I feel very fortunate to live in Bozeman. I’ve spent 25 rewarding years here and I love sharing the excitement of moving here with newcomers. Bozeman is a desirable place to live and it’s not hard to understand why the city has grown: an elevated quality of life, a shared respect for the outdoors, acts of kindness that extend far beyond community boundaries. Montanans hold these values dear so it’s important that newcomers uphold them too.
For people moving to Bozeman, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions we hear about living here:
Table Of Contents
Frequently Asked Questions On Moving To Bozeman Montana
Why Live In Bozeman Montana?
Quality of life is a big priority here and it is baked into our culture in different ways. For some this means living within walking distance to work. For others it’s a work hard – play harder lifestyle achieved by weekend river trips or a morning ski tour. We are surrounded by mountains that cast beautiful views in every direction. And our community draws people from all over who add their experiences, knowledge, and depth to our valley.
The economy here is resilient and has recovered quickly from past downturns. Small businesses and startups offer employment in wide-ranging industries such as recreation, tourism, construction, and tech. We have truly amazing restaurants with talented chefs and ingredients sourced from local farms. Plus the food scene is always expanding so there is always a new restaurant to try. You can get a great education in Bozeman at any age through the Bozeman Public Schools and Montana State University.
Montana is rural so we know how important it is to help each other out in tough situtations. Bozeman is no exception to this sentiment: when the Bridger Foothills Fire consumed over 7,000 acres last September, support was immediately galvanized to raise funds and evacuate threatened residents and livestock. This city has grown fast but it still feels like a small town because of this small town mentality. And if it starts to feel too small, you can book a trip anywhere out of Bozeman Yellowstone International airport.
What Is The Population Of Bozeman?
At under 50,000 people, Bozeman is a micropolitan. The city has been the fastest growing micropolitan for the past four years and consistently ranks in the top ten micropolitans nationwide. The city is expected to become a metropolitan when the 2020 census count is released.
Bozeman Population Stats:
- The population of Bozeman was last estimated at 49,831 people in 2019. According to 2019 estimates Bozeman is the fourth largest city in Montana. The next largest cities in Montana are Great Falls (58,434), Missoula (75,516), and Billings (109,577).
- The population of Gallatin County was last estimated at 116,438 in 2019. Gallatin County is very densely populated when compared to the rest of Montana. Consider nearby Park County which was estimated at just 16,806 people in 2019.
- Over 10 percent of Montana’s population lives within Gallatin County and Park County.
How Fast Is Bozeman Growing?
Bozeman has added over 10,000 people since 2010 and continues to grow at a steady clip. In the past five years the Bozeman population growth was nearly 20% making it the fastest growing city in Montana. Longtime locals may remember when North 19th was just a dirt road past Durston, which is frankly hard to imagine these days!
Who Provides The Best Cell Phone Coverage In Montana?
Cell phone coverage is a wise consideration prior to moving to Montana, a vast state with over 90 million acres of terrain. The three major carriers in Montana are Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. Verizon is unanimously recommended in Bozeman and perhaps the most reliable option across Montana. AT&T comes in second with decent coverage but remains a much less popular carrier. T-Mobile is generally not recommended as it has poor service within Bozeman itself and very spotty service throughout the state.
Generally speaking , good cell phone service can be consistently found within Bozeman and Belgrade, or nearby interstates like I-90. However when traveling between Montana cities you will almost always find yourself in out-of-service zones. This is especially true for canyon drives such as US-191 to Big Sky or MT-84 to Ennis. If you’re out camping or on the river for the weekend, let your friends and family know you’ll be out of service and get comforatble being out of range in the outdoors!
What Towns Are Near Bozeman?
If you want to live within a short commute to Bozeman consider looking at homes in Belgrade, Four Corners and Gallatin Gateway. Further away but still reasonably short commutes are Livingston, Manhattan, and Three Forks. Big Sky is an hour away and many people make the commute daily but the travel through the Gallatin Canyon can get complicated in poor weather. The same is true if you are commuting between Livingston and Bozeman over the Bozeman Pass on I-90.
