Visiting Bozeman this December? What to Do & How to Stay Safe

Thursday Dec. 1st, 2022

When it comes to a fun destination where you and your family can enjoy time outside in a gorgeous winter landscape, there is no place better than our own Bozeman. This town is full of holiday charm, and there are tons of great activities to enjoy and sights to see that will provide those quintessential winter memories.

Read on to find out how to keep busy this winter in Bozeman, as well as some tips that can help you to safely enjoy the cold season.

Winter Safety
Regardless of what activities you plan to enjoy while in Bozeman, it is important to remember to practice general safety. During the winter months, the temperatures generally range from 15 degrees to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but it has been known to dip below zero. That is why it is important to take the proper precautions to stay warm, especially if you will be outdoors for several hours.

Make sure to bring a winter coat, gloves, boots, long pants, and a few sweaters. During the coldest temperatures, it is important to layer your clothes so you can maintain your body heat. It’s important to avoid getting wet, but if you do, be sure to change into warm, dry clothes to avoid the risk of hypothermia.

It is also important to remember that the sun can be harsh even in the winter, especially when it reflects off the snow. You’ll want to wear strong sunblock, along with lip and eye protection. Harsh winter winds can cause your skin to chap. If you’re outdoors for a long time, especially when snowboarding or skiing, you’ll want to take some steps to prevent windburn. Wear protective gear, and make sure your face is moisturized before heading out on the slopes.

Great Winter Adventures
Now that you are prepared for the harsher elements, you can begin to enjoy the many amazing activities that Bozeman has to enjoy, starting with bird watching. There are tons of colorful species to spot, including red-breasted nuthatches and mountain chickadees. Birdwatching is a great activity for older adults to make friends because it provides common ground and shared passion. It also requires you to get up and move around in nature, alleviating stress as you go — making it a rewarding activity for any age group.

If hunting is your thing, you can’t go wrong with Bozeman. Muzzleloader season runs from December 10th-18th, and hunting is another great activity for enthusiasts of all ages. It is a great way to show kids about the world and for parents to pass down hunting knowledge to their children. Since you need to be patient and wait for the deer to arrive, it is also a great way for families to bond. Just make sure that you are properly licensed to hunt before you go out. 

For those who are properly equipped and experienced, Hyalite Canyon offers the most concentrated amount of ice climbing routes in one venue in all of North America. About 30 minutes from downtown Bozeman, the canyon is home to one of the top ten routes in the entire world, and offers a simply unmatched winter experience for thrill-seeking climbers.

There is also a lot to do for thrill seekers with a need for speed. Bozeman has many great locations for skiing, snowboarding, and sledding. Try some of our famous skiing destinations, including Bridger Bowl Ski Area and Crosscut Mountain Sports Center. For those who don’t mind a further drive, Big Sky Resort is one of the United States’ most impressive ski resorts, and is an absolute can’t-miss for snow sport enthusiasts.  

If you like to take it easy, you can also tie up your snowshoes and take a nature hike through our amazing landscapes. There really is something for everyone in Bozeman.

Have Fun Staying Warm Indoors
As the weather gets colder or the nighttime chill sets in, you can continue the fun by going inside and enjoying great activities in many of our cozy establishments. If you are thirsty, you can visit one of our many breweries, including Map Brewing and Mountain’s Walking, among others. These are awesome establishments where you can have a drink, get a bite to eat, and visit with the locals.

Families with kids may want to try one of Bozeman’s Choice Places to Take Your Kids, JumpTime Trampoline Park, which boasts numerous trampolines and attractions that will help the kids to release their energy from the day.

Another great spot for adults and children alike is the Museum of the Rockies, with 3-5 changing exhibitions for you to learn from, as well as some of the area’s deepest and most thorough dives into natural history and art, and, of course, dinosaurs.

Later in the day, you can enjoy some indoor adventure by checking out a rock climbing attraction. If you really want a one-stop shop, consider Spire Climbing Center. It is an awesome location that allows you to try rock climbing, yoga, and fitness classes all in one place!

Events and Holiday Activities
Bozeman knows how to do the season just right by hosting many awesome activities and shows. Take one look at the Bozeman Magazine events calendar, and you will see exactly what we mean.

One of the more notable events that we have on the docket is the Christmas Stroll in Downtown Bozeman, held the first Saturday of December each year. It’s a spirited event where 5,000+ people gather along Main Street to bring in the holiday season.

The annual Bozeman Ice Festival takes place December 8th-11th, and will be entering its 26th celebration this year. Founded as a celebration and congregation of the many who enjoy climbing in Hyalite Canyon, this event features demos, workshops, competitions, and education, all focused on Bozeman’s popular ice climbing sport.

You can also stop by any of the local holiday markets taking place this year, SLAM Winter Showcase, Holidays with The Emerson Center, SHINE’s annual Holiday Market, Bozeman Winter Farmers’ Market, and more. Many offer tasty snacks, great drinks, and plenty of local art. Sample the local fare, decide which art piece may look great on your wall at home, and get some holiday shopping done.

As you can see, there is a lot to do in Bozeman this winter. Just remember to bundle up and stay safe, and it will be a season to remember.

Luke Smith is a writer and digital nomad from the PNW who splits his time between Washington, Idaho, and Montana.