Bozeman, Montana

Living in Bozeman, Montana

Iyna Bort Caruso

Back in the 1860s, a gold strike drew thousands of fortune-seekers to south-central Montana. In time, farming and ranching, not gold mining, would be the industries that spurred development in the region but an early prospector left his mark--and his name. John Bozeman.

Today, Bozeman is the seat of Gallatin County and a fast-growing city of scholars, skiers and cowboys who embrace the Montana mountain lifestyle. Bozeman is home to Montana State University, the state’s largest, and serves as a gateway to Yellowstone National Park, just 90 minutes south.

The university is a major employer, along with corporations in the burgeoning tech and health care sectors. Commutes are short and often on foot or by bike. The university is responsible for giving Bozeman its youthful vibe, but Bozeman also draws active retirees who give their ski gear, fishing poles and golf clubs a workout.

Many transplants come from other areas of Montana as well as from Washington state and California, the latter’s influence being responsible for the nickname “Boz Angeles.”

It’s hard to be bored in Bozeman. Skiing at Big Sky Resort, with its more than 5,800 skiable acres, is about 50 miles away. Bridger Bowl is just 16 miles. A Main Street to the Mountains trail system features more than 80 miles of trails weaving through neighborhoods and open lands for hikers, bikers, birder-watchers and stargazers.

The city’s cultural offerings are just as robust. The Museum of the Rockies is an affiliate of the Smithsonian and has a well-respected and extensive paleontological collection. The American Computer and Robotics Museum covers the history of computing, robotics and artificial intelligence. It’s one of only a handful of museums in the United States of its kind. Bozeman’s performing arts scene covers live theater, ballet, the symphony and a long-running Shakespeare in the Parks summer series.

Bozeman’s property market includes low-maintenance downtown condominiums, golf club townhomes, showplace ranches on secluded acreage and opulent summer homes.