5 Cool Towns Just Outside Bozeman
Being a Bozeman-based company, we’re quick to sing the praises of our awesome mountain town. And boy, are there plenty of praises to sing! But, Bozeman isn’t the center of the universe. We have some pretty great neighbors in the beautiful Gallatin Valley. We’re here today to tell you about some of our favorite small towns just beyond Bozeman. If you’re looking for a day trip or just in need of a quick change of scenery, we recommend one of these places for your next little adventure.
Image Courtesy of Shannon Karp
Full disclosure: I live in Belgrade and I absolutely love it. A roughly 8-mile drive from Bozeman, Belgrade is your next stop on the interstate headed west. Belgrade became an incorporated township in 1906 and has blossomed into a hard-working, fun-loving town all its own. In recent years, Belgrade residents have worked extremely hard to maintain the small-town culture that makes Belgrade so unique. One of our favorite companies here at Montana Gift Corral, SK Designs, is also based in Belgrade! While the Fall Festival has always been an event people travel far and wide to attend, the Belgrade Community Coalition recently worked to reinvigorate Belgrade’s Farmers Market in the summer and their Festival of Lights during the Christmas season. I love living in Belgrade and, as it continues to grow, I can’t wait to see how this little town flourishes.
Image Courtesy of Churchill Equipment
If you continue down the interstate west, you’ll get to Manhattan, Montana--another small town with a whole lot of soul. I’ve always loved Manhattan for their Potato Fest celebration. Each August the town comes together to celebrate their Dutch heritage and the continued importance of growing potatoes in Manhattan. The Potato Festival also has one of the most fun street dances and one of the longest parades I’ve ever attended with a ton of local participation. It is truly a proud community. Home to Sir Scott’s Oasis Steakhouse and the birthplace of beloved Big Sky Carvers, there’s a lot that makes Manhattan unique and loveable!
Three Forks, Montana
Image Courtesy of Three Forks Chamber of Commerce
Three Forks is so named because sits near the confluence of the three rivers that make up the Missouri River: the Jefferson, the Madison, and the Gallatin. These rivers were named by none other than the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Three Forks also has a rich history connected to the railroad. Today, Three Forks boasts roughly 1,800 residents, a couple really delicious restaurants (literally the best, most authentic Chinese food you can find within a 100-mile radius), and the historic Sacajawea Hotel. My favorite thing about Three Forks? The Three Forks Rodeo! This two-day event takes place near the middle of July. Complete with a parade and a multi-band street dance, there are few small town celebrations as fun!
If we swing east from Bozeman and take a jaunt through Bozeman Pass, you’ll come to Livingston, Montana. Livingston is an absolutely charming town that does not get explored enough. Their downtown isn’t just one street. There are several blocks filled with awesome shops and restaurants and breweries. One of my favorite places to eat in Livingston is Neptune’s Brewery, but the Rib and Chop House is also a classic. Wind down the day with a delicious beer at Katabatic Brewing. However, if you want to keep the fun rolling into the evening, The Murray Bar, Pine Creek Cafe and Lodge, and the Old Saloon in Emigrant offer some seriously awesome live music. Livingston is a beautifully bustling little town on the Yellowstone River that you absolutely won’t be disappointed with!
Gallatin Gateway, Montana
Image Courtesy of Stacey's Old Faithful Bar and Steakhouse
If you’re heading to Yellowstone National Park via Highway 191, you’re sure to come across Gallatin Gateway. With a population just a little over 800, Gateway is a quaint little stop if you’re road tripping through Gallatin Canyon. While a trip through the town itself is quick, the scenery is beautiful. I’ve definitely loaded up my dog in the car and cruised through Gateway’s countryside looking at the pretty greenery, family ranches, and beautiful homes. An icon in Gallatin Gateway would be Stacey’s Old Faithful Bar and Steakhouse. This joint has been around since 1963, serving up some of the best food and drinks in the Valley. When my family’s in town, we almost always go there for Rocky Mountain Oysters. Yup, those very oysters.
We love Bozeman. We always have and always will. But, sometimes it’s fun to explore beyond your front door. Southwest Montana has a lot of fun adventure to offer!
Written by: Cassi Miller