25+ Things to Do in Livingston from Hiking to Breweries and More
Wild West decor, neon business signs, the arts, and Hollywood glamour. Yes, the town of Livingston, MT has a rugged charm all its own. Livingston has a variety of things to do, from outdoor adventures to dining deliciousness.
Livingston is truly one of the jewels of the Yellowstone Country region. Its totally worth a stop if you visit Bozeman or Yellowstone National Park during your time in Montana. Just make sure you have a windbreaker jacket with you and maybe a warm hat — Livingston is known as the windiest city in Montana!
Need a more famous reason to visit ? Movie buffs will appreciate that Livingston is where A River Runs Through It was filmed. Yes, the movie that turned Brad Pitt into a bona fide movie star.
But Livingston is much more than just being a place that Robert Redford deemed the perfect setting for filming the movie. (Side note: the semi-autobiographical novella the movie is based on was mostly set in Missoula).
Livingston exudes the essence that makes small-town Montana such a special part of the United States. It’s also just 45 minutes north of Yellowstone, America’s first national park. The drive between Livingston and the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park is through Paradise Valley, made more recently famous in that other Yellowstone — the TV show one.
The downtown area of Livingston has a main street with a western vibe, flanked by taverns with a couple of microbreweries thrown in.
Livingston isn’t just a tourist town. It’s home to a strong community that makes their living mostly in the agriculture sector, but also has a number of artists and writers who call Livingston home. Plus, there’s a cool downtown area with delicious restaurants, breweries, and bars. This dichotomy of working the land and creating art (or food!) gives Livingston a special artistic vibe that still feels decidedly Montanan.
Getting to Livingston
So where exactly is Livingston? It’s located about thirty minutes east of Bozeman — though keep in mind you’ll be driving over a mountain pass to get between the two cities so it can take longer depending on road conditions.
The nearest airport is Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Belgrade, the small city to the north of Bozeman. It’s roughly 40 minutes from Livingston.
Bus service is available to Livingston via Streamline Bus to and from Bozeman. Your easiest way to get around is by car, though, particularly if you want to see any attractions located outside the city center of Livingston.
Best Things to Do in Livingston
Now that you’re itching to go to Livingston, here are the top things you must do when visiting Livingston. These tips also will help you plan a great day trip to Livingston from Bozeman.
Stroll Down Livingston’s Main Street
One of the best ways to get a sense of Livingston is to take a walk down Main Street, officially called Park Street, which cuts right through the center of downtown Livingston and is home to many of its most popular restaurants and shops.
As you amble down Main Street you’ll notice the perfectly Montanan dichotomy of the city: western wear stores and fly fishing shops located right by upscale boutiques and art galleries, while old historic dive bars make their home beside gourmet restaurants.
Many of the spots listed in this top things to to do in Livingston list are located right along or close to Park Street.
Museums in Livingston
Livingston Depot Center
Much of Livingston’s history is tied to the railroad, and specifically the Northern Pacific Railway. At one point Livingston’s train station served as the original gateway point for travelers going to Yellowstone National Park. It also was a prominent hub between Seattle and Minneapolis.
Today, you can learn more about this history and see artifacts from the bygone era of train travel at the Depot Museum at the Livingston Depot Center.
Beyond the museum, you’ll see the old train tracks and can marvel at the beautiful building that houses the depot and was built in 1902 — the third depot to exist on this property and one that was prominently built in order to house the huge influx of passengers coming through Livingston at the time.
Yellowstone Gateway Museum
This county museum is located right in Livingston and is a wonderful walk through the county’s history, from Native American culture to railway stories to the dawn of Yellowstone National Park. The Yellowstone Gateway Museum also celebrates the communities and people who call Park County home.
Best Parks in Livingston
One of our favorite places in Livingston is the lovely Sacajawea Park. It is located right by the river and features a sprawling grassy area with lots of trees for shade.
My daughters love it because of the large wooden playground. I love it because it’s just beautiful in Sacajawea Park with views of the mountains and river.
