The Best Things to do in Bozeman, Montana

The 15 Best Things to do in Bozeman, Montana

Home to the Montana State University campus, Bozeman is a charming Rocky Mountain town just brimming with fun things to do and epic outdoor attractions. Bozeman is perhaps best known for its proximity to the world-class ski slopes of Big Sky and the otherworldly natural wonders of Yellowstone National Park. But explore Bozeman proper, and you’ll quickly see just how easy it is to be charmed by this cool Montana town.

If you love spending time in the Great Outdoors, you won’t be able to get enough of Bozeman. You can spend your vacation going fly fishing in the Gallatin River, hiking to waterfalls in Hyalite Canyon, tubing down the Madison River, or taking a soak at the spectacular Bozeman Hot Springs. Explore downtown Bozeman, and you’ll find plenty of boutiques and art galleries to pop into to pick up a souvenir.

With so many things to see, do, and eat, you might not know where to begin. So we’ve compiled our list of the absolute best things to do in Bozeman for you. Stick to these fun and unique Bozeman bucket list recommendations, and there’s no doubt you’ll have an amazing time exploring this naturally beautiful Rocky Mountain town!

15 Fun and Unique Things to do in Bozeman, MT

1. Soak Your Aching Muscles in a Hot Spring

Best Things to do in Bozeman, Montana: Hot Spring

With so many outdoor adventures to be had in Bozeman, chances are you’ll love any excuse to soothe your aching muscles. Luckily, one of the best things to do in Bozeman is to soak in one of the city’s hot springs. 

Bozeman Hot Springs is by far the most popular option. You’ll find this gem just 10 miles west of downtown. Here you’ll find 12 indoor and outdoor pools with temperatures ranging from 57°F to 106°F, all fed with naturally heated mineral water. Depending on when you visit, there are always fun events being held here, too – from holiday-themed festivities to live music!

If you’re making your way to Yellowstone, plan on visiting the nearby Yellowstone Hot Springs after a day of hiking. This place boasts three pools, including the main pool (102°F), a “hot plunge” (104°F), and a “cold plunge” (60-65°F).

Other nearby hot springs include Norris Hot Springs (40 minutes west of Bozeman) and Chico Hot Springs (50 minutes southeast of Bozeman).


2. Hike the College “M” Trail 

Cool Things to do in Bozeman, Montana: College “M” Trail

If you’re looking for must-do things in Bozeman, you pretty much have to hike the College “M” Trail. As the name implies, the hike takes you to the giant “M” which you’ve likely already spotted on the south side of Baldy Mountain. This is one of the most iconic Bozeman attractions, and it dates back to 1915 when some Montana State University students created the 250-foot “M” using a bunch of white rocks. 

There are two ways to reach the “M.” The trail on the right is steeper than the trail on the left. But no matter which you choose, the loop trail is less than 2 miles and gives you a nice little workout. Plus, once you do reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of Gallatin Valley, so it’s well worth the effort.


3. Shop Local at a Farmers’ Market

Fun Things to do in Bozeman, Montana: Farmers' Market

One of the best ways to get a feel for any new city is by visiting a local farmers’ market. Not only can you sample seasonal farm-fresh foods and pick up fun arts and crafts, but farmers’ markets are always buzzing with live music and fun food trucks.

The Bozeman Farmers’ Market is one of the most popular farmers’ markets in Bozeman. This local favorite is held in Lindley Park on Tuesdays evenings from 5-8 pm from June to September. Here you’ll find everything from seasonal fruits, veggies, and flowers to breads, eggs, and honeys. Plus, there are always fun events being held. 

Unique Things to do in Bozeman, Montana: Farmers' Market

Don’t worry if you’re not going to be in town on a Tuesday because Gallatin Valley Farmers’ Market is held on Saturday mornings from 9 am to noon at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds from June to September.

If you’re looking to shop for some cool trinkets to bring back home, this is a great place to peruse one-of-a-kind items. Explore the stalls and you’ll find unique goods – from handmade pottery, baskets, blankets, and jewelry to oil paintings, beeswax candles, sugar scrubs, and handcrafted pet accessories. Be sure to come hungry, too, because, like any good farmers’ market, you’ll find plenty of gourmet eats here. 


4. Float Down the Madison River

Best Things to do in Bozeman, Montana: River Float

Spending the afternoon floating down the picturesque Madison River is easily one of the coolest things to do in Bozeman when the weather is nice. One of the most popular places to start your journey is at the Warm Springs boat launch, located 40 minutes from Bozeman. From here, you’ll float 6.5 miles down the river to the Blacks Ford boat launch, where you’ll end your journey. 

