I am so excited about this post! We've been to 46 states to date while spending over a year and a half road-tripping across the USA. We've visited countless towns and cities, but our favorite remains Bozeman, Montana. I'm thrilled to share the magic of that place in today's guide.
We've visited Bozeman three times by now, spending a total of four days in the town. We loved the relaxed atmosphere and the unique balance of the distinctly Western flair, combined with the upbeat fun vibe of a college community. There was always plenty to do - though we have yet to see it all. The list you'll find here is based both on our experience as well as online research. It is a wishlist, as much as it is a testimonial.
Yes, we intend to go back to Bozeman! And will be getting back to this post when we do. I hope you'll find it helpful as well!
These are our top 7 picks of things to do while you're in Bozeman, Montana:
- Museum of the Rockies
- Downtown Bozeman
- Gallatin History Museum
- Montana Science Center
- Montana Grizzly Encounter
- American Computers & Robotics Museum
- Hiking in the Gallatin Canyon area
Keep reading to find out more valuable details about making the most of your trip to Bozeman.
Why You Should Visit Bozeman, Montana
Bozeman is located in southwestern Montana, situated in the Rocky Mountains. It's a beautiful city in both the summer and winter months. Enjoy the cool, sunny mountain-crisp weather in the summer and take in the snowcapped mountain sights in the winter. Because of its elevation, the temperatures may vary significantly from daytime to nighttime.
Are you starting to plan your vacation? Are you looking for a quick getaway? Look no further than Bozeman, Montana. This city was first made a town in 1864 by John M. Bozeman. The pioneer and frontiersman helped establish the Bozeman Trail into the gold fields of the southwestern Montana territory. It's no wonder the city was named after this man.
The city is full of beauty and opportunity. No matter which way you turn, you'll encounter something truly inspiring. Bask in the small-town feeling and the ever-welcoming Bozeman residents. The city is even home to Montana State University.
When you visit Bozeman, you'll get a taste of why this city is called "the most livable city." It's even named one of the most rapidly growing cities in the United States. Get a taste of what this city is all about. In this post, we'll talk more about some of the best things to do in Bozeman, Montana.
There is an abundance of amenities and things to do around the area. You'll never be left wanting more. The vibe of the city is very laid back. It's full of people and cultures of all varieties, making it a city of crossroads.
7 Fantastic Things To Do In Bozeman, Montana
Probably unsurprisingly, Bozeman is home to a plethora of both amazing outdoor adventure opportunities and culturally-rich activities. The town has something for everyone.
1. Museum of the Rockies
Museum of the Rockies is an amazing, globally-recognized research and history museum. It is best known for its vast collection of dinosaur fossils, which even includes an entire mounted T Rex skeleton! The exhibits change, with features from around the world and the region.
The museum houses regional and natural history exhibits, planetarium shows, educational lectures, programs and camps, benefit events, and a museum store. We spent half a day exploring this museum during our first time in Bozeman, back in 2011.
When we were there, they had a living history section in a nearby simulated working pioneer farm. We had a great time visiting the homesteaders, watching them prepare and have dinner, and hearing about their lives.
When we came back in 2015, we hurried back to the museum but alas, didn't have enough time to spend there at that time. We were even in more of a rush when driving through Bozeman in 2019, en route to Alaska. But we'll be back!
Opening hours vary by day. Members and children under 5 enjoy free entrance.
2. Downtown Bozeman
Downtown Bozeman offers a lot of cultural diversity. The area offers fine and casual dining, art galleries, retail shops, outdoor sporting goods stores, and more. Enjoy outdoor farmers markets and music festivals. Check out the local calendar to stay up to date on festivals and other downtown events.
We loved strolling along Bozeman's main street on foot. It felt safe and relaxed.
Lots of sculptures and interesting features. Like this bench -
3. Gallatin History Museum
The Gallatin History Museum exists to preserve, promote, and foster the history of the region around Bozeman. The museum provides visitors with an intriguing glimpse into the area's past. Permanent exhibits include jail cells and hanging gallows, Big Horn Gun, a lifesize Pioneer Cabin, and others about agriculture, music, women, and the history of the jail.
The museum's hours vary by day and it's closed on Sundays and Mondays. Admission fees vary per age group.
4. Montana Science Center
The Montana Science Center was founded in 2001 as the local children's museum and has since evolved and grown to the center that it is today. The museum has all kinds of hands-on exhibits, camps, and other educational programs. Their mission is to provide children with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) learning experiences.
Prices for admission are $9 for ages 2 and up and free for members. Opening hours vary.
5. Montana Grizzly Encounter
Your trip to Montana can't be complete without a grizzly bear encounter. The Montana Grizzly Bear Encounter is a grizzly bear rescue and sanctuary that was founded in 2004. In the sanctuary, the bears enjoy a spacious area to roam and live their lives. As guests, you can encounter these bears up close and learn about these incredible creatures.
Hours vary based on the season. Admission prices vary per age group. Check out their season passes, too.
6. American Computers & Robotics Museum
The American Computers & Robotics Museum exists to inspire people of all ages to discover the past and imagine the future of the Information Age. There are thought-provoking exhibits with innovative storytelling. The exhibits span over 4,000 years of computer history and innovation. This is a small museum, that we did check out for a bit (geeks that we are).
The museum is closed on Mondays and select holidays, so check the website before going. Admission is free for kids 9 and under and varies based on other age groups.
7. Hiking in the Gallatin Canyon Area
There are many hiking trails around the Gallatin Canyon area that range from easy to more difficult. Find a trail that fits your personal needs and preferences.
Palisade Falls is a 1.2 round-trip hiking trail located just south of Bozeman. Enjoy the gorgeous views along the trail, including a massive cataract that falls 80 feet off a vertical rock wall. It's a relatively easy hike and will take approximately 30 minutes. We hiked this trail and reached the falls, so we can totally recommend it.
Lava Lake (Cascade Creek) Trail is a 5.5-mile out-and-back trail featuring a gorgeous lake along the path. The total elevation gain is 1,620 feet and is considered a moderate-level trail.
Drinking Horse Mountain Trail is a 2.2-mile round trip trail that's rated easy to moderate. The hiking duration is about 1 hour. Take in the beautiful views of the Bridger mountain range and Gallatin Valley at the top of the trail.
Story Hills Trail is a 3-mile round trip hike that is rated an easy trail. It will take between 1.5 and 2 hours to complete the loop. You'll enjoy views of the city and the valley.
Tip: If you're in the area and visiting Yellowstone, try driving through the Gallatin Road, aka US Highway 191 all the way to West Yellowstone. It's a fantastic scenic road!
Where To Stay In Bozeman, Montana
Considering all the fun activities to participate in and around Bozeman, Montana, you're probably now wondering what the best places to stay are. Check out these great options:
This hotel exudes complete modern luxury. It's a unique boutique hotel located in Midtown Bozeman. You'll enjoy upscale service and amenities, with each room's furnishings sourced from Italy, France, and even locals in Bozeman. It's picture-perfect and oh-so-cozy.
MountainView Lodge & Suites
This hotel is located at the base of the Bridger Mountains, based at the heart of the city. When you stay here, know that you'll receive exceptional service, clean rooms, great amenities, and a family-friendly atmosphere.
Let us know in the comment section below which activities you enjoy when you visit Bozeman, Montana! Before you go, make sure to check out these other great travel guides: