The Best Things to do in Bozeman, MT
If you are heading to Bozeman, Montana, chances are you are heading to Yellowstone National Park, but just passing through this town would be a terrible mistake. With so many things to do in Bozeman, you can easily spend a week here exploring this quaint city surrounded by many outdoor adventures.
From Big Sky to Gallatin Valley, there is no shortage of things to do in Bozeman and the surrounding areas.
Psst: We have a bunch of guides about Montana. Browse them all here or see the post below:
Table of Contents
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Map of Things to do in Bozeman, Montana
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Various Native American tribes such as the Blackfeet, Nez Pierce, Sioux, and more occupied Gallatin County for thousands of years. With its abundant water, animals, and plants, it’s easy to see why!
The first written account of Gallatin County dates back to 1806, when William Clark, of the Lewis & Clark fame, visited the area. In his journal, Clark describes Gallatin County as the “Valley of the Flowers,” and talks about all the wildlife he saw. He mentions seeing wolves, deer, beavers, eagles, and more (oh my!) along his journey.
In 1863, a man from Georgia named John Bozeman came to Gallatin County in search of gold. While he was there, John established the Bozeman Trail, right off of the Oregon Trail. He also led new settlers into the county.
Gold was discovered in Gallatin County and many people came rushing in, following John’s footsteps in search of gold. The people saw what the county had to offer and many of them returned later to get into business or agriculture.
The city of Bozeman officially began in 1864 and has been thriving ever since. In fact, Bozeman has a population of 53,323 as of 2021, and was ranked as the fastest-growing micropolitan city in the US. It’s like, really trendy.
1. Decide what season is best for you. Honestly, there’s no such thing as a bad time to visit Bozeman. It just comes down to personal preference. Summer is a popular time to visit because of all of the events, festivals, and outdoor activities.
However, fall is quieter and has slightly milder temperatures. The winter has plenty of deep snow which is perfect for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities in Bozeman. The list of things to do in Bozeman is endless, no matter what time of the year it is!
2. Bring your camera! Bozeman is full of beautiful parks, trails, mountains, and much more. We can guarantee that your social media feeds will be put to good use!
3. Shop local. Something unique about Bozeman is all of the locally-owned businesses. There are currently more than 118,000 small businesses in Montana, including everything from clothing boutiques to sports equipment. Head to Downtown Montana or the Bozeman Farmers’ Market to buy some local products.
Photo Credit: Bozeman Airport
Bozeman is easy to get to since the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) offers daily direct flights with 10 different airlines to most major cities in the US, such as Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, and more.
BZN differs from other airports in that it’s cozy and down to earth. The airport features warm fireplaces, tall wood ceilings, beautiful mountain views, and restaurants and bars to hang out at while you wait for your flight.
Just don’t over-indulge, fall asleep, and miss your flight!
Other Airports nearby:
- Billings Logan International Airport – Billings Airport (BIL) is the second largest airport in Montana and it’s located in Yellowstone County, MT. Billings offers daily direct flights to multiple major cities in the US with 7 different airlines.
- Bert Mooney Airport – Bert Mooney Airport (BTM) is a smaller airport located in Silver Bow County, MT. BTM currently only has flights to Salt Lake City, UT with Delta.
- Helena Regional Airport – Helena Regional Airport (HLN) is a small, regional airport located in Lewis and Clark County, MT. HLN has 3 major airlines and flies to 4 major cities: Salt Lake City (SLC), Denver (DEN), Seattle (SEA), and Minneapolis (MSP).
If you don’t live in a major city, don’t worry! You can take a Greyhound bus from pretty much any state in the US to Bozeman. Average prices range anywhere from $10 to $200 per person.
Rent a car
Finish Line Car Rental is a locally-owned car rental service located in Belgrade, MT. Finish Line is very convenient because it has a free shuttle bus that will take you to and from Bozeman Airport, which is only about 10 minutes away.
Finish Line has a wide range of brand new vehicles, ranging from compact to premium.
Rent-A-Car Montana is also a locally-owned business in Bozeman, MT, located close to the Bozeman Airport. Rent-A-Car has a shuttle that will take you to and from the airport for a small fee.
