Girl's Getaway in Bozeman and Livingston, Montana

Girl's getaway in Bozeman, Montana. Photo by Missy Short

Bozeman and Livingston, Montana, have long been known by mountaineers, anglers, and skiers as sought-after vacation destinations. But as these mountain towns have grown, change has brought a plethora of quality dining, art, cultural events, shopping, and music. As a result, it's become an urban experience with a gorgeous backdrop and plenty of options for exploration – in the vast outdoors and tucked within the cozy historic buildings, which makes it a perfect destination for a girl's getaway.

Getting here is easier than ever - Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport has non-stop flights to 21 major cities, making it an excellent spot for even a long weekend.

Exploring Bozeman

Lodging in and around Bozeman continues to grow, with clusters of hotels near I-90 of various national brands. But in the past few years, downtown Bozeman has added several hotels, and there is a wide variety of options. For more extended stays, the Residence Inn Bozeman Downtown is fantastic. Similar hotels include AC MarriotElement by Westin, and the Kimpton Armory Hotel. For a funkier, boutique-type stay, The LarkLewis and Clark Motel, or The Sapphire Motel are all great choices, and just down North 7th Ave in midtown, RSVP Hotel is an attractive option and close to the ELM, Bozeman's premier music venue with live music every week.

If you're a music lover, watch the ELM's schedule and plan around one of their shows. The building features state-of-the-art sound, and the house has no wrong view. The music genres are varied and consist of national, regional, and local favorites. Before the show, try dinner at Bourbon (BBQ and bourbon) or enjoy food, drinks, bowling, and billiards at the Ponderosa Social Club, just down the street from the ELM. Or grab a beer at Last Best Place Brewing, Bozeman's newest brewery. North 7th also has a handful of food trucks, many of which are open year-round.

If you're looking for adventure in Bozeman, Bridger Bowl is wildly popular for its extreme inbound skiing, family-friendly terrain, and laid-back vibe. During the summer, hiking and mountain biking are abundant, and if your clan likes climbing, Hyalite Canyon is great for rock and ice climbing. During the summer months, enjoy SUPs on Hyalite Reservoir.

Dining in Bozeman is a delight; you'll find various options, from casual but delicious fare such as Backcountry Burger Bar to fine dining at places such as the newly opened J.W. Heist. For delicious Indian food, try Pakeezah on East Main Street. And, while you wouldn't expect it, Bozeman has some great sushi restaurants; Dave's SushiSeven SushiHooked SushiHachi Sushi Pub, and Wasabi, all make some fantastic and creative rolls.

Be sure to make time for some shopping in downtown Bozeman. You'll find an array of unique, high-quality goods from art galleries to clothing boutiques and sporting goods. Even if you're window shopping, it's worth a gander. If you're looking for souvenirs, Montana Gift Corral or The Montana Scene have you covered.


Exploring Livingston

From Bozeman, head to Livingston for breakfast. Fay's CaféPinky's CafeThe Northern Pacific BeaneryTruNorth Café, and Gil's Goods are all great choices. Livingston is a unique combination of outdoor enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, cowboys, and artists. An eclectic mix of personalities that somehow all work well together. The result is an area rich in galleries, shopping, guided angling or floating trips, exceptional food, and a lot of live music.

Spend a day perusing the shops; you'll find unique, high-quality treasures. For example, the Kitchen Shop is one of the best kitchen supply stores we've ever visited. In addition, there are several clothing boutiques carrying vintage and current fashion mixtures, a fantastic plant store, bookstores packed with treasures, including Montana authors, and art galleries that rival the best. You can find a complete list of businesses at Explore Livingston.

Two women dining at Campione in Livingston, Montana. Photo by Sam Rouda

The dining alone is worth visiting Livingston, although the quality and number of restaurants make it difficult to choose! Campione, Second Street BistroBig Sky Thai, and Neptune's Tap House and Eatery are all popular, but we have yet to have a bad meal in this town, so you can't go wrong with whatever you choose. Just be sure to make reservations; some restaurants book out well in advance, particularly in the summer.

Music lovers should watch the schedule at Pine Creek LodgeOld SaloonThe AtticMusic Ranch Montana, and the local taverns. Paradise Valley is home to three outdoor concert venues and stunning surrounding views. Big names have been gracing these stages, and you need to be quick on your feet to get tickets!

Remember your bathing suit! Chico Hot Springs and Yellowstone Hot Springs are worth a stop for a long soak. Chico offers dining, a lounge, and overnight accommodations, whereas Yellowstone Hot Springs is more extensive, with a solid outdoor feel. If extra relaxing is on your agenda, Chico, and the neighboring Sage Lodge, have lovely spas. Sage has a private hot tub in their spa area, and if you're planning an overnight stay, you can't beat the views from every angle in the building.

Another great option for lodging is A Stone's Throw Bed and Breakfast. This eloquently designed, contemporary home is adult-only, making it a perfect respite from hectic households. And, of course, there's the historic Murray Hotel, one of the late Anthony Bourdain's favorite hotels. The landmark hotel is fabulous on its own, but it also is part of the Murray Block, with restaurants, shopping, and the historic Murray Bar. It's the perfect place to spend your evenings.

Woman in a yoga studio. Photo by Jonathan Finch