Many visitors are drawn to Bozeman for the myriad of recreational opportunities the surrounding mountains and rivers provide. But after a busy day fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, or skiing, the town itself truly shines: Bozeman is home to a vibrant culture and rich history—the town itself can be as big an adventure as the surrounding mountains. Whether you prefer to explore summertime Farmer’s Markets at Bogert Park or take in an outdoor showing of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, here are the local’s favorite in-town adventures:
Strolling through Bozeman’s Museum of the Rockies, it’s easy to appreciate the region’s rich history and the culture. Home to the Siebel Dinosaur Complex—one of the largest fossil collections in the world—the museum also boasts the Living History Farm, showcasing what life was like in the late 1800s; Paugh History Hall, housing regional artifacts connecting visitors to those who came before; and an ever-evolving rotation of historical and natural science-driven exhibits. A favorite with children and adults alike, the Museum of the Rockies is a Bozeman mainstay for local families.
In the mood for a stroll? Thanks to the "Main Street to the Mountains" initiative, Bozeman is home to a well-executed system of trails winding throughout the community and eventually connecting to true mountainside hiking trails. Used in all four seasons, the trail system is well-marked with map kiosks, trail totems and signs, and leads trekkers from downtown streets to open green spaces and parks.
Art lovers will find themselves occupied by the assortment of galleries and studios scattered throughout downtown Bozeman. In fact, it’s hard to walk downtown blocks without passing a thriving art gallery. Art walks wind their way through these businesses on the second Friday during the summer months (June through September) and then again in December for a holiday winter art walk. Galleries often feature local artists’ receptions and offer complimentary hors d’oeuvres and refreshments. Nearby, the Emerson Cultural Center is a local hub for artistic exhibitions and education programs, from ballet to painting, and it also boasts a favored wine bar/restaurant.
Bozeman has eagerly jumped on the craft beer bandwagon, and is now home to many bustling, locally owned breweries. Favored MAP Brewing features a large outdoor space overlooking a local ponds, and often hosts local musicians. Bridger Brewing, the Bozeman Brewing Company, the 406 Brewing Company, and Outlaw Brewing are also thriving outposts with fun, relaxed atmospheres. For those seeking the brewery experience without the alcohol, Dean’s Zesty Booch is a busy kombucha brewery in the trendy Cannery District just north of downtown.
One doesn’t tend to associate mountain towns with stellar food, but Bozeman is filled with excellent offerings. From humble Burger Bob’s tucked into the Cannery Bar in downtown to the trendy Feast Raw Bar & Bistro, Bozeman is experiencing a culinary revival. It’s now possible to find quality Korean, Greek, Japanese, Italian, American, Cajun food, and even handcrafted pizza within a three-mile reach of downtown. Meeting the needs of active outdoors-folk, the town also boasts a wide variety of quality breakfast options, from Wild Joe’s Coffeehouse for burritos and lattes to straight-forward Main Street Overeasy for filling pre-adventure breakfasts.
Bozeman is host to Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, a traveling troupe that "hits the road" during the summer, performing Shakespeare’s classics in the open air to small-town audiences throughout Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. While the players spend much of the summer traveling, every spring they can be found performing to large audiences at Montana State University’s duck pond. The Emerson Cultural Center hosts a wide variety of films, talks, and performances, as does the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in nearby Big Sky. Several historic theaters in downtown Bozeman frequently hold old movie screenings and theatre performances, and thanks to a thriving dance community it’s possible to see live dance productions several times a year. Montana State University draws in traveling artists and musicians (the list grows more and more impressive every year, as Bozeman itself attracts a larger audience).
Whether your tastes lean to hardcore outdoor adventure and then cozy nightlife or you’d rather spend the day delving into the region’s rich history and tracking down Bozeman’s best coffeehouse, this mountain town has a plethora of options. Thanks to a booming tech industry and burgeoning cultural renaissance, Bozeman offers more culture, arts, and sophistication than expected of a Montana mountain town, but it’s impossible to forget that it’s all nestled in the midst of one of the greatest North American outdoor playgrounds.
Originally written by RootsRated Media for Bozeman Tourism.
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