Bozeman is Montana’s trendiest city, and for good reason.
It has all the charm of small-town Montana, but with the entertainment and variety, we associate with bustling cities. You can enjoy boutiques, breweries, and live music, while also getting the chance to wander trails, go fly fishing, and enjoy the natural beauty Montana is so famous for.
To experience this great city to its full potential, you need to know which area is most suited to you.
The Best Areas To Stay in Bozeman:
- Best neighborhood for things to do: Downtown is the busiest part of Bozeman, and one of its prettiest. It’s also where you’ll find most of the city’s boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. There’s a huge amount of variety in downtown – you’ll be satisfied whether you’re looking for a brewery or a book.
- Best base for an overnight pit stop: Northeast & Northwest Bozeman follow Interstate 90 as it curls past the city, and are the closest areas to some of the region’s most popular ski resorts. With plenty of accommodation options and great amenities, these districts are ideal areas to stop when passing through on the way to Yellowstone (or elsewhere).
- Staying in Bozeman on a budget: Bozeman is one of the most expensive cities in Montana. Luckily, Montana is one of the more reasonably priced states in the US! The Treasure State Hostel in downtown is the cheapest accommodation you will find in the center, but there are a few budget-friendly motels and Airbnb’s on the outskirts as well.
- The best area for families: In typical Montanan style, Bozeman has a number of friendly neighborhoods suitable for families. West Bozeman in particular is well-suited, with plenty of parks, shops and quiet residential streets.
Bozeman Neighbourhood Guide
1. Downtown – the heart of Bozeman
Downtown Bozeman represents everything the city is about: hip bars, trendy boutiques, creative ingenuity, and a warming sense of community.
Main Street is the center of it all; art galleries and studios, music venues, bookshops, and cozy cafes are all scattered along the boulevard. For culture, there are few places better in Montana. And where a flourishing art scene usually means gritty warehouses and revitalized industrial sites, in Bozeman galleries are housed in beautiful historic buildings right in the center of town.
You can find contemporary art in the Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture and the Altitude Gallery – all housed in the pretty buildings of Main Street.
You can’t visit downtown and not see the Rialto; it’s one of the most iconic buildings in Bozeman. The building, built-in 1908, has been known as the Rialto Theater since 1928. It was at the heart of the community then, and is at its heart now, even if things have changed a little. The Rialto is now a multi-purpose venue, with a vibrant bar, theater, and event space.
Most of the boutiques and shops in downtown are unique, independent, and run by locals. It doesn’t get much more unique – or pure Montana – than Head West, where you can pick up some vintage western clothing and live out all your cowboy dreams.
Head West is one of the dozens of incredible boutiques and stores downtown, there are just so many options; you could spend hours flicking through the vinyl selection at Cactus Records, or finding the perfect book in Country Bookshelf. Intrigue Ink provides a platform for local artists, selling handmade jewelry, art pieces, and custom apparel using their work and designs.
Downtown has so much variety. Whether you want to visit a museum – like the Gallatin History Museum – or go to a farmers market (which is held in Lindley Park on Tuesday evenings), there’s so much to do and see. With all the exciting restaurants, bars, and shops in the area, it’s hard to argue against downtown as Bozeman’s most fun and lively district.
Best Hotels in Downtown:
($$$) • AC Hotel by Marriott Bozeman Downtown • 1.1 miles from Montana State University
($$) • Kimpton – Armory Hotel Bozeman, an IHG Hotel • 8.7 miles from Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport
($) • The LARK • A 6-minute drive from the Gallatin Valley Mall
Best Airbnbs in Downtown:
($$$) • Steam Shower-Luxury Linens 1 Block Off Main Street – A Beautiful Way to Stay! • Breweries, bakeries and boutiques within easy walking distance
($$) • Downtown Bozeman Bungalow – 2 blocks from Main St. • In the heart of downtown
($) • Downtown Bungalow – side door • 20 minutes to Bridger Bowl ski area
Best Hostel in Downtown:
($) • Treasure State Hostel • Central location, close to bars and restaurants
2. West Bozeman – perfect for families
West Bozeman is quickly becoming one of the most popular parts of the city – it’s been the fastest-growing area for the past few years.
