The Manhattan Project
There is the rest of the world's Manhattan—the one in New York—and then there's our Manhattan. Theirs has the Upper West Side; ours is the Upper West Side. Theirs is near the Bronx, and ours is near the broncs. For them, "subway in August" means sweating through a suit for 30 minutes in urine-scented heat while being solicited; for us the term refers to a tasty sandwich by the river. And that's why, for those needing a break from Bozeman's "big city ways," the Montana version of Manhattan, just down the road, still has that authentic Western experience for anyone willing to ride a few stops down the "I-90 line."
At some point, every tour of Manhattan ends up at the famous Sir Scott's Oasis. Serving up some of best seafood and steaks in the Rocky Mountains, Sir Scott's is a real monument. The locally raised prime rib and ribeyes are famous, and you'll never have to worry about renting a tux to go there. Other local favorites like Café on Broadway and Wild West Pizzeria give you even more delicious options.
Manhattan offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Bridgers, best viewed from any of the open roads surrounding the town. Self-propelled types will find plenty of road space for cycling, and you won't have to dodge any taxis. The Frontage Road is smooth and fast, winding down into Logan to the west and shooting straight back to Belgrade to the east. For less traffic, hit Dry Creek Road. This scenic route runs from Belgrade all the way to Manhattan through some of the Gallatin Valley’s most pristine country. Depending on the time of day, you may see deer, pheasants, and even turkeys near one of the many stream crossings. The entire Manhattan area is home to fewer than 1,500 people, so you'll enjoy much more space and privacy during your cruise than in Bozeman.
Summer fly fishing can make the Gallatin Canyon look more like Coney Island than a scenic, trout-healthy fishery. But worry not, because just a few miles north of this circus you'll find yourself fishing some of the most scenic waters southwest Montana has to offer. A half-day float from Gallatin Forks fishing access to the Logan Bridge means quality fishing in an impressive landscape. Usually by late June, the waters have slowed down and cleared up. Canoeing from the Logan Bridge into the headwaters of the Missouri River is another option that can make for a memorable day on the water. Several small creeks flow into the Gallatin on these stretches; some of these tributaries hold healthy numbers of trout and are worth exploring.
The weekend of August 20 marks the annual Manhattan Potato Festival. Celebrating over 60 years of potato-seed farming in and around Manhattan, this is a local-color event not to miss. Pancake breakfast, live music, lawnmower races, a parade, and a community dance at the American Legion will take place over the course of this two-day event.
After the day is done, don’t miss Manhattan's local watering holes. Welcoming atmospheres and cold drinks can be found at the Frank n’ Steins, the Broken Arrow, and the American Legion. The Oasis also has a bar scene with good music, hospitality, and a pool table. There’s nothing better than a small-town Western bar, and they don’t get any more authentic than in Manhattan. It may be a quiet town, but that doesn’t mean Manhattan’s residents don’t know how to have a good time. The local attitude is friendly and kind; strangers become friends over a cold draft beer, and the sun-drenched memories of a Montana summer last forever.
So whether you like to bike, fish, eat, or drink, Manhattan has something unique to offer just about anyone. Take the short ride out to the "outer boroughs" and experience the Manhattan that's much closer to home. For more info, visit townofmanhattan.com.