You can buy your own tubes and make the journey yourself. Although, it may be much easier to have a local company handle rentals and transportation for you. You can always rent gear and choose from a variety of day-trip and transportation options with outfitters like Madison River Tubing. You can also opt for stand-up paddleboarding or white water rafting journeys along the Madison River if that’s more your speed.


5. Learn Something New at the Museum of the Rockies 

A visit to the Museum of the Rockies is one of the top Bozeman activities, especially if you’re traveling with kids.  There’s a lot to do at this incredible museum, so be sure to plan on at least a few hours to see everything the Museum of the Rockies has to offer.

This museum is perhaps best known for its “Dinosaurs Under the Big Sky” exhibit, which houses the largest collection of North American dinosaur fossils in the country. Here you can view one of the only mounted Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons in the US, as well as the bones of Big Al, a nearly complete Allosaurus.  

Fossils aside, you can learn about how American Indians used to live on the Northern Plains at the “Enduring People’s” exhibit or learn all about Yellowstone Country at the kid-friendly “Welcome to Yellowstone Country” exhibit. You can also enjoy a star-studded show at the Taylor Planetarium if you time your visit right!


6. Try Your Luck at Fly Fishing 

What to do in Bozeman, Montana: Fly Fishing

It’s no secret that going fly fishing is one of the best things to do in Bozeman. That’s because this city is surrounded by pristine lakes and rivers teeming with trout. Bozeman also featured prominently in the film A River Runs Through It, which solidified the city as one of the top fly fishing destinations in the country. 

Don’t worry if you’ve never tried fly fishing before because Bozeman is dotted with fly fishing shops where you can pick up all the gear you’ll need. Do note that you will need a valid fishing license to fish in Montana. 

Bozeman, Montana Bucket List: Madison River

Many Bozeman shops, like Montana Troutfitters, also offer guided fly fishing trips (float trips, wade trips, spring creek fishing, lake trips, and more). These are great options if you want to find the best fishing spots around Bozeman while also honing your skills with an expert.

If you want to head out on your own, you’ll find plenty of popular fly fishing spots on the outskirts of town. You’ll find locals and visitors alike casting their rods for rainbow and brown trout in Gallatin River from the Cameron Bridge and along the Yellowstone and Madison Rivers. For lake fishing, the nearby Hyalite Reservoir is another popular spot for year-round fishing.


7. Going Skiing or Mountain Biking at Big Sky Resort

Best Things to do in Bozeman, Montana: Big Sky Resort

Located 50 minutes from downtown, Big Sky Resort is one of the most famous Bozeman attractions. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning a winter visit or a summer trip because you’ll find epic outdoor adventures at Big Sky year-round. 

Visit during the winter, and you’ll be treated to one of the best ski resorts in the country. Touting itself as “The Biggest Skiing in America,” you’ll have access to 5,850 skiable acres, 300 powdery runs, and 38 lifts whisking you to everything from bunny hills to adrenaline-pumping, 300-degree descents off of Lone Peak. 

Bozeman, Montana Things to do: Big Sky Resort

Visit in the summer, and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to mountain bike, hike, and even horseback ride at Big Sky. There’s even an 18-hole Arnold Palmer-designed golf course!

Plus, the town hosts plenty of fun events and concerts, as well as a seasonal farmers’ market during the summer months. And no matter when you’re visiting Big Sky, taking a ride up to the new all-glass viewing platform on the summit of Lone Peak is a must on any Bozeman bucket list!


8. Get Your Nature Fix in Hyalite Canyon

Best Things to do in Bozeman, Montana: Hyalite Canyon

The Hyalite Recreation Area is easily one of the coolest Bozeman attractions. Whether you want to hike to waterfalls in the summer or experience ice fishing in the winter, the options are seemingly endless.

If it’s hiking you’re after, the 1.2-mile Palisades Falls Trail is an easy option, taking you to a beautiful 80-foot cascade. Or, for an epic day trip, the 8-mile Hyalite Peak Trail will lead you to unique landscapes, gorgeous canyons, and a series of waterfalls. Plus, you’ll be rewarded with stunning 360-degree views once you reach the peak. Do note that you’ll want to head out early because this hike will take you up to nine hours.

