If you want to be near restaurants, bars, and great shopping, stay at a hotel in downtown Bozeman. Three extra nice hotels get you near the hub of all the good stuff up and down Main Street in Bozeman: Element by Westin Bozeman, The Lark, and Kimpton Armory Hotel Bozeman. No car needed. You can walk and forget about trying to find parking. Besides if you enjoy spirts, then walking is a good way to get around, unless you have another person to drive.
•Element by Westin Bozeman
Address: 25 E. Mendenhall, Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 582-4972
Address: 122 West Main St., Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (866) 464-1000
•Kimpton Armory Hotel Bozeman
Address: 24 W. Mendenhall St., Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 551-7700
These hotels are on the pricey side. But with locations on or just one block off Main Street, paying more is worth it. Room rates for one night, November 10-11, 2020, are $185 at the Lark, $217 at the Element, and $183 at the Kimpton on Expedia (taxes and fees included).
Room rates at Bozeman hotels vary from season to season. Expect to pay a lot more in the summer, for example.
There are two taxes paid by users of overnight lodging facilities in Montana: a 4% Lodging Facility Use Tax and a 4% Lodging Sales Tax for a combined 8% tax. Both of these taxes are collected by the facility from the user and remitted to the Montana State Department of Revenue. In addition, Bozeman’s Tourism Business Improvement District collects an additional $2 per occupied room per night.
For a room with a base price of $169 per night, taxes plus fees add about 9% to the total cost of a room in Bozeman.
Cabins come in many vintages, so it is a good idea to do some research before you go. Location and setting may be the most important.
The three cabins for rent by Montana Cabin Rentals are about 20 miles northwest of Big Timber, in south-central Montana. The town of Big Timber is about mid-way between Billings and Bozeman on Interstate Highway IH-90. Starting from Billings or Bozeman it takes is a little over one hour to drive to the cabins.
The cabins are built in Big Timber Canyon, a beautiful valley that runs in a westerly direction up into the Crazy Mountains. Big Timber Creek runs down the valley and passes near the cabins. Renters have access to 1.5 miles of stream-side frontage along Big Timber Creek. A very scenic setting for sure. Best of all the cabins have a remote feel, away from civilization yet are very accessible.
These cabins come with extra nice amenities. Grizzly Cabin has two bedrooms. Guests enjoy a hot tub, sauna, HDTV, fireplace, washer/dryer, plus stainless appliances. A RV hookup is available too. From $189 per night.
Fisher Cabin, with two bedrooms, has a rustic vibe, the cabin being built from logs, and it has log furniture. The cabin has a loft, fully equipped kitchen, washer/dryer, a hot tub, WIFI, and more. From $169 per night.
Creekside Cabin has a large master bedroom. The living room in this cabin is arranged in such a way so it can be used as a second bedroom. This cabin has a fully equipped kitchen, washer/dryer, a hot tub, and WIFI. From $169 per night.
Fisher and Creekside Cabins are separated from one another by mature vegetation, so privacy is not an issue.
By any standard, all three cabins come close to luxury. Guests enjoy amenities of modern life all the while staying in a remote, quiet, beautiful mountainous setting, with the best of nature out the front door.
A huge plus, dining out is only a few minutes away at The Grand Hotel in Big Timber. The Grand serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dinner is from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., daily. Enjoy great food in two nice dining areas in The Grand Hotel. For upscale dining, guests at the cabins can drive to Livingston, a short 35 miles west of Big Timber, and dine at the 2nd Street Bistro in the Murray Hotel.
The cabins are available for rent year-round. There are many great cabins for rent in Montana. These three cabins rank among the best. (406) 599-6772.
Many folks like to stop for a cup of Starbucks coffee when traveling or on a vacation. There is often more than one Starbucks store in most larger cities. Stores can vary in size depending on the location and some stores can look a little different from other stores even in the same city.
Starbucks serves tasty coffee and more: Featured on their Website this week: creamy, all-new, iced coconutmilk drinks and Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino Blended Beverage. Always something new at Starbucks. Yum!
Starbucks stores in Montana are modern as the chain arrived here later than in many other cities. Stores are easy to find, on or near major streets, in every city. Just look for the mermaid. A few favorites:
Billings: Starbucks at 910 Grand Avenue (close to downtown)
Bozeman: Starbucks at 1122 West Main Street (close to downtown)
Kalispell: Starbucks at 10 North Main Street (in the heart of downtown)
Missoula: Starbucks at 5260 Grant Creek Road (just off the interstate highway)
Butte: Starbucks at 2307 Harrison Avenue (south of downtown area)
Helena: Starbucks at 1300 Prospect Avenue (close the state capitol)
Great Falls: Starbucks at 1000 10th Ave. South (south of downtown)
Bozeman (pop.48,532) is a small city with a big city attitude. The city sort of feels like it would fit nicely anywhere in the Rocky Mountain region. Say as a neighboring city to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Main Street in the downtown area is always busy. A beehive for sure.
