The legends and life of the Old West live on in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Originally founded as a railroad town, Cheyenne now stands as the capital city of the “Equality State.” Its streets might look unassuming at first glance, but take it from me, this Wyoming city is waiting to host you for your next great adventure.
Known as the Magic City of the Plains, there’s no shortage of things to do in Cheyenne Wyoming. I’ll let you in on all the local hotspots and hidden gems in this town. On this list, you’ll find a taste of Western culture, cuisine, and family-friendly activities that will leave you saying, “Yeehaw!”
COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN CHEYENNE WYOMING
- Best Family-Friendly Option. A seasonal outdoor pool, golf course, and fitness center are on site at the Cheyenne Little America Hotel and Resort. You’ll also find a children’s playground and an outdoor hot tub at this family-friendly hotel.
- Best Indoor Pool. Comfort Inn & Suites Cheyenne is a 3-star property set in Cheyenne that features an indoor pool and an awesome complimentary breakfast. This hotel is located in the historic district, only a few miles from local attractions.
- Best Budget Friendly. Days Inn by Wyndham Cheyenne features an indoor pool, complimentary breakfast, fitness center and hot tub.
WYOMING STATE CAPITOL
You can’t miss a Wyoming State Capitol visit when you drive into town; its golden spire shines day and night, welcoming visitors to the city. During your self-guided tour of the capitol, you’ll discover that the gold dome is, in fact, actually covered in genuine gold leaf.
The state capitol building is one of only 20 state capitol buildings listed as National Historic Landmarks in the United States. Its walls and stained glass windows paint famous points in Wyoming history.
The Capitol building has undergone renovations recently to reveal the historic charm and character previously hidden under temporary walls and suspended ceilings. You’ll want to look up at the original skylights, stained glass dome, and carved wooden reliefs that haven’t seen daylight in nearly 40 years!
WYOMING STATE MUSEUM
The Wyoming State Museum shares Wyoming’s history with the public. It first opened its doors in 1895 and has grown into a two-story facility covering the history of Wyoming from pre-historic times to the present.
The museum’s exhibits depict the diverse cultures and wildlife in the state. In addition, you’ll explore the rich history of the Native American tribes that made Wyoming their home, along with the pioneers and cattle workers who followed the railroad west in the 19th century.
My son’s favorite part of the museum is its “Hands-On Habitats Room.” The exhibit is perfect for the little explorers in your family; the room allows children to touch, feel, and experience the world of animals living in Wyoming.
The museum also hosts a variety of workshops and activities for families throughout the year. If you happen to visit Cheyenne on the first Saturday of the month, you should stop by the museum and see what family event they have going on that day. Past events have featured Dia de Los Muertos dancers, Animals and the Olympics, and the Ice Age.
CURT GOWDY STATE PARK
Take a tour of the Great Plains wildlife and visit Curt Gowdy State Park! Located about 40 minutes from Cheyenne in the foothills of the Laramie Mountains, the state park is a favorite among locals for hiking, picnicking, and other outdoor recreational activities.
The park hosts outdoors lovers all year round. Come winter, ice fishing on Granite Reservoir becomes a popular pastime. Crystal Reservoir (located next to Granite) becomes a hot spot for boating, paddleboarding, and fishing for fresh trout in the summer.
Curt Gowdy isn’t just for fishing. Horseback riding, hiking, and wildlife viewing are popular activities, too.
One hidden gem at Curt Gowdy is its archery field and mountain biking trails. Archers can practice their skills in a secluded space among the trees. For mountain bikers, the courses offer a fun challenge set against the natural backdrop of the Snowy Mountains foothills.
Make sure to stop by the visitor center here and check out the exhibits and info about Curt Gowdy.
WYOMING HISTORIC GOVERNORS’ MANSION
The Wyoming Historic Governors’ Mansion was home to 19 governors and their families. It’s one of the most beautiful historical buildings in downtown Cheyenne, and I would know — I drive by it every day. Its Corinthian columns, red brickwork, and the terraced lawn are straight out of a period romance novel.
As beautiful as the outside of the mansion is, the inside is all the more inspiring. The mansion houses artifacts that depict how life and the mansion evolved from 1905 to the 1970s. You’ll take a walk through time inside, discovering everything from quaint dollhouses and children’s clothes to viewing the office where the Governor once signed Wyoming’s rules into law.
One thing I love about the governor’s mansion is that you can learn something new every visit. You’ll find the mansion staff welcoming and excited to share the history of the building and its families with you, and happy to tailor tours to your interests.
CHEYENNE DEPOT MUSEUM
The arrival of the Union Pacific Railroad to a dusty spot on the Great Plains led to the birth of Cheyenne. You can explore this history and the engineering marvels of the railroad at Cheyenne’s Depot Museum.
