Welcome to Bozeman! We are excited to have you come and check it out! You are going to have a blast, and I hope you get to soak in ALL those mountain views. I absolutely love when people travel here, I have met so many incredible people and it’s always fun to give some local advice to you all! There is SO much to do (especially if you love nature) which I’m sure you do if you planned a trip to Montana… haha!
Bozeman has two world-class ski resorts within an hour. That’s right… TWO! And they are both incredible. We have hundreds of miles of trails, and the views too beautiful to be real. Our downtown Main Street has loads of options for food, shopping and there are concerts and local events every week at a few different locations!
Because of all those wonderful shows highlighting our beautiful state, visitation is actually at an all-time high right now! So, plan that trip and make sure to book all your must-do’s in advance!
So, with all that said, here are my Top 10 things to know when traveling to Bozeman:
1. Montana is the Big Sky State, so don’t forget to look up and enjoy that BIG SKY while you are here. For real. You won’t be able to get enough of it. It’s beautiful in the daytime, but even more so at night. The stars are stunning since we have a low population and a light pollution overall!
2. I feel like an alcoholic for putting #2 about the liquor licenses haha. But I always hear from tourists that it’s actually a lot different from other states. You do have to go to a state-run liquor store to buy hard liquor. You will only find wine and beer at the grocery store or convenient stores. We do have amazing breweries and incredible microbreweries! So definitely check those out! Just keep in mind we have a strict 3 beers per person limit at breweries, and your last beer has to be drank by 8:00pm. I know, very different than other states, but something a lot of people don’t know when they come here!
3. You’re probably going to want a rental car to get around, and I would suggest getting one with 4-wheel drive. On the highways the speed limit is 80, you are going to love it! You’ll realize almost immediately when you leave the airport that you have to drive almost 30 minutes to get into town. We do have Uber and Lyft, but there are very few so you could be left waiting to go to and from the airport if you are leaving at a common time. But they are still accountable and around at night to take you home if you have had anything to drink. Unfortunately, we don’t have the best public transportation, we are working on it, but we aren’t quite there yet! We do have a few other options such as rental bikes, bird scooters, and a lot of amazing walking trails. In Bozeman we stop for all the pedestrians and give space to all bikers on the road, so I can’t promise there are no accidents, but we are very aware of people!
4. Elevation gain is a real thing and can really damper your scamper! We are at 4820 feet! AHHH! Insane. So, before you get here start by drinking a lot of water and getting on that vitamin intake. When you get boots down in Bozeman, don’t go so hard right away…give yourself a little bit of time to acclimate. Then head out on a hike on day two, your beer will hit harder after your hike! I promise!
5. Pack and dress in layers! We are known in Montana for having the most temperamental weather patterns. Bring a lot of things to layer with just in case! Have some warm socks all year round, a jacket to throw on, and some shoes you can wear in any weather. When you wake up even in July you might be wearing sweats, then by noon it could be 75 and sunny and you’ll be in shorts, then by 3:00pm we could have a rain storm, but don’t worry- it will clear up and you’ll see a beautiful sunset to watch in your light jacket by a fire. Haha. All the seasons in one day!
6. Late night bites here can be hard to come by! Since the pandemic it’s just really hard to get late night help like we used to have. If you have a late-night hike or finish skiing late and come back to Bozeman that night, you might be sad to see that after 8:00 pm people have stopped serving dinner. (There may be a couple places that do, so keep an eye out for those!) But maybe plan to eat a little earlier just in case! There are still some great food trucks downtown, Taranto’s Pizza, Bozeman Taproom, and a lot of restaurants by Montana State University. Just make sure you check when the kitchen closes when planning your meals!
7. Some people come here and think that we still ride horses everywhere and have dirt floors OR they think we have an oxygen bar with a personal DJ and a gold leafed espresso martini. We’re neither… We are behind the trend by about 4 years, so some things are just not here yet! As a barista in Bozeman for years I have heard people wax on about all the things we don’t have that their city does. So just take Bozeman as it please!
8. Get outside! Hike, bike, fish, hunt, ski! But when you are out and about, please try to leave everything better than you found it. Pack-In and Pack-Out everything you eat and drink on the trail. Don’t be a litter bug! For hikes, I suggest to park on the trail head parking. Also, you can get a license for hunting and fishing online super easily. Or go into one of our local outdoors shops and meet someone from the area to tell you where to go! I do HIGHLY suggest getting bear spray if you are hiking, and watch YouTube clips to learn how to use it. Better to be prepared! (Rental for bear spray is at Montana Grizzly Encounter 80 Bozeman Hill Rd., Bozeman, Montana 59715.) We have a great app called OnX that is headquartered out of Bozeman that also shows you public lands, BLM land, along with trail heads and fishing access. I’d check that out as well!
9. Don’t be afraid to ask the locals questions, or ask what we love to do or where we like to go! Chat with us and make new friends. We’re all (pretty much all haha ;)) VERY friendly and love to talk with anyone and everyone.
10. Shop local PLEASE! More than half of the state’s workforce is employed by small businesses. So, supporting local is helping out locals in Bozeman! I made a list of my all-time favorite local Bozeman hot spots below!
I hope this list helps you as you plan your trip to Bozeman! And again, feel free to reach out to me or anyone else here for questions and advice! HAVE SUCH A GREAT TIME HERE!