Cool Things to do in Bozeman, Montana: Hyalite Canyon

The sheer cliffs of the Hyalite Recreation Area make this an ultra-popular spot for rock climbing, too. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a total novice, you’ll find options for all levels. In the winter months, you’ll also find excellent ice climbing.

For something more laid-back, head over to the scenic reservoir, where you can kayak, paddleboard, fish, or even scuba dive!


9. Eat at All the Excellent Bozeman Restaurants

Unique Things to do in Bozeman, Montana: Eat at All the Excellent Bozeman Restaurants

For such a small town, Bozeman boasts a whopping 200 restaurants, so it’s no surprise that sampling all that this Montana city is dishing out is a must on your Bozeman bucket list. From Indian and Korean to Brazilian and Japanese, there’s something for every palate.

Nova Cafe serves up what many say is the best breakfast in town. From omelets to pancakes to Mexican-style breakfast fare, this is a great place to fuel up for a day out on the town. They also have a great vegan breakfast menu!

Fun Things to do in Bozeman, Montana: Eat at All the Excellent Bozeman Restaurants

Jam! is another popular pick for breakfast, lunch, and brunch. The menu is extensive, and you’ll want to try everything, so why not order a Benedict Flight or a Pancake Flight featuring three creative spins on these breakfast classics? And get a mimosa while you’re at it.

Head to Blackbird for truly excellent Italian food, or if it’s locally sourced dishes you’re after, try an artisanal Montana-raised beef or bison burger from Backcountry Burger Bar or get your seafood fix at Feast Raw Bar & Bistro

If you’re in the mood to wine and dine, don’t miss the happy hour specials at Plonk Wine Bar. Or if you’re the type to get down and dirty with a plate of chicken and waffles, you’ll love Roost Fried Chicken.


10. Day-Trip to Yellowstone National Park

Bozeman, Montana Bucket List: Yellowstone National Park

Bozeman is located roughly 90 minutes from both the north and west entrances to Yellowstone Park. While Bozeman is too far to be an ideal home base for a multi-day trip to Yellowstone, it’s a great gateway to the national park or perfect for an epic day trip. 

If you’ve only got one day to spend in Yellowstone, you can set off at the crack of dawn (or before then) and make your way to the northern entrance in Gardiner. From there, you can loop around and exit the park at the western entrance at West Yellowstone. This allows you to tick off some of Yellowstone’s top attractions in one day.

Must do things in Bozeman, Montana: Yellowstone National Park

Follow this route, and you’ll be able to see the travertine terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs before spotting elk and bison grazing at Madison Junction, chasing waterfalls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and marveling at the gushing Old Faithful geyser. Plus, you’ll come across plenty of beautiful landscapes, jaw-dropping vistas, and more along the way!

Discover Yellowstone National Park


11. Fill Up at the Food Truck Court on N. 7th Ave.

What to do in Bozeman, Montana: Food Truck Court on N. 7th Ave

Bozeman takes its food and food truck scene very seriously, and you’ll find that more and more awesome food trucks are popping up every year. Bozeman even has its own Food Truck Court on N. 7th Ave., where you’ll consistently find at least five food trucks at any given time.

For generous portions of homemade Mexican classics, pay a visit to Ramire’s Mexican Food Taco Truck, which sets up shop in the Food Truck Court on 319 N. 7th Ave. The Food Truck Court is also features Cholms Burgers for excellent burgers, La Vaca Mariposa for Venezuelan empanadas and arepas, and Hashi Asian Street Food for everything from wonton soup to crispy pork belly bowls. 

Head up the road a bit, and you’ll find El Rodeo taco truck in the parking lot by 509 N. 7th Avenue. This local favorite serves up burritos, tortas, enchiladas, and lots more. Also nearby is Electric Poke, which specializes in fresh Hawaiian-style poke.

Even if you’re not hanging out on N. 7th Ave., you’ll find tons of creative food trucks dotting the streets of Bozeman. From the vegan-friendly dishes at Starseed Food Truck to the ridiculously indulgent mac and cheese bowls at Mo’ Bowls, you never know what you’ll find!


12. Go Glamping at Bodhi Farms

Bozeman, Montana Things to do: Glamping at Bodhi Farms

Glamping in the countryside is easily one of the coolest things to do in Bozeman. And if you’re looking for an extra-special experience, Bodhi Farms has got you covered. You’ll find this boutique eco-resort tucked away in the Gallatin Mountains along Cottonwood Creek. While you’ll feel like you’re worlds away, downtown Bozeman is just 20 minutes away.

