17 Cool Things to Do in Bozeman On Your Montana Getaway

Planning to swoop into the Big Sky State? Be sure to stuff your itinerary with all the best things to do in Bozeman, MT. Nestled in the Gallatin Valley at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, this Southwest Montana college town is picture-postcard perfection. Boasting breathtaking national parks, pristine lakes and rivers, world-famous ski resorts, and abundant wildlife, Bozeman is a nature lover’s paradise.

But Bozeman is more than a pretty face. With its thriving arts and culture scene, cool shops, lively bars, and amazing cuisine among its top tourist attractions, this mountainside town exudes an up-to-the-minute vibe that’s irresistible.

Ready to hit your vacation sweet spot? Check out this guide to the best places to visit in Bozeman, MT, and find the perfect recipe!

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Yellowstone National Park

If you want the full-on wilderness experience, a stopover in the world-famous Yellowstone National Park is a must. The oldest designated national park in the US, this national icon – just a 90-mile drive from Bozeman – is one of the most popular places to visit in Montana.

Yellowstone National Park

This wild wonderland covers an awesome 2.2 million acres and is laced with superb hiking trails. Yellowstone National Park brims with dazzling natural wonders and diverse ecosystems that range from rugged canyons to verdant forests to thundering waterfalls.  

Journey through forests and along rivers that are home to an abundant wildlife population, including elk, bald eagles, bison, and grizzlies. Get up close and marvel at the majesty of Old Faithful as it shoots water from deep beneath the earth’s crust over 100 feet into the air. 

Check in at the Albright Visitor Center to learn about the park’s history and wildlife and map out your visit. Plan for more than a day trip!

Museum of the Rockies

If you’re like a dog with a bone when it comes to dinos, you’ve got to sink your teeth into the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman. Part of Montana State University, this world-renowned Smithsonian affiliate houses the world’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils.

Museum of the Rockies

First stop: the Hall of Giants in the Siebel Dinosaur Complex, where you’ll come nose to nose with one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeletons ever discovered. Then take time to view a multitude of other fossils, as well as informative plaques tracking Montana’s important role in paleontology.

The Museum of the Rockies is a treasure trove of permanent exhibits that highlight the history of the Northern Rocky Mountains region, the indigenous peoples of the Northern Plains, and the days of early settlement by fur traders and gold miners.

Montana Grizzly Encounter

Ever imagined coming face-to-face with a Grizzly? You can do it (safely!) at the Montana Grizzly Encounter in Bozeman. This impressive conservation-focused site adopts bears who were born into captivity or orphans who simply wouldn’t have survived the wild.

The Montana Grizzly Encounter offers the bears a safe habitat where they can grow and thrive. Dating back to 2002, the site is now home to four orphaned and rescued bears.

Montana Grizzly Encounter

Chances are you’re not going to encounter a grizzly in the wild during your visit; at the Montana Grizzly Encounter, you can view these awesome creatures at a safe distance. The bears live their lives without bars or cages in a beautiful mountain setting filled with fields and ponds. Their habitat is as close to “home” as possible.

Get an eyeful, and learn more about these amazing animals, the threats to their survival, and efforts to preserve them.

Bozeman Hot Springs

Looking for a relaxation hotspot? Slip into the welcoming warmth of Bozeman Hot Springs. Just 15 minutes from downtown, this geothermal wonder is a popular public resort and one of the best hot springs in Montana.

Stake out a place on the Bozeman Hot Springs campground, and you’ll have an ideal base camp for your adventures in and around Bozeman. Hit the ski slopes or work up a sweat in the full-service fitness facility, then sink into the soothing warmth of one of the site’s twelve hot pools.

Bask in liquid luxury with friends and family. Check out live music, group fitness classes, and special community events.

And go ahead—dip your toe in. With pool temperatures ranging from 59 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re bound to find one that’s just right!

Bridger Bowl Ski Area

Just 15 miles from Bozeman, the Bridger Bowl Ski Area boasts 2,000 acres of groomed mountain along the north slope of the Bridger Mountains in Custer Gallatin National Forest. With its varied terrain, the area offers something for every downhill skiing skill level – and over 300 inches of snow every season!

Check out the rental and retail shop for gear. Sign up for ski and snowboard school to up your game. When you’re ready for a break, relax by the fire with a beverage in one of Bridger Bowl Ski Area’s lodges. Little ones can play the day away at “Playcare.” 

Come spring, trade in your skis for your kicks. Bridger Bowl is laced with scenic hiking, horseback, and biking trails just waiting to be explored.

College M Trail

If you’re hankering for a hike, the College M Trail will suit you to a T! One of the top Bozeman attractions, this picturesque path was embellished with a giant “M” by adventurous Montana State University students over a century ago.

