9 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Bozeman
Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains in southern Montana, the city of Bozeman serves up adventure in every sense of the word. Whether it's gliding down the slopes at Big Sky Resort or exploring the halls of technology at the American Computer & Robotics Museum, staying active in Bozeman is one of the easiest things to do. Defined by the lush scenery of the surrounding Custer Gallatin National Forest, and home to Montana State University, Bozeman gives a distinct collegiate feel within the community and an adventurous spirit surrounding the mountains. With different flavors of adventure and culture served up throughout the seasons, the biggest risk with visiting Bozeman is never wanting to leave.
See also: Where to Stay in Bozeman
1 College "M" Hiking Trail
In Bozeman, it's hard to miss the collegiate "M" posted high onto the ridgeline of Bridger Canyon. This 250-foot white-rock letter was built piece by piece by students of Montana State University in 1915, and has long since served as a pride point for the University and a symbol for the city. This decorative door hanger at the mouth of Bridger Canyon is more than just aesthetically pleasing though, and two short hiking trails encourage visitors to hike up and enjoy the view. You can access the "M" and adjoining sitting benches by either heading straight up the half-mile Bridger Ridge Trail, or by taking a more moderate grade along the beginning of the Bridger Foothills National Scenic Trail.
Location: Bridger Canyon Road, Bozeman, Montana
2 Museum of the Rockies
Best known for their extensive collection of dinosaur fossils, the Museum of the Rockies (MOR) unearths a wide range of scientific insight on the Rocky Mountain region. Affiliated with both Montana State University and the Smithsonian Institute, some of the permanent exhibits at this attraction include the Siebel Dinosaur Complex, the Paugh History Hall and the Martin Children's Discovery Center. You can see one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons ever recovered, glimpse the native cultures of the region, and discover science with a hands-on experience. Also offering teen summer camps, adult lecture series, and planetarium shows at the Taylor Planetarium, the MOR prides itself in providing more for the community.
Address: 600 W Kagy Blvd, Bozeman, Montana
3 Main Street, Downtown Bozeman
With plenty of shops, boutiques, eateries, and art to explore, the downtown Main Street exemplifies a distinct part of the Bozeman culture today. Among the many recommended places to eat in Bozeman, the Nova Cafe serves up some of the best breakfasts in town, and the Mackenzie River Pizza Company provides specialty pizzas that warrant a visit or two. For unique, local specialty shops on Main Street, places like The Last Wind-Up offer new and vintage timepieces, and the Montana Honey Bee Company provides locally sourced sweetness and beekeeping supplies. Whatever fancies your interest on Main Street, half the fun is exploring the sidewalk intermingled with students, visitors, and community members, and feeling for yourself the urban rhythm of Bozeman.
4 Custer Gallatin National Forest
The seven different ranger districts of the Custer Gallatin National Forest surround the city of Bozeman, and provide over three million acres of forest to explore throughout the year. Whether it's backpacking, fly-fishing, day hiking, ski touring, or simply enjoying a scenic drive, Custer Gallatin National Forest helps define the vibe of Bozeman, adding luscious scenery to the city and an adventurous mantra for the community.
Remote areas within Custer Gallatin, like the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, are a favorite to explore, and Big Sky Resort receives attention throughout the year. For a quintessential hike close to Bozeman, Storm Castle Peak delivers on the views, and Palisades Falls Picnic Area is great for a day trip. Custer Gallatin National Forest also connects easily with another national treasure, Yellowstone National Park, whose North Entrance and Roosevelt Arch are just over an hour's drive south from Bozeman.
5 American Computer & Robotics Museum
Spanning from the first clay tablet created by chisel to the future of artificial consciousness, the American Computer & Robotics Museum has a wide range of displays detailing the evolution of technology. Located near Montana State University's Bobcat Stadium, the American Computer Museum is divided between multiple rooms and distinct eras of applied science. Each room contains elaborate and informational displays alongside significant artifacts, including Alan Turing papers, a Gutenberg Press, and an original Apple 1 Computer signed by Steve Wozniak. Great for the scientifically inclined and interested observer alike, the American Computer & Robotics Museum offers free admission.
Address: 2023 Stadium Dr #1A, Bozeman, Montana
6 Big Sky Resort & Bridger Bowl Ski Area
Winter alpine pursuits are a big part of the Bozeman culture, much in thanks to the proximity of two powder-infused winter resorts. Located just an hour south of Bozeman, Big Sky Resort offers internationally acclaimed downhill skiing and snowboarding spread across four mountains and nearly 6,000 acres of rideable terrain. With consistent snowfall throughout the long winter, and plenty of cold-weather events to celebrate the season, Big Sky ranks high as one of the best winter resorts in the country.
