When I was growing up in Montana, everywhere I traveled people would ask me if we still exclusively ride horses. Har har. For a while it seemed like we had shaken that assumption but in the last few years I’ve started getting a new one.:
“Is it really like that show, Yellowstone?”
Um…no. They do film out here, but a lot of Montana is more modern and less action-packed. But if you’re hooked on the show and looking to live out your John Dutton fantasies, I can help you put together a thematic itinerary.
I really hope I don’t get in trouble with the Bozeman community for letting some of these secrets out.
This is not a list of all the places where Yellowstone is filmed. This is a guide for an old school Montana vibe. If you’ve never even seen Yellowstone, I hope you can still use this guide if you’re looking for a “go West, young man” sort of vibe.
This might not be for the faint of heart! If you’re trying to get rustic, you shouldn’t expect a valet or 5 star amenities. Just be open minded and try something new.
Oh what a beautiful morning in Big Sky country! Where to start?
Roly Poly Coffee: A very modest space at first glance, but amazing coffee! Montana’s only coffee shop that started out of the back of a classic Ford Bronco. They roast their beans and put them in tall boy cans! They also have cool merchandise (including elk skin gloves – Starbs could never).
The Coffee Pot: Insanely good pastries and a lot of fun things to buy like local pottery and candles in the store. It’s the kind of place that’s just plain good, no frills needed.
But you’ll need a hearty breakfast before you go ‘splorin.
Western Cafe: “Locally owned and operated The Western Cafe of Bozeman specializes in American home cooking. Serving breakfast and lunch we are known for simple, tasty dishes like chicken fried steak and eggs, biscuits and gravy, and “Bobcat” french toast. Proudly using local products and services whenever possible, The Western embodies traditional Montana: simple food, simple environment, simple comforts. Cheers style, The Western Café is easily The Last Best Café. The Western has been in the Bozeman community for the better part of a century and intends on remaining here for years to come. In this spirit and the spirit of stewardship, we make every effort to support our local vendors and charities, as well as efforts towards community and environmental preservation. “
Storm Castle Cafe: “We are an unpretentious restaurant that will make you feel welcome from the moment you walk through our doors. Our goal is to provide our customers with quality, affordable comfort food and have a little fun along the way. We aren’t reinventing the wheel at Storm Castle, just keeping it alive! All of our dishes have a quality to them that many traditional American restaurants have left behind in search of an easier, more efficient way. The casual atmosphere, eclectic music, and the friendly banter of our regulars, creates an authentic cafe experience, topped off with the most flavorful meals.”
Granny’s Donuts: While you are waiting in line for Storm Castle walk around the corner to Granny’s, where cash is still king! (But don’t worry, every donut is just $1 and you’re in the land of 0 sales tax)
You’ve worked up an appetite by afternoon, where to next?
Copper Whisky Bar: “Every small town has a bar and if that bar’s worth a nickel, it’s got good whiskey. At Copper, we’ve got whiskey for every occasion and no shortage of the town’s best eats. Get to know the bartender, and all the regulars too, cause the bar stories are good. Supper is always your favorite, cause we know you that well.”
Roost: “Roost Fried Chicken is Bozeman, Montana’s eclectic Southern restaurant that offers family-approved, traditional recipes with a twist here and there. Our menu will remind you of mom’s cooking, while others may surprise you. Our approach is based on fresh ingredients presented with a friendly, contagious energy.”
Pickle Barrel: “Pickle Barrel has been a staple of Bozeman, MT for over 30 years. Started by Ken and Kerry Olson in 1975 Pickle Barrel is currently found in 6 different communities from Belgrade to Sioux Falls. However, all share the quality sandwich, and community involvement that has made Pickle Barrel so famous inside and outside of Montana. Pickle Barrel was voted best sandwich in Bozeman for seven years running and continues to draw new fans in and outside of its local communities. Whether you are a regular or someone just passing through, we are ready to show you why Pickle Barrel is so much more than just a sandwich.”
Feed Cafe: “Housed in the historic red barn on West Main Street, Feed Cafe offers farm fresh breakfast, lunch and coffee every day. Everything is made from scratch in our kitchen using Montana-grown wheat, potatoes, eggs and other seasonally available local products. Breads are baked with care in our kitchen with locally roasted coffee and locally made pastries rounding out the menu. Our carefully curated mercantile offers a variety of small batch and handcrafted goodies for foodies. Order at the counter and enjoy your meal in the rustic yet comfy atmosphere, have a picnic lunch outside on the lawn or take it to go.”
And before you call it a day…
Stacy’s: “Established in 1937, Stacey’s Old Faithful Bar & Steakhouse is a casual western saloon and eatery that strives to maintain an authentic Montana experience and the traditions that make this state great. At Stacey’s, you can be sure to find an honest pour, a hearty meal, country music and the love of the West — all served-up in an environment where everyone feels welcomed.”
Ted’s: “Our co-founders Ted Turner and George W. McKerrow imagined a restaurant where friends and family could sit down to an experience founded on the ideals that have made our country great. Where important ingredients like simplicity, honesty and authenticity would create classic American dishes.”
If you’re looking for something to wet your whistle, head to one of these great bars purveyors of alcohol.
Outlaw: “Outlaw Brewing is your friendly neighborhood brewery located in beautiful Bozeman, Montana. We strive to keep a new and exciting menu of 40-45 seasonal and experimental beers annually, featured on 16 tap handles. With a new beer release about every 10 days, a pool table, a foosball table, a variety of food trucks, and a popcorn maker (who doesn’t love a free bar snack?), we are sure to have something to satisfy any preference!”
