Livingston is a tiny city a few miles from Bozeman. It gained popularity from being the Northern Gateway to Yellowstone National Park in the 1880s. The Northern Pacific Railroad, one out of the three transcontinental railroads that passed through Montana, was launched here as a point of travel to Yellowstone.
Subsequently, a small town grew around these railroads. The workers at the depot built settlements in the area. It later became a tourist destination for people visiting America’s first national park.
This town is rich in history. Many buildings found here were built in the 19th century and in the early 20th century. There are also scores of outdoor recreational activities to take part in, being that it’s also a town in the larger mountainous Montana.
This secluded town makes for a perfect travel destination. It provides numerous opportunities for adventure and it’s also serene and less crowded. Read on to find out the best things to do in Livingston, Montana.
13 Best Things to Do in Livingston, Montana
1. Visit the Livingston Depot Center
Most of Livingston’s history revolves around this depot. Built Italian style at the beginning of the 20th century, this red and yellow brick architectural marvel was a busy hub for rail travelers. The whole depot complex comprises the main building, a baggage area, a restaurant building, and a courtyard. Two buildings preceded this enormous complex. The first one was built in 1882.
Following an increase in travel activity, there was a need for a larger depot. This led to the construction of this complex, which was completed in 1902. The depot currently operates as both a community center and a museum. It has operated as such since 1987. The museum is open from mid-May to mid-September while the Community Center is open the rest of the year.
Many concerts and festivals are hosted in the Livingston Depot courtyard and buildings. Weddings, parties, holiday concerts, historic talks, and community development programs are also hosted here. If you wish to celebrate your private or public event in this beautiful setting, all you have to do is call in advance. Catch the Depot Center Festival of the Arts here on the fourth of July every year.
If you’re a history enthusiast, visit the museum in summer and catch some of their amazing rotational exhibits. Learn about the history of travel into and around Yellowstone National Park. Observe its evolution from horse carriages to the current automobile era. Learn about animal migration into and out of the park during different seasons. View photographs, paintings, art, videos, and maps at the museum.
2. The Faye’s Café in Shane Lalani Center of Arts
Pass by the Faye’s Café for a rejuvenating breakfast and start your day off right before you move along to other activities of your day. This elegant yet simple space not only provides amazing meals but also views of amazing art pieces put up on its walls. Enjoy meals prepared to your liking, with the specifications of your choice.
Whether you’re a vegan or gluten-free, there is everything for everyone. This friendly restaurant offers everything from tacos, omelet, quesadilla, stuffed jalapenos, huckleberry bacon to cinnamon rolls, and so much more in their breakfast and lunch menus. They also offer all kinds of drinks including hot and cold beverages, chocolate milk, fresh juices, mountain dew, root beer, and more.
3. Visit the Yellowstone Gateway Museum of Park County
This museum is part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. It’s located on 118W Chinook Street, Livingston. Dive into Montana and Yellowstone history from this museum’s permanent and temporary exhibits. Visit their Expeditions Room and learn about explorers and their journeys through the land as they made significant discoveries. Follow the well mapped out Lewis and Clark expedition, as well as other expeditions that led to the discovery of Yellowstone National Park.
Their Native Culture Room is rich in Native American Culture. Dive into the early lives of the Plain Indians with exhibits from different aspects of their life. View artifacts from their agricultural and hunting activities, paintings, and murals illustrating their culture and history. Catch up on amazing history in this over a century-old building and have fun learning.
They provide guided tours especially for groups such as schools as part of their education and outreach program. Their research center is stacked with learning material in form of books, thousands of illustrative photographs, audiovisual material, directories, newspapers, and more. They also have a series of online exhibitions that will get you to want to visit in person.
4. Hike the Pine Creek Lake Trail
The Pine Creek trail is popular in Livingston, as it’s well defined and relatively easy to hike. If you’re looking for more adventurous things to do in Livingston, this is one of them. It’s most favorable during the summer and you will certainly enjoy the cooler temperatures as you climb up Black Mountain on your way.
Stretching about 5 miles from the East River Road, the elevations ahead are about 3,400 feet. It’s a round trip and some features to enjoy are the Pine Creek Falls and the Pine Creek Lake on the Black Mountain slopes. The route is relatively forested and less strenuous towards the falls. You could choose to end your hike here or go all the way to Pine Creek Lake, where you get to enjoy even more tiny falls and lakes on the way.
At Pine Creek Lake, try fly-fishing for some trout. You could also proceed up Black Mountain and get even more amazing views of the Pine Creek Valley and neighboring mountain peaks. For backpacking items, maps, and items to aid in your trail, pass by Timber Trails in downtown Livingston and get your supplies.
5. Drop By a Livingston Brewery
Want a taste of some of Montana’s locally brewed and hand-crafted beers. Well, here in Livingston, you’ll find two amazing breweries; Katabatic Brewing Company and Neptune’s Brewery. The former is located in downtown Livingston and you might bump into it in one of your historic walks.
