Let the old fuddy duddy friends go to Florida or Arizona and melt away. Bozeman offers more – a lot more. It’s one of the lesser known retirement destinations in the United States. But, check Sunset, VIA, AARP, Travel or one of the many other magazines that rate retirement towns and you’ll find Bozeman right there at the top of the list. Why?
For one thing, Bridger Bowl (for downhill skiing) and Bohart Ranch (for cross country skiing) are 20 minutes up the road in the Bridger Range – for those who crave the active life. Big Sky and Moonlight Basin are just 45 minutes to the south and Yellowstone is just a half hour further on. Condos at Big Sky are still a bargain right now but sales are picking up). Virginia City (an old mining camp, now an active ghost town) is just an hour to the southwest. Butte, with its historic town and tours, is an hour to the west on I-90 and Livingston with its railroad museums is a half hour to the east.
But, Bozeman itself has plenty to do. The Bozeman Symphony conducted by the imaginative and talented Matthew Savery offers six or more concerts per season and the Intermountain Opera performs two operas each year. The Ellen Theatre, operated by a former Disney creative designer, offers jazz performances, films, theatre productions and other stage performances throughout the year. In the summer, there is the Gallatin County Fair, the Sweet Pea Festival, Music on Main, evening Art Walks and other events to keep you busy. There is a Christmas Stroll in the wintertime. The American Computer Museum is located in Bozeman as well as the Pioneer Museum in the old jail, run by the Gallatin Historic Society. But, the crowning gem in Bozeman is the Museum of the Rockies which has the best dinosaur exhibit west of New York as well as a NEW state-of-the- art Planetarium (opens March 2013), a Montana History Room, and an interesting American Indian exhibit. The museum offers regular programs in their auditorium and has a bustling cadre of docents (they’re always looking for more). There is a Newcomers Club, various neighborhood associations, Audubon, and the Bozeman Folklore Society. You’ll also find Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions in Bozeman. Between Livingston (to the east) and Ennis (to the west), ten golf courses are in the area.
Not to be overlooked is 14,000 student Montana State University, increasingly recognized as a paragon for educational excellence in many fields of study. MSU also offers exciting football and basketball games throughout the year as well as competitive events in other sports. The public is invited to events on campus and you’ll often find the touring company of a Broadway stage show performing in the indoor arena. At the Fairgrounds, you’ll be able to skate or watch younger guys playing hockey, almost year round. Health Care facilities are usually a concern of seniors and Bozeman Deaconess Hospital offers superb services, even boasting its own cancer treatment center. Many physician offices are located adjacent to the hospital.
Main Street of Bozeman is a National Historic District and you’ll enjoy walking along, looking at the hundred year- old buildings and the many quaint shops and stores along the way, many of which you’ll want to patronize. But, Bozeman has expanded to the west and there you’ll find a new Safeway store, REI, Target, Home Depot and Lowes, Coldwater Creek, Staples, and Costco. The Gallatin Valley Mall, just a mile further west, offers Macys, Barnes & Noble, Penneys, Sears, some smaller shops and an eight-plex cinema.
You can fly in and out of Bozeman with direct connections to Salt Lake City, Seattle, San Francisco-Oakland, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago and Newark. The newly expanded and very attractive airport terminal building has still the aura of a small-town airport but is a model of efficiency. It is located eight miles west of Bozeman along Interstate 90.
I-90, running on the north side of Bozeman, offers the ability to drive east as far as Chicago and west to Seattle. Salt Lake City is seven hours to the south and Helena and Great Falls are 1 ½ and 3 hours to the north. Glacier National Park, just east of Flathead Lake, is about five hours to the north. The Yellowstone River is just a half hour to the east at Livingston and the Missouri forms just a half hour to the west at Three Forks where the Gallatin, Madison and Jefferson Rivers come together. Tired of traffic where you live? Come to Bozeman. You can get around Bozeman with little problem and you can travel on I-90 and the other highways around Bozeman on free and open roads.
This area is known for its great fly fishing (remember A River Runs Through It?) and fly fishing shops abound (as well as guides). Simms, the manufacturer of high quality waders, has its offices just west of Bozeman. Gibson, the maker of the most coveted brand of guitar, is located here in Bozeman. There are over a hundred high tech firms that have located in and around Bozeman, including Tech Ranch, Zoot Enterprises and Right Now Technologies (recently acquired by Oracle). Why? Because of the lifestyle this area offers.
Don’t be deterred by winter. We do get snow around the beginning of December and it lasts until April, but its cold and easy to drive on. It rarely gets more than a foot deep on the ground. The County does an excellent job of plowing the roads right after every storm. Just dress appropriately and you’ll be fine. There’s nothing like a cold, crisp, sunny day – and there are plenty of them.
To the south of Bozeman is the Gallatin Range, to the southwest, you can see Spanish Peaks and the Madison Range (where Ted Turner’s bison range is located), to the northeast of town is the Bridger Range and to the east is the Bangtail Range. There are elk, moose, whitetail & mule deer and black bear in the area – and all are waiting to greet you. Hyalite Canyon in the Gallatin Range is a hiking, fishing and mountain/ice climbing mecca where there are several waterfalls you can hike to, a popular recreation area.
Come take a look. It’s easy to get to Bozeman on one of those direct flights. I’ll be glad to meet you and to show you around. We have some attractive lodging facilities and Bed & Breakfasts (one has some penned wolves) as well as some very fine restaurants, both here and at Big Sky. I can show you some homes in your price range that will exceed your expectations. Prices are still depressed, particularly with the higher range homes.