15 Top Things to Do In Bozeman, Montana

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Mountains near Bozeman Montana
The mountains near Bozeman, Montana. Photo credit: Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development

Outdoor adventure meets downtown fun. There are so many things to do in Bozeman, Montana, that is makes a great destination for a girl’s weekend, a family fun-cation or a romantic road trip.

Gorgeous views of Yellowstone National Park, Palisades Falls and Gallatin National Forest are on full display for anyone who loves wild Western cowboy culture. In Bozeman, you can enjoy live music, grizzly bear encounters and permanent exhibits at the Museum of the Rockies and Museum of American Computers.

Welcome to Big Sky Country

Outdoor adventures like mine begin with snowboarding, snowshoeing, or skiing at some of the best ski resorts in Montana, like Big Sky Resort. I like to take a dip in Bozeman Hot Springs and enjoy a local brew at Montana Ale Works. If you want fun, you came to the right place.

Whether you’re traveling with your family or friends, here are 15 top things that made my trip to Bozeman, Montana outstanding.

SheBuysTravel Tip: If you’re heading to Bozeman on a romantic getaway, stay at one of these Montana resorts for couples.

Old Faithful erupting
Old Faithful received its name because it predictably erupts. Photo credit: Cortney Fries

1. Yellowstone National Park                                                                    

If you’re seeking a one-of-a-kind outdoor experience, Yellowstone National Park is the perfect place. This iconic national treasure – is 90 miles from the city of Bozeman. With 2.2 million acres of diverse geography and wildlife in every corner of these rocky mountains.

All the outdoor activities are here: Hiking, flyfishing, biking, rafting, rock climbing through Gallatin National forest teeming with grizzly bears – or marvel in awe of waterfalls as Old Faithful sets off its surreal eruptions of water over 100 feet into the sky. I recommend arriving at Yellowstone National Park early to beat the crowds.

2. Big Sky Resort                                                                                            

Level up your skiing and snowboarding experience at Big Sky Resort, one of the most majestic ski destinations in southwest Montana. Bky Sky Resort boasts thousands of acres of skiable terrain and over 60 runs. Not to mention over 100 hiking trails for snowshoeing! There’s plenty to explore and carve around here, with skill levels from beginner, intermediate and advanced slopes just waiting to be discovered.

At Big Sky Resort, you’ll find Moonlight Basin, Lone Peak, and Snow King Mountain; each area offering different terrains. After a long day on the slopes, check out the delicious, family-friendly cuisine options. I recommend Huckleberry ice cream.

3. College Trail M

Head to College M Trail for a truly memorable experience! This gorgeous trail boasts a giant’ M,’ created over 100 years ago by the students of Montana State University. It’s a terrific spot for families, hikers, bikers, and even pooches are welcome too. Climb your way up the picturesque side of Baldy Mountain, with vistas of the Bridger Canyon, Bridger Bowl Ski area, and Gallatin Valley.

The ever-changing scenery will keep you captivated as you hike, plus there are many benches along the way where you can take in all its beauty. Bring a picnic basket filled with local brews from Montana Ale Works. While the trail takes 30 minutes to complete, I recommend spending more time enjoying the Gallatin Valley.

4. Museum of the Rockies

This is one of the top things to do if museum hopping fits your curious mind and an adventurous spirit! I recommend the Museum of the Rockies – Bozeman’s biggest and best museum, a division of Montana State University. Discover the history of Yellowstone National Park, Gallatin River Valley, and grizzly mountain bears.

Don’t miss this incredible space’s amazing Native American artifacts and outdoor adventure exhibits, like fly-fishing, rock climbing, and dinosaur archaeological findings. The collection is particularly well-known for one item: a huge Tyrannosaurus Rex skull! It’s best to take your time at the Museum of the Rockies. I recommend 2-3 hours and a quick stop for refreshments at the cafe.

5. Montana Ale Works

Feeling a bit thirsty after a day of kayaking? Head over to downtown Bozeman and quench your thirst! One of my absolute favorite places on Main Street, where you can taste over 40 types of local brews and ciders. Montana Ale Works is considered one of the best in beer and cuisine.

The vibe is laid-back and family-friendly, with a natural decor and live music that invites fun. Enjoy pool tables and dart boards to delicious food made from local produce. You’ll love the selection of cocktails, too—all crafted with regionally-sourced herbs and fruits, like huckleberry. Plus, almost all their beers are brewed right in or around the city of Bozeman.

6. Museum of the American Computer

Take a break from rock climbing and fly fishing, and treat your inner computer nerd to the American Computer & Robotics Museum. Explore over 4,000 years of computer history, from the abacus to Artificial Intelligence. Check out an array of artifacts like a Gutenberg Press and an Apple 1 Computer signed by Steve Wozniak.

We took a guided tour and learned about the processes behind cracking the Enigma Code and taking the Space Race off the ground. After your visit, check out the gift shop, where you can walk away with your own piece of American Computer & Robotics Museum history.

7. Bridger Bowl                                                                                              

Hands down, Bridger Bowl, is the perfect place to ski, snowboard, and mingle with the locals. With over 2,000 acres of skiing opportunities, there is a skill level for every ski trail. Getting to the top is accessible with eight chair lifts and two lodges, plus all the equipment rentals. After a long day skiing inside the lodges, indulge yourself with hot chocolate topped with whipped cream!

If you’re looking for hot meals., there are several family-friendly options. The real treat, though? Sharing Bridger Bowl with Montana State University students and other Bozeman’s incredible community members. When you’re down, check out Big Sky Resort, one of Montana’s best ski resorts within the distance of the Bridger Bowl ski area.

8. Montana Science Center                                                                        

Family Fun Alert. Ready for a learning experience filled with endless amounts of Big Sky fun? The Montana Science Center is the perfect day trip. Montana Science Center in downtown Bozeman is designed with interactive classrooms, an indoor garden, a playground, and hands-on exhibits.

Experiment with 3D printing technology, check out rare fossils from the planet’s formation, or play with the latest in electronics engineering. Plan on staying 2-3 hours with a stop at the gift store.

9. Palisade Falls                                                                                              

A must-see landmark located south of Bozeman in the Hyalite Canyon, just beyond the Hyalite Reservoir. You’ll be in awe of its breathtaking power waterfall as the Yellowstone River plunges down a cliff face of over 60 feet.

My girlfriends and I visited in summer to swim in its refreshing waters beneath its misty spray – perfect for a fantastic outdoor adventure. And don’t forget about the incredible whitewater rafting experiences the nearby river offers! Plenty of fun, like hiking, mountain biking, trail running, and cross-country skiing.

10. Downtown Bozeman                                                                            

When I’m looking for historic old-western architecture meets modern buildings, Downtown Bozeman is my spot. From live music, outdoor gear shopping or organic farm-to-table dining experiences, it’s always a winner on Main Street.

The Main Street Historic District runs from Rouse Ave. to Willson Ave., with the Bozeman Public Library at one end and the Gallatin History Museum at the other. Don’t miss stops at Montana Ale Works. Easy walking and window shopping against the rocky mountain backdrop.

11. Montana Grizzly Bear Encounter                                                    

Ever dreamed of seeing a grizzly? Dream no more! I love to learn about animals in their natural habitat, so when I experienced the Montana Grizzly Encounter, it blew me away! Family-friendly or on a solo trip, Montana Grizzly Encounter is the perfect place to come and see grizzlies up close!

Established in 2002, this conservation site gives a safe home to four bears – orphans who wouldn’t have survived in the wild. You’ll be able to get up close while still viewing them from a distance and giving them their space. Plus, they have access to beautiful fields, ponds and mountains, making them the perfect habitat to grow and thrive. I recommend 2-3 hours, and before leaving, stop at the gift store to take home some yummy huckleberry ice cream.

12. Gallatin History Museum                                                                    

Located on the vibrant Main Street in Bozeman, the fantastic Gallatin History Museum has been open since 1982. Committed to preserving the magnificent Gallatin Valley’s rich culture and history, the exhibits are interactive and educational, with artifacts from Native American influences that go back hundreds of years to today’s modern era.

I loved going on the guided tour. What drew me to the Gallatin History Museum is the 20,000 collection of photographs! Spend an entire day trip here or an easy couple of hours while visiting the city of Bozeman.

Hiker looking over Lava Lake in the Custer Galatin National Forest, one of the things to do in Big Sky Montana
A three-mile hike from U.S. 191 north of Big Sky with a gentle elevation gain takes you to hidden Lava Lake in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area in the Custer Galatin National Forest. Photo credit: Visit Big Sky

13. Gallatin National Forest                                                                      

No matter the season, Gallatin National Forest is an outdoor activity paradise. Located in the Southwest between Montana and South Dakota, it’s the perfect starting point for campers near Bozeman. With over three million acres to explore and 100 designated hikes, you will have outdoor fun-filled activities in no time.

The Elbow Lake or Specimen Creek trails are breathtaking, with lush pine forests giving way to mesmerizing mountain views, lakes and more. Enjoy a whitewater adventure of rafting on the Gallatin River. What made this day trip the most memorable for me was when I cooled down with a huckleberry ice cream after backpacking on the hiking trails.

14. Hyalite Cannon                                                                                      

Soak up some stunning views at Hyalite Canyon, just 15 miles south of downtown Bozeman. This prime 34,000-acre piece of land located in the Gallatin National Forest offers a multitude of recreational activities year round. In the winter months, throwing on your snowboards or snowshoes is an absolute must-do.

When summer rolls around, hop onto one of the hiking trails and go backpacking or biking and take in a mountainous panorama like none other. Whether you’re looking to fly fish, raft or kayak – depending on how adventurous you’re feeling – the beauty of this Big Sky wonderland will never cease to amaze.

15. Bozeman Hot Springs                                                                          

Get ready for nature’s biggest luxury: Bozeman Hot Springs, one of the best hot springs in Montana. Take a plunge into the welcoming warmth of these famous and open-to-the-public hot springs—only 15 minutes from the city of Bozeman’s downtown area. This geothermal wonder is Montana’s best hotspot for relaxation.

Offering family-friendly indoor and outdoor pools, 18 pools are cleaned daily. Hot pools range from 106 Fahrenheit to cold pools at a chilly 59. Enjoy the natural decor while working out in a full-service fitness facility. Sip some ale from Montana Ale Works as you listen to enjoy live music. I recommend hiking trails at Gallatin Canyon or kayaking down the Gallatin River then enjoying an evening of Bozeman Hot Springs and live music.

As an educator, creative writer and Digital Media Specialist at Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange (CCRx), I apply my M.Ed. in Curriculum and Development and my passion for eco-social justice to create and manage impactful content that promotes the reuse of creative materials for education and community benefit. I have over four years of experience in developing, executing, and overseeing communication and writing strategies that support the values and goals of CCRx and its partners, such as Books on Benches and Green Literacy.org. I have a proven track record of identifying and resolving communication challenges, fostering a collaborative mindset, and initiating change management plans that enhance the effectiveness and appeal of CCRx’s content. I also provide thought leadership and best practices for content development, optimization, and alignment with educational institutions and environmental stewardship. Additionally, I have published multiple books and teaching units on the inspiring story of environmentalist Wangari Maathai and the importance of green literacy for young readers.
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