50 Gallatin County holiday & winter activities
that are alcohol and drug-free, inexpensive & fun!
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1. Candlelight tours at Lewis and Clark State Park. The first 1/2 of the caverns is seen with electricity while the remainder is by candlelight. Recommend that visitors be 12 years or older and fit for a 2 mile-600 step hike. Reservations required. Call (406) 287-3541.
2. Bake holiday treats — and share them. Need ideas and recipes? Do an online search. There are tons of resources.
3. Make a list of new books to read. They’ve always got a “librarians favorites” table set up at the Bozeman Library. Whether your tastes run to memoir, nonfiction or a good, hard-boiled detective novel, there’s something for everyone. While you’re there, check out the library’s activity calendar.
4. Go to a coffee shop – or tea house – with friends and play a board game. Call ahead for shop hours — most local coffee shops close early on weeknights.
5. Decorate your home, office, or neighborhood for the holidays. Shop local
second hand stores for great hand-me-down decorations. Need ideas? Here’s 101+
6. Line your front sidewalk with luminaries. Want to make your own? Learn how.
7. Go to Bozeman Hot Springs or Yellowstone Park’s “Boiling River” and have a delicious soak.
8. Attend concerts and shows, like the Nutcracker, or the Bozeman Symphony. Not inexpensive. But fun.
9. Go dancing, to the art gallery, a movie, or another event at the Emerson Cultural Center.
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10. Make home-made Christmas presents. Shop second-hand stores like Sack’s or the Salvation Army for great ideas or supplies (and support good, local, non-profits at the same time)!
11. Go bowling.
12. Go boxing. That’s sledding using cardboard boxes.
13. Play broom ball: ice hockey but with brooms that are duct taped and sneakers instead of skates.
14. Snow snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on the full moon. Lindley Park connects with a trail system. Some trails allow dogs. Some don’t. Some trails charge fees, most don’t.
15. Go caroling. Sing on your own, with a group of friends. Or, many Christmas-Eve church services focus on traditional holiday songs and include candle-light.
16. Pick a name from one of the many “Holiday Make a Wish” trees businesses around town show (trees often available at Gallatin Valley Mall) and gift someone you’ve never met but would SO appreciate your generosity.
17. See the Museum of the Rockies’ “Season of Light” or “Classic Laser” Light Shows. Visit this link to Planetarium events to learn more.
18. Go ice-skating — at Beall Park or on the rink at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds.
19. Host a Winter Solstice bonfire. Learn more about Solstice.
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20. Host a gathering where everyone makes and shares a list of their goals and desires for the New Year.
21. See if the Gallatin Valley Food Bank or Gallatin County Warming Center need volunteers this holiday season.
22. Give a holiday gift of your presence and attention to the animals at the Heart of the Valley Humane Society. Check out their SantaPaws event.
23. Treat yourself to yoga at any of the local yoga studios. Classes are sometimes donation-based or as little as $10.
24. Visit an open AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meeting. “Open” means that visitors are welcome. Call 585-4079 or visit here for a listing of meetings and locations.
25. Walk the loop at the Gallatin Valley Mall and people watch (its warm and dry!).
26. Visit Yellowstone National Park — rent snowshoes or skies at Mammoth Hot Springs and adventure. Winter is a great time for wolf viewing.
27. Walk or drive different neighborhoods and look at Christmas Lights. In Bozeman, a great spot to check is the Sunrise Campground on the frontage road east of town, next to Dick Walter Auto. On Christmas Eve, many Southside neighborhoods in the vicinity of Sacagawea School have luminaries out.
28. Go on photography excursions. Read Taking Photos in the Cold and in the Snow and go for it!
29. Check out videos from the public library, make popcorn, and have a video fest. While you’re watching, string popcorn & cranberries to decorate your home or tree.
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30. Make origami — Michael’s stocks origami paper.
31. Cut your own Christmas Tree. Rocky Creek Farms offers sleigh rides and hot cider — or get a Forest Service permit. Or, instead of cutting a tree down, decorate a tree out in the forest with treats for birds (Have you ever read, The Night Tree?)
32. Tour the Gibson Guitar factory. Tours are on Wednesday afternoons at 3:30 PM and there’s only room for six people. Book ahead at 587-4117, ext. 4125.
33. Learn about Chanukah. Contact Bozeman’s Temple Beth Shalom to see about visiting a service. 556-0528.
34. Tour Gallatin County’s Christmas Stroll celebrations: Downtown Bozeman, Belgrade Chamber Festival of Lights, Three Forks, or West Yellowstone. Contact the Chamber of Commerce in each community for the dates.
35. Check with the Gallatin County Rest Home to see if they need folks to visit residents who won’t have family visiting them this holiday season.
36. Host a sushi-making party. Find demos and recipes, here.
37. Join the First Presbyterian Church’s “Sing along” Messiah. For more information, call 586-9194.
38. Have a Winter Solstice bonfire. Have a potluck after and serve fabulous homemade soup. Here’s some recipes.
39. Go sledding on Pete’s Hill (there’s a warming hut).
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40. Attend (or create) a drumming event to celebrate full moon.
41. Visit the Bridger Bowl Torchlight parade and fireworks display on December 30th, Call 586-2389 for more information.
42. Attend a kids’ play or holiday performance.
43. Check out the entertainment schedule for the Community Food Coop’s Flying C coffeehouse. Call 587-4039. Or try Wild Joe’s Coffee House , and Townshend’s Tea House, Downtown Bozeman.
44. Celebrate and learn about advent. Christ the King Lutheran Church offers a candlelight service, 587-4131.
45. Have a board game potluck. Here are suggested games: Cranium; Pictionary; Taboo; Scrabble; Guesstures; Apples to Apples; Bunco; Cribbage, or the Farm Game (the game invented on the seat of a tractor). Laugh a lot.
46. Visit the American Computer and Robotics Museum. Admission is, FREE.
47. Build an igloo.
48. Make a snow sculpture or try another “snow and ice” art project.
49. Learn to snowshoe.
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50. Host a potluck and invite friends to help create your own list!