Base Camp: Bozeman, Montana
Bozeman’s penchant for tapas restaurants, wine bars, live theater, coffee roasters and city-wide celebrations belie not just its size (less than 40,000 Bozemanites) but also its setting—a pocket of Montana backed by the Bridger Mountains, surrounded by National Forest, and neighbored by Yellowstone National Park. It’s a rare kind of place, one where you can grab a good micro-roast coffee in the morning; hit the trail, river, or rock pitches all day; and be back in time for sushi and a good night’s sleep.
The obvious attraction here is Yellowstone National Park. With its otherworldly geothermal activity and scenic wildlife viewing opportunities, Yellowstone may be the most famous of Bozeman’s nearby outdoor draws, but it’s not the only one. Hundreds of miles of trails wind through the forests and mountains around Bozeman, creating endless adventure for mountain bikers and hikers. Around here, fishermen cast into world-renowned rivers (A River Runs Through It was filmed in the area), kayakers tackle good whitewater and rock climbers have their choice of several climbing destinations.
All that recreating can work up an appetite, which Bozeman satisfies with a foodie-worthy smorgasbord. Pick from world fare (like Mediterranean, fusion, French, and Thai), farm-to-table and organic options, and traditions like wood-fired pizza and gourmet bison burgers. If you dine in Bozeman’s historic downtown, a post-prandial stroll will lead you past galleries, coffeehouses, cute shops and the artsy Emerson Cultural Center—not to mention nightlife ranging from Irish pubs to wine bars to live music and theatre. When it comes time to quit, Bozeman’s wide range of lodging options guarantees a good night’s sleep.
Bozemanites know they have a lot to celebrate—which you’ll find them doing frequently. Summers bring Music on Main (a downtown street dance party), evening art gallery walks and two farmer’s markets loaded with local foods, arts, crafts and musicians. With Shakespeare in the Parks in June, the Gallatin County Fair in July and the Sweet Pea Festival of the Arts in August, it’s easy to squeeze at least one shindig into a summer itinerary.
Bozeman is located on the major interstate through Montana (I-90) as well as the main route to Yellowstone (Hwy. 191) With the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, there are direct flights to Bozeman from 13 major US cities.
No matter how you get here, get here soon—while the wildflowers are still blooming and the days are long enough to play outside for hours, before winding back down in a happening small town.
For more information about Bozeman, or to plan your Montana vacation, go to www.bozemancvb.com.