If you are into fishing, rock hounding, wildlife and the wild west, trains, golf, horseback riding, camping, and most anything outdoors, you might want to retire in Livingston, Montana. This little town of just 7,000+ people sits right on Hwy 90, just 50 miles due north of Yellowstone National park.
Settled in 1882 when the Northern Pacific Railroad came through, Livingston was billed as the gateway to Yellowstone. But much earlier, Lewis and Clark camped on this site at the Yellowstone River. The railroad brought traffic to the area and the town was born. Many of the buildings are historically preserved sites and it’s easy to imagine what it looked like in the wild west days. Today, Livingston has a really fine railroad museum in the train depot where you can learn all about the area. Another museum is the Yellowstone Gateway Museum describing some of the oldest American archeological sites.
The town is a favorite movie location (A River Runs Through It, The Horse Whisperer, Rancho Deluxe, etc.) and an artists colony, in addition to being a ranching and farming center. The U.S. Census revealed that Livingston had more residents involved in the arts than 90% of the rest of America. It’s not unusual to see a familiar big screen personality in the grocery store. But if you are into dressing up and going out on the town to see a show or have cocktails in a swanky nightclub, Livingston probably isn’t for you. This is where really serious fly fishermen come from all over the world to toss a line and visit Dan Bailey’s Fly Shop where you can sit a spell, talk fishing, and find the best places, tours, guides, and equipment. The Federation of Fly Fishers is based in Livingston.
Another fun place to take the grandkids in town is Gem Valley Montana, right in Livingston. You can get a bucket of sand and come away with garnets and sapphires of every color. They’ll set you up to pan for gems, and then cut and mount the stones for you. They’ll even send you a bucket of sand in the mail! The state motto, after all, is ‘The Treasure State’ in case you were wondering.
If you are here for the Forth of July, you can take in the Livingston Roundup Rodeo, voted “2013 Large Rodeo of the year” in the Montana Circuit. Complete with parades, specialty acts, music, great food, and big time Rodeo! July also has an Arts Festival, Farmers Markets, Shakespeare in the Parks, Summerfest in Sacajawea Park. Events are planned for most every weekend in the summer – visit their great Chamber of Commerce website.
But living in Livingston? If you are interested in having a home here, we found a huge 4 bedroom (2,928 square feet) with 3 bathrooms, western style, very nice, modern open floor plan, with double car garage and fenced yard for $209,000. Really. There are not many rentals in the area, but they can be found. Livingston has a number of RV campgrounds in the area. Couldn’t find one with a bad review.
Livingston gets 4 seasons! The average high in January is 35 degrees F. and warning – the wind can just howl through here! The average high in the summer is 85, but a whole lot cooler than if you live in Arizona! Come on up for the summer and get in some fishing, visit Yellowstone, and hang out for awhile.
Just so you know, there is a regional airport in Bozeman, 23 miles to the west. Livingston Memorial Hospital is right in town with 25 beds, and ER and all kinds of specialties.
Zoom in and out on the map below to see roads and attractions!