by Emily Coombs
on Monday, October 25th, 2021 at 9:40am.
Livingston, Montana, is known for its eclectic population. Cowboys, artists, chefs, writers, outdoor enthusiasts, and entrepreneurs all call this little town "home." What was once a railroad town and a gateway town to Yellowstone National Park is now a hip mix of food, shopping, and entertainment tucked at the base of what is aptly called Paradise Valley.
If you are planning to shop, allocate more time than you think you will need. The retail scene is incredible, with new stores popping up all the time. Livingston is known for having many artists and writers as residents, so galleries and bookstores have always been plentiful. Now, niche stores like The Kitchen Shop, with all kinds of kitchen necessities (or not), draw you back more than once in one shopping trip.
If you're looking to invest in a pair of exceptional cowboy boots, stop in Babione's Wilson Boots Emporium, where they still build these iconic boots by hand. Started in 1945 by Carl Wilson, a saddle maker from Miles City, these boots have stood the test of time. It's a little-known fact that Wilson Boots invented the spur shelf! Current owners Virgil and Paula Babione are committed to keeping the quality of boots on par with the stellar reputation they deserve.
Dan Bailey's Outdoor Company is another iconic Livingston business, established in 1938 by one of the first and foremost experts on fly-fishing in the region, Dan Bailey. In the spring of 2020, they combined with a local gear company, Timber Trails, and now have an expanded selection of gear and expertise in fishing, hiking, biking, and skiing!
Montana Watch Company handcrafts unique custom watches utilizing custom engraving, leather carving, and gem setting. All of their watches are handmade in Livingston, and each one begins with a complimentary design consultation. These timepieces are gifts to pass from one generation to the next.
Nothing complements serious shopping like a good meal, and the food in Livingston is some of the best around. Dining options range from casual to refined, but don't worry; the dress code is generally "come as you are" -- whether that is donning river gear or a stylish purchase from one of the local boutiques.
During the summer months, Mark's In and Out Burger, opened in 1954, is a must-do. A walk-up window, killer burgers, dogs, fries, and shakes, and the chance to relax, step back in time and experience some old-fashioned community cheer as you wait in line. Another great lunch option is Matt's Old Fashioned Butcher Shop and Deli; the sandwiches are made fresh and piled high.