There’s a wide range of vehicles at Rent-A-Car, including cars, SUVs, and vans.
Private Buses and Tours
If you’re looking for a more private mode of transportation, there are many private bus companies in Bozeman that offer private parties, National Park Tours, and more. Most of these companies travel all year to Yellowstone, Hot Springs, and Big Sky.
One company to check out is Big Sky Shuttle, which offers daily rides to and from Bozeman Airport and Big Sky, seating up to 32 people. Big Sky Shuttle also offers guided Yellowstone tours from Bozeman, Gardiner, Big Sky, and West Yellowstone.
Biking is one of the best things to do in Bozeman since it’s full of parks, valleys, and trails. Plus, the International Mountain Bike Association is making efforts to create new trails and improve existing ones. (Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better!).
One highly-rated trail is the Sypes Canyon Trail, just a little bit north of Bozeman. This trail goes through a shaded forest where you’ll see a beautiful view of the Gallatin Valley.
Sypes Canyon has a length of 4-6 miles, a duration of 1-4 hours, and is ranked as moderate difficulty.
Like biking, walking is on our list of one of the best things to do in Bozeman. Bozeman is extremely walkable, so make sure you’re wearing comfy shoes! Cafes, stores, and restaurants are usually clustered on main roads and if you’re going down Main Street, everything you could need is right there on the sidewalk. There are also plenty of hikes near Bozeman if you’d like to get out for a longer walk to enjoy nature.
A favorite mode of transporation for Samantha, Bozeman has public scooters available to rent. Head downtown and just look around to find one.
We spent over 3 weeks here in Bozeman and really got a chance to know the town. When our parents came to visit, we scouted out these hotels for them and all of them were great!
Booking.com probably has the widest selection of budget (and luxury) accommodations in the world. In our experience, they consistently found the cheapest rooms. We also like their easy-to-use interface and no money down policy. When we book our travel stays, we personally use Bbooking.com.
This hotel is located 1 block off Main Street and is within walking distance of the historic downtown district. If you are looking to enjoy the nightlife and want easy access to great restaurants, this is the hotel for you.
The LARK aims to bring a modern twist into a motel setting. Located on Main Street, this super chic hotel is perfectly located to give you access to all the bars, restaurants, and shops plus is conveniently located 2 miles from the Museum of the Rockies.
Homewood Suites by Hilton Bozeman
If you are looking for a quieter part of town with great mountain views, the Homewood Suites is your best bet. Located off of I-90, this hotel is convenient to the “M” Trail as well as Map Brewing. Only a 10 minute drive from downtown, this hotel has an indoor pool as well as a community fire pit.
Want to explore more places to stay in Bozeman? Click here to see all the hotels in Bozeman.
RV campgrounds in Bozeman Montana
We’ve been to Bozeman 3 times in our RV and it makes a difference where you stay!
Our personal favorite is the Gallatin County Fairgrounds. While there are no amenities (such as bathrooms or laundry), it’s located less than a mile from Main Street and is super walkable. We stayed here 2 of the 3 times and walked to the bars, shops, and restaurants.
Bozeman Trail Campground and RV Park is our second choice and where we stayed the first time we visited. Located a quick 5 minute drive from downtown Bozeman, this RV park has bathrooms and laundry on site. The only downside is it’s sandwiched between railroad tracks and the highway so it can be a bit noisy at night.
For those looking to boondock in Bozeman, the Walmart does allow overnight parking for 1 night.
Once a ranching town, Bozeman has grown with the times and their historic downtown area attracts both locals and tourists.
With dozens of excellent restaurants, bars and miscellaneous watering holes, there is no shortage of things to do in downtown Bozeman. Keep reading to find out more!
Did we mention that shopping is one of the top things to do in Bozeman?
First, downtown Bozeman has such a wide variety of shops that you can spend an entire day, and maybe all your money, just shopping. Also, most businesses are locally owned, so you can be sure that you’re buying unique products that can’t be found elsewhere.
If you’re looking for some gifts to bring back to your family, Heyday is the place to go. Heyday is a cozy, aesthetically pleasing gift shop that has jewelry, clothes, and home goods. We dare you to try and leave empty-handed.