Mayor’s Landing is a riverfront park in Livingston that is a prime spot for fishing access. A small launch area for boats is available for day use, with toilets and trailer parking onsite.
Yellowstone River Activities in Livingston
Livingston is a prime place to check out the magnificent Yellowstone River, which is the longest un-dammed river in the country outside of Alaska.
Livingston has long been a fly fishing hot spot for those in the know. When A River Runs Through It came out in 1992, it suddenly put Livingston on the map for fly fishing, and its reputation as one of the best spots for fly fishing in Montana — and the world — still stands today.
Yellowstone River has the claim to fame for fly fishing in Livingston and the river runs right through (haha) the countryside to the southern and eastern sides of Livingston.
If you know what you’re doing, grab your fishing gear and head to the river for your chance of catching some trout — Livingston is one of only seven states that have the coveted blue-ribbon trout fishing designation that signifies high-quality fisheries nearby and excellent fishing opportunities.
Armstrong Spring Creek is especially popular tributary for trout fishing, located on the Armstrong/O’hair Ranch south of Livingston. This is a private property so advanced bookings are needed. For public fishing access, see Mayor’s Landing under the park section above.
If you haven’t ever gone fly fishing before, you’d be wise to hire a fly fishing guide. Check out Sweetwater Fly Shop or Dan Bailey’s for fly fishing tours out of Livingston.
Even if you’re not into fly fishing, there are still other river activities to do in Livingston.
Hike by Yellowstone River
For pretty river views, head to the Myers River View Trail, an easy 1-mile path that goes to the banks of the river with scenic farm views along the way. Adding to the intrigue of the trail are additions to it like benches and wind chimes created in a way that fits in with the natural setting.
River Rafting and Kayaking
If a walk isn’t adventurous enough for you and you want to get right onto the river rapids, then your best bet is to do some river kayaking or tubing on the Yellowstone.
Watersport rentals for the Yellowstone River are located right in Livingston (check out Rubber Ducky River Rentals) and you’ll soon be on your way to an exhilarating ride down the river.
Caveat: Different parts of the river work better for different sports. The rapids ideal for kayaking may not be ideal for tubing. Check with the locals or sign up for a guided excursion to ensure you are navigating the river in as safe a manner as possible. River currents can be extremely dangerous so it’s important to learn the nature of the water before you set out.
Outdoor Recreation Around Livingston
Murray Creek mentioned above is an ideal short hike, but if you want a longer one around Livingston, you have many options. Here are a couple of the best hikes to do in Livingston plus more outdoor recreation ideas, including cross-country skiing and horseback riding. Remember to recreate responsibly!
Pine Creek Lake Trail
This roundtrip 10-mile hike takes roughly six hours to complete, but it’s worth it for the view of Pine Creek Lake. Along the way to the glacial lake nestled within the Absaroka Mountain Range, you’ll trek by small waterfalls, picturesque forests, and a couple smaller lakes. The trail is steep in parts and not recommended for beginner hikers since its considered a moderate to strenuous trail.
Livingston Peak Hike
The massive Absaroka range mountain towering over Livingston is Livingston Peak, aka Mount Baldy. And if you’re an advanced hiker, you can trek to the top of this iconic 9,295 foot peak. During the Livingston Peak hike, you’ll travel through the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and the Baldy Basin until you reach the pinnacle of the top and are rewarded with views of the Yellowstone Valley .
The journey and views are worth it, but be prepared: this hike has some grueling stretches and is 7.3 miles long, taking an average of six hours to complete.
If you visit Livingston in winter, you can still get in a workout in the wilderness thanks to cross-country skiing. Livingston is a great base town for Nordic skiing thanks to its close proximity to the Paradise Valley and Gallatin National Forest. East Dam Creek Trail and Bear Creek Trail are both located within an hour’s drive south of Livingston and have grooomed trails of varying degrees of difficulty.
Horseback Riding Near Livingston
Livingston, Montana, is a fantastic destination for those who love horseback riding. You can find many horseback riding tours and guides in the area that will take you through the stunning landscapes of Montana. During your ride, you’ll get to see breathtaking views of the mountains, rivers, and forests that make the Yellowstone Country region of Montana so special.