Distance between Montana cities:
Closest towns outside of Bozeman:
- Belgrade – 8 miles, 15 minutes
- Gallatin Gateway – 13 miles, 20 minutes
- Livingston – 28 miles, 30 minutes
- Three Forks – 31 miles, 33 minutes
- Big Sky MT – 50 miles, 1 hour
Closest major cities:
- Helena – 97 miles, 1 hour 45 minutes
- Billings – 143 miles, 2 hours 10 minutes
- Great Falls – 185 miles, 3 hours
- Missoula – 202 miles, 3 hours
How Much Do Homes Cost In Bozeman?
We saw alot of housing activity in 2020: higher demand for housing, fewer homes on the market, and growing pains too. New construction homes are just not being built fast enough to match the pace of growth and as a result, housing is getting more expensive in Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley:
Median sales prices for single family homes (June 2021 compared to June 2020)
- $720,000 In Bozeman City Limits, up 49%
- $865,000 Outside Bozeman City Limits, up 49%
- $542,000 In Belgrade, up 58%
- $702,000 in Gallatin County, +53%
- $460,000 in Livingston, up 40%
- $505,169 in Park County, up 45%
- $3,300,000 in Greater Big Sky, up 699%
Key Factors In The Montana Housing Market:
Many factors contributed to surging Bozeman real estate activity in 2020 which I recently explained on the blog. In short, the pandemic spurred a moving trend and high buyer demand when homes for sale were in short supply. We are still experiencing a seller’s market with only 30% of the homes on the market compared to March 2020.
If you are in the process of finding a home in Bozeman, don’t fret! I’ve prepared some tips on buying in a competitive market here. You can get an idea of current prices by browsing homes in our advanced search. After doing a preliminary search its best to consult with an experienced agent. A licensed real estate agent has access to more home listings (that you won’t see on Zillow) and can skillfully negotiate your terms. I encourage you to reach out if you have any questions about buying a home in this market. You can contact us for a consultation here.
Where Can I Find Things To Do In Bozeman?
Bozeman is a lively place to be year-round and the community is always producing fun things to do in your free time. The Bozone Events Calendar is an excellent go-to calendar to find all kinds of events happening in Bozeman. The Downtown Bozeman Association also hosts a variety of events that keep things exciting downtown – summertime favorites are Sweet Pea Music Festival, Music On Main, Downtown Art Walks, Crazy Days sidewalk sales, and the occasional Cruisin’ On Main Car Show. For outdoor events, Outside Bozeman has a calendar for local races, wilderness education classes, and activities hosted in nearby Montana State Parks. Other events you don’t want to miss in Bozeman are the local farmer’s markets and SLAM Summer Fest, a free arts and music festival in August.
Where Is The Best Place To See The Sunset In Bozeman?
Located in the Gallatin Valley, you have to gain some elevation to catch a great sunset in Bozeman. Since our skies are often clear in any given season, you are guaranteed to see gorgeous hues of cotton candy pink, purple, and orange as the sun sets over western skies. Hiking the M Trail at dusk is the number one choice if you want to get some mileage out of your sunset viewing. Peet’s Hill is a more leisurely option being just five minutes from downtown, with plenty of space to spread out and let the dogs run around. Snowfill Dog Park in the foothills of the Bridgers also has about two miles of trails and rolling grassy hills where you can catch the sunset to the west with great views of the Bridger Mountains to the north. Any rooftops with a comfortable viewing area are a great option too, restaurants like Sky Shed in the historic Armory building make a perfect location to take in the sunset with good company.
What Are The Winters Like In Bozeman?
Winters here are predictably long and cold but temperatures fluctuate. They can hover at zero for weeks or fall below -20 and then rise to 40 degrees the next week. Expect sustained winter weather from October to April, but I’ve seen snow fly as early as September and into June. You just never know when one season ends and another begins here so you learn to enjoy the favorable weather while it lasts! If you are unfamiliar with living in colder temperatures check out these tips on surviving winter in Bozeman. Fortunately we see sunny weather all year long and our summers, well the days are long and beautiful enough to help us forget about winter. For tips on how to get through our Bozeman winters, check out our guide here.