7 Things to Know Before Moving to Bozeman Montana
Many say Bozeman represents the very best that Montana has to offer. The state’s fourth largest city in terms of population has just about everything anyone can want. It’s an ideal blend of classic rural touches such as cattle ranches, historic saloons, and amazing sunsets, with modern touches like coffee stands, brewpubs, and more sushi bars than many would expect.
Outdoor recreation fans, of which there are many, love that Bozeman provides all sorts of opportunities to enjoy nature all year round, including an extensive cross-country trail system in the winter that also works great for cycling or walking when things warm up.
It’s also considered a gateway to all sorts of other world-class activities, from fly fishing to skiing to hiking and more. Bozeman can be a good base of operations for exploring so much of the Big Sky State, including Yellowstone National Park, which is less than an hour away. There’s also a major university and a nationally-known museum right there too, making the area even more appealing.
If you’re planning to relocate, it means you’ve already found all sorts of things you love about Bozeman, but it never hurts to pick up additional information about what makes the area so special and appealing, or items to be aware of.
- It can get cold. Although it’s not typically as frigid as some of the cities farther to the east or as wet as cities to the west, it is in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains. This means it can get chilly but generally is considered mild. Historical weather data shows average winter temps between 15 F and 55 F, plus snowfall up to 71 inches – but the snowy period can last as long as 6 months. So be sure to pack your cold-weather gear!
- It can also get warm. Bozeman averages 300 days of sunshine and temps can climb higher in the summer. It rarely gets above 90 degrees, but many world temperatures seem to be increasing in just the last couple of years. So whatever outdoor activity you’re working on, be sure to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, and be aware of signs of overexertion. Because long periods of warm are less common, you’re not as likely to find air conditioning.
- Things have changed. If you saw and liked Bozeman a decade ago or longer, it’s not necessarily the same little city it used to be. The boundaries and buildings may be similar, but the population has grown significantly. Bozeman attracted plenty of people during COVID, especially as many workers learned that they could easily work remotely and be able to live in such a beautiful part of the world. While an increase of about 4,000 people in spring 2021 alone doesn’t seem like much in a metro area, it is a big bump for a mostly rural area. The population is now around 50,000. The community even posted the third highest population gains in a micropolitan area between 2020 and 2021. (Kalispell, to the west, had the first).
- They’re smart here. There’s always been a lot of talk about ‘cowboy wisdom’ and plenty of practical skills and common sense. But the city of Bozeman also ranks pretty high in lists of ‘smart communities.’ This criteria is usually based on factors like how many residents have bachelor’s degrees or higher, access to educational offerings, low drop-out rates, and balance between white collar and blue collar job opportunities. Bozeman hits all of these areas, especially with the proximity to Montana State University, one of the larger schools in the state. Another plus of so many people moving here lately is that often they are white-collar employees or company owners.
- They like dinosaurs. Yes, there are plenty of dinosaur digs and places to see these ancient beasts all around the world. But not everyone knows that Bozeman is home to some of the more active paleontological programs, including active research, education and more. Until his retirement in 2016, Dr. Jack Horner was an instructor, lead researcher and director of the MSU’s Museum of the Rockies. He was also a consultant on all the “Jurassic Park” films and may have been the inspiration for some of the characters. People can visit the museum today to see some of the larger intact specimens.
- Diverse menus. While you can certainly get a ribeye steak just about anywhere, the city now offers everything for anyone, from the locals to the tourists. That’s why there are five sushi restaurants, coffee shops and ice cream shops on every corner of downtown, and a wide range of cuisine choices. Many restaurants have a Farm to Table approach, where they take pride in making sure there’s always quality local ingredients in their food, including meat and vegetables.
- Downtown is fun again. The trend in many communities is for people to stay away from their downtowns, accessing services in other parts of a town or simply staying home. But Bozeman community leaders and downtown business owners have made a big push to bring people back. This includes all sorts of activities and promotions, such as weekly Friday night gatherings where art galleries are open, businesses and brewpubs have deals, and there’s also lots of live music. Residents and visitors alike have enjoyed the social aspect as well as keeping things local.
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