Bozeman, Montana is located in Gallatin County and is just over an hour away from Yellowstone National Park and the Big Sky Resort. This picturesque city was named after trailblazer John Bozeman, who opened a way for pioneers to travel from the Oregon Trail to the mining town of Virginia City, Montana.
This new route, opened in 1864, was named the Bozeman Trail. In the same year, John Bozeman helped found the city that also received his name.
Surrounded by several significant mountain ranges, Bozeman offers some incredible views of Montana’s stunning scenery. These ranges include the Bridger Mountains, Tobacco Root Mountains, Big Belt Mountains, Horseshoe Hills, the Gallatin Range, and the Madison Range.
With towering peaks in almost every direction, there are countless outdoor activities and adventures for locals and tourists alike to enjoy. From horseback riding and hiking trails to skiing and fly fishing, the Bozeman area offers something for everyone.
Bozeman is also home to Montana State University, the state’s largest university. The campus and surrounding area provide museums, restaurants, and galleries and are close to many Downtown Bozeman attractions.
The city can be reached via the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport and is not far from Yellowstone National Park itself. It features a wide variety of hotels, cabins, and vacation rentals to entice tourists to stay and experience all the area has to offer.
Best Areas to Stay in Bozeman
- Best area for first-timers/tourists – Downtown Bozeman
- Best area for budget travelers – Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport
- Best area for luxury travelers – Montana State University Area
- Best area for safety – Montana State University Area
- Best area for families – Bozeman Hot Springs
- Best area for food – Downtown Bozeman
- Best all-around area – Downtown Bozeman
Where to Stay in Bozeman, Montana
1. Downtown Bozeman
Downtown Bozeman offers a variety of eclectic shops, restaurants, bars, and art galleries that make the area a must-visit location. Its convenient proximity to other favorite Bozeman attractions and its easy access to museums, parks, and eateries provides another draw for travelers and tourists.
The unique vibe of Main Street and its 20-minute drive from the airport mean this is one of the best places to stay in Bozeman and is a great location for first-time visitors! Many of the hotels in the Main Street area have spacious accommodations, an indoor pool, a fitness center, a business center, a complimentary hot breakfast, and are conveniently located.
If you are looking to stay in Downtown Bozeman, here are some of the best things to do in the area:
- Downtown Bozeman has some truly unique stores that will provide hours of fun. Whether you’re only window shopping or out to spend some serious cash, you’ll find plenty of options in the town center. Make sure to visit Cactus Records and see why they’re proud when people say, “That place is a weirdo store!”
- Visit Earth’s Treasures just off of Main Street. This place is amazing! It sells authentic fossils and a variety of beautiful objects all made from minerals, gemstones, and rocks. Handmade jewelry, home décor, and treasures from Montana’s own backyard can all be purchased here. The shop also sells gold prospecting supplies for anyone who wants to try their luck at panning or metal detecting!
- Bozeman Farmers’ Market is an awesome way to sample some of the local produce, meat, dairy products, and herbs. The market also offers arts and crafts from local artists as well as delicious treats, drinks, and food from popular culinary artisans.
- The Great Rocky Mountain Toy Company is a toy store unlike any other! It features unique and unusual games, toys, stuffed animals, and learning activities that aren’t just for the kids. The whole family can find activities that will engage and delight! The store also sells dolls, building sets, outdoor toys, and fun impulse buys that make you want to take home one of everything!
- Enjoy the many galleries featuring local art. Downtown Bozeman features many independent art galleries that display work by both current and historical artists. The Tierney Fine Art gallery, the Montana Trails Gallery, and the Artists’ Gallery are just a few of the places you’ll want to visit. Make a day of it and enjoy lunch between visits at one of the many nearby restaurants!
If you decide that you want to be centrally located, near Main Street, and stay in Downtown Bozeman, here are our top recommendations:
See Related: Best Things to Do in West Yellowstone, Montana
2. Montana State University
The neighborhood surrounding Montana State University is filled with museums, college sports arenas, and local restaurants. Plus, the university campus itself is home to the Smithsonian-affiliated Museum of the Rockies. This area is saturated with vibrant college energy and has some of the best Bozeman hotels.
Accommodations in this part of the city often include features such as free Wi-Fi, comfortable guest rooms, a hot tub, an indoor pool, and a complimentary hot breakfast. Some are also pet friendly.