Horseback riding outfitters near Livingston include Bear Paw Outfitters and Eriks Ranch.
Note for Hiking and Outdoor Activities: Bring Bear Spray!
Art and Literature in Livingston
A big part of Livingston’s charm are the art galleries and book stores popping up along the main street corridor and its side streets.
Livingston is home to a plethora of art galleries featuring local artists. Check out Parks Reece Gallery for one artist’s surreal take on nature art while an amble through the exhibition hall at the Livingston Center for Art and Culture will showcase the artwork of many local artists, including students.
Danforth Museum of Art is a great place to see a wide range of art from the area in a non-gallery setting. The museum plays a large part in the local artist community and helps preserve the art culture of Livingston and Paradise Valley.
Bookstores and Libraries
Literature also plays a big part in the culture of Livingston. Many authors call the Paradise Valley home, including local writer Walter Kirn. In addition to being a muse at times for writers, Livingston caters to readers, too, and is home to a few different bookstores — not an easy feat for a town in these days of online shopping!
Elk River Books is run by a local poet and journalist and has a prominent collection of books for sale that features the west and western writers and also has a vegan juice bar in the back.
Sax and Fryer Co. is another bookstore in Livingston you shouldn’t miss out on perusing. It focuses on old-world books, western writings, and children’s books.
Also, don’t miss a visit to the Livingston Park County Public Library. It’s housed in a gleaming columned building that dates back to 1904 and is one of the original Carnegie libraries.
Eats and Drinks in Livingston
Now to one of our favorite categories and things to do in Livingston — eat and drink! Livingston has a diverse range of cuisine and everything from root beer to craft IPAs to cocktails at its various bars and eateries. Here are some of the best places to check out.
Bars & Breweries
Get a Drink at Famous Murray Bar
This bar is a legend in Livingston and is where both locals and visitors enjoy going for a pint or cocktail. It has a distinctly Montana vibe and often plays host to local bands and other live music acts.
Murray Bar is located in the historic Murray Hotel and is known for having served celebrities over the years who stay in the area to film movies. Non-celebrities like the rest of us will also enjoy the welcoming atmosphere, good drinks, and western flair of the bar.
Don’t miss looking at the Murray Bar Flies, which is a wall dedicated to fly fishing photos and stories from the area.
——> Accommodation Tip: Stay in Murray Hotel and book early enough to get the popular Peckinpah Suite.
One of the most popular things to do in Livingston is to check out the local craft brewery scene. The last time I was in Montana, my sister and brother-in-law took me to Katabatic Brewing Company, which is one of their favorite spots in Livingston and is located right on Main Street across from the Depot.
In addition to enjoying a cool brew, you can order from the Mexican restaurant next door and have it delivered right to your table at Katabatic.
A few blocks away from Katabatic, closer to the river and Sacajawea Park, is Neptune’s Brewing Co. This eclectic brewery has a sea life theme and many of its own brews on tap. You can also order food from the pub-style menu. Neptune’s often has live music in the evenings.
The Attic Montana and Whiskey Creek Saloon
If you like your drinks alongside rocking live music, then check out the Attic Montana. Located above Whiskey Creek Saloon, the Attic Montana is a visually and acoustically pleasing performance space. It’s the perfect music venue in Livingston for those who prefer a more intimate concert experience.
Grab tickets to the show and enjoy the full bar, then continue the fun downstairs in the Whiskey Creek Saloon, a swanky dive bar located in a historic 1890 built building that has pool tables and slot machines.
Outdoor music more your style? Plan your trip to Livingston around the Yellowstone Harvest Fest, held each September and featuring local bands, beer, food, and artisan stands.
Where to Get Breakfast
Breakfast at Pinky’s Cafe
While in Livingston, wake up early and beat the rush at Pinky’s Cafe, the most renowned place in the area to get some breakfast. The family-run restaurant prides itself on creative, homecooked food made with local ingredients and served with a smile.
