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The Best Places to Eat, Drink, Visit & Stay in Bozeman, Montana

January 7, 2019
BY Chris Force

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Photography by Chris Force
They were not wrong when they dubbed this "Big Sky Country."

If Bozeman isn’t on your to-do list, you must not be from California. West Coast residents frequent the area because it’s the perfect mountain getaway. Downtown is a short ride from Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, so getting there is easy. There’s something for everyone as long as you’re friendly, love dogs, the outdoors, and a good beer. Late night sunsets give you time to stroll Main Street and get lost in Schnee’s, a huge outdoor apparel store since 1946. Ready to get away? Here’s what we recommend.

 

Photography by Chris Force
You can walk to downtown Bozeman in a manner of minutes from The LARK hotel.

Stay

The LARK is a renovated Imperial Motel and caters to recreation-loving locals and visitors alike. The vibe is a mix of retro mid-century modern and Lost-style snow bunker. Enjoy the outdoor wood-burning fireplace and amazing ice cream stand— just look for the converted Airstream in the parking lot.

Photography by Chris Force
There's no better way to get around Montana than saddling onto a bike by America's most iconic motorcycle manufacturers.

Get Around

Make your first stop at the EagleRider motorcycle rental counter at Yellowstone Harley-Davidson. Just a few minutes from the airport, they can put you on two wheels and point you to the many stunning scenic routes in the area.

Photography by Chris Force
Flagship brews at White Dog Brewing Company include the Scotch ale and Blood Orange Hefeweizen.

Food

Start your night with a flight at White Dog Brewing Company. Their award-winning beer was inspired by, you guessed it, a white dog. For a safe bet, try a 5 Hop IPA; if you’re feeling adventurous, ask for a pint of Blackberry Sour, brewed with tart blackberry puree. Don’t miss your chance to eat at Blackbird Kitchen, where owner Josh Gibson has been wowing visitors with rustic Italian dinners and homemade sweet corn agnolotti. We suggest you make reservations and save room for the ginger gelato. Cross the street afterward for a nightcap at Ted’s Montana Grill—Ted Turner’s famous casual dining spot in the Baxter Hotel.

Photography by Chris Force
Hundreds of species of wildflowers are native to the area.

Get Outside

Most importantly, get outside! If you’re road tripping, this is a great town to bring your dog. Drinking Horse Mountain Trail is a perfect two-mile loop for spotting wildflowers and will impress urbanites and experienced hikers alike with its panoramic view of Bridger Canyon. Afterward, visit the Smith Mine disaster site, where an explosion in 1943 killed more than 70 miners. The mines are still visible today, but visitors are discouraged from getting too close to the old buildings. Explore at your own risk.

Photography by Chris Force
Bozeman is the perfect destination for a dog-friendly vacation.

Day Trips

Livingston. Drop by the Murray Hotel, circa 1904, for a drink in the lobby, a favorite of the late Anthony Bourdain and Robert Redford. Grab a slice of pie at the Northern Pacific Beanery, which historically fed tired, hungry cowboys and railroad travelers. 30 miles

Reed Point, population 185, is one of the smallest towns. A 100-year-old livery sign still hangs on Main Street. Don’t miss the Montana Sheep Drive festival. 85 miles

Photography by Chris Force

Red Lodge is a small town with big city offerings. The food is fantastic at Prerogative Kitchen and gratuities are given to charity. Grab some sweets at The Candy Emporium and enjoy the collection of rare motorcycles and antiques. Take a ride up to Vista Point for one of the best views in Montana. 145 miles

West Yellowstone is considered the gateway to Yellowstone National Park. Stay at hidden gem Campfire Lodge Resort and rent a cabin feet from the rushing Madison River. It’s a hub for fly fishermen, who cook a mean breakfast riverside. Take a ride around Earthquake Lake, and top off a solid day with a drink at Happy Hour Bar on Hebgen Lake. 90 miles

Photography by Chris Force
Outdoor apparel retailer Schnee’s has been a Bozeman institution for over 70 years.

Read more destination stories at Sixtysix Magazine.

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