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You'd never guess it today, but the beautiful city of Bozeman, MT was once a sprawling valley of cattle drives and fields. An offshoot of the Oregon Trail driven by a hunt for gold was what drew this picturesque valley to become a settlement, and the development has yet to stop. While Montana itself has received an influx in residents in recent years, Bozeman leads the way. In fact, it is now ranked in the top 10 fastest-growing metropolises in the United States.
Whether you plan on visiting or moving here, Bozeman has something to offer everyone. From world-class skiing to dinosaur museums, some time under the big sky is well spent exploring.
Specialty and Unique Museums for Everyone
Montana sits on the edge of the Great Plains, where paleontologists flock for world-class digging opportunities once the snow dries up. Not only is there ample space for excavations, but one of the highest concentrations of tyrannosaurus rex skeletons has come out of this area.
With such rich earth, it's no wonder that the Museum of the Rockies, or MOR as it is fondly referred to, a collaborator of the Smithsonian, holds one of the most extensive dinosaur fossil collections in the world. If you have a little one into dinos or, let’s face it, you geek out on dinosaurs too, this is the place to be. Besides their usual collections, they frequently host rotating exhibits, events, and feature shows at the planetarium.
For those not into dinosaurs, a surprisingly incredible computer museum resides here with ancient replicas and possibly some of the oldest exhibits of its kind. Numerous historical sites are found around town and within driving distance too, as well as live-action historical representations and living history farms. You'll never run out of places to see or things to do if you are interested in historic sites!
Outdoors Adventures Year Round
Most people don’t simply move to Bozeman for jobs or beautiful scenery, the majority are outdoor enthusiasts, and the access to outdoor recreation is unbelievably simple and open-ended. Hundreds of campsites and trails are available for the curious folk to find, and they aren’t limited to the summertime either. Though many places become impassable without the help of snowshoes or machines, cross-country skiing trails criss-cross the landscape, and infamous skiing is within an hour's driving distance.
For the adventurous and out-of-the-box types, everything from crystal digging to ice climbing is a possibility, along with anything else you can think up. With thousands of acres of national forest and mountains right out the back door, possibilities are unlimited.
World-Class Culture and Local Entertainment
Surprisingly, Montana has some incredible talent coming through these ranch lands. As a popular in-between stop for bands and acts heading from the midwest to the coast, we get a lot of high-end performances gracing our summer stages. With winters being dark, you’ll see a lot of indoor venues turn into incredible platforms to meet some local musicians with incredible talent. Share a brew at about anywhere in town and you’ll most likely end up meeting some singer or another. Once summertime hits, a music festival is bound to end up on your bucket list of mountain getaways.
This brings us to the culture. A melting pot right now, comedy acts and old-school underground speakeasies are not uncommon to find around these parts if you know where to look. Pop into a local spot and start asking around, Montana hasn’t quite caught up with the internet craze yet and it isn’t uncommon for a listing to be lacking on Google. Facebook Groups are often your best bet when looking for advice or flair. Don’t fret if you don’t find anything though, we promise it's out there awaiting your discovering!
A great addition to this town for those with family looking to enjoy some cultural events is the Emerson Cultural Center. A community nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the residents through culture and arts, all sorts of shows end up on the events calendar. Located in a historic building in downtown Bozeman, the center was built by a well-known local architect and named after Ralph Waldo Emerson himself, a renowned American poet. Dedicated to showcasing the artists of southwest Montana, multiple exhibits come through here throughout the year, both local and from across the globe. From comedic shows to aerial dance performances and artsy gift shops, there is always an inspiring work to see.
Easy Access to Yellowstone on Your List of Things to Do
Speaking of inspiring, this is the most convenient airport to visit when heading out to Yellowstone, and it is and will always be worth visiting. If you haven’t seen it, take the trip, it should be on the list of things to see at least once in your life. Though the crowds have become quite a draw, heading out before or after peak times will let you enjoy the true beauty of the park. Hot springs and geothermal activity are like nowhere else in the states, and the intrepidness of the wildlife here is uncanny. A family vacation will forever leave you recollecting the bison walking past your car, or the time you spotted a grizzly bear and her cubs. For the venturesome folk, camping in the park is a whole otherworldly experience where no less than millions of sparkles and shooting stars will light up your night.
Nightlife Amidst the Mountains
When it comes to nightlife and those not so into the camping (We know, you do exist here still!) you’ll find that downtown Bozeman is booming with a nice little dance strip that is hopping more than most other places in Montana. Dance clubs are far and few between, but Bozeman has its own little scene complete with late-night delicious food trucks and underground bars built in what were once prohibition caves. Bozeman was also recently named the most LGBT-friendly place in Montana, with events lined up to prove it. A night out here is sure to be a good time, whether you remember it or not!
Whatever your thing is, Bozeman has a little something for everyone, this is perhaps the reason why it is one of the fastest-growing spaces around. It never fails to surprise on each trip to Montana’s “Big City'' as there is something new popping up every time you make it back. Growth and new forms of entertainment are expected to increase sooner rather than later, be sure to check it out while it still embraces that small-town vibe.