Planning a weekend trip to Montana and looking for all the best things to do in Bozeman? This post has you covered!
Bozeman is a stunning location that offers a great mix of outdoor activities, fantastic scenery, and incredible vacation rentals. Pair that with a charming downtown, historic red brick buildings, boutique shops, great food, fun breweries, and you’re bound to have a vacation of a lifetime!
Bozeman is the ideal place to visit in the summer months when you’re looking for a quick escape close to nature, to slow down the pace, unwind, and reboot. Plus, the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is located just a short drive from the city making visiting Bozeman easy and convenient, whether you’re planning a weekend trip with friends, a family vacation, or a romantic getaway.
Our Bozeman itinerary captures some of the best of Montana including a variety of outdoor activities, places to eat, grab drinks, and other must-visit attractions like Yellowstone National Park.
10 Fun things to do in Bozeman, Montana on a weekend trip:
- 1. Have Brunch At Jam!
- 2. Get Cozy In a Cute Vacation Rental
- 3. Go Explore Downtown Bozeman
- 4. See Grizzly Bears At a Rescue Center
- 5. Go Horseback Riding
- 6. Have Lunch At Sage Lodge
- 7. Spend The Day Exploring Yellowstone
- 8. Relax At Canyon River Spa & Salon
- 9. Enjoy Dinner At Blackbird Kitchen
- 10. Grab Drinks At The Old Saloon
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10 Best Things To Do In Bozeman:
1. Have Brunch At Jam!
You can’t go to Bozeman without having at least one brunch at Jam!, one of Bozeman’s most popular breakfast joints on Main Street.
Jam on Main puts a little twist on traditional brunch with affordable menu items like Puerco Verde (crepe filled with smoked pork shoulder), blueberry ricotta pancakes, and chicken & biscuit benedict.
With a cheerful interior and fun, casual atmosphere, Jam! has created an environment where you can have a great time while indulging in delicious breakfast, handcrafted coffee, and fun mimosa drinks.
With excellent sweet & savory dishes to choose from and friendly service, Jam! has become a Bozeman staple. For breakfast, I ordered the Beet & Root Hash while my friends tried their Eggs Benedict. All of our plates were fresh and delicious yet very filling!
If you plan to come here for breakfast or brunch, expect a bit of a wait, especially on the weekends.
Location: Jam! Bozeman
2. Get Cozy In a Cute Vacation Rental
As a prime outdoor destination in Montana, Bozeman is a nature lover’s paradise. But if you want to spend the weekend relaxing in a cozy rental with your feet up on the couch, that’s totally ok too – it’s your vacation after all!
Bozeman is a small town so here you won’t find mega-hotels and resorts. On our vacation, we chose to stay in a comfortable private rental that came with a full kitchen where we cooked most of our meals, a patio, and a washer and dryer so we could wash our clothes after activities and adventures.
From boutique rentals to luxury vacation homes, there are plenty of great accommodations to choose from in Bozeman. Here are some of the best in town:
- Modern Downtown Studio – this stylish downtown Bozeman home is a brand-new studio apartment that you’ll love if you appreciate modern interior design. This unit offers excellent views that can be enjoyed from the comfort of a private patio. The studio comes with a fully stocked kitchen which is incredibly handy and can accommodate up to 3 guests.
- Loft503 – Loft503 is another wonderful choice for smaller groups of up to 4 people. This loft comes decorated with elegant, high-end pieces for the ultimate luxury stay. Loft503 is just a block from Bozeman’s Main Street with easy access to restaurants, bars, and shops.
- Patterson Farm – If you’re looking for something a bit more spacious, Patterson Farm is a newly built vacation house on the outskirts of Bozeman. With three separate rooms that sleep 6, multiple fireplaces, and a spacious living room, it truly feels like a home away from home.
Would rather stay in a hotel? Here are our top Bozeman choices:
- RSVP Hotel – although we ended up staying in a private rental, the RSVP Hotel was my top choice for hotels, especially if you’re heading on a girl’s weekend trip. The RSVP is a boutique hotel with a unique vintage style, lively design, and upscale features that make it one of the top-rated hotels in Bozeman.
- Kimpton Armory Hotel Bozeman, an IHG Hotel – located in downtown Bozeman, the Kimpton Armory Hotel is a great choice for comfortable accommodations if you want to be at the center of it all. This hotel offers luxurious amenities including an on-site restaurant, bar, and an outdoor pool that overlooks downtown Bozeman.