The soothing farmhouse-style interior makes this a great place to dine and its popular with locals, too.
Another good stop for breakfast or any meal of the day is Gil’s Goods. On a warm day when the garage-style door of the dining room is open, it’s an unbeatable atmosphere. The cafe has a trendy industrial look with elevated American comfort food on the menu, including grassfed beef and woodfired pizza.
Northern Pacific Beanery
A historic breakfast place in Livingston is Northern Pacific Beanery. As you can no doubt tell from its name, this quaint coffee shop was inspired by the Northern Pacific Railroad and is housed in the old lunch haunt for railway workers.
The cafe even has views of the train tracks. A small outdoor patio greets you outside while inside there is a welcoming atmosphere and the smell of delicious coffee brewing.
Livingston Coffee Shops
If your idea of breakfast is a handcrafted espresso drink paired with a mouthwatering bakery item, or you enjoy a mid-afternoon pick-me-up latte, then you’ll be in coffee heaven in Livingston. So prevalent and well-loved are its coffee shops that the local tourism board even created a QR code for it so you can quickly be taken to a Google map for all the coffee shops in the area.
The Perk on Park is located right on Livingston’s main street (aka Park Street) and has a rustic chic vibe inside. If you’re more concerned about the bakery part of your coffee-pastry duo, check out Livingston Community Bakery. Poppy’s Coffee Barn and Silo Espresso are both drive-thru coffee huts for grab and go coffee and treats (perhaps to enjoy on your way to Yellowstone National Park?).
Dinner Hot Spots
In addition to Murray’s and Gil’s Goods listed above, here are a few other places to get dinner in Livingston. Reservations strongly recommended.
Rib and Chop House
The Rib and Chop House is now a beloved institution throughout western Montana. However, the original Rib and Chop House restaurant is the one in Livingston, known for its excellent cuts of meat.
2nd Street Bistro
Looking for a taste of France in Montana? 2nd Street Bistro is your answer. This gourmet French dining experience is elevated with western culinary twists and hospitality.
It’s not a Montana small town experience without a rodeo, and Livingston is no exception. The annual Livingston Roundup Rodeo, held each July, provides an unforgettable rodeo experience with barrel racing, bronco rides, and even a parade.
The rodeo is held outdoors at the Park County Fairgrounds. Livingston Roundup Rodeo is an iconic thing to do in Livingston, dating back to its origins in 1924.
Adventures Near Livingston
Skiing at Bridger Bowl
Ski where the locals go with a skiing excursion to Bridger Bowl.
If you’re in Livingston in the winter and want to hit the slopes for a day or two, your best bet is to head to Bridger Bowl, which is about a 40-minute drive northwest of Livingston. It’s a popular place for locals who live in Bozeman and Livingston to ski who want great runs and powder, but don’t want to deal with the out-of-towners at Big Sky Resort to the south (and which is about 90 minutes from Livingston).
Chico Hot Springs Day Trip From Livingston
A fun day trip from Livingston is Chico Hot Springs, located 30 minutes to the south. Chico Hot Springs is a resort and day spa that has — you guessed it — hot springs on its property. Get a day pass to soak in these relaxing pools fed by underground hot springs and then book yourself for a massage in the resort’s spa…followed by another soak in the pools. Chico Hot Springs has two large open-air natural mineral hot spring pools and you’ll no doubt have a hard time dragging yourself out of them!
When it is time to head back to Livingston, make a stop along the way at the Old Saloon in Emigrant, Montana for some live music and a drink in a bar that will make you feel like you’ve harkened back to the days of the wild west.
More Cool Places Near Livingston
If you want to keep exploring around Livingston, here are some top places to check out:
Big Sky Resort: Summer Guide and Winter Guide
Chico Hot Springs: A beloved hot springs resort in Paradise Valley
Big Timber: A small town tucked away by the Custer-Gallatin National Forest.
And of course…Yellowstone National Park. You can see all our articles about Yellowstone here.