From Bozeman, travelers can easily reach many popular vacation hot spots in southwest Montana. The north entrance to Yellowstone, near the small town of Gardiner, is south of Livingston on U.S. Highway 89. And the west entrance to Yellowstone, near the small town of West Yellowstone, is directly south of Bozeman on U.S. Highway 191.
One major interstate highway, IH 94, going east, connects Bozeman with Billings and states in the Midwest. Going west from Bozeman, IH 94 leads to Missoula, Spokane and Seattle. Many flights arrive daily at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.
Bozeman is an education center and a vacation hub. Montana State University is headquartered in Bozeman. The city has limited shopping in a traditional way. But many stores supply visitors with all sorts of goods for having fun in the outdoors.
Is Bozeman a party town? Maybe. Many bars and good restaurants are ready to serve visitors. Some great dining choices here, even extra nice places like Plonk Wine which, you may have guessed, has imported wines from Europe that can set you back $400 a bottle.
Bozeman offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. At the top of the list is fly-fishing for trout in the Gallatin and Madison Rivers. During winter months, many ski bums head for Bridger Bowl near Bozeman. Hiking, bicycling, and whitewater rafting are other major activities enjoyed by many outdoor enthusiasts.
Two attractions standout in the Bozeman, leaving aside Yellowstone. The Museum of the Rockies with its splendid dinosaur collection is a must see. If wildlife is of interest, Montana Grizzly Encounter is a few miles east of Bozeman.
Lots of traffic on Bozeman streets at most hours of the day. Parking spots are hard to find especially on Main Street downtown. City leaders have noticed. Parking lots on streets to the north and south of Main Street are ready to serve drivers.
Bozeman tends to cater to visitors who have fatter wallets than most. But some of the outdoors stuff is FREE.
Vacations homes and other properties are popular in Montana. Out-of-state buyers, many from the West Coast, find Montana a place to get away and enjoy the splendor of wonderland at the same time.
Few people live in Montana. This makes the state an even more attractive place to hang out away from America’s big crowded cities.
Two areas are especially sought after for vacation properties: Flathead Valley in far northwest Montana and the Bozeman area north of Yellowstone in southwest Montana.
In 2020, be careful if you are a Buyer. The real estate market is red hot in Montana’s prime vacation home areas. Chaos in some areas of the United States may be creating additional interest in remote vacation properties as people search for places of refuge. Driving the boom, also, are exceedingly low interest rates in the summer of 2020. At this time, it may be a real estate bubble in Montana, who knows.
Be aware: Montana is in a very remote part of the United States. It may be a long drive to get to your new vacation home. Still, all the hot spots are well connected to the world by major airlines. The Glacier park International Airport in Kalispell serves northwest Montana and the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport serves parts of southwest Montana.
Drive over or fly-in and check out these prime vacation home destinations. Good luck and bring deep pockets.
Montana is the West. As you might expect horses and horse culture are found throughout Montana, in both rural and urban areas.
Horses by themselves are amazing animals, so beautiful, and horses bring great enjoyment. Broadly speaking “saddlery” is part of the deal. Most people have no idea. But if you are a tourist, you can see all the gear that goes on a horse before the ride begins. Make a visit to Three Forks Saddlery, in Three Forks, Montana, a small town near Bozeman in southwest Montana.
A learning adventure at this place for sure. Just go to experience the scent of all the leather, amazing.
Three Forks Saddlery sells gorgeous saddles, bridles, and saddle pads. Much more here too for cowboys and cowgirls, even if you never get near a real horse. How about a set of spurs to hang on a wall in the den back home? Denim wear, western hats, bags, western shirts, and more.
Three Forks Saddlery is a sliver of horse culture in Montana. A visit to Three Forks Saddlery or a saddlery in some other town in Montana should be on the list of to dos for all visitors. Even, young folks might enjoy. Three Forks Saddlery.
Being a large city, Billings offers many great dining options. Bistecca at the Granary has the best food and atmosphere in Billings. The Granary’s bar is special and a delightful place to have a seat even if you only order a Coke. The Granary is open for lunch and evening dining and located in a quiet neighborhood on Poly Drive.