For men’s and women’s clothing, check out Revolvr and Evergreen. These two stores have the same owners and sell both casual and dressy clothing to both genders. (And Revolvr has beer tastings!).
Views from top of M Trail
The M Trail is a popular trail next to Bozeman. Click here to find the trailhead.
The “M” trail has 3 options to get to the giant M on the side of the mountain – choose your own adventure!
The first is the “most difficult” path, a steep path full of gravel and rocks that is 0.5 miles in length and is strenuous on the body (especially after a night of craft beer).
The second path is the “most popular and easiest” path that is 1.5 miles in length and slowly winds you up the back of the mountain until you reach the M.
The third is a shortcut path that starts you on the easiest path, but then cuts over to a set of switchbacks that are moderately steep. This cuts your hike to 1 mile.
We chose to go up the most strenuous path (because apparently, we are masochistic) and down the shortcut path.
Why? We wanted to get to the top faster to enjoy the views and take it easy on the way down.
What does this say about us? We really aren’t afraid of a challenge (and really sore calf muscles) and willing to put in hard work to reap a reward.
It’s probably the same reason we like to visit multiple booze locations in a row because we are so 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘥 to be in a new spot and drink local beer, wine, and spirits. Excitement of what’s coming and the chance to slow down at the end to take it all in.
Photo Credit: Gallatin Valley Land Trust
Gallagator Trail has a length of 3 miles and is considered an easy trail to hike.
Peet’s Hill Trail (also known as Burke Park) is located in Bozeman, MT blocks away from Main Street. Peet’s Hill is a gorgeous place to hike since it has tons of plants (220 species!) and flowers. Make sure to come around sunset for an even better view.
Also, are you looking for the best things to do in Bozeman with your dog? If so, Peet’s Hill is the perfect place for you since dogs are allowed to roam around without a leash.
Photo Credit: All Trails
Located just south of Bozeman, Palisade Falls is located in the Hyalite Recreation Area. It is a short 1.2 mile hike to get to an up-close-and-personal view of the beautiful waterfall.
As beautiful as the waterfall is during the summer, in the winter, it freezes over completely and some people (i.e. thrill seekers or just people that don’t drink as much as us), will climb up the frozen waterfall.
Photo Credit: Bridger Bowl Facebook
Bridger Bowl is known as one of the best places to ski in North America, located about 16 miles from downtown Bozeman.
This ski area is a good place to ski no matter what your level is since it has areas for beginner, intermediate, and advanced skiers.
A unique aspect of Bridger Bowl is that it’s non-profit. At the end of the year, all profits go back to Bridger Bowl to be used for improvements and more.
Big Sky Resort is the most popular ski resort in Bozeman, with people coming from all over the US to hit the slopes. When you check it out for yourself, you’ll see why.
The ski area is in the Spanish peaks, which are among the highest peaks in Montana, so you’re sure to get an awesome view while you’re up there.
Big Sky is also a resort, so you’ll find more than just skiing. The resort has a spa, stores, restaurants, and more.
Museum of the Rockies is a non-profit natural history museum located in Bozeman, MT.
The museum, known for its dinosaur fossils, has the largest collection of dinosaur remains in the United States, including the largest T. rex skull ever discovered!
From a full fossilized T. rex skeleton to a collection of Triceratops skulls ranging from baby to adult, this museum has it all.
When you are done with the extinct reptiles, you can browse their reptile exhibit complete with (living) pythons, turtles and crocodiles. When you walk through the doors, you’ll find exhibits from all around the globe, lectures, events, educational programs, a planetarium, and more.
Museum of the Rockies is open every day of the year except for major holidays. The museum’s hours are 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Be sure to put this on your list for things to do in Bozeman!
Bozeman Art Museum
Bozeman Art Museum is a non-profit art museum located in Bozeman, MT. The museum gets 85,000 annual visitors and it offers classes, workshops for all levels, exhibits, and free lectures.
The museum’s hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
If you happen to be in Bozeman during the hot summer months, add floating the Madison River to your list of things to do in Bozeman. It is a quintessential “local” thing to do and is a refreshing, (mostly) relaxing, and fun activity to cool off.