Set on the outskirts of town, this popular trail (kids and pooches welcome) winds its way up the scenic south side of beautiful Baldy Mountain. The College M Trail can be a quick hike – 30 minutes to two hours, depending on your route – with a big reward: spectacular vistas of Bridger Canyon and the Gallatin Valley.

The College M Trail is dotted with benches; feel free to take a breather, check out the abundant bird life, and savor the view. Or spread out a blanket and dig into a picnic. Stick around to bask in the beauty of a mountainside sunset.

Montana Ale Works

With so many ways to work up a thirst in Bozeman, you’ll be looking for a place to quench it. Montana Ale Works will hit the spot. Set in a retro railroad freight house on Main Street, the craft brewery boasts an awesome selection of craft beers and ciders, tempting edibles, pool tables, dartboards, and a lively vibe that’s family-friendly.

And Montana Ale Works is all about thinking local. Nearly all their beers are hand-crafted in or around the city of Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley. Prefer a cocktail? Take your pick from a mouthwatering roster that features Montana artisan spirits crafted in-house with regional herbs and fruits. 

Ready for a bite? Check out a tempting menu that features everything from Truffled Parmesan Frites to Bison Potstickers – all made from locally-sourced produce. Kids are covered with their own menu, plus craft-brewed root beer on tap (for the kid in everyone).

Gallatin River

Bozeman is a perfect home base for scenic drives, and there’s no better route than along the Gallatin River. Spanning nearly 200 kilometers, this gorgeous stretch of water is one of three that join to form the mighty Missouri River. Mild or wild, the Gallatin River is a visual treat as it winds its way through mountainous meadows and descends into the Gallatin Canyon.

Gallatin River

Along the Gallatin River, you’ll pass through a rich variety of river landscapes, ranging from tranquil to tempestuous. Stop off at the quieter sections to enjoy fantastic fly fishing or rowing. Up for more challenging activities? Head for someplace where the river roils, like the “Mad Mile” – a magnet for whitewater rafters from around the world.

Prefer to stay landside? Take in the area’s natural wonders as you hike or ride horseback through green forests, flower-covered alpine meadows, and majestic rocky canyons that tower over the river’s banks.

Gallatin County Regional Park

Want a taste of the Great Outdoors without leaving town? That’s exactly what you’ll get at Gallatin County Regional Park. Also known as the Dinosaur Dog Park, thanks to a dinosaur-themed playground and canine corner, this neighborhood getaway offers something for everyone.

Spread over nearly 90 acres of open space, this recreational hotspot is a big hit with families and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Gallatin County Regional Park features two lakes and two playgrounds – one for toddlers and another for the “big kids.” 

Hike the figure-8 loop that winds around the ponds, and stop off to test your rock climbing skills on the massive boulders along the way. Explore the mixed-use trails with Fido for a stroll or a jog. Hit the fields for a round of volleyball or football. Lakeside, you can finesse your fishing moves – or just dive in and cool off.

Got your picnic hamper? Spread out a blanket and chow down!

American Computer & Robotics Museum

Okay, you’re on vacation in a stunning mountain setting, but you still want to indulge your inner computer nerd. You can only play Candy Crush for so long. Change up your game and head to the American Computer & Robotics Museum.

You don’t have to be a geek to get a kick out of this award-winning facility. Created over 30 years ago, the American Computer & Robotics Museum tracks the amazing trajectory of personal computers over 4,000 years, from the abacus to the development of Artificial Intelligence.

Browse an extensive collection of exhibits and artifacts ranging from a Gutenberg Press to an original Apple 1 Computer signed by Steve (“the Woz”) Wozniak himself. Learn about how the Enigma Code was cracked and how the Space Race took flight.

The American Computer & Robotics Museum offers staff-guided interactive learning experiences for groups of all ages. Explore the past—and imagine the future!

Montana Science Center

Looking for a place that offers a fun and hands-on learning experience? Then head for the Montana Science Center, a destination designed to blur the line between learning and fun. From the ant micro-world to the planetary macro-world, this science museum offers plenty to explore.

The Montana Science Center is chock-full of interactive exhibits, classrooms, a garden, and a playground. Treat the kiddos with a visit to this family-friendly space, where they can enjoy after-school activities, enrichment camps during the summer, and educational programs throughout the year.

Youngsters can think outside the box with exciting exhibits like “Make it in Minecraft,” where they can build virtually in Minecraft, then bring their inspiration alive with 3D printers. They can learn about how the planet was formed as they view fascinating fossil displays or step into the lab to investigate the workings of the latest electronic gadgetry. All in a day’s learning!