The City Vineyard is on Grand Avenue in far west Billings. This place is exceptional. Don’t miss! Sandwiches, salads and soups, desserts, and more. Try the “create your own meat and cheese board.” Great selection of Montana craft beers and wines are served.
City Vineyard sells a very large selection of quality wines. Deer Creek Field Medal cheese from Wisconsin and other treats found here too. Next door and adjoining City Vineyard is the City Brew Coffee shop. This is a very, very nice coffee shop. MTbest™
Harper and Madison is another top eatery in Billings. Pastries, desserts, sandwiches, salads, and locally roasted coffee are on the menu. Great breakfast menu. This restaurant is very popular with locals and is located near the hospital-Billings Clinic area north of downtown area. The setting is in a local neighborhood. Open Tuesday thru Friday (7:00 am – 2:00 pm), and Saturday (7:00 am thru 1:00 pm. casual surroundings. Great Harvest Bread is always another good choice.
Bratwursts, schnitzels, apple strudel and many tasty German foods are on the menu at Oktoberfest German Restaurant on Grand Avenue in west Billings. The food is authentic German. The restaurant’s owner is from Stuttgart. MTbest™
For an extra nice atmosphere and good prices dine at Jake’s restaurant downtown. For yummy seafood and ribs, try Montana’s Rib & Chop House on Majestic Lane in the far west end of Billings. Don’t miss McCormick Café’s sandwiches and fresh-baked goods. McCormick Cafe is on Montana Avenue downtown.
Meatloaf sandwiches just like you mom used to make are on the menu at The Fieldhouse restaurant in downtown Billing on Montana Avenue. The Fieldhouse has many other delicious foods too: Burrata (Benton’s ham, crouton, flathead cherry, sage); Lamb Bolognese (with orecchiette pasta, herbs, pecorino, shaved fennel salad); and many more savory temptations.
The 406 Kitchen & Taproom has a great location on north 27th Street, not far from downtown, the airport, and area colleges. On the menu Famous 406 nachos, halibut sandwich, are many more tasty delights. The atmosphere at 406 Kitchen & Taproom is very average but the kitchen has good hours of service.
The Burger Dive in downtown Billings is a favorite for a quick bite in casual surroundings. Great Harvest Bread is always another good choice.
To find dining in Bozeman, head for Main Street. Western Café on east Main Street is a favorite of locals. It’s easy to understand why. A Western Breakfast Sandwich (large biscuit, egg, cheese, ham and sausage OR bacon) cost all of $6.50. Management at The Nova Cafe claims to serve “the best breakfast in town.” Too boastful? Well go and find out. Starbucks coffee is served on west Main Street.
Don’t miss the Baxter Hotel. This establishment features Ted’s Montana Grille and the Bacchus Pub. As you leave the Baxter Hotel pick up some fine chocolates and other gourmet treats at the La Châatelaine Chocolat Co.
Plonk Wine Bozeman on east Main Street has, what else, a great selection of premium wines. Top shelf red is a bottle of 2014 Mommessin Monopole Grand Cru Clos de Tart, Morey St-Denis, only $495. More budget friendly is a 2016 Cliff Lede Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, $42. Cocktails served too. Plonk serves tasty cuisine, often prepared from products sourced from local farms and ranches. Beef tartare and pan roasted chick breast are favorites on the menu. A special ambience makes Plonk Wine a most satisfying experience.
Blackbird Kitchen is a Bozeman dining place on everyone’s list of top restaurants. You know the cuisine great when management advertise “happy local organic wood fired casual dining.” On the menu: goat shank, beef sirloin, spaghetti and meatballs, and a large selection of delicious pizzas. Find a super wine list here. If your taste is birra, order Kloster-Andechs Weissbier Heil or Propolis Brewing Spruce.
bisl offers another fine dining experience in Bozeman. As with Plonk Wine locally sourced ingredients are used when possible. Montana Short Rib and Scallop run about $31. Enjoy your meal with wine or beer, carefully selected from local, national, and international sources. bisl is on east Main Street.
Italian cuisine is the regular fare at Blacksmith Italian restaurant. The Open Range is another restaurant with great reviews. Dining at the Bay Bar & Grille is convenient while shopping at the Gallatin Valley Mall. Other good dining options are: Squire House, Urban Kitchen, South 9th Bistro, and Seven Sushi.