Since this is such a popular summer activity in Bozeman, there are several different businesses that offer tube rentals and other essentials (like a tube for your cooler) and some even provide transportation to your put-in spot so you don’t have to worry about shuttling back and forth between beginning and ending stops.
And remember your sunscreen for this one as the Madison River is in full sun for pretty much the entire float.
Depending on how long you want to float, this can be a half-day or full-day activity (most popular route is to put-in at Warm Springs and float to Blacks Ford – which is about 6.5 miles). Warm Springs is about 40 minutes from downtown Bozeman, so plan your designated driver(s) accordingly.
Photo Credit: Bozeman Hot Springs Facebook
If you’re looking for somewhere to relax, the hot springs are one of the best things to do in Bozeman. The Bozeman Hot Springs began in the 1800s as a small pool only enjoyed by a few people, but now hundreds of people from all over come to experience the rejuvenating hot springs.
The facility has 12 different pools, ranging from 59 to 106 degrees, plus they have a complete fitness facility.
The Springs are located next to Yellowstone International Airport, Big Sky Resort, and Yellowstone National Park.
The Bozeman Farmers’ Market is one of the best things to do in Bozeman if you’re looking to buy local products. The Farmers’ Market has tons of vendors that sell fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, pottery, jewelry, and much more. The market also has plenty of events about various topics.
There is also a Gallatin Valley Farmers’ Market held at the fairground every day during the summer. From produce to one-of-a-kind handmade gifts, this market has both indoor and outdoor vendors. See the schedule here.
No matter which market you attend, be sure to get yourself a Dixon Melons, a bag of Flathead cherries, and some huckleberries.
Dixon Melons are without a doubt one of our favorite finds at the market. We didn’t know about them but saw the most outrageous line near a pickup truck full of melons. You won’t find many tourists in this line, it’s almost entirely locals. We can’t begin to explain the pure, juicy deliciousness of these melons, but they have made us look down upon regular cantaloupe and honeydew. Be sure to pick up their “sinful” melon. You can thank us later.
Hours: 7 AM – 3:30 PM Daily
If there is no other restaurant that you visit in Bozeman, we HIGHLY suggest going to Jam! Serving up delicious breakfast all day, every day, you’ll want to get there early as there is typically a wait, even for the bar.
From crepes, pancakes, and omelets to building your own Eggs Benedict flight, everything on the menu is seriously delectable. We went back 3 times in one week (sorry, not sorry). It was also the first place we stopped at when we returned to Bozeman again.
We hadn’t originally planned on going to Cateye Cafe, but the line out the door enticed us to check it out. A quaint, locally-owned business, Cateye promises fresh ingredients in a cozy cafe setting with cat decor galore.
Whether you are looking for breakfast or lunch, they serve up all the staple breakfast foods and are known for their “Sammy” sandwiches.
Sidewinders American Grill
Photo Credit: Sidewinders
Sidewinders was suggested to us by a bartender and it didn’t disappoint. With the original location in Jackson, WY (and second here in Bozeman), it was founded by a group of Marine veterans who have a deep devotion for good, home-cooked style food and great service.
With generous portions and a kick-butt tap list, you can kick back here after a day of hiking or watch your favorite sports team on one of their massive TVs.
Mountains Walking Brewery
It would be criminal of us to not talk about Mountains Walking Brewery under food, because their food was some of our favorite. In addition to serving up some of the best damn beer we’ve had, their food is truly something to write home about.
Their menu includes items like tot-chos (tater tot nachos) smothered in beer cheese with all of the nacho fixins’, an awesome chicken sandwich, and several yummy appetizers. But their wood-fired pizzas steal the show.
Our personal favorite was the Chicken Florentine pizza (fried chicken, white sauce base, spinach, red onion, artichokes, roma tomatoes, mozzarella, parmesan). They also have a few beer and food specials during the week such as Tuesday Tacos (2 tacos and a beer for $10) and Wednesday Wings (6 wings and a beer for $12).
To read more about the beer at Mountains Walking, read our full guide on all the breweries in Bozeman here.