It’s a fantastic area for families, with quiet suburbs, huge parks and easy access to shops. Regional Park is the centerpiece of West Bozeman; the park is a sprawling space of greenery, with a Dinosaur Park children’s playground, a dog park, and mixed-use trails that circle a series of ponds.
It’s a lovely park for young families and is easy to reach from all over West Bozeman. Other smaller parks in the district include Rose Park, Kirk Park, the Lewis and Bark Dog Park – a great space for dog owners – and the Valley West Park. The whole Valley West neighborhood is particularly pretty, and a popular area for those with young children.
As for shopping, Gallatin Valley Mall is the largest in Bozeman, with 60 stores. You will find a number of familiar brands here, as well as a movie theater and a few places to eat. Outside the mall, there are a number of shops, restaurants, and cafes.
The choice is obviously less than you would find in downtown, but with the likes of thrift stores, a stained glass studio and a fly fishing shop, there is some variety.
West Bozeman is also a great base to explore the great outdoors. The area is famous for fly fishing, and there are dozens of creeks close by. You can start a number of trails in West Bozeman, and it is one of the closest sides of the city to Hyalite Creek – you can reach the popular trails of the canyon with only a short car trip.
Best Airbnbs in West Bozeman:
($$$) • Woodland Loft – Centrally Located Luxury • A few minutes from downtown by car
($$) • Mountain Waters Bungalow – West Bozeman • In Valley West neighborhood, close to trails
($) • Bridger View Bunkhouse • Steps from the Gallatin County Regional Park
3. South Side – for people wanting to explore Montana State University
The locals of Bozeman have a friendly ongoing debate: which is better, the south or north side of Bozeman’s Main Street? It’s a question that seems to always reach a stalemate, as each side keeps upping its game to match the other.
Staying on the South Side of the city puts you in close proximity with Montana State University, and its exceptional Museum of the Rockies. The museum has a phenomenal collection of dinosaur fossils, thanks to Montana’s unprecedented and numerous discoveries.
It has one of the most intact specimens in the world of the unofficial King of the dinosaurs, the T-Rex. For visitors that prefer a game of football to fossils, you can catch a game at the Bobcat Stadium, home of the Montana State Bobcats.
Wherever there is a university, there will always be bars, cafes, and restaurants. Even if you ignore the fact Main Street is incredibly close, South Side has a number of fantastic places to eat and drink in its own right.
South Side is also great for parks and trails. Some of the best trails actually running through the city are in South Side; including the Gallagator and Sourdough Trail.
For those who prefer to venture a little further out, the mountains are a close horizon on this side of Bozeman, and Hyalite Canyon is only a short drive away. In terms of sports, the dozens of creeks ensure fly fishing is always an option, and the course of Valley View Golf Club is kept in excellent condition. The famous Big Sky ski resort is only an hour south of the city.
Best Airbnbs in South Side:
($$$) • Chic Updated Condo close to MSU, Main St, Trails • 1.25 miles to downtown
($$) • Bozeman Creek Loft • A 30-minute drive to Bridger Bowl ski area
($) • Private creekside cottage, the perfect getaway • Within walking distance of Montana State University
4. Northeast Bozeman – for food lovers and young creatives
Bozeman has built itself a reputation as the food capital of Montana, and Northeast Montana has played a big part in that.
The Cannery District in the area has some great places to eat, from the sleek Seven Sushi to the gluten-free food of Lot-G Cafe. The whole of Northeast Bozeman has become a fantastic place for foodies; there’s just so much choice.
You’ll find plenty of options on N 7th Ave, with chain restaurants sitting alongside local outlets. Outside of this street, it’s mostly local, independently run businesses. The Wild Crumb bakery is beloved for its pastries and breads, while Treeline Coffee is a chic cafe frequented by the young professional crowd.
