Northside Vs. Southside
It’s a debate as old as time, when buffalo still roamed downtown, wolves howled through campus, and the unobstructed waters of Bozeman Creek roared through it all. Surely our ancestors shared many a duel over the issue, and now we will attempt to settle the age-old rivalry: north Bozeman or south Bozeman?
Driving through town en route to your favorite trailhead isn’t the end of the world, but some days it can be a bummer. So if we cut out the middleman, which area of town has better access? From the south side, it’s a short jaunt to Triple Tree, Sourdough, Leverich, Hyalite, and beyond. Hang a left on Kagy and you’re at Bear Canyon in a jiffy. The north side sits closer to the Bridgers and houses Story Mill and the East Gallatin Recreation Area, but that’s really about it. A couple blocks may not be a deal-breaker, but then again, only a couple blocks separate north from south.
Even after taking into account the nuisance that is North 19th, when it comes to shopping, the north side just has more. North 7th alone gives the entire campus area a run for its money. Downtown holds equal opportunity on both sides of the street, but take a closer look and you’ll find yourself on the north side during most shopping missions.
Decent rentals can be found all over Bozeman, but purchasing a home is another matter. While most working folk get pushed to west-side suburbiaville for an affordable mortgage, there are still a few fixer-upper deals closer to downtown. Northside homes are smaller, but what they lack in size they make up for in character. Houses on the south side tend to be larger and have nicer yards—but you’ll pay dearly for these benefits.
What debate would be complete without comparing libations? With the Barmuda Triangle being an anomaly, the majority of suds spots sit up north. As for breweries, we’ve got high hopes for the new one near campus, but the north’s still got a 2-1 advantage—and you can’t have too much of a good thing.
With the south side’s claim to Lindley, Cooper, Bogert, and Southside parks, this one’s not even close. Add the more popular in-town trails like Peets Hill and the Gallagator, and it’s pretty clear where that new $15-million Parks & Trails bond should be spent.
While we can’t really complain about traffic in this town, it can on occasion be annoying. With recent improvements to traffic flow near campus (in spite of the fresh memory of detours on North 8th), this one goes to the south. A persistent but predictable roadblock is far less infuriating than occasional random gridlock on the way to Bridger, and North 19th is just plain hell on Earth.
Bozeman is lucky to have an abundance of historical homes and buildings mixed in with modern, creative businesses and houses, the best of which lie in the heart of Bozeman—a heart that seems pretty evenly split in both directions. But when it comes right down to it, we prefer the funky, progressive vibe of the north—complete with free-roaming dogs and impromptu Frisbee games in the street—to the dichotomy of cramped student rentals and overly manicured yards that characterize many southside neighborhoods.
Score: 4 to 4. Winner: Tie
Well there you have it, Bozemanites. After hundreds of years of debates and fierce civil battling, we still have no idea which side is better—probably because it doesn’t really matter. We can all look up and see the snowcapped Bridgers, take a walk down Main Street, and ride bikes to our favorite trailhead. North or south, living in Bozeman, we’ve got it pretty good.