Missoula restaurants and bars are tops. Most of the best restaurants and bars are concentrated along a five-block section of Higgins Avenue, a major north-south artery though the downtown area. The Shack Cafe is a good choice for breakfast, lunch and evening dining. For fresh pastries, breads, and desserts, don’t miss Bernice’s Bakery.
The Iron Horse Brew Pub sells every beverage imaginable, plus has good food, especially sandwiches. The Iron Horse Brew Pub rocks even on weekdays. Tasty sandwiches and veggies are served at Worden’s Market and Deli. Tamarack Brewing (downtown) is a popular sports pub with a low-key, dining experience on the upper level.
The Pearl Café is open for upscale dining. Try the “Boneless trout with Dungeness crab,” cost a mere $29. The menu at Caffe Dolce lists house-made pasta, pizza, salmon, lamb burger and more. Wines are from Italy, France, and Spain. Red Bird at 111 N. Higgins offers upscale dining. Scotty’s Table has tasty delights, local meat, produce, and grains for an exceptional dining experience.
Plonk Wine Missoula on Higgins Avenue has, what else, a great selection of premium wines. Top shelf red is a bottle of 2009 Domaine Clerget Echezeaux Burgundy, only $320. More budget friendly is a 2013 Tangent Grenache Blanc, Edna Valley, $32. Cocktails served too. Plonk serves tasty cuisine, often prepared from products sourced from local farms and ranches. Alaskan halibut, $32. and grilled local bone-in park chops, $25., are favorites on the menu. A special ambience makes Plonk Wine a most satisfying experience.
Great Falls has many good dining spots. Tops is the Celtic Cowboy in the Hotel Arvon in downtown Great Falls. The Celtic Cowboy is a pub and restaurant. On the Menu for breakfast try “Scotch Eggs” for $9 or Irish Porridge (Irish oatmeal) $6. For lunch try their Celtic Burger (ground bison or elk, with cheese, tomato, and slaw) $15. A favorite for dinner is Irish Whiskey Glazed Salmon, $24.
On the pub side, the Celtic Cowboy offers about 35 craft beers made in Montana. Go for a craft beer or to dine, the Celtic Cowboy is an amazing place. MTbest™
Dante’s Creative Cuisine has a nice atmosphere and, according to management, offers “casual [dining] elegance in the heart of Great Falls, Montana. Perfect steaks and prime rib, delicious seafood entrees, southwestern specialties and delectable desserts make us hard to resist!” On the menu, Manicotti Italiano, $18.95, Chicken Milano, $19.95, Charbroiled Salmon, $28.95, and Grilled Ribeye, $29.95. A great selection of wine, beer, and spirits here, too.
Wheat Montana Bakery and Deli makes delightful sweet baked goods, soups and salads, and sandwiches. Made from the best Montana ingredients. Great Harvest Bread is always a good choice. JB’s Restaurant is a family dining restaurant near major shopping areas and the city’s main mall.
Restaurants are plentiful in Helena. Those who like superior Italian cuisine and good wine dine at Lucca’s on Last Chance Gulch. Exceptional service here.
For other upscale dining, try The Wassweiler Dinner House & Pub. Pan Seared Salmon with creamy goat cheese couscous, tomato, mushroom, sweet corn, spinach, and lemon caper beurre blanc is on the menu at $34. Drive a short distance west of Helena on U.S. Highway 12 to arrive at the Wassweiler.
For a good wine selection and splendid cuisine, many dine at On Broadway near the downtown. The Brewhouse Pub & Grille in the Great Northern Town Center, a few blocks north of the downtown area, is very popular.
The Parrot Confectionery, located downtown on Last Chance Gulch, opened in 1922 and serves famous chili, malts, and milk shakes. Best of all you can try over 100 kinds of home-made, hand-dipped chocolates and caramels. This place has an old-time atmosphere, sort of like out of the 1950s. A neat spot if you have a sweet tooth.
Try Steve’s Café for the best breakfast. For tasty coffee, tea, baked treats, and lunch in Helena try Hub Coffee on Last Chance Gulch downtown. Great Harvest Bread is always a good choice. The Grub-Stake, a few miles north of Helena on I-15, is an interesting hang out for locals.
For upscale dining in Kalispell, try Jagz Fine Dining. A full pound center cut ribeye, char-grilled and topped with bourbon onion sauce goes for $32.95. The Desoto Grill is wildly popular too. The Desoto Grill serves BBQ, sandwiches, desserts, and beer. A smoked chicken sandwich, $12.25. Banana pudding, $4.75. Yum!