Mountains Walking Brewery and Wildrye Distillery offer some unique drinking experiences, and there are plenty of cool options for an evening out in the area, including the speakeasy style cocktail bar, Devil’s Toboggan, or the Live from the Divide music venue. To exemplify the district’s status as a food paradise even further, there’s a farmer’s market every Saturday morning at the fairgrounds on Tamarack Street.
For things to keep you occupied during the day, you could try visiting the Gallatin County Fairgrounds, or the Eli Ridgway Gallery – one of the best contemporary art galleries outside of downtown.
As you might have guessed from the absolute plethora of hip cafes and trendy restaurants in Northeast Bozeman, it’s one of the coolest areas of the city. A big part of the district was once an industrial sector, but the rise of micro-breweries and an influx of creative professionals has transformed the area into an attractive and exciting neighborhood.
The residential streets are pretty and quiet; filled with lovely historic houses and lined with trees, with a number of parks close by. The proximity of these peaceful areas to fun and unique businesses and busier sections of the city makes Northeast Bozeman an attractive prospect for families and young professionals alike.
Anyone hoping to use Bozeman as a base to head to the Bridger Bowl ski area will probably want to stay in this part of the city. It’s the closest district to the popular ski resort.
Best Hotels in Northeast Bozeman:
($$$) • SpringHill Suites by Marriott Bozeman • Close to Interstate 90
($$) • Hampton Inn Bozeman • 17 miles from the Bridger Bowl ski area
($) • Baymont by Wyndham Bozeman • 130 miles from Yellowstone National Park
Best Airbnbs in Northeast Bozeman:
($$$) • Central Bozeman Location. Kids and Pets Welcome! • 1 mile from downtown Bozeman
($$) • NEW LISTING – Bridger Mtn Views • Close to Interstate 90
($) • Lovely master bedroom with private bathroom • Quiet area, close to restaurants
5. Northwest Bozeman – for convenience
Northwest Bozeman is on the outskirts of the city but is one of the most well-connected neighborhoods in Bozeman. It sits just off Interstate 90 and is the closest district to the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. Downtown is only a 10-minute drive away.
This makes the neighborhood one of the best for sheer convenience – especially if you’re only staying for one night. There are a number of hotels to choose from, and restaurants and grocery stores are within easy walking distance. If you only have enough time to eat, sleep and set off again in the morning, Northwest Bozeman has everything you could possibly need.
But convenience isn’t the only reason for staying in this part of the city – some of the best trails and fishing spots are right on its doorstep. You can’t talk about a city in Montana and not discuss the natural beauty that surrounds it.
There are trails leading into mountain ranges, along rushing rivers and trickling creeks, and into dense alpine forest. The outskirts of Northwest Bozeman are about as close as you can get to experiencing countryside in the city. It’s perfect for fishing, with Cattail Lake easily accessible, and the fly fishing location on cherry creek only a short walk away. Riverside Country Club and the Bridger Creek Golf Course are easy to reach by car.
Best Hotels in Northwest Bozeman:
($$$) • Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Bozeman, MT • 5.6 miles from Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport
($$) • MountainView Lodge and Suites • 4.3 miles from Montana State University
($) • Comfort Suites Airport-University • Less than five miles from the Museum of the Rockies
Best Airbnbs in Northwest Bozeman:
($$$) • Parks, trails and open spaces! • Breweries, bakeries, and shops within easy walking distance
($$) • Black Bear Inn, A comfy sexy 2 bedroom 1 bath unit • Close to Interstate 90
($) • Cozy Aspen Grove efficiency suite. Bright and sexy • Within walking distance of the East Gallatin River
Accomodations Under Consideration
A quick roundup of the best hotels, hostels, and Airbnbs in Bozeman:
- Best Budget Hostel in Bozeman – Treasure State Hostel
- Best Luxury Hotel in Bozeman – AC Hotel by Marriott Bozeman Downtown
- Best Family Airbnb in Bozeman – Central Bozeman Location. Kids and Pets Welcome!
- Best Airbnb for couples in Bozeman – Woodland Loft – Centrally Located Luxury