- Sage Lodge – Sage Lodge is located in Pray outside of Bozeman but is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a resort-style getaway near nature and mountains. We came to Sage Lodge for drinks and ended up staying for lunch because the views don’t get better than this! Guests that stay at the lodge can also take advantage of the spa, fire pit area, activities, and tours.
3. Go Explore Downtown Bozeman
Bozeman is a very small town with a population of around 50,000 people. Bozeman might not be big in size but it does have a charming downtown and Main Street that we recommend setting aside some time to explore.
Along Main Street, you’ll find adorable boutique shops, all the top restaurants, breakfast joints, and coffee shops in town.
If you’re looking to grab a cup of delicious coffee before heading out on adventures, in Bozeman you’ll have quite a few options. Our favorite was the Zocalo Coffee House that’s located inside a historic red brick building and has a vintage look & an inviting atmosphere.
4. See Grizzly Bears At a Rescue Center
Montana is known for having an abundance of wildlife but you may not always have the chance to see it if you’re spending most of your time in the city or driving in a car.
If you’re interested to see grizzly bears up close, there are several grizzly rescue centers within driving distance from Bozeman.
The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is located in Yellowstone National Park but it’s nearly a 2-hour drive from Bozeman. Here you can see giant grizzly bears and wolves in an outdoor viewing area with activities like feeding, swimming, and exploring the habitat. Worried the bears might be in hiding? Check out their live stream Bear Cam before heading out there!
If that is too far of a drive, we recommend stopping by the Montana Grizzly Encounter that’s located just 15 minutes outside of Bozeman.
This is a smaller rescue center that currently has 4 bears which you can see playing, swimming, and hanging out up close to visitors.
During our visit, we saw the cutest 2-year-old bear Max playing in a pool that was rescued from Alaska. The entrance tickets cost only $9 for adults and all proceeds go towards rescuing grizzlies.
Location: Montana Grizzly Encounter
5. Go Horseback Riding
If you’re looking for a fun outdoor activity to do near Bozeman, consider going on a guided horseback riding tour! For a smaller group riding experience, I highly recommend Rockin’ HK Outfitters an hour’s drive from Bozeman. This location is also home to the popular Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa where you can soak at a hot spring after your horseback riding tour.
Rockin’ HK Outfitters offers a variety of horseback riding options, from beginner 1-hour rides to more skilled half-day rides.
As first-time “never really done this before” riders, we chose the 1-hour tour which was the perfect amount of time to enjoy an easy stroll through the surrounding mountain landscapes.
The beginner ride is guided and can accommodate up to 6 people. You will need to show up 30 minutes before your ride to get assigned a horse and have a quick intro to Western-style horseback riding from the guide. These horses have done this route many, many times so you don’t have much to worry about – except enjoy the scenery!
Since Rockin’ HK Outfitters tours are limited to 6 people and at certain times of the day, you will need to make reservations in advance by calling them.
Location: Rockin’ HK Outfitters
6. Have Lunch At Sage Lodge
Despite being located about an hour’s drive from Bozeman, visiting Sage Lodge was one of my favorite parts of our trip to Montana. We got a recommendation to stop by Sage Lodge from a friend and it did not disappoint!
Sage Lodge is located in Pray so you’ll need a car to get there. Thankfully it’s near Rockin’ HK Outfitters so we were able to visit Sage Lodge after our horseback riding tour.
Sage Lodge is a luxury hotel that also has an on-site restaurant, bar, and spa. Although we did not stay at the lodge overnight, we did enjoy a day visit and lunch on their outdoor patio that overlooks Paradise Valley. This lodge is situated in a prime location surrounded by grand mountain views and an expansive river that runs next to it.
The Grill at Sage Lodge where we enjoyed our lunch uses locally sourced products from Montana to support small businesses and environmental sustainability. As a foodie, my favorite part was their specialty butter menu that offers 9 different butter infusions and flavors – quite tasty!
Location: Sage Lodge
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7. Spend The Day Exploring Yellowstone
As the world’s oldest National Park, visiting Yellowstone is a must when traveling to Montana. But you may be wondering if it’s possible to visit Yellowstone National Park from Bozeman since it’s not exactly close by. If you’re wondering this the answer is – yes you can certainly visit Yellowstone from Bozeman in a day, whether you plan to go with a guided tour group or on your own!
