14 Reasons Why Bozeman is Still Pretty Excellent
Need a few friendly reminders why Bozeman, Montana is still cool? The growing pains are real and the price of breathing this pristine air certainly reflects that. But set the shade aside for a moment and let me share my Bozeman gratitude with you.
As a side note, I added a few random small things that are beacons of Bozeman happiness to ME. Can a sandwich be a piece of our town's excellence? Yes, in my book. My list, my rules.
Whenever you Google "Best things about _____", you get the same old, same old. Yes, the Museum of the Rockies is absolutely fantastic and important. Sure, Palisade Falls is a nice place to take visitors. THIS LIST is simply a few things this resident is still thankful for after so many years.
Urban Ponds - An odd thing to bring up but I think they're cool. No matter where you are in Bozeman, you're not far from a pond where you can sit down and chill out for a few minutes. There are lots of options other than the MSU duckpond, friend.
Montana State University - With approximately 5,000 employees, MSU isn't just a huge employer in town, it's an anchor of the town. Bozeman would be 100% different without this school.
A Vibrant Downtown Main Street - Great restaurants, bars, retailers, housing and year-round events. Not every town can say that about their downtown. Music on Main, Ladies Night, The Christmas Stroll, Art Walks, the Car Show, pep rallies, decorations, etc. Every healthy town has a healthy "main street". It's that simple.
People will actually stop and help when you break down - Flat tire? Dead battery? Fender bender? Stuck in a snow drift? You can be certain that more than one person will pull over and make sure you're alright and offer to help if they can.
The Pickle Barrel - My love for the Pickle Barrel has been documented many times. Not only are they my favorite sandwiches on the planet, but oddly my entire time in Bozeman has been paralleled by this small institution. Pickle Barrel sandwiches have accompanied college finals, picnics in the park, visiting friends, working nights at the radio station, sad times, happy times, etc. Real Bozeman people know.
The Gallatin Valley Land Trust and Bozeman's trail system - I cannot stress enough how important this organization is to the Gallatin Valley. Bozeman would not be nearly as cool as it is without the hard work and dedication of this groups of people and the land owners they work with. The 80 miles of trails in the area would not exist without them.
Urban Mural Art - From the classic, old-school Eagles Club building on Main Street to the recent addition at Red Tractor Pizza, Bozeman has always celebrated public art. Murals are one of my favorites and there's been a resurgence in just the last couple of years. Love it. From fish to flowers, Bozeman is stepping up it's building art game.
Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter - This organization has grown a lot since 1975 when it was run out of a glorified trailer. It's current location is large, and incredibly well run. HOV cares for over 3,900 cat and dogs ANNUALLY. Shelter pets are the best pets!
Fantastic local chefs - The food scene in the Bozeman area has come a long way, but there have always been talented, dedicated, and creative chefs here. No matter if it's a basic breakfast or a fancy tasting menu, Bozeman has become a foodie town.
Montana Shakespeare in the Parks - This might be one of the coolest organizations in the entire state and the name says it all. Do everything you can to support this group. Their work is an educational gem for thousands of people across Montana. "Born from aspirations to bring the timeless tales of William Shakespeare directly to rural and under-served communities, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks has been enriching the lives of people in Montana, and beyond, for 50 years."
Bozeman's First Responders - Fire, police, and EMS crews work tirelessly here to protect our community. Rapid growth makes that no easy task. Between their 'normal' duties and as much community service that they do, I wouldn't trade our first responders for any other group in the country.
Dive Bars - Even if you're not a drinker, a good dive bar is an important hub in a community. They're local, colorful, reliable, and usually incredible supporters of fundraisers and such. The Hauf, The Eagles, The Crystal, The Molly, The Filler, The Cat's Paw...I'll always be thankful that I can stop in, actually get a seat, see people I know, and not spend $14 on a drink.
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport - It's the busiest airport in the entire state of Montana and it shows. Yes, it's more crowded than it's ever been and you actually need to show up reasonably early before your flight. But I've always appreciated two things about our airport: the powers that be were always expanding for that growth, adding amenities, etc. and we've enjoyed a very decent array of direct flights. Getting in and out of here (although generally expensive) is easy.
Montana State University Bookstore - If you've been there, you know. Aside from the obvious, the MSU bookstore is a well-run resource for Bobcat gear, computers, art supplies, etc. It's downstairs in the SUB and full of cool stuff. "It has everything you'd need for class; notebooks, pens, pencils, niche art and STEM supplies, food and drink, and lots of Bobcat merchandise." Long after my college days came to a close, I still make pilgrimages to the MSU bookstore just to see what's in stock.