Try out one of Neptune’s beer varieties and “drink like a god”. For more than just excellent beer, visit Neptune’s Taphouse and Eatery. This beautiful eatery has a diverse number of cuisines and an extensive list of drinks. Visit them for the best seafood, sushi, burgers, rolls, tacos, and sandwiches served with salads, soups, and desserts of your choice.
The Katabatic Brewery Company is the more recent of the two and it represents Montana’s refined beer culture. Catch a live music concert occasionally on their premises if you want to drink in. You can also pass by and pick up a few cans for the road if you’ll be going for one of your backpacking excursions.
6. Take a Stroll Down Sacajawea Park
This historical park is part of the larger Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. The Corps of Discovery, otherwise known as the Lewis and Clark Expedition, entered the Yellowstone River, which flows freely through Livingston, in 1806. Their arrival and discovery of this region was commemorated right here in this park.
Visit this park for a calm afternoon along the Yellowstone River and enjoy the amazing views of the waters. Pass time on any of the benches in the park and watch the trees sway and people pass by. Take a picnic in the park with your significant other on any of the picnic tables or the green grassy areas of the park. Catch views of snow-filled mountain tops from here.
If you’re looking to have a more vigorous and activity-filled time, then the park is your go-to. It is family-friendly and has playing grounds for both kids and adults alike. There are tennis courts, football grounds, and a skate park. Taking a stroll along the river will also do you some good. You can also go fishing in the river.
7. Stay at the Historic Murray Hotel
Visiting Livingston for a couple of days? Located in downtown Livingston is this wonderful historic building you might want to check out. It’s also the only hotel in downtown Livingston. With its 25 rooms and suites that are well decorated and individually unique, you’re set for a cozy night.
Each room is fitted with air conditioning and has access to Wi-Fi. Suites are more comfortable. The hotel is strategically near some quality restaurants and bars, such as Neptune’s Eatery and Gil’s Good Café. It’s the perfect place to spend your days as you plan your tours around Livingston.
8. Yellowstone River Adventures
A substantial section of the longest river in Montana snakes its way through this small city. There are a lot of things to do on this river. Fly fishing is one, and the Yellowstone River is one of the best places to go trout fishing in the whole of Montana State. You can fish from the shores of the river, but more preferably, venture into the deep waters on your boat. For fly fishing equipment and rentals, pass by Dan Bailey’s in downtown Livingston and get all the equipment you need, from rods, flies, reels, and more.
Paddle a boat in the river and have fun cruising through Paradise Valley. Enjoy all the magical views along the way. You could even jump into the water in summer, when the temperatures allow, and take a swim. Take guided kayak tours or just float your way around the waters. Either way, you’re in for some scenic views and water fun!
9. Try Out New Cuisine
There are over 30 amazing restaurants in Livingston City where you can try out new food, or just stop by for your regulars. With all the adventure ahead of you, an empty stomach just won’t do. Here are some suggestions on some of the best places to stop by for food and drinks.
At Mark’s In and Out, you’ll have the best beef burgers, onion rings, chips, hot dogs, and their popular milkshakes. Get the best pizzas at Gil’s Goods and have them served with the salads of your choice. They also serve sandwiches, beverages, and an extensive list of drinks.
Los Pinos Restaurant and Bar serves the best Mexican food in town. Enjoy your fajitas, burritos, enchiladas, taquitos and quesadillas the Mexican way. Also, explore their extensive breakfast menu for healthy and tasty options of your choice. They also have a list of beverages to offer.
The Pickle Barrel offers amazing large sandwiches you must definitely try out. They also offer beef, chicken and pork steaks, and salads. Have your brunch at the Mint Bar and Grill and enjoy their diverse cuisines. There is so much on the menu to pick from, featuring sandwiches, quesadillas, chicken wings, tacos, salads and so much more.
10. Tour Art Galleries in Town
There are many art museums and galleries where you can inspire your artistic side, buy a piece of art or simply just marvel at the pure talent. This would be one of the more relaxing things to do in Montana. Just hop into the following galleries and experience their distinct exhibits.
Danforth Museum of Art showcases historical pieces by famous 20th-century sculptor, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller. There are also numerous pieces from past and present talented artists that are showcased in their exhibits. Avery’s Art Worx offers creative framings for your art pieces. The 10 Gallery showcases pieces from local talents.
The Green Door Gallery and the Frame Garden showcases pieces from regional artists. The Visions West Contemporary specializes in telling the story of the Wild West, its nature, and the role everything plays. Cactus Blossom Collective exhibits hand-crafted vintage items from local artists. Other galleries to visit include Curated Closet, Parks Reece Gallery, Livingston Center of Art and Culture, and more.
Free Things to Do in Livingston, Montana
11. Downtown Livingston
Take a stroll and explore the many shops, view old architectural buildings, and take in the beautiful city.
12. Pine Creek Trail
Hike to Pine Creek Falls, Pine Creek Lake, or Black Mountain.
13. Sacajawea Park
Stroll through the park, idle around in the park or go on a picnic.