It takes around 2.5 hours to get to Yellowstone Park entrance from Bozeman and the same time to drive back. Spending 5 hours commuting doesn’t give you enough time to do everything you may want, but you can at least see some of the main attractions such as the Grand Prismatic Spring, Old Faithful, West Thumb Geyser Basin, Hayden Valley, and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
To save time on our visit we didn’t do any longer hikes and stopped only at drive-up attractions and quick pathways that we could walk in 30 minutes or less. The most time-consuming part was waiting for the Old Faithful eruption which took over an hour as it was later than predicted.
We were able to drive the entire loop around the park and see quite a bit from the car including a variety of animals like bison, elk, deer, and moose.
Don’t want to do all the driving yourself? Then book this Private Yellowstone Day Tour that will pick you up from Bozeman and take you to all the top attractions at Yellowstone National Park!
Here are the top sights to see at Yellowstone National Park:
Grand Prismatic Spring
If you’re driving to Yellowstone from Bozeman, often the first highlight that you’ll see is the Grand Prismatic Spring. Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in Yellowstone and is located in an area with a high concentration of hot pools and other unique wonders.
The bright red, orange, and brown colors of the Grand Prismatic Spring are attributed to microorganisms that live in the hot spring’s runoff channels. These are not the type of hot pools where you can get in to soak and can only be viewed from afar for safety reasons.
There are two ways to see the Grand Prismatic Spring:
- From 0.5-mile-long wooden boardwalks that lead next to these pools. To get there you can park at the Grand Prismatic Spring Parking Lot and follow the trail that crosses the Firehole River Bridge. The walkways will start right after. Keep in mind that leaving the boardwalk is very dangerous as these pools are boiling hot and acidic. Many people have been seriously injured and even died from venturing off the designated pathways.
- From a viewpoint further down the road. To get there, park at the Fairy Falls Trail Parking Lot and follow the Fountain Flat Drive for 0.8 miles to a viewpoint that overlooks Grand Prismatic Spring. Although the view is partially obstructed by trees, you’ll get to see a much better view of the round Grand Prismatic Spring shape and colors.
Old Faithful is a Yellowstone classic that most people try to see on their visit. But to view this spouting geyser, you might need to wait around for a while!
The Old Faithful is a large geyser that has restricted water flow. As the pressure builds up steam rises and pushes the water upward decreasing that pressure and leading to a large water eruption that people can witness at Yellowstone.
To time your visit better, you can check out the estimated Old Faithful eruption times on @GeyserNPS Twitter before you head out there. The eruption times are also posted at the historic Old Faithful General Store where you can grab an ice cream or souvenirs for your loved ones as you wait for the next show.
On our visit, we arrived just after the previous eruption so we had to wait around for over an hour. The eruption was also 15 minutes later than predicted so we thought it might not happen – but there is a reason this geyser is called Old Faithful and eventually nature put on the show that we were all patiently waiting for.
Location: Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park
For a more immersive Yellowstone experience be sure to check out this West Yellowstone Day Tour. On this tour, you can learn more about Yellowstone from an experienced guide who will take you to all the must-see locations!
West Thumb Geyser Basin
As you make your way around Yellowstone National Park, the West Thumb Geyser Basin is the next attraction that we recommend visiting. West Thumb Geyser Basin is similar to Grand Prismatic Spring and consists of many colorful pools that you can see by taking a short trail that loops around them.
Many of the pools at West Thumb Geyser Basin are made of bright blue color. This basin is also situated on the edge of West Thumb Lake which was formed after a massive explosion over 125,000 years ago.
As you make your way around the West Thumb Lake shoreline you can view colorful hot springs, steaming geysers, and mud pots.
One of the best parts about visiting Yellowstone is all the animal encounters that you may experience. While you may see some bison, elk, moose, and even bears while driving through the park, there are parts of Yellowstone that are known for frequent animal sightings.
Hayden Valley is located along the Grand Loop Road that we took around Yellowstone. Here you might spot large herds of bison hanging out in the plains or (if you’re lucky) crossing the road.
Just keep in mind that if you see any wild animals, do not approach them and keep a safe distance. While bison might look harmless, they are known for charging at people with speeds of 35 miles per hour, and believe me – you don’t want to be in their way!
