Bozeman is a trendy city in Southwest Montana. With great museums, restaurants, and boutique hotels, Bozeman is a perfect place to spend a weekend. For outdoor enthusiasts, the area’s pristine rivers and mountains provide ample opportunity to enjoy Montana’s deep blue skies and fresh air all year round. Here are the best things to do, places to eat, and places to stay in Bozeman,
Things To Do In Bozeman
Visit The Museum Of The Rockies
As part of Montana’s Dinosaur Trail, the museum has a large collection of fossilized dinosaur skeletons discovered in the state. Exhibits on the not-as-distant past showcase the lives of Native Americans and European pioneers, including homesteading on the Living History Farm.
Two large galleries with temporary exhibitions, typically photography and art, round out the offerings.
Pro Tip: Allow two to three hours for your visit to this ADA-compliant museum. The museum’s planetarium show is included in your entrance. Seats fill quickly.
Check This Computer Museum Off Your Must-See List
Near Montana State University, the American Computer and Robotics Museum is filled to the brim. The museum traces the history of computing over 4,000 years from cuneiform tablets to early computers that took up entire rooms to prototype personal computers. They have an exhibit on the American, British, and Polish cryptanalysts who cracked the Enigma Code (which you can learn more about in 5 Reasons To Visit Bletchley Park, Home Of The Codebreakers).
The Space Race exhibit displays memorabilia from the Apollo Missions and a letter from John Glenn explaining why Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. This was my favorite part of the museum since my dad, an engineer, worked on the design of the booster rocket for the Apollo Missions in the 1960s. He said even though they had a computer that filled a room, they relied on slide rules to put a man on the moon.
Pro Tip: Allow one to two hours to visit this ADA-compliant museum.
Spend Time Behind Bars
The recently revamped Gallatin History Museum is housed in the old Gallatin County jail that opened in 1911. Inside, you’ll see historic photos of Bozeman and Southwest Montana and learn about its early citizens. The interactive museum has a reconstructed, furnished log cabin and horse-drawn buggy. Jail cells, handcuffs, a noose, a horse, and a gallows platform -- last used in 1924 -- remain. You’ll learn about early citizens and the history of the area.
Pro Tip: Plan one to two hours for your visit. It is ADA compliant except for two metal-clad doorways that aren’t wide enough for oversized wheelchairs.
Enjoy The Great Outdoors
No matter the season, Bozeman offers great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Bozeman is surrounded by mountains that come alive with skiers and snowboarders each winter at Big Sky Resort, Moonlight Basin, and Bridger Bowl. Since Big Sky Resort and Moonlight Basin have merged, the ski-in, ski-out resort 50 miles southeast of Bozeman has 5,800 acres with easy to expert trails over a 4,300-foot drop (4th in North America).
Bridger Bowl is 17 miles northeast of Bozeman. Situated in 2,000 acres of the Bridger Mountains, it has a 2,600-foot drop and has averaged 300 inches of snow a year.
If you’d rather cross-country ski or snowshoe, Crosscut Mountain Sports Center is adjacent to Bridger Bowl.
When the snow melts, I recommend visiting Palisade Falls in Hyalite Canyon. Although cross country skiers and ice climbers frequent the area in winter, early summer is a perfect time to see the waterfall at its best. The 1.1-mile out-and-back trail is paved and gains 239 feet on the way to the waterfall. Leashed dogs are welcome.
Pro Tips: If you plan a winter outing to Palisade Falls, you’ll need snow tires or chains to make the trip. The road is often snow packed and icy this time of year. If you want to snowshoe in the area, consider our 13 tips for snowshoe beginners.
Spend Some Time On The Water
For anglers, Bozeman is surrounded by some of the finest trout fishing rivers in the U.S. Montana Angling Company, Stephen Smith Fly Fishing, and Montana Angler (to name a few) guide fishermen on half- and full-day trips year-round to the nearby Madison, Gallatin, Jefferson, and Missouri Rivers, into picturesque Paradise Valley, or within Yellowstone National Park. They provide all the equipment you’ll need.
If you like a little more adrenaline in your system, Montana Whitewater Rafting and Zipline Tours takes advantage of the Gallatin River rapids.
