and caring of the people here, lots share my philosophy (next door neighbor no vaxes, etc.) Even those who don't are respectful. I love it here. It's home.
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