MAP Brewing: “MAP Brewing Company sits nestled at the foothills of the Bridger Mountains in Bozeman, Montana. We opened our doors in 2015 and have been offering up award-winning beers, stellar service, world class views, and delicious made from scratch, locally sourced food ever since. We love being a part of the local community and provide an incredible gathering place for everyone. Whether it’s summer on the patio or winter by the fireplace, we are dedicated to providing our guests with an unrivaled brewery experience.”
Filling Station: Just a good ol dive bar, with pool and live music.
Cat’s Paw: “Cheapest liquor store in town. Live Poker. Pool Tables. Darts. 20 Keno/poker machines that seem to be looser than anywhere else in town. Shake a day. Dozens of TV’s with every sporting event you could ever need to see. Golden Tee. Extensive food menu. Drink specials. Live music. Outstanding bartenders… All under one roof. They call it the last best place. And its definitely where I want to be when Yellowstone explodes.“
If you’re looking for some Western duds, we’ve got you covered:
Bozeman Vintage: “Cowboy hats and boots, Woolrich mackinaws, Pendleton 49ers, fringed buckskin leather jackets, Levi’s 501s, denim jackets, overalls, coveralls, bowling shirts, button down and flannel shirts, blouses, dresses, skirts, OG-107 pants, HBT army jackets, single stitch T shirts, leather jackets, gabardine shirts and western wear, side zips, prairie dresses, peacoats, parkas, pearl snap shirts, you name it, we probably have it.”
Head West: “Head West is a Montana Lifestyle boutique located in historic downtown Bozeman. We offer a wide range brand-name western wear for both men and women and even adorable looks for your little buckaroo! We carry beautiful boots, stylish handbags, and must-have belts. Need a hat? We have you covered. Come select the perfect style hat for you from our extensive collection of Stetson felts and straws or stand out with a custom made one. We are renowned for our collection of handmade silver and turquoise jewelry and one-of-a-kind estate pieces. We love to support local artisans and showcase Montana made gifts, artwork, and accessories! So stop on by and meet our friendly staff and make your day downtown Bozeman memorable!”
Carter’s Boots “Carter’s Cobbler Shoppe, Inc. was founded in 1994 by Jeff and Lisa Carter, as a small boot and shoe repair shop. Quickly, it became the local destination for Bozeman residents and the foremost authority on boots! Thanks to Jeff’s over 40 years of experience in boot sales and repair, the shop has since grown into a nationally recognized retail center for men’s and women’s cowboy boots in Bozeman, MT. With the shop’s new success came a brand-new name: Carter’s Boots and Repair. At Carter’s Boots and Repair, we strive to provide the best quality products at the most reasonable prices. Our first priority is to serve our customers to the highest level of satisfaction possible—whether it’s repairing their worn and torn pair of work boots or helping them slip into the perfect pair of men’s cowboy boots in Bozeman, MT. All of the work we do is of the highest caliber, and all our products are sold with quality assurance guarantees. In addition to men’s and women’s western-style boots, we’re also your destination for other apparel items, including gloves, belts, socks, vests, palm cowboy hats, and Carter’s custom-made leather goods. Whether you’re looking for something in particular or you know exactly what you want, our friendly, personable staff is ready to help you find it. We encourage you to stop by today and experience our shop for yourself!”
Rare Bird: Vintage clothing + goods, sold in the heart of Montana. Owned and operated by mother and daughter team Deb and Olivia.
Revivall Clothing: “We are a slow fashion lifestyle brand encouraging the revival of a simpler way of life through responsibly-sourced, folk-inspired goods. Revivall seeks to build a community of people who value living in harmony with each other and the Earth. Our mission is woven into each piece of our American-made women’s clothing.”
Fawn and Co: Two fair-haired sweet hearted garment artists born/raised in Montana.
Whisky and Lace: “Born & raised in Billings, MT, I spent most of my time involved in high school sports. Softball has always been my first love, & what brought me to the past 8 years of my life, in Butte, MT. I’d like to consider myself a Butte Girl since this was the place I really grew as a woman & developed my passion for clothing. I love celebrating a woman’s individual style and believe that her clothes should be an extension of her personality. For the past 7 years, I’ve called Bozeman, MT my home. You are supporting a small business in small town, Montana. So THANK YOU for choosing Whiskey & Lace for all your affordable fashion!”
Antique Market and More: “Offering Vintage decor, Farmhouse, Cabin, Rustic, Primitives, Collectables, Western, Native American, Jewelry, Records, Tools, Books, Great Gifts and much more!”
Here are some of the must-see, must-do Bozeman attractions to give you the full experience of the (formerly) Wild West.
Western Roots Country Dancing: Check out their calendar to track down one of their lessons, almost always taught at local bars. But the most packed dance floor is by far Wednesday nights at the Jump!
Museum of the Rockies: “MOR is recognized as a world-class cultural and natural history museum and research facility. It is renowned for displaying an extensive collection of dinosaur fossils, including the fully-mounted Montana’s T. rex skeleton! MOR delights members and visitors with changing exhibits from around the world, cultural and natural history exhibits, planetarium shows, educational programs and camps, insightful lectures, benefit events, and a museum store.”
Get a photoshoot with Leanna Joy Photography while you are here!
If you liked this blog please let me know in the comments! I might even let it slip where I know a lot of the Yellowstone cast hangs out when they are in town….