For a more local flavor and shorter commute from Bozeman, the other awesome downhill option can be found just north of the city at the Bridger Bowl Ski Area. Spawned from grassroot, community driven beginnings, Bridger Bowl provides approximately 2,000 skiable acres to explore for everyone from beginners to experts. Featuring eight chair lifts, two lodges that provide hot meals, and always a host of Montana State University students and Bozeman community members, Bridger Bowl Ski Area is where the locals go to ride.
Big Sky Resort
- Address: 50 Big Sky Resort Road, Big Sky, Montana
Bridger Bowl Ski Area
- Address: 15795 Bridger Canyon Road, Bozeman, Montana
7 Gallatin History Museum
Housed in a historic and long-since renovated county jail building, the Gallatin History Museum brings the region's pioneer history to the forefront of Main Street. Featuring permanent and rotating exhibits with artifacts, informational panels, and an impressive archive of historical images, the Gallatin History Museum provides the clearest picture of southwest Montana's rugged past. Permanent exhibits at the Gallatin History Museum include American Indian artifacts, a model of the 1867-established Fort Ellis, and an adolescent's porcelain doll brought to Bozeman by wagon in 1864. The Gallatin History Museum also offers guided tours, family passes, and special events in their mission to preserve, promote, and foster the region's history.
Address: 317 W. Main Street, Bozeman, Montana
8 Montana Grizzly Encounter
This grizzly bear rescue and education sanctuary, Montana Grizzly Encounter adopts bears who were born into captivity, who would not survive the wild, and provides for them a safe habitat to grow happy and healthy. Montana Grizzly Encounter first began in 2002, when Casey Anderson, National Geographic Wildlife Naturalist, adopted Brutus from an overcrowded wildlife park. At the time, Brutus was a grizzly bear cub the size of a squirrel.
Fast forward 15 years and 900 pounds later, and Brutus stands at seven feet tall, with six other grizzly bears adopted into the park besides him. Besides maintaining a quality of the life for its bears, Montana Grizzly Encounter also strives to provide public education about cohabitating with Montana's resident wildlife. Through demonstrations, education, and an ability to view the sanctuary's denizens up close with no bars or constructions, Montana Grizzly Encounter encourages a respect for the grizzly bear's role in wildlife systems.
Address: 80 Bozeman Hill Road, Bozeman, Montana
9 Bozeman Hot Springs
Located southwest of the city with easy access to Gallatin Canyon, Bozeman Hot Springs is a public resort offering a full fitness facility, ambient atmospheres, and 12 different pools to soak in. Family friendly and perfect for large group events, Bozeman Hot Springs has a long history in providing a therapeutic retreat for anyone passing through. Bozeman Hot Springs is also well known for hosting a wide variety of events, including live music, group fitness classes, and community driven charity drives. For the ultimate hot springs experience, as well as quick access to the surrounding adventurous environments, Bozeman Hot Springs also maintains a campground within its facilities, adding an overnight option to your soaking experience.
Address: 81123 Gallatin Road, Bozeman, Montana
Where to Stay in Bozeman for Sightseeing
- Luxury Hotels: For the most decadent overnight stay in Bozeman, the Element Bozeman is reputed as the best hotel in town, and provides a modern décor with spacious rooms and suites in the heart of the city. Located nine miles up the road, the Hilton Garden Inn Bozeman provides an upscale experience alongside an attached restaurant, indoor pool, and cozy rooms and suites. Further north and on the outskirts of Bozeman, the Gallatin River Lodge provides luxurious accommodations with a lakeside view, and a romance package for a special occasion.
- Mid-Range Hotels: To find that median between money spent and services offered, places like the Western Heritage Inn are a good choice. Located near many of the top attractions of the city, the Heritage Inn is known for their spacious rooms and well-maintained facilities. North of downtown, the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson also provides a comfortable hotel option with a complimentary breakfast buffet. Across the street from the Country Inn, the Comfort Suites Bozeman couples affordable rates and spacious rooms with an indoor pool, spa, and exercise facility, making for a comfortable overnight stay.
- Budget Hotels: To stretch your vacation dollars elsewhere in Bozeman, the Super 8 Bozeman provides unbeatable rates alongside a long reputation of well-maintained rooms and facilities. Just a few blocks from the Super 8, a few minutes north of downtown Bozeman, the Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Bozeman provides stellar value with clean and cozy rooms. Closer to the shops and restaurants of downtown, the Royal 7 Budget Inn makes for an affordable stay close to the top attractions of Bozeman.
Other Cities and Attractions Worth Checking Out in Montana
For another college influenced city to explore, our Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Missoula article will point you the way. To get a broader idea of what the state has to offer, our Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Montana article can give you an overview. When you are ready to head south into Wyoming, check out our Top Hikes in Yellowstone National Park and Top Campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park articles to start your adventure.