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Why Williston, ND, is a Great Place to Live

People can't get enough of this city's attractive lifestyle, from the office to the outdoors. 

By Lindsey Hyde on November 21, 2022

While 14,000+ people have flocked to Williston since 2010, this city of more than 30,000 residents has upgraded its quality-of-life offerings yet keeps the small community charm, friendliness and connections it’s always possessed.

“You’ve got new people moving to the area all the time, and where they’re coming from is all over the place,” says Mike Dolbec, founder of Windsong Custom Homes. “They’re coming up and being able to make a very, very good, comfortable living, and a lot of people think they’re just going to be here for a year or two, and all of a sudden, they’re like, ‘Hey, this is a really nice community to live in.'”

Tricia A. Miller/North Dakota Tourism

Career Options

Thanks to Williston’s location in the center of the Bakken Formation, a large deposit of oil and natural gas found beneath parts of North Dakota, Montana and Canada, plenty of jobs are available in the oil and gas industry. But opportunities to build a successful career don’t stop there — the area is also home to outstanding higher education, rail, agriculture and alternative energy (wind, water, biofuels) sectors.

“There are a ton of opportunities as far as employment,” says Mark Schneider, development services director for the City of Williston. “If someone comes here and can’t be employed within a week, they’re not looking hard enough, or they’re being too picky as to what they want to do. Every single solitary facet of life here is hiring today.”

Exterior of a Windsong contractors home in Williston, ND.
Carla Kemp/ReMax Bakken Realty

Housing Choices

After a long day at work, everyone yearns for a comfortable space to kick back and relax, whether in a cozy apartment, a pretty townhouse or a single-family home.

While some options are easier to come by nowadays than others, you can still find your perfect house in the area.

Dolbec’s company, Windsong Custom Homes, builds speculative — houses constructed with the idea that they’ll be easy for the builder to sell — and custom-built homes. And while houses are in high demand, Schneider says, the city has developed several plans to ensure there will be space for the growing population to reside. For example, if someone builds a new home in Williston today, their permit (a value of about $2,500) is free. 

The Williston ARC (Area Recreation Center) offers a wide range of indoor recreational activities.
Heather LeMoine/North Dakota Tourism

Keeping Active

When it comes to indoor and outdoor recreation, the region exceeds residents’ expectations. It is home to the Williston Area Recreation Center (ARC), which offers youth and adult sports programs such as basketball, football, soccer and tennis, as well as an indoor track, pools, a water park, a weight room, cardio equipment, an indoor playground and much, much more.

“The community itself has some very unique recreational amenities,” Dolbec says. “There are parks. Western North Dakota is absolutely beautiful. We have the Badlands just south of us. Some of the prettiest areas you’ll ever see in the country.”

Speaking of pretty areas, residents can take in Williston’s beautiful scenery while walking the trails that run throughout the community (even more are being constructed).

Plus, Williston has a calendar full of attend-worthy events, such as Summer Nights on Main, an outdoor summer concert event held every Thursday between late June and late August.

“I bet there are four to five events every single week here,” Schneider says. “You can’t even go to them all because there are so many events going on, which is really, really exciting for people and families.”

While many of the city’s events are held downtown, this pocket of the community is also a place where residents can find great food, local businesses and excellent entertainment options.

“I almost feel like I’m back in the 1960s, 70s and 80s when downtowns were hustling and bustling,” Schneider says. “That’s what it feels like here on a Friday night, Saturday night, even Sunday … so that’s kind of added to the quality of life.”

If you’d like to learn more about the Williston area, check out the latest edition of Livability Williston, North Dakota

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