This place offers just nine luxurious Nordic Tipis, so be sure to make reservations in advance. Each tipi is beautifully appointed with Tuft & Needle mattresses with high thread count sheets, luxury towels and bathrobes, plenty of outlets and USB ports, as well as fans, electric blankets, and space heaters to keep you comfy. You’ll also get a private porch surrounded by trees and a hammock.

You can spend your days taking fly fishing lessons, volunteering at the farm, taking nature or culinary classes, or simply getting messages in the creekside tipi. This is a working farm, which means the on-site dining at Field Kitchen Restaurant is top-notch, with a menu brimming with seasonal dishes incorporating ingredients grown at the farm.

Book Your Glamping at Bodhi Farms


13. Spend the Day in The Cannery District

If you’re looking for cool things to do in Bozeman, head to the Cannery District, which is conveniently located just over a mile north of downtown. 

The Bozeman Canning Company opened its doors in this now-revitalized part of town in 1913, canning peas, beans, and carrots. Fast-forward to 2005, and the city decided to breathe new life into this former industrial area by repurposing the original canning warehouse, powerhouse, and canning building.

The Cannery District is now home to cool shops, restaurants, and wellness businesses. You can spend an entire day here learning how to make candles at The Pour Studio, taking a yoga class at The Practice Power Yoga, or going shopping at one of the many boutiques. 

In the evening, grab cocktails at Wildrye Distilling or the Devil’s Toboggan craft cocktail bar before dining on Mexican fare at La Esquina, classic Neapolitan pies at Pizza Campania, or creative rolls at Seven Sushi. 


14. Find Unique Works of Art at the Gallatin Art Crossing Sculpture Park

The Gallatin Art Crossing Sculpture Park creatively offers one of the most unique things to do in Bozeman. Walk around downtown Bozeman, and you’ll find more than 50 sculptures and public art installations scattered around the area. 

Make your way to the Bozeman Public Library, and seek out Kimber Fiebiger’s bronze “Egghead” sculpture sitting on a bench and reading a book. Also near the library is “Kids on a Bench,” depicting a girl and boy reading, Bozeman local Gary Bates’ funky “Red Whirly” sculpture, and Joe Barrington’s “Trickster,” made entirely from blown-out tires found on the highway. 

If you’re seeking out a specific piece, you can download this handy Gallatin Art Crossing map. Just keep your eyes peeled as you wander around downtown because you never know what you’re going to find! 


15. Get Tipsy at Bozeman’s Best Breweries

Fun Things to do in Bozeman, Montana: Best Breweries

For a relatively small town, Bozeman is home to quite a few breweries, and if you’re looking for fun Bozeman activities, sipping flights at a local brewery is always a fun idea.

Bozeman Brewing Company was the first brewery to pop up in Bozeman back in 2001. You’ll find their buzzing tasting room in the Bozeman Brewery Historic District. From the Bozeman Amber Ale to the Gallatin Pale, you’ll always find 16 beers on tap here. 

Unique Things to do in Bozeman, Montana: Best Breweries

After that, walk across the street to Mountains Walking Brewery & Pub, where you can get refreshed with everything from pilsners, pale ales, and IPAs to a Maji Mango Hard Seltzer and a Fruited Beer Slush! 

If you’re looking for a place for a bite and a beer, FreeFall Brewery & Audrey’s Pizza Oven is your best bet – be sure to order a Rock Scotch Ale to go along with your pie. Alternately, if you find yourself in northern Bozeman, MAP Brewing serves up sliders, sandwiches, and more alongside their creative brews. 

You’ll find a few other excellent breweries scattered around town. And if beer isn’t really your thing, Bozeman is also home to a few distilleries, as well as a cidery and meadery. 

There you have it! The 15 best things to do in Bozeman. What’s your favorite thing to do in Bozeman?


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Author

  • Justine Lopez

    Justine is a writer and editor who always seems to take the unconventional route in life. She also suffers from a serious case of wanderlust!

    In 2013, she left her hometown in California and set off on a yearlong round-the-world journey with her now-husband – they never looked back. Since then, she’s lived the expat life in Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Vietnam, Mexico, and now Dubai. Along the way, she's written and edited for magazines, newspapers, and websites in Asia and beyond.

    When she's not stoking her wanderlust by working on travel articles for Wandering Wheatleys, Justine is busy caring for her many foster cats in Dubai, seeking out all the delicious vegetarian food, and taking every chance she gets to explore a new corner of the world!

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