There are plenty of stereotypes about Montana and Montana cities. You probably follow a few social media accounts that capitalize on these stereotypes for audience entertainment.

But things get interesting when the stereotypes get flipped on their head. And that may be what's happening in this case. Let's look at one of Montana's favorite towns to poke a bit of fun at: Missoula.

Missoula is the artsy town with the hippies and protestors and if there were ever city in Montana where you'd see people reading books in public, it would be Missoula. Missoula has earned its literary cred, too. Some examples:

  • Missoula is host to the decades-old Montana Book Festival
  • Missoula is home to one of the world's most beautiful libraries
  • The bookstores
  • The silent reading hours
  • Literary organizations like the Missoula Writing Collaborative and Free Verse
  • The writing program at the University of Montana

And yet, Missoula's time as the most "bookish" city in Montana may be coming to an end.

READ MORE: 7 Great Spots for a Missoula Silent Book Club Meeting

Best Montana Cities for Book Lovers

You might not think they'd be interested in data about books but the website Lawn Love has put together a list of "2024's Best Cities for Book Lovers" and two Montana cities make the list.

No surprise: Missoula is one of the two cities.

Shocker: Missoula is outranked by another Montana city.

The study looked at several factors, many of them having to do with access to books either through stores or libraries, but also rare bookstores. There was also a community aspect of the study that looked at how many book clubs or silent book clubs a city had or how many publishing houses.

Considering these factors, Lawn Love ranked Billings better than Missoula for book lovers.


Okay, I could see this being true. I lived in Billings and was part of the literary community, so here are some examples of Billings' literary cred:

READ MORE: Missoula Vs. Billings, They Might Be More Similar Than You Think

  • Billings is home to one of the best libraries in the nation
  • Billings is home to the High Plans Book Awards
  • Billings has literary organizations like the Big Sky Writing Workshops
  • The publishing houses
  • The book clubs

Billings ranked especially well, 19th overall, in the "special access" category which pertained to antique or rare books, partial or fine-free libraries, and braille libraries.

So, are you convinced? Is Billings the Montana city that's best for book lovers?

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