Start Your Yellowstone Vacation in Livingston, Montana!

Saddle bronc riding, Livingston Roundup Rodeo Photo by Andy Austin

Big mountains, exceptional fishing and a hopping social scene characterize Livingston, Montana.  While small in population, it’s packed with outdoor adventure, events, shopping, dining, art and music. Plus, it's drop-dead gorgeous, so even a scenic drive and a quiet view are well worth it. While any time of year is nice to visit, spring is unique because Yellowstone's wildlife has babies, the spring colors are spectacular, and you'll have a bit more elbow room than during the summer.

The original gateway town to Yellowstone National Park, Livingston was founded in 1882 as a division headquarters for the Northern Pacific Railroad, Today, its evolved from a mining and railroad town to a cultural hub of killer restaurants, art galleries, bookstores, music and live theater. It's also home to cowboys, outfitters, ranchers and long-time businesspeople - an eclectic mix of people who make up the community, and it's always a good time with a good vibe.

Lewis and Clark

Beginning May 19, 2023, the traveling exhibit, “Re-imagining America: The Maps of Lewis and Clark” will be on display at the Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Information Center. The traveling exhibit uses large-scale reproductions of historic maps, photos, and text to show how America looked before and after Lewis and Clark’s Journey. Using cutting-edge scientific techniques and methods as old as humanity to create a new portrait of America.


Events in Livingston

Livingston has some stellar ones if you want to plan your trip around local events. The Summer Concert Series at the Shane Center is a free, family-friendly event each Thursday from 5 – 8 pm, June 1 – July 13. Tap Into Montana Brewfest takes place June 24 at Miles Park; Livingston Roundup Rodeo, parade, and the Livingston Classic PBR are July 2 – 4; the Livingston Depot Center's Festival of the Arts, July 24 at Depot Park, and the Yellowstone Harvest Festival happens Sept. 9 – 10. These are the big ones, but you'll find live music, book readings and other community events each week.

Live music at Pine Creek Lodge, Montana Photo by Kaden Harrison

Live Music in Outdoor and Indoor Venues

Speaking of music, Paradise Valley has become a hub for live music, and the volume gets turned up during the summer. Old SaloonPine Creek Lodge, and Music Ranch Montana have outdoor venues. Montana Music Ranch shows include dinner and country swing dancing! You'll also find music at The AtticChico Hot SpringsThe Shane Center and numerous other taverns around town.


Art Walks and Farmer’s Markets

Art walks through Livingston's numerous galleries showcase local and regional artists of all forms. The walks occur every fourth Friday from 5:30 – 8:00 pm, June through September. And you won't want to miss all the fresh Montana produce, meats, eggs, baked goods and crafts at the Livingston Farmer's Market, Wednesdays, 4:30 – 7:00 pm, and Shield's Valley Farmer's Market, Clyde Park, Mondays from 4:30 – 7:00 pm, June through September.


Chico Hot Springs Resort, Pray, Montana Photo by Alyssa Henry

Outdoor Activities

Of course, angling is very popular on the infamous Yellowstone River, but outfitters offer scenic floats for those who prefer a relaxed float. In addition, e-bike rentals are gaining in popularity and are a great way to get a little extra oomph in your bike ride. There are also two unique natural hot springs in the valley, Chico Hot Springs and Yellowstone Hot Springs. (I think a trip to Paradise Valley is only complete with a stop at one of them.)


Exceptional Dining

And finally, I can't say enough about the dining options throughout the valley. From fine dining to authentic ethnic food, including casual bar fare, you could eat for a week and barely scratch the surface of all the yumminess in the area.


Women going to eat at Pinky's Cafe, Livingston, Montana. Photo by Sam Rouda