OK, since there are so many differing responses, here is the situation. I am looking into a job opportunity with the Feds in Missoula. I am just wondering if it would be a good move for my family. I know I would love it if I was a bachelor, but what about for a family (3 kids under 7)? Any info is greatly appreciated.
The outfit I work for has it's corp. HQ in Missoula and many of my good friends live there. I generally get to Missoula at least every other month and some years more often.
I am saying this as a staunch MSU Bobcat fan but Missoula has a ton to offer a young family. The people I know that live there with their families love it.
The only real gripe I have with Missoula, other then the Griz football team, is that it appears that they built houses first and then remembered that they needed streets. The street grid is poorly laid out. Though the newly developed areas are better laid out then down town Missoula. You will get so you hate Reserve Street during rush hour.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has it's HQ there. It has the river, the carousel, some really great dining places, I think the smoke jumpers are still based there, lots of entertainment, you are not that far from Glacier Park, Seeley Lake, Flathead Lake, Selway Bitterroot Wilderness, the U. always has something going on for a family, decent shopping to keep the Mrs. happy etc, etc..
The one draw back is that it is the second most expensive town to live in in Montana. Many people work a couple of jobs each to afford the cost of living. There are many highly educated folks who are working menial jobs there in Missoula. It also has the gloom (smog from temperature inversion) that sets in in Dec. but that is temporary.
It is getting easier to fly in and out of Missoula on jet service to the west coast. I am not sure there are very many native left in Missoula but it is still a friendly town.
WT, I was born in Missoula and lived there until 2000. Missoula will always be home for me no matter what.
Its grown too fast IMO. Its also an expensive place to live, thats one of the reasons my wife and I left there. The house my parents bought in 1978 for 30K is now worth 200K+ and increasing in value every year. Property taxes are high, vehicle registration is high. If you're the only one working, I'd say to buy a house and still be able to enjoy other things, I'd expect 70-80K in my salary. I have buddies that still live there, and thats about all they do on 35-50K a year job.
The one other thing that I dont miss about Missoula is the air inversions that Nemont mentioned. Usually, every winter expect a 2-3 stretch where you dont see the sun. Air quality really is a big problem.
The other thing that Missoula is famous for, but has declined a great deal, is quality fishing. The local rivers (Clarks Fork, Blackfoot, Bitterroot) are still pretty good, although not nearly as good as they were. The lakes within 60-70 miles of Missoula pretty much suck. As for the hunting, its pretty good, but theres much better hunting in the Bozeman, Butte, Helena, Great Falls areas. Its pretty tough right near Missoula. I killed an elk every year between 1980-2000 within 60 miles of Missoula, but I had to hunt hard to do it. The only hunting that I would call GOOD around Missoula is whitetail hunting.
One of the things I miss the most about Missoula is being within striking distance of weekend steelhead/chinook fishing in Idaho. Its about a 3 hour drive from Missoula to Orifino. The B run steelhead in the Clearwater are some of the largest steelhead in North America, and hold their own with the Thompson river strain in BC.
Missoula has a lot to offer, and theres times I still wish I lived there. I miss some of my friends, but to be honest, I dont miss the town that much.
I will eventually move back to MT, but it WILL be in Bozeman or Helena. Not sure if you have a choice in where to live in MT, but recreationally, theres many, many, many places I'd rather live.
If you want to PM me with any details feel free or my personal email is in my profile.
I commute into missoula from north of florence (12 miles). Everything Buzzh and NeMont had to say about missoula is pretty much right on. There are some good things about this town, but for me the major drawback is there are way too many people crowded into a mountain valley, so the roads are really congested. Alot of times it takes over 45 minutes of bumper to bumper to get from one side of town to the other. Which i think sucks, but it depends what perspective your coming from. I grew up in a small logging town so missoula feels like shitville.
I doubt that Buzzh and NemMont are aware of some the developments that have just kicked off.
Right now there are thousands of homes being built in miller creek (20k home subdivision), lolo creek, florence, etc. So the quality of life in this area is about to take a major turn towards californiaville.
oh, and be prepared for outrageous home prices. I make really good money and we cannot afford for the wife to stay home fulltime with the kids due to the cost of living here. Unless you want to live in a dump or commute an hour plan on at least between 200k and 250k for a house. Anything really nice is over 300.
These guy's are absolutly right on with the living conditions. If you don't mind a little commute, 30-40 miles east or west of missoula off I-90 aren't bad. Land and house prices drop some. I don't think I would like to live any where south of Missoula for the fact there is really only one road in and out. The traffic is nothing like that from where I was raised in the Seattle area, I was born in Hamilton and have a ton of family living in the whole valley. I usually jump over the Skalkaho to go see them. I think if you like to hunt much, that you will be very happy with the move.
Let me know and I will pick you up some realestate guides so that you can get a feel for the area....
Just got back form Missoula. Played a little golf, drank waaaaay to much at the Iron Horse. They had a special a cold PBR and shot of Jager for $3.00. My meeting was very long the next day.
Anyway I was speaking with a guy who works for the city-county planning board and he told me that just in approved subdivisions there are 2,200 permitted new homes sites in and around Missoula!!!! I could not believe that and had to have him repeat it a couple of times.
Wow, Missoula sure sounds like it would have been really nice a few years back. May still be nice though, I guess I just have to plan a trip up there. Darn. Billings is also an option, but it looked like it was too far from the good mountain areas. You know, a man has to have his priorities.
Billings isn't that bad. As far as hunting areas you are fairly close to a lot of good hunting.
You have to remember all things are relative here. To us a couple of hundred miles is just a short drive. I drove to and from Missoula 840 miles round trip, went on wednesday and came back on Thurs. Would have flown but the Big Sky's schedule didn't work with mine. So the good hunting isn't necessarily that far away.
For all you's with Missoula ties, what would you suggest for things to do this weekend there? The wife and I are heading there for a quick/short getaway. The RMEF HQ is the only thing I have in mind. The rest of the weekend is open... This will probably be more of a in-town based visit, so in suggestions for a good meal or some night time fun (I've got some of that handled )as in bars/clubs/theatres to visit would be helpful.
Now if I could just find a job opening in that part of MT!!!
A place for dinner, if you dont mind driving 11 miles South on highway 93, then a mile up highway 12, is Guys Steakhouse. Tons of neat mounts in there, and Guy burns a pretty good steak.
If you stay in town Nemont has the goods on that, the depot is tough to beat. Bars are a dime a dozen downtown, all have their own character. I'd recommend strolling through a bunch of them, hippies all over.