This neighborhood is a great place to stay if you’d like to be within walking distance of several university-related attractions. If you’re staying in the Montana State University area, here are the top things to see:
- The Smithsonian Affiliated Museum of the Rockies holds both state and federal fossils. It’s known for its cultural contributions, exhibits, and programs. The Museum of the Rockies has a large collection of dinosaur fossils, including a fully-mounted T. rex skeleton. Visitors will also find planetarium shows, lectures, educational programs, and a museum store.
- Experience the American Computer and Robotics Museum. Its exhibits cover 4,000 years of human history and include displays ranging from early cuneiform tablets and the space race to the first personal computers and artificial intelligence.
- Most people may find the thought of a grizzly bear encounter terrifying. However, the Montana Grizzly Encounter is safe, educational, and very enjoyable! In fact, this destination is actually a grizzly bear rescue and educational sanctuary that provides a new home for rescued grizzlies.
- See nearby Downtown Bozeman. Downtown Bozeman is a short drive from Montana State University and features dozens of restaurants, bars, and pubs that provide a host of cuisine options. The area is also home to unique shops, art galleries, and experiences that can be enjoyed during an evening getaway or for a full-day outing.
- Check out the Montana Science Center. The science center is an amazing, family-friendly destination that will keep everyone learning and playing for hours! Popular exhibits include the 125-gallon Montana fish tank, the Universe, Dangerous Nature, and Physics Place. The science center also offers the STEAMlab where kids can engage in hands-on science, engineering, coding, and robotics programs.
If this sounds like the area for you, here are the best accommodations in the Montana State University area:
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Paradise Valley, Montana
3. Near I-90 and 7th Avenue
The area immediately surrounding Interstate 90 and 7th Avenue features a variety of comfortable hotels and accommodations. Some are pet friendly and offer complimentary Wi-Fi, a complimentary breakfast, and free parking.
The average nightly price of hotels in the area depends upon the season and which hotel class you choose. There are several parks, museums, and other historical sites that make this neighborhood a great place to stay. If you’re in the area, here are the best things to see:
- If you’re a history buff who also enjoys seeing jail cells and hanging gallows, Gallatin History Museum is the place for you! With many permanent exhibits, a photo archive, a research library, and a bookstore, the Gallatin History Museum is an amazing spot to learn about life in the early days of Southwest Montana.
- Enjoy a picnic at Walton Homestead Park. In addition to picnic tables and shelters, this lovely park provides a playground, a beautiful grass area, and even a place for dogs to play, all surrounded by the picturesque Montana scenery!
- The Gallatin Art Crossing and Bozeman Sculpture Park provide art to the public by placing sculptures throughout the Downtown Bozeman area. Tours of the sculpture park and the rest of the collection owned by Gallatin Art Crossing can be scheduled for $5 per person.
- The Ponderosa Social Club is a restaurant and bar like no other! In addition to amazing food and craft cocktails, the Ponderosa features bowling lanes, billiard tables, and a tasting lounge. It also has a gaming parlor with 18 gaming machines and daily drawings. Whether you’re there for the food or for a quick game of bowling, this club won’t disappoint!
- Walk along the Cherry River trail. This tranquil one-mile path takes visitors through the beautiful land surrounding the East Gallatin River. Bird watchers, nature lovers, and everyone looking for a quiet place to reflect will love this peaceful location. With benches and grassy areas to sit all along the trail, it can provide rejuvenation for both body and mind.
If you decide that this is where you want to be in Bozeman, here are our choices for the top places to stay:
See Related: Best Things to do in Gardiner, Montana
4. Bozeman Hot Springs
The Bozeman Hot Springs area primarily features the natural hot springs. Originally discovered in the late 1800s, this popular location is a lovely spot for a romantic getaway. It contains 12 different pools, each with its own temperature.
This amazing location also offers a full fitness center, a steam room, and hosts live events. Though many of the hotels in this section are near Downtown Bozeman, they are all a short drive to the hot springs and provide guests with excellent amenities. Here are the best things to do near the hot springs:
- Relax in the pools at the hot springs. The Bozeman Hot Springs feature 12 pools that each have their own water temperature ranging from 57-106 degrees Fahrenheit. The pools are heated naturally, with the water coming from an underground well. Eight of the 12 pools are found indoors, with the remaining four being outside.
- Enjoy the amenities at the hot springs fitness facility. The fitness center at the Bozeman hot springs is considered a state-of-the-art, luxury facility that features top-of-the-line strength training and cardio equipment. Complimentary lockers, personal training sessions, and group fitness classes are also offered. Once you’re done with your workout, be sure to head over to the hot springs pools to relax and unwind!
