The seat of Yellowstone County, Billings is the biggest city in the state of Montana. The city can be found in the southern central part of the state and has various nicknames including 'Magic City' and 'City by the Rims', due to its unique rimrock sandstone formations. The city covers an area of 43.52 square miles and has an estimated population of around 111,000 people, with around 170,000 in the surrounding Billings Metropolitan Area.
A key commercial and cultural hub for the state of Montana, Billings is also one of the fastest growing cities in the state. The city of Billings, MT was founded in 1882 as a simple railroad town and was fittingly named after the Northern Pacific Railway president at the time, Frederick Billings. In its initial state, Billings was very small, with just a few buildings dotted around, but it began to rapidly grow and develop over time. The discovery of nearby oil fields helped boost the city's population, earning it the aforementioned nickname of 'Magic City' due to its speedy expansion and population rise.
Over the years, high rise buildings were constructed in the city and even as the oil industry began to die down, the economy of Billings began to diversify. The downtown area has seen significant development and renovation over the years, with many natural and man-made attractions for residents and visitors to enjoy including Zoo Montana, Yellowstone Art Museum, and the Chief Plenty Coups State Park, with other major sites like Yellowstone National Park and Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area not too far away.
Elevation of Billings, MT
Elevation is one of the most important geographical statistics of any town or city. It can have an influence on the city's weather and is also an important factor in town planning and architecture. Elevation refers to the height of an area above or below sea level. The city of Billings, MT is situated at an elevation of 3,123 feet (952 m), which is much higher than many other locations around the United States, especially the towns and cities along the east and west coasts, which are mostly situated at elevations of 500 feet (152 m) or less.
Billings' relatively high elevation is due to its inland location and the fact that it's part of Montana, which is generally one of the higher states. The mean elevation of the state of Montana is 3,400 feet (1,040 m), making it the eighth highest state overall. The elevation of Billings is therefore slightly lower than the state average. The highest point in the state is Granite Peak, located in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness in Park County at an elevation of 12,807 feet (3,903.5 m). The lowest point in the state of Montana is found at the Kootenai River on the Idaho-Montana border at an elevation of 1,804 feet (550 m).
Other major cities around the state of Montana include Missoula, which has an elevation of 3,209 feet (978 m), Great Falls, which is situated in Cascade County at an elevation of 3,330 feet (1,015 m), Bozeman, which has an elevation of 4,820 feet (1,461 m), and Butte, which is situated at an elevation of 5,538 feet (1,688 m). So the city of Billings actually has the lowest elevation out of the top five most populous cities in MT.
Climate and Things to Do in Billings, MT
The city of Billings, MT has a humid continental climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters. Temperatures can approach and exceed 100°F (37.8°C) in Billings during the warmest periods of the year and regularly drop below freezing point in winter. The daily mean temperature in July, the hottest month of the year, is 73°F (23°C), while the coldest month of the year, December, has daily mean temperatures of 26°F (-3°C). Snow can fall for large parts of the year in Billings, at any time from September through to May.
Billings isn't known as a touristic city but does still attract a lot of visitors as one of the biggest cultural hubs in the state of Montana. There are plenty of impressive monuments in the local area like Pompey's Pillar, Pictograph Cave, and the Chief Plenty Coups State Park, as well as man-made attractions like museums, galleries, high-rise buildings, and more. Various annual events and festivals are held in Billings each year including food and wine festivals, and some of the outdoor activities one can enjoy at Billings include hiking, climbing, skiing, fishing, and more.