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Overview

Bozeman, home of Montana State University, lies at the foot of the Gallatin Valley, surrounded by mountains. It’s a lovely setting, and Bozeman makes the most of its physical attributes, with hiking and fishing practically out the back door. However, what makes Bozeman such a great destination for a traveler is the town. More than any other Montana city, Bozeman has maintained its handsome old downtown as a business center, which makes the city seem centralized and community-focused. Add some excellent restaurants, art galleries, lodging options ranging from budget motels to high-quality B&Bs, and an outgoing, youthful population, and you’ve ...

Bozeman, home of Montana State University, lies at the foot of the Gallatin Valley, surrounded by mountains. It’s a lovely setting, and Bozeman makes the most of its physical attributes, with hiking and fishing practically out the back door. However, what makes Bozeman such a great destination for a traveler is the town. More than any other Montana city, Bozeman has maintained its handsome old downtown as a business center, which makes the city seem centralized and community-focused. Add some excellent restaurants, art galleries, lodging options ranging from budget motels to high-quality B&Bs, and an outgoing, youthful population, and you’ve got Montana’s most beguiling urban experience, though it’s not to be mistaken for the real Montana. (It's teeming with immigrants from all over the world, but especially well-heeled wanna-be Montanans from California.) So be sure to get out of town, if only to head south to Yellowstone National Park or the ski area at Big Sky. A half-hour east of Bozeman, Livingston, at the mouth of the stunningly beautiful Paradise Valley (which holds the Yellowstone River), is even artsier and riding the sharp edge between wildness and gentrification.

Judy Jewell
About the Expert

Judy Jewell and W.C. McRae are frequent collaborators: together they have written Moon Handbooks to Montana, Utah, and Zion-Bryce and updated the Moon Handbooks to Oregon and Coastal Oregon. Judy wrote the Compass American Guide to Oregon.

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Judy Jewell for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Bozeman's biggest event, the Sweetpea Festival, is the first weekend of August. This is one week when it's highly unlikely that you'll wake up to snow. (Snow is possible from September through June.) Late August is a good time for hiking.