Location: Hayden Valley, Wyoming
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone was one stop at Yellowstone which had the biggest WOW factor for us. This deeply carved river canyon is quite unexpected and so unlike other Yellowstone attractions.
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone consists of an expansive river canyon with 1200 feet of cliffs that stretch on and on for over 20 miles. To top it off here you can also see a towering waterfall at the center of it all.
There are several viewpoints that you can stop and quickly visit along the N Rim Drive. Our favorite was the Lookout Point which has a direct view of the 308-foot-tall Lower Falls.
Location: Lookout Point, Yellowstone National Park
8. Relax At Canyon River Spa & Salon
After a weekend packed full of activities, nothing sounds better for unwinding than spending the afternoon relaxing in a spa.
For our girl’s trip, I arranged a spa day at the full-service Canyon River Spa & Salon. They offer a variety of services from massages and facials to body wraps and other relaxing treatments. If you arrive early, you can also use their sauna room, and steam room along with complimentary mimosas and champagne.
On our spa visit, I indulged in a relaxing facial while my friends enjoyed a one-hour massage. After the treatments, we were able to stay and hang out in their adorable lounge that’s decorated with bright accents and lovely plants.
Location: Canyon River Spa & Salon
9. Enjoy Dinner At Blackbird Kitchen
One of the best things about visiting Bozeman is its phenomenal food scene. After spending the weekend indulging in drool-worthy food at brunches, lunches, coffee shops, and dinner spots, I can see why Bozeman is becoming one of the most exciting destinations in the US, especially if you enjoy good food and drinks.
One restaurant that stood out to me in downtown Bozeman the most was Blackbird Kitchen. We came here for dinner on our first night in Bozeman and the food did not disappoint. Every dish that we ordered was made to perfection and the service was simply outstanding.
For lighter dinner plates, the Kale Salad was a clear winner. If you’re looking for something a bit more filling, the lamb leg plate was so tender and simply melted in your mouth.
10. Grab Drinks At The Old Saloon
Montana is a destination that has a rich history and unparalleled beauty. Established in 1902, The Old Saloon is a Montana classic where you can go back in time and experience just that.
The Old Saloon is a place where travelers can mingle with local ranchers and cowboys – it just happens that we got a recommendation to come here from our horseback riding guide!
A few improvements have been done since the Old Saloon’s established in 1902 including an outdoor stage for music and a dance floor.
The interior of the bar has an eclectic feel with old-timey decorations, a pool table, and taxidermy animals like bison and bighorn sheep. If you’re making your way out towards Paradise Valley, stopping for drinks at the Old Saloon is a must!
Location: The Old Saloon
We hope this guide has helped you discover new and exciting things to do around Bozeman on your vacation. Looking for more travel inspiration? Be sure to check out some of our popular travel posts below:
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Interested in stepping up your photography game? Here is the camera gear that I carry everywhere I go to create amazing travel photos:
- Main camera: Sony a7c Camera. The Sony a7c is tiny, light, full-frame, and durable – in other words, amazing!
- Polarizer Filter: Hoya 40.5 mm Filter. Polarizing filters reduce glare in water, protect the lens from getting scratched and bring out the best colors when it’s bright outside. Having a polarizing filter is a must-have if you plan to photograph lakes, oceans, rivers, and waterfalls.
- Wide Lens: Sony 16-35 mm F4. Great for capturing wide panoramas, nature landscapes, and cramped city streets. Mounts to any Sony mirrorless camera and features autofocus, image stabilization, and incredibly sharp images.
- Lightweight Travel Tripod: Manfrotto Carbon Fiber Tripod. A good tripod is essential for capturing images in low light conditions, such as during sunset and sunrise, or creating smooth water effects when shooting waterfalls. The Manfrotto Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod is very sturdy, light, and folds small so you can take it on all of your adventures!
- Memory Cards: SanDisk Extreme 256 GB. It’s always good to bring a few extra memory cards on trips. SanDisk Extreme is ultra-fast for capturing high-quality images, bursts, long exposure night shots, and 4k videos. This memory card is also durable and reliable yet very affordable.
- Camera Batteries: Wasabi Power Battery Set. I’ve made the mistake of getting to a location to realize my camera is out of battery. Always keep your batteries charged with this camera charger set.
- Camera Bag: Lowepro adventure shoulder bag. A camera bag is something you should definitely invest in! Without having a proper place to store it I would get my camera scratched, sandy, or even occasionally drop it.