Bozeman is a special place. Those who are lucky enough to be natives have always known this. For the rest, it probably didn’t take long to realize. While many are rightfully protective of our town, it seems inevitable that Bozeman will continue to grow. Because we consider ourselves a welcoming bunch, we have 10 things newcomers should know when moving to Bozeman.
1. THE GROWING PAINS ARE REAL
Bozeman has been growing at a tremendous rate these past few years. With any growth, especially when it happens fast, there are bound to be some pains. Bozeman feels it. The natives and longtime locals bounce between welcoming the growth and resisting the change. There is more traffic and more crime. It’s harder to get a seat at your favorite restaurant. The rivers are getting crowded and don’t get us started on the crowds up Hyalite (Who remembers when you could easily get a campsite there on a Saturday night in the summer?) It can be tough, especially for anyone who has lived here a long time. Everyone is trying to adjust to the growth and hope it goes in a positive direction. The important thing to remember is the reason people get passionate about this all comes from loving Bozeman and wanting to keep it special.
2. HOUSING IS GETTING EXPENSIVE
Growth generally goes hand and in hand with an increase in the real estate market. Housing has been a hot topic in Bozeman for many years. New construction is booming and multiple offers coming in on a listing is becoming the norm. It can be discouraging for home buyers, however there are affordable options out there. Belgrade, Manhattan and Livingston are also great options. We’re not just saying this because we’re a real estate office, but working with a realtor is the best way to have someone keeping an eye on a fast-moving market. Often, they know about homes before they are listed and can help frustrated buyers in this competitive Bozeman market.
3. IT'S ALL FUN AND GAMES UNTIL FEBRUARY
Oh, the sweet summertime in Bozeman. Blue skies for days, warm temperatures and then cooling nicely in the evening. Outdoor patios full of happy people soaking up the sunshine and the mountains fully accessible to play in. Yep, summer here is pretty awesome. But, let’s talk about winter. They are the real deal around here. They usually start in October and can drag on until May. The first snowflakes are fun and everyone (especially skiers!) get excited for the valley to be covered in white. And then February hits and most of us are sufficiently sick of the cold and snow. It can get depressing when you know spring will not be making an appearance for awhile. Our best advice is invest in a good jacket and accept the fact that it will be months before you are warm again. The silver lining? Even on the coldest days, the sky is usually a brilliant blue and you can trick yourself into thinking it’s warmer than it is.
4. THERE ARE COWBOYS HERE, BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO DRESS LIKE ONE
It’s Montana so of course there are real cowboys here. However, you aren’t likely to see them strolling down Main Street in their cowboy hat and boots. They’ll be busy in the fields or on the ranch. When Bozemanites see folks wandering downtown in cowboy gear we’re pretty much going to assume you are a tourist or really new to the area.
5. WE'RE FRIENDLY FOLKS AND WE'D LIKE TO KEEP IT THAT WAY
Bozeman used to be a small town. A place where you couldn’t go to the store without running into someone you know…an old friend, your third-grade teacher, your grandma. Things have changed as we’ve grown but the heart of Bozeman is still the friendly people. People who hold doors open for others, pick up trash when they see it and give a wave to let someone into traffic at a busy intersection. We sure would like to keep it that way so if you’ve moved from a big city where some have forgotten basic manners try to get on board quickly. Don’t worry, we’ve found that friendliness is contagious so it shouldn’t take long.
6. GET INVOLVED TO MEET NEW PEOPLE
With over 60 meet up groups in Bozeman there are so many options to meet new friends. No matter what you are into you are bound to find something that fits. MOMS Club of Belgrade/Bozeman, Mix and Mingle Singles, Bozeman Outdoor Enthusiasts, to name a few. (Click here for the full list of meetup groups) Facebook also has a ton of communities and meet up type groups and is worth looking into. Volunteering is one of our favorite ways to meet people and luckily there are so many fantastic nonprofits to choose from in Bozeman. You get to help others in our community, create good karma and make new friends. That's a win-win for sure!
7. PICK SOME OUTDOOR HOBBIES
You probably didn’t move here because you love the indoors. People move to Montana because they want to get out and enjoy all it has to offer. There may be a few that just want to look at the mountains, but most want to play in them. If you aren’t already passionate about an outdoor hobby, dabble in a few to see what speaks to you. There are plenty to choose from…skiing, hunting, hiking, fishing, golfing, camping, biking, running, rock climbing, kayaking…we could on and on.
8. WE TAKE THE LOCAL THING SERIOUSLY
Going local is the “cool” thing to do now, but Bozeman really means it. Sure, there are chain restaurants and stores that we all go to sometimes, however most try to support local whenever we can. Whether it’s buying produce from local growers at the Farmers Markets’ or choosing a neighborhood coffee shop over Starbucks, supporting local is very real here.
9. WE LOVE OUR PETS
Bozeman is a dog town! Take a look at our amazing Heart of the Valley Humane Society, the many dog parks and nonprofits like Run Dog Run. A Lab seems to be the Bozeman dog of choice, but really you will see all breeds out there. Yes, dogs certainly live the good life here. Just make sure to be a responsible dog owner so as not to ruin it for the rest of us.
10. SLOW DOWN AND ENJOY IT
Bozeman is truly one of the last best places. Slow down, enjoy it and remember why you moved here in the first place.