Bozeman and Belgrade may only be 11 miles apart, but they have plenty of differences. Home prices between the two is one that gets talked about a lot. As of September 2019, the average sale price of a single-family home in Bozeman was 33% higher than Belgrade*. Bozeman’s rapid growth over the past few years is changing the overall vibe of the popular town, and as a result, Belgrade is seeing changes as well.
As homebuyers get priced out of Bozeman, Belgrade has become a more affordable option. However, that’s not the only reason people are looking to Belgrade to set roots. Many are looking for the small-town feel that Bozeman is beginning to lack. Either way, you can’t go wrong because there is a lot to love in each of these Montana towns.
We already know Bozeman is a special place. It is a thriving community with close proximity to the mountains. It has a vibrant downtown, is home to the growing Montana State University, and we have lost count of the number of “best of” lists Bozeman has been on.
It’s a culmination of the small things that make up the goodness of Bozeman's community. It's running into friends at a downtown event or the weekly farmer’s market, seeing the Bridger Mountains on your commute home and getting excited for the next ski day, a friendly wave as you pass by someone on a dirt road. Bozeman is deeply rooted in the outdoors, the community and its people.
The education system in Bozeman is top-notch. Montana State University is the largest university in Montana and continues to break enrollment records. There’s a lot of Bobcat pride in Bozeman! The public school district currently has eight elementary schools, two middle schools and, as of 2020, two high schools. We are extremely lucky to have such a strong public school system that attracts some amazing educators. There are also private school options for those looking for a smaller learning environment. When it comes to schools in Bozeman, you can’t lose.
THINGS TO DO
There is no lack of things to do in Bozeman. Obviously, we have the outdoor enthusiasts covered with the mountains and rivers just a hop, skip and a jump away. Beyond that, the possibilities are endless with tons of local restaurants for the foodies, live music, theater, the Museum of the Rockies, community events all year long, and more breweries than we can count. There is always something going on in Bozeman.
Bozeman is a remarkable place to call home, however, as many of us know it’s no longer a secret. People are moving here fast and it’s tough to keep up with all the change in Bozeman these days. There are new developments happening all over town. With all of this comes a change in the overall vibe of a town and we certainly have been experiencing some growing pains. There are many people who are missing the small-town feel Bozeman once had. Which leads us to Belgrade…
Belgrade is also a growing community that still has a small-town feel. It’s often called a bedroom community to Bozeman, with many residents living in Belgrade and commuting to work in Bozeman. But Belgrade's identity has been changing over the last several years with more choosing to live in Belgrade, not just as a more affordable option, but because they are looking for something that Bozeman is lacking.
Bozeman’s growth is bringing in a number of people from out of state which can influence the shape of a community. With fewer people, Belgrade has kept a real sense of community. You can walk through town or into almost any store and see a familiar face. Belgrade has a strong agricultural history, breathtaking views, and hospitable neighborly residents. It's a quieter town with a lot of pride. The people of Belgrade are using its growth as a way for the city to re-define itself and invest in the community while still holding on to its small-town roots.
One big way the Belgrade community comes together is through the school system. The support for the schools in Belgrade is huge and very evident at any sporting event where you'll find the stands full of locals cheering on the kids. The public school district in Belgrade has six schools and over 3,300 students. There are a number of activities and clubs within the schools, beyond just sports to try to find something for every student.
THINGS TO DO
There are many new businesses opening in Belgrade as more people invest in this growing town. The current downtown revitalization is creating more interest including a new microhotel that recently opened, as well as new restaurants. Belgrade hosts a number of local events throughout the year such as the Fall Festival, Christmas Festival of the Lights and weekly farmers markets in the summer. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are walking trails nearby and the Missouri Headwaters are just a short drive away. There are a number of popular fishing sites near Belgrade including the main fork of 16 Mile Creek and the East Gallatin. Dining has come a long way in Belgrade and residents no longer need to make the drive to Bozeman for a meal out. The Local, Rice, Mackenzie River and Pho Bone Broth Noodles are a few Belgrade favorites.
While there has been a lot of development and change happening in Belgrade, it still does have all the amenities that Bozeman offers. There are fewer city parks, shopping options, restaurants, and activities. While the mountain views are big in Belgrade, the access to them is slightly further away so if you are looking to recreate in Hyalite or the Bridgers you'll have a little further to go.
*statistics courtesy of Gallatin Association of Realtors