Shine Beer Sanctuary & Lapa Grill
As you can tell, we tend to gravitate to places that have a good beer list and Shine Beer Sanctuary is no exception. Tucked away in the beer sanctuary is Lapa Grill, which prepares made-to-order burritos, tacos, and salads that perfectly pair with your beer.
We suggest grabbing some food and heading outside to their covered patio during the summer. In a hurry? Get your Lapa Grill order to go and grab some beer from their beer & bottle shop as well.
There is no shortage of watering holes in Bozeman, Montana. We bar hopped extensively through the city and these drinking locations should be on the top of your list of things to do in Bozeman, MT.
If you are looking for a quietly-awesome beer scene, look no further than the breweries in Bozeman Montana.
With 8 breweries, 2 beer bars, a cidery, meadery, a winery, and 3 distilleries, the alcohol scene in Bozeman is vast, diverse, and has excellent variety no matter your preference.
Some of our favorite bars are listed below!
In British and Australian slang, “plonk” is a term used to describe cheap and often low-quality wine….but that couldn’t be further from the truth at Bozeman’s Plonk.
Plonk sits right in the middle of Bozeman’s hip, yet historic, Main Street District and offers a seemingly never-ending list of great wines (beer and liquor also available) and delicious food.
Other than the wine, of course, the real star of the show was the Ploughman’s Platter, which was an expertly-paired charcuterie board complete with fresh-baked bread. Mmmm!
This upscale but casual restaurant and wine bar doesn’t mess around with their wine: their cellar has a 5,000-bottle capacity, oriental carpet, a leather couch, and a huge harvest table. You can even book the cellar for private food and wine tastings. If anyone does this, we will be happy to take two seats at your table!
If you missed Plonk in Bozeman, don’t stress! There is another location in Missoula too!
Copper Whiskey Bar & Grill
With whiskey for every occasion, this place is sure to impress both novice and serious whiskey lovers. Located on the main street, Copper Whiskey has a speakeasy vibe located below the ground level.
With a seriously kick-ass happy hour for both drinks and appetizers, we suggest popping down to experience it yourself.
Samantha drank their John Collins, a fun take on a Tom Collins, but with bourbon. Chris was feeling spicy and went for the sriracha margarita. Don’t forget to try the cheese curds – they were awesome!
Bozeman Taproom & Fill Station
If you are running short on time and can’t visit all the breweries in Bozeman, Bozeman Taproom is a great option featuring local breweries, Montana craft beers, and a selection of global beers too.
With over 75 taps, they have been voted one of the best beer bars for their selection!
If you are with someone who is not a fan of wheat smoothies (aka beer), they also have draft wine and champagne! With solid bar food and plenty of TVs, this is a great spot to kick back, watch a game, sips some suds, and enjoy the outside seating on their rooftop.
Only a block off of Main Street, they also have live music and events too.
Just a short hour-long drive from the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park, Livingston, Montana became the first gateway town to America’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park, thanks to the Northern Pacific Railway which ran right through it.
Livingston is a pretty small town of only about 7,000 people, but they have a brewery, so you know we had to stop in for a beer!
Located just around the corner from one of the most beautiful Main Streets in America, as voted by Arch Digest, we enjoyed our Katabatic Brewing beers on warm summer day.
While it’s mostly known for being the gateway to northern Yellowstone and one of Thrillest’s top mountain towns in the US, Livingston is also known for being the adopted home of Calamity Jane, our old friend and frontierswoman from Deadwood, South Dakota.
Overview – Things to do in Bozeman, MT
As you can see, the list of things to do in Bozeman is especially diverse and jam-packed (and boozy).
This charming yet rapidly growing mountain town has it all: hiking the great outdoors, skiing in a winter wonderland, floating down a river, shopping ‘til you drop, visiting America’s first national park, hanging with dinosaurs, eating some amazing local food, or boozing it up.
It’s no wonder the Dutton’s love Bozeman so much!
But where do we personally recommend? The Lark is our hands-down favorite for location and style.
Don’t forget to pick up an Montana guidebook for your other Bozeman adventures.
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We are Samantha & Chris and we are Boozing Abroad (literally). Both stateside and overseas, we are connecting people with local cultures through local booze!