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. With so many things changing in the world right now, it is 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. As with any growth, especially when it happens fast, there are bound to be some hardships. Bozeman is feeling those growing pains. Those who live here 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. It can be tough, especially for anyone who has lived here for a long time. Everyone is trying to adjust to the growth and we hope it continues in a positive direction. Click here for more about Bozeman's growing pains.
2. Housing is expensive
Growth generally goes hand-in-hand with an increase in housing prices. Finding affordable housing has been a hot topic in Bozeman for many years. New construction is booming, and bidding wars are becoming the norm. That, along with a lack of inventory can be discouraging for home buyers. The surrounding areas such as Belgrade, Manhattan, and Livingston are becoming great alternatives that are less expensive than Bozeman. 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. Click here for current home prices in Bozeman.
3. It's all fun and games until February
Oh, the sweet summertime in Bozeman. Blue skies for days, warm temperatures, and nice cool evenings. Outdoor patios full of people soaking up the sunshine and the mountains are fully accessible to play in. Yep, summer here is pretty awesome. But, let’s talk about winter. It is the real deal around here. Winter usually starts in October and can drag on until May. The first snowflakes are fun and everyone (especially skiers!) gets 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. Our best advice is to 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.
5. We are friendly folks and we would 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 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 friendliness is not a thing, try to get on board quickly.
6. Get involved
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 and the Bozeman Outdoor Enthusiasts are great meet-up groups in Bozeman. (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 non-profits to choose from in Bozeman. You get to help others in our community and make new friends. That's a win-win for sure!
4. There are cowboys here but that does not 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 going to assume you are a tourist.
7. Pick some outdoor hobbies
You probably didn’t move here because you love to be indoors. People move to Montana because they want to get out and enjoy all it has to offer. There may be a few people 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...the list goes 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 really important here in Bozeman.
9. We love our pets
It’s a dog’s world here in Bozeman. On top of the hundreds of miles of trails, a half dozen off-leash parks, and plenty of doggy daycares, we also have plenty of stores just for the pups where you can find locally made dog beds, toys, and organic treats. And since it is Bozeman, you should probably get a lab and name it Bridger...or Madison. We're creative like that.
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.