The Montana Club restaurant is in the downtown area just off Main Street. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For this reason, the Montana Club is a good choice. Sometimes it’s hard to find a restaurant that serves breakfast.
The Carbon County Steakhouse on Main Street has a wonderful dining atmosphere and cuisine is first-rate. A large wine selection is served. This is upscale dining Red Lodge, so don’t look at prices on the menu.
Locals and visitors enjoy tasty cuisine at the Carbon Fork Restaurant in downtown Red Lodge. Try their Huckleberry ice cream for dessert, so good. There’s a lot to love at the Carbon Fork. Foster & Logan’s Pub & Grill on Main Street is another spot to have a good meal. A special at Foster and Logan’s is a Folo’s Dog, a 1/4 pound all beef hot dog with extras for only $7.95. Bogart’s serves a variety of Mexican food.
For a tradition pub atmosphere, go to the Snag Bar. A beer at the Snag goes for $3.00, a burger $8.00. A pool table and a few video gaming machine attract some visitors to the Snag Bar.
The Rock Creek Resort (1-800-667-1119) is located a few miles south of Red Lodge on U.S. Highway 212. The nearby Old Piney Dell Restaurant and Bar is a favorite dining spot for locals. The restaurant has a very rustic setting, along the banks of Rock Creek.
BILLINGS: Car rentals at Billings Logan International Airport: Hertz (406) 248-9151, Alamo (406) 252-7626, Avis (406) 252-8007. For taxi service call City Cab (406) 252-8700 or Yellow Cab (406) 245-3033.
BOZEMAN: Car rentals at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport: Avis (406) 388-6414, Hertz (406) 388-6939, Alamo (406) 388-6694. North of Yellowstone Shuttle & Charter Service, operating out of Livingston, provides long-distance transportation to several towns in southwest Montana. They offer taxi, shuttle, and private car service to Big Sky, Livingston, Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, Chico, Gardiner, West Yellowstone, and other locations (406) 580-2286. The company does not provide service in the city of Bozeman. For taxi service in Bozeman, call Greater Valley Taxi (406) 587-6303.
MISSOULA: Car rentals at the Missoula International Airport: Avis (406) 549-4711, Hertz (406) 549-9511, Alamo (406) 543-0926. airport. For taxi service, call Missoula Green Taxi (406) 728-8294 or Yellow Cab of Missoula (406) 543-6644. A Web page by Missoula airport lists shuttle services.
HELENA: Car rentals at the Helena Regional Airport: Alamo, (406) 442-1765, Avis (406) 442-4440, Hertz, (406) 449-4167. For taxi service, call Capitol Taxi (406) 449-5525.
KALISPELL: Car rentals at the Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell: Avis (406) 257-2727, Hertz (406) 758-2220, Alamo (406) 257-7144. For taxi service in Kalispell, Whitefish, and Columbia Falls call Glacier Taxi (406) 250-3603. Arrow Shuttle also provides ground transportation in the Kalispell area (406) 300-2301.
GREAT FALLS: Car rentals at the Great Falls International Airport: Alamo (406) 727-0273, Avis (406) 761-7610, Hertz (406) 761-6641. For taxi service, call Diamond Cab (406) 453-3241.
Bus transportation is available for many cities. Check out Greyhound or Jefferson Lines. Another choice, travel by train on AMTRAK’S Empire Builder.
Some folks may choose to fly. Modern airports are found in major cities. Billings (BIL), Bozeman (BZN), Missoula (MSO), Helena (HLN), Kalispell (FCA), Butte (BTM), and Great Falls (GTF) airports are especially nice and all are served by major airlines and conveniently located near downtown areas. Booking flights on Expedia or other travel Web site is easy.
Travel tip: How far is Missoula? Montana is a very big state and distances between major cities can be as much as 100 miles or more. Plan ahead with the DOT’s distance calculator.
Bed & Breakfasts are popular some people. Campgrounds are often the choice of RVers. More recently, vacation rentals are all the rage.
Commercial travel Web sites can help find and book lodging. In some cases, you can also book lodging with the proprietor or a local vendor. If you dial up a phone number with the area code (406) you are likely reach a local business.
Bozeman is a very expensive city for travelers. A local hotel recently charged $339 for a one night stay in late September. At one restaurant on Main Street a simple buffalo burger with coffee cost $20.13 (including tip).
A car rental (Wednesday to Wednesday) in September from a local new car dealership for a Chevy Malibu cost $591.43. One visitor offers, “visitors to Bozeman should plan to leave their wallets behind when they drive out of town.”