Soak In Bozeman Hot Springs
A combination of 12 indoor and outdoor pools with temperatures ranging from a chilly 60 degrees to a toasty 106 degrees means there’s a perfect temperature and place for you to soak. Inside, they have a wet sauna and steam room. Twice a week, Bozeman Hot Springs books live entertainment for their outdoor stage.
See Bears Year-Round
Montana Grizzly Encounter is home to orphaned bears you can visit year-round, as these massive beasts don’t hibernate. Max, the youngest grizzly, came to the sanctuary from Alaska, where he was orphaned at three or four months of age. He is young, energetic, and particularly active in the morning. Some of the other resident bears were born in captivity elsewhere and are unable to be released. The sanctuary gives them a protected life in a natural setting.
Pro Tip: Allow one to two hours for your visit to this ADA-compliant sanctuary.
Best Restaurants In Bozeman
The Farmer’s Daughters Cafe and Eatery on the premises of RSVP Hotel whips up breakfast and lunch with locally sourced ingredients, including grains from the family’s wheat farm, Wheat Montana.
Jam on Main is a breakfast and lunch restaurant with a retro feel. The food is delicious with huge portions and servers are attentive. I tried the stuffed French toast and was pleased that my coffee cup never ran dry.
The Main Street Overeasy makes homestyle breakfast and lunch. With buttermilk biscuits made from scratch, you can’t go wrong with the Jim Bridger Scramble or Bison, Bacon, and Biscuits.
Moving on to dinner, South 9th Bistro features both American and French dishes, from mouthwatering steaks to ratatouille. The seafood is fresh and cooked to perfection. You may be tempted to eat all of your dinners here.
Open Range Steakhouse has seafood, chicken, and lamb on the menu, but the beef and bison steaks steal the show. The bison and most of the beef comes from ranches in Montana. Note that sides are all separate, so the price of the meal can add up quickly, especially if you order a cocktail from the full bar.
Blackbird Kitchen is a cozy Italian restaurant with a wine list that’s longer than the menu. They serve mouth-watering bread and a variety of appetizers you don’t often see including marinated white beans and burrata cheese with apple, honey, black cardamom, and crostini. You can’t go wrong with their thin crust pizza.
Montana Ale Works is a great spot for a before-dinner happy hour or a late evening snack. They believe not only in farm to fork but also grain to glass. You’ll discover there are a lot of breweries and quite a few distilleries in Montana, as almost all of the craft beers and liquors served here are Montana made. Food includes burgers, steaks, and comfort food like meatloaf and shepherd’s pie.
Le Chatelaine Chocolat Co. makes the prettiest chocolates I’ve ever seen -- almost too pretty to eat. Go ahead, though, because the unique combinations of flavors defy all expectations. You’ll find chocolate paired with caramel, real fruit puree, and liquors. But you’ll also be introduced to chocolate with thyme, chai tea, and dandelion root.
Pro Tip: All these Bozeman restaurants and eateries are ADA-compliant.
Best Hotels In Bozeman
The RSVP Hotel is a recently refurbished hotel with a retro/vintage feel and nice touches throughout, including a complimentary glass of bubbly at check-in. Hotel amenities include a pool, bicycle rental, an on-site restaurant, and an ADA-compliant suite. The hotel is pet friendly.
The Lark opened its doors in 2015 with 38 rooms, turning an abandoned eyesore of a motel into a boutique hotel right on Main Street. The hotel has proven so popular it recently expanded. Rooms and suites are each unique and feature art by local artists. Staff members are eager to help plan your perfect Bozeman day. They have ADA-compliant rooms.
The Kimpton Armory Hotel is an upscale hotel a few blocks off Main Street but still within easy walking distance to restaurants, breweries, bars, and boutiques. Amenities include two on-site restaurants, a rooftop pool and bar, and a room equipped with a Peleton for you to try out. If you want to pedal around Bozeman, the hotel lends its guests bicycles. The hotel is pet friendly, offering pet sitting, dog walking, and pet spa services. They have ADA-compliant rooms. As Bozeman’s only four-star hotel, it has the highest room rate per night of the three I’ve recommended.
If you’re planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park, Bozeman is a great place to start your visit. The Bozeman international airport is 90 miles from the park’s Gardiner and West Yellowstone entrances, which remain open all year. This airport has more direct flights and is usually less expensive than flights into Billings, Montana, or Cody, Wyoming. For more Montana inspiration, consider: