Top things to do in Bozeman for first-time visitors

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Bozeman is a premier destination for those who love dramatic mountains, world-class fly fishing and local flavors. Whether you want to enjoy the great outdoors, immerse yourself in history or sip a craft beer while admiring the fantastic views, here are the best things to do in Bozeman, Montana.

A view of downtown Bozeman, Montana at dusk.
Photo credit: Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development.

Due to its proximity to two of the five Yellowstone National Park entrances, Bozeman is often called The Gateway to Yellowstone. Nestled in the southern end of the Gallatin River Valley, rimmed by rugged mountains under a big sky, this town is a picture-perfect postcard of the American West.

If you’re a fan of Paramount’s “Yellowstone,” Bozeman offers a real-life backdrop that you will find familiar. After all, John Dutton’s fictional ranch borders Yellowstone National Park, with some scenes filmed in downtown Bozeman. For example, many shops along Mainstream in downtown Bozeman resemble the boutique Beth Dutton steps in to rescue Monica when she’s accused of shoplifting in season two.

A large white letter M on a lush green mountainside near Bozeman, Montana.
Photo credit: Sage Scott.

Explore Bozeman’s natural beauty

Surrounded by majestic mountains with crystal clear rivers running through it, Bozeman is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. These outdoor adventures will leave you feeling refreshed and connected to nature.

Take a hike

Experience Bozeman’s stunning vistas by hiking the local trails. Just a stone’s throw from downtown, the Drinking Horse Mountain Trail offers a 2.2-mile loop with a moderate climb. This trail is perfect for families and their furry friends. Meanwhile, the M Trail presents a more challenging hike that leads to a large M on the hillside overlooking the Gallatin Valley.

Fly fishing

Bozeman is a fly fisher’s paradise, boasting access to some of Montana’s finest rivers. The Gallatin River, known for its abundant rainbow and brown trout, provides challenging and rewarding fly fishing that captivates novices and experts alike. Whether casting lines at Cameron Bridge or seeking the tranquility of Hyalite Reservoir, these spots offer world-class fly fishing experiences within a short drive from town.

Missouri Headwaters State Park

Explore the rich history and natural beauty of Missouri Headwaters State Park, where the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin Rivers converge. This park is a significant historical site where Lewis and Clark once camped and a splendid venue for hiking, fishing and picnicking.

Wildlife encounters

If you use Bozeman as a gateway to Yellowstone National Park, you will enjoy many wildlife encounters. After all, the world’s first national park is home to the largest concentration of mammals in North America, according to the National Park Service. But on the outskirts of town, the Montana Grizzly Encounter is a sanctuary and educational facility that provides a safe environment to observe grizzly bears and learn about their behavior and conservation.

Pro tip: Bozeman is in grizzly country. Be bear aware when enjoying the great outdoors, and always carry bear spray.

A large metal dinosaur skeleton outside a white building with the words Museum of the Rockies engraved into it.
Photo credit: Sage Scott.
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Cultural and historical attractions

Bozeman is steeped in rich history and vibrant culture, making it a goldmine of a destination in the Treasure State. From dinosaur exhibits to historic trails, this city offers a fascinating glimpse into the past and an exploration of modern technological achievements.

Museum of the Rockies

One of my favorite things to do in Bozeman is visit the Museum of the Rockies. As you might expect from a building with Big Mike, the life-size bronze statue of a Tyrannosaurus rex standing out front, the museum is home to one of the world’s largest collections of dinosaur fossils. You can also explore a variety of exhibits on Rocky Mountain regional history and enjoy an immersive show at the Taylor Planetarium. And, if you visit Bozeman in the summer, don’t miss the Living History Farm that transports you to an 1890s Montana homestead.

“The Museum of the Rockies is a must-visit for history lovers in Bozeman. The fossil collection alone is worth the visit! The curator who helped design the exhibit was a consultant for Jurassic Park.”

— Kim Reiner, Oh My! Omaha

Gallatin History Museum

Explore more of Bozeman’s local heritage at the Gallatin History Museum. Located in a historic jail built in 1911, the museum showcases a variety of exhibits, including original jail cells, historic photographs and artifacts that tell the story of Gallatin County’s past.

American Computer & Robotics Museum

Explore the evolution of technology at the American Computer & Robotics Museum, the oldest continually operating museum of its kind. From ancient cuneiform tablets to the latest advances in artificial intelligence and quantum computing, this museum captures the spirit of human innovation and exploration.

Bozeman Trail

Follow in the footsteps of early pioneers on the Bozeman Trail. This historic trail was once a major route for settlers moving west. Today, it offers a historical perspective on the challenges and triumphs of early American settlers.

Lewis & Clark Trail

Trace the epic journey of the Lewis and Clark Expedition along the Lewis & Clark Trail. Bozeman is close to several significant sites from this historic expedition, providing a tangible connection to one of America’s most storied explorations.

A woman holding a sugar cone with a scoop of huckleberry ice cream.
Photo credit: Sage Scott.

Savor the local flavors

As Montana senator Jon Tester proclaimed, “Montana’s ranchers raise the best cattle in the world,” so you can bet on world-class steaks and other beef dishes when you visit Bozeman. But you’ll also find mouthwatering freshwater fish, everything huckleberry and more.


Located on Main Street, Jam! stands out as a favorite breakfast spot in Bozeman. Apart from classic breakfast items, the restaurant offers unique dishes like the Benedict flight, which allows you to sample various eggs Benedict options.

Pickel Barrel

Pickle Barrel has been a go-to for MSU Bobcats for generations. The eatery offers hearty sandwiches that are perfect for any budget. The eatery is known for its steak sandwiches and subs, with portions large enough to fuel an all-nighter of studying or an action-packed afternoon exploring Big Sky Country.

Ted’s Montana Grill

Ted’s Montana Grill offers a unique slice of local cuisine with everything from huckleberry margaritas to bison burgers. But if you are not sure you want to try bison, don’t worry. Ted’s also offers a selection of poultry, seafood and beef dishes.

Bridger Brewing

Montana is one of the top three states in the nation when it comes to the number of breweries per capita. So, if you prefer to enjoy your meal with a cold pint of beer, this local brewery is the Bozeman restaurant for you. Pair your pint with a wide variety of pizzas. And because you’re in Montana, the pepperoni is made with bison. Try it plain and simple with marinara sauce and cheese, or go supreme and add onions, mushrooms and olives.

Sweet Peaks

The Rocky Mountains inspire the ice cream at Sweet Peaks, with cream produced in Montana dairies and other locally sourced ingredients. Try a scoop of huckleberry ice cream featuring the state’s beloved small purple berries. Or scoop up another flavor inspired by Big Sky Country, like Bear Scat, with mini chocolate chips and dried blueberries in dark chocolate ice cream.

From peaks to plates

As you work your way through the best things to do in Bozeman, remember that each trail, every bite and all of the culture you’ve experienced is just a small part of what the Treasure State has to offer. Whether you return for the gorgeous scenery or the hearty dishes, Bozeman will always have more to explore and enjoy.

Sage Scott was bitten by the travel bug as a preschooler when her family moved abroad for the first time. Now settled in America’s Heartland, Sage is a travel writer, world wanderer and photographer whose favorite color is golden hour. Follow her adventures at Everyday Wanderer.

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