- Try your hand at ax throwing at the Lookout Throwing Co. If you feel like letting off a little steam or just testing your aim and accuracy, visit the Lookout Throwing Co. in Bozeman. The location features six bays with two targets in each to accommodate groups of up to eight people. This unique venue is a great way to spend an evening after a full day of sightseeing and exploring!
- Find your way through the Bozeman Maze. If you’re visiting Bozeman during September or October, you’ve got to check out the Bozeman Maze! Every year, the owners create a new and unique maze completely constructed of hay bales. Visitors have to find their way through the many passages and dead ends to complete the maze correctly. This venue also provides other fall-based activities that include games, corn bins, hay rides, mini-train rides, pumpkins, concessions, and a PowerJump bungee trampoline!
- The Bozeman Campground is an amazing place to bring your trailer or RV, rent a cabin, or tent camp while enjoying the beautiful Montana scenery. The campground is within driving distance of Yellowstone National Park, Virginia City, and the Lewis and Clark Caverns. It features full bathrooms and showers, a laundry facility, basic Wi-Fi, and a complimentary breakfast.
If this all sounds great to you, there are plenty of accommodations with easy access to the Bozeman Hot Springs:
See Related: Best Things to Do in Billings, Montana
5. Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport
The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport hotels provide a convenient location for both airline travel and a starting point for experiencing everything the Bozeman area has to offer.
This neighborhood is close to the historic downtown area, the Bridger Bowl Ski Area, provides access to Yellowstone National Park, and many more local attractions. Many of the hotels here also provide a complimentary airport shuttle for easy access to the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. If you are looking into this area, here are the best things to see:
- During the ski season, the Bridger Bowl Ski Area is an amazing place to spend the day skiing, snowboarding, or relaxing at the lodge. In addition to traditional skiing, Bridger Bowl features some of the most challenging and potentially dangerous ski terrain within any ski area boundary. There are no hazard markings, grooming, or marked trails to warn about rock cliffs, steep chutes, or unexpected cliff falls that Bridger Bowl’s Ridge Terrain features. Additional safety guidelines are in place for those wishing to experience this more extreme part of the mountain.
- Play a round of golf at the Bridger Creek Golf Course. Located at the foot of the Bridger Mountains, this golf course is known as one of the most beautiful and challenging courses in Montana. The 18-hole course also features an indoor golf simulator, golf lessons, a Pro Shop, junior golf camps, and family nights. The well-manicured greens, uninterrupted skies, and incredible views of the nearby mountains make this a top destination for golf enthusiasts!
- If you’re ready to take a short break from nature, visit the Gallatin Valley Mall. With dozens of stores, shops, eateries, and entertainment, the mall is a great place to pick up a few last-minute items or to spend the day relaxing. A movie theater, bookstore, kids’ play area, and an arcade are also located on-site. If you’re there during the holiday season, other shops and activities will also be available.
- Take a drive out to Palisade Falls. Though this amazing location is outside of Bozeman in nearby Livingston, it is worth the drive! The easy paved trail begins at the East Fork of Hyalite Creek before ending at the stunning Palisade Falls. Found at the southern base of Palisade Mountain, the falls plunge more than 80 feet from a vertical rock wall to create a breathtaking natural attraction.
- If you’re looking for a way to explore the nature and beauty of the Bozeman area, the Custer Gallatin National Forest is where you want to be! The area contains two dozen camping and cabin sites with various amenities and facilities. Activities in the national park include horseback riding, fishing, hiking, biking, picnicking, boating, and lots of wildlife viewing.
If you choose to stay near the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, here are some of its top accommodations:
What are some of the best hotels in Bozeman, Montana?
Some of the best hotels in Bozeman include the Element Bozeman, the Kimpton Armory Hotel Bozeman, the Residence Inn by Marriott Bozeman Downtown, and the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Bozeman.
What are some budget-friendly Bozeman, Montana, accommodations?
Some great budget-friendly hotels in Bozeman include the Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham Bozeman, the Sapphire Motel, and the Baymont by Wyndham Bozeman.
What is the best place to stay in Bozeman, Montana, for winter sports?
The Country Inn & Suites by Radisson is one of the most convenient places to stay for hitting the slopes at the Bridger Bowl Ski Area, as it provides easy access to Interstate 90.
Where is the best place to camp near Bozeman, Montana?
The Bozeman Campground at the hot springs is one of the best campgrounds in the area. It has amazing facilities, lots of activities, and is the perfect location to enjoy all of the hot springs attractions.