Nicknamed the "Magic City," Billings is the largest city in Montana, with a 2006 population of roughly 100,000 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2008, Best Life Magazine named the Billings metropolitan area the third best place in the United States to raise a family. Indeed, Billings has come a long way since its origins as a town built around the Northern Pacific Railroad. Considered the business hub of Montana, Billings has adopted another telling moniker over the years, with many residents and visitors referring to the city as the "Star of the Big Sky Country."
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Billings is known as one of the biggest trade centers in the country, and many companies in the northwestern region of the United States have their headquarters there:
- First Interstate Banks
- Western Plains Machinery
- Corporate Air
- Ryan Restaurant Corp.
- Stillwater Mining Company
In recent years, a sizeable percentage of visitors to Billings have claimed that medical care was their main reason for visiting the city. Here's a partial list of hospitals, clinics, and research centers in Billings:
- Billings Clinic
- Saint Vincent Healthcare
- Rimrock Foundation
- Northern Rockies Cancer Center
- South Central Montana Mental Health Center
- Billings Clinic Research Center
The area also features oil refineries, colleges, a strong agricultural industry, numerous restaurants, and hundreds of other types of businesses.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
- Downtown Billings is where most businesses and medical facilities are located. Skyscrapers abound, including the tallest in the city, the First Interstate Center.
- The Heights is a quiet neighborhood that has recently increased in popularity, in part because of its Lake Hills Golf Course.
- Both South Hills and Northwestern Billings, including Zimmerman, are known as the wealthier sections of the city.
- Riverfront is a quaint area that encompasses Lake Josephine and Riverfront Park, near the Yellowstone River. Central Billings is another neighborhood that features parks, such as Central Park and Terry Park.
- Shiloh, Southwestern Billings, the West End, and North Elevation, home of Montana State University-Billings, are among the fastest growing neighborhoods of the city.
- Southeast Billings includes the new retail center, Billings Town Square, as well as one of the city's oil refineries.
- Montana State University-Billings: Since 1927, this campus has been offering a wide selection of associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree programs. It is particularly well-known for its rehabilitation and education programs. More than 4,000 students attend this campus.
- Rocky Mountain College: Founded in 1878, this private school is the oldest college in the state. Affectionately known as "Rocky" by locals, this school offers a wide range of courses of study, and was recently ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the list of top ten schools when it comes to value and quality.
- Yellowstone Baptist College: This small Bible college was founded in 1974. Most classes at Yellowstone Baptist College focus on the study of religion.
Billings sports fans have an assortment of teams and events to keep them entertained:
- The Billings Outlaws play in the United Indoor Football League.
- The Billings Mustangs play minor-league baseball in the Pioneer League.
- The Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) is the place to be for rodeo fans.
- The Billings Bulls play in the Northern Pacific Hockey League.
- Billings Skate Park: Fun for all ages, this park is open year round.
- Battle of the Little Big Horn Reenactment: This June event is popular with visitors. Billings is near the area where this historic battle was fought in 1876.
- Yellowstone National Park: Billings is considered a gateway to this more than 2 million-acre park. Popular park activities include hiking, fishing, and sightseeing.
- Pompey's Pillar National Monument: This is the 51-acre sandstone pillar that William Clark, of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, signed in 1806.
- Dehler Park: This 4,000-seat stadium is mainly used for baseball games between the Billings Mustangs and their opponents. It opened in the summer of 2008.
- Highways: Interstates 90 and 94 both run east-west, while U.S. Highway 87 runs north-south through Billings northeast of the downtown area.
- Public Transportation: Greyhound, Amtrak, and Rimrock Trailways provide bus service to Billings. Additionally, Billings Metropolitan Transit, or the MET, serves residents at affordable fares.
- Air Travel: Billings Logan International Airport offers transport to a limited area, mainly to get to airports in nearby states.
Billings has a wealth of media outlets. The following are just a few examples:
- Billings Outpost
- Billings Gazette
- KTVQ-TV(CBS), channel 2
- KSVI-TV (ABC), channel 6
- KULR-TV (NBC), channel 8
- KHMT (FOX), channel 4
- K20HB (PBS), channel 20
- KZRV FM 107.5 (adult contemporary)
- KGHL FM 98.5 (country)
- KKBR FM 97.1 (oldies)
- KHMK FM 95.5 (classic rock)
- KLRV FM 90.9 (Christian)
- KMZK 1240 (Christian)
- KBLG 910 (talk radio)