Bozeman Spirits Distillery

If you’re a fan of craft distilleries, be sure to carve out some hang time at the Bozeman Spirits Distillery in the heart of Bozeman’s historic downtown. Step inside, and you’ll be greeted with an upbeat atmosphere, rustic décor, and live music. But you’re really here to sample some of the award-winning spirits made from local ingredients, right?

Bozeman Spirits Distillery offers a fantastic range of premium spirits that use pure Rocky Mountain spring water and locally sourced Montana grains. Step into the Tasting Room and sample at your leisure while you learn about their production process and award-winning products. Savor the flavor of local spirits produced on site using traditional distilling methods.

Take your pick of  Whiskey, Vodkas, Gins, and Rum, or try them in cocktail form. Take your selections to savor on the outdoor patio – and be sure to snag a bottle or two to take home! 

Glen Lake Rotary Park

Can you transform a gravel pit into an award-winning conservation area? Yes, you can – and Glen Lake Rotary Park is living proof. Just zip up the I-90 from Bozeman for a quick trip to see for yourself, and enjoy some outdoor adventure.

Centered around a beautiful four-acre lake, Glen Lake Rotary Park is a welcoming public space that offers plenty of room to move. Explore the three miles of scenic trails that wind around the lake and along the banks of the East Gallatin River. Hit the sand on child-friendly Bozeman Beach for a round of volleyball – or just bask in the sun.

Take to the lake in a kayak or on a paddleboard, or dive right in for a quick refresher. Time for a breather? Grab your picnic hamper, stake out a spot at one of the park’s picnic tables or pavilions, and dig in!

Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture

Is your inner culture vulture craving an outing? Then make a date to visit the Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this innovative space is a showcase where working artists and musicians can unleash their creativity – and visitors can soak it all in.

The hub of Bozeman’s vibrant arts community, the Emerson Center for the Arts offers a bevy of options for visitors. Stroll through its exhibition spaces and private galleries, and meet the artists. Browse the center’s intriguing boutiques. Slip into the onsite theater to take in independent films and plays. Tap your toe to live music.

But don’t stop there. Check out a range of art, dance, and yoga classes for both kids and grownups. Enjoy special events like the open house, art walk, lunch on the lawn, and garden tour.

Gallatin History Museum

Want to take a dive into Bozeman’s pioneer past? You can go deep without having to go far at the Gallatin History Museum on Main Street. Housed in a historic former county jail dating back over a century, this unique museum brings southwest Montana’s rich history to life.

Travel back in time as you explore an array of permanent and rotating displays depicting southwest Montana’s legacy. Step inside a reconstructed log cabin. Get a close-up look at the Big Horn Gun, and marvel at Bozeman’s first steam-powered fire engine. Explore exhibits and artifacts highlighting the role of women in the West and the legacy of Gallatin Valley’s Native Americans. Learn about the history of agriculture, music, and the jail itself.

Sift through an eye-popping photo archive of over 20,000 historic images, then slip into the bookstore to pick up a little piece of Bozeman to take home with you.

Mammoth Hot Springs

If you want to witness one of Mother Nature’s true wonders, a visit to Mammoth Hot Springs is a must. One of the most popular tourist destinations in Yellowstone National Park, this spot is home to one of the biggest geothermal areas in the world. With its bubbling hot springs, terraced pools, and cascading waterfalls, this destination is a feast for the eyes.

Mammoth Hot Springs

Hit the boardwalk trail and head deep into the stunning landscape of Mammoth Hot Springs. Opt for the Bunsen Peak Trail, and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views for miles around. If you’re up for some angling, find a scenic riverside spot and cast a line.

When you’re ready to relax, ease on down for a thermally-heated soak or swim at the popular Boiling River site. Tempted to stay? You’ve got your pick of over 1,000 campsites for a night under the stars.

Hyalite Canyon

Looking for a place where you can indulge your love for beautiful views and outdoor adventure? You’ll find both at Hyalite Canyon. Located 15 miles south of Bozeman, this stunning 34,000-acre recreational area is a year-round bonanza for fresh air enthusiasts of all stripes and is one of the most popular day trips from Bozeman.

Hyalite Canyon

Nestled in the Gallatin National Forest, Hyalite Canyon is the site of Hyalite Reservoir, the source for Bozeman’s drinking water. Surrounded by 10,000-foot mountain peaks, the canyon brims with streams, lakes, and waterfalls, and it’s home to a rich wildlife population.

During the winter months, Hyalite Canyon offers loads of recreational activities. Slip into your skis for some cross-country skiing, walk the fresh powder on snowshoes, or strap on some crampons for an ice climbing challenge.

Come summer, Hyalite Canyon really shines. You can hike or bike the miles of picturesque trails, enjoy some world-class angling, swim, or scuba dive in pristine water. Or you can just find the perfect picnic spot to savor the spectacular beauty 

Treksplorer

Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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