Bozeman's Growing Pains. Is Bozeman, Montana Still a Good Place to Live? - Bozeman Real Estate Group
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Bozeman's Growing Pains. Is Bozeman, Montana Still a Good Place to Live?

Bozeman's Growing Pains. Is Bozeman, Montana Still a Good Place to Live?

On Feb 29, 2024

We originally wrote this article in 2018 when we thought Bozeman was growing fast. We had no idea what was coming with the pandemic and the changes it would bring to our community! Bozeman is considered one of the country's fastest-growing micropolitan areas in the country and is one of the fastest-growing cities in Montana. With any rapid growth like Bozeman has seen, there is going to be good and bad. The growing pains in Bozeman are real. We don’t like to focus on the negative, but sometimes it feels good to vent. 


Affordable housing

Bozeman real estate prices are at an all-time high. As is the rental market in Bozeman with high rent prices and low inventory. Finding affordable housing has become a real struggle and is a hot topic in Bozeman right now. Click here to find out more about some upcoming affordable housing solutions in the area.


Traffic

In the past, we’ve joked that when we complain about traffic here in Bozeman it has no real comparison to actual city traffic. But, it really is getting bad around here. Between road construction and all the extra people, there are times that you have to sit in traffic in Bozeman, especially if you are on 7th, or 19th, at the wrong time! No longer does “going across town” take only 10 minutes. More cars on the road, more congestion, more road rage. That's probably the hardest part. We can handle traffic, it's the uptick in rude drivers that is hard to stomach in our community. 


Schools

There’s no question, Bozeman has some of the best public schools and Montana State University continues to grow. The addition of the new high school finally helped ease the crowding at BHS, but ask any student or teacher and they will tell you both already feel tight. Montana State University continues to hit record enrollment each year, and you have to be on top of it to get into student housing. Some kids can’t get into their neighborhood school, pick up/drop off can be a nightmare and it’s hard to find a parking spot for MSU students to get to class on time. Fortunately, both the Bozeman School District and MSU are thinking ahead with plans to accommodate the growth. 


Crowds

All of a sudden it feels like anytime you are at the grocery store or Target you will inevitably wait in a line that makes you think it’s the holiday season. Or, you head to your favorite downtown restaurant only to find there is an hour wait for a table. Wait, what? That never used to happen in Bozeman! Events like the Christmas Stroll are packed and good luck getting a ticket to a football game. Summer in Bozeman used to be the quiet time when MSU students left. They’ve now been replaced by tourists so, in Bozeman, there is no longer a quiet season.


The mountains are filling up

Do you remember a time when you could go to Hyalite on a Saturday and have your pick of campsites? How about a hike to the M without seeing another person? Those days are long gone. We are so lucky to live in a place where the mountains are our playground and we can get to them quickly. But, so can everyone else! These days, if you want a quiet trail or a campsite to yourself, you either have to go further away or plan in advance. 


Attitude

Bozeman is full of friendly people. And, it mostly still is. With an increase in population, this is bound to change. A bit of the friendliness and good old Montana manners are getting lost in the growth. This goes hand in hand with a sense of Bozeman entitlement. Who’s to blame for the growing pains? There are the Bozeman natives who have seen the most change and have plenty of opinions on it. Then there are the ones who have moved here in the last decade or so and now wish it would stop. The "how long have you lived here" comparison game is real. Here are some tips we hope anyone who moves here will take to heart so Bozeman can remain an amazing place to live. 


As eternal optimists, we also have to point out the benefits of Bozeman's growth.

A vibrant community

There’s a reason everyone is flocking to Bozeman. It’s because it truly is a fantastic place to live! There is always some event going on, a new business opening, and plenty of people to support all the amazing nonprofits in town. If you’ve ever been one to complain about the growth in Bozeman, take a minute to consider the alternative. We’ve been to towns that are going the opposite direction and it’s sad to see communities with boarded-up windows on businesses and homes. While the struggle is real, we'll take a growing community over a dying one any day.


Development expanding beyond downtown

It used to be that besides the big box stores and restaurants, downtown was the only place to thrive for a local business. As Bozeman expands, so do the neighborhoods. We love downtown, but it’s nice to have more options. The Cannery District, Ferguson Farm, and Midtown are a few examples of new developments that have expanded beyond the downtown area. This is especially important as we see downtown filling with expensive chain boutiques that are catering more to the tourists. 


New people, new ideas

With all the growth comes new personalities and ideas in the community. It helps those of us who have lived here a while to not take it for granted. Often we forget how lucky we are to live here because we focus on the negative. Sometimes it takes a newcomer to mention the beautiful mountains or our great community to remind us why we call Bozeman home.


Team spirit & Things to do

There used to be a time when you would go to an MSU game and the crowd turnout was a little sad, to say the least. Now, Bozeman is full of team spirit! Blue and gold fill the town on game days and the energy is contagious! It’s not just football games, you feel the extra energy at all the Bozeman events. Now we have live music venues, theater options, and so many restaurants, and stores. It's hard to get bored in Bozeman now! 

Whatever the future holds for Bozeman, we know one thing, it's the people and their passion that makes this a wonderful community to live in. With that, we can overcome the growing pains.

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