This museum is excellent for the solo adventurer, but it’s also phenomenal for families. The Depot Museum features interactive displays of railroads, including several hands-on exhibits for children to explore. The museum resides inside the Historic UPRR Depot, the last remaining grand railroad station on the original transcontinental route.
However, the Cheyenne Depot isn’t just a museum. It also hosts Accomplice Beer Company, a delicious restaurant and brewery. As you dine, you can watch trains pull in and out of the working depot. And in the winter, the gorgeous depot lobby hosts a farmer’s market carrying local goods.
TERRY BISON RANCH
A herd of wild bison roams on the sweeping plains that border Cheyenne. By visiting the Terry Bison Ranch, you can get to know these beasts up close (but not selfie close, as any Wyomingite will tell you).
The Terry Ranch has been home to many celebrities, including a president! In 1910, President Roosevelt enjoyed a steak dinner and cigar at the Bunkhouse of the Terry Bison Ranch. You can enjoy the same fixings as President Roosevelt at the Senator’s Steakhouse.
For a unique view of the prairie, you’ll want to hop on the ranch’s Bison Train. Or, you can explore the prairie while horseback riding (or pony rides for your younger cowboys and cowgirls). You can even stay in one of the ranch’s cabins or your camper on the grounds to complete your Western themed experience.
Discount Tickets: Ride the train to see the animals!
CHEYENNE STREET RAILWAY TROLLEY
What do ghost tours, Christmas lights, and the Wild West have in common? You can find them all on the Cheyenne Trolley tour! There’s no better way to spend an afternoon than hopping on the historic trolley bus to take a curated tour of Cheyenne’s best points of interest.
From May through November, you can hitch a ride on the trolley and get an immersive guided tour of the buildings and streets that were once home to outlaws, gunfights, and legendary cowboys and girls.
In October, Cheyenne lets their ghosts take over the tour. Fans of ghost stories will love taking a “Frightseeing Tour” to discover the city’s creepy tales and haunted buildings.
For those visiting Cheyenne for the holidays, the trolley has a special tour just for you. The trolley takes visitors across the city to some of Cheyenne’s best Christmas light displays every year. The routes change every year, with only the cheeriest, brightest homes displayed along the way. So grab the cocoa and the kids, because you can’t miss this tour!
CHEYENNE FRONTIER DAYS
If you want to see Cheyenne at its best, visit us in the last full week of July, when the city becomes the rodeo hotspot of the world. Cheyenne Frontier Days, known by locals as CFD, is the largest outdoor rodeo and western celebration in the world. It’s here that the championship bull and bronco riders dream of earning their spurs.
But there’s more to CFD than rodeo. Almost overnight, the fairgrounds become an icon celebrating Western history. Indigenous Native American tribes showcase their dancing and stories in the Indian Village while historic reenactors depict Old West celebrities like Doc Holiday at the Wild Horse Gulch.
The whole city comes to life during Cheyenne Frontier Days. Downtown you’ll find parades, pancake breakfasts, and horse-drawn carriage tours. Nearby, sharp-shooting cowboys known as gunslingers put on reenactments of shootouts, while the historic Atlas Theatre hosts an Old West Melodrama show that will thrill the whole family!
The whole family can enjoy the carnival midway at Frontier Park in the evening. Catch a ride on the Ferris wheel to get a panoramic view of our breathtaking Western sunsets and view the city lights from up high. Also, be sure to catch one of our many night concerts that always feature the biggest names in country music, from Garth Brooks to Carrie Underwood.
If you can’t make it to town during the rodeo, you can still learn all about it at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum. It’s open daily, and features rotating exhibits about everything CFD.
CHEYENNE BIG BOOTS
If you happen upon a giant cowboy boot or two in Cheyenne, don’t worry, you aren’t dreaming. The city has 25 mammoth cowboy boots marking locations of importance to the community. For a unique tour of the city, you can go on a scavenger hunt to find all the boots!
Every boot features handpainted artwork from Cheyenne’s local artists. The project began as a fundraiser for the Cheyenne Depot Museum Endowment Fund. Each boot represents various aspects or locations of Cheyenne’s history.
The boots are an unconventional, exciting way to view the city. They’ll take you from the main tourist haunts and along the locals know best through the streets. You can pick up a map from the Cheyenne Depot Museum and listen to their free audio tour as you seek out all 25 boots.
NELSON MUSEUM OF THE WEST
The Nelson Museum of the West is a hidden gem located in downtown Cheyenne. Founded by Robert L. Nelson, the museum strives to preserve the culture of the Old West and Nelson’s “cowboy code” for the future.
When visiting the Nelson Museum, you’ll find exhibits featuring items of Western art, artifacts, and cultural exhibits that encompass everything from Native American people to firearms. The museum’s expansive collection of Old West cultural items is so large the museum can’t display all the items at once!
One of the unique exhibits at the Nelson Museum is its military memorial section. The exhibits display the history of mounted calvary. The museum has articles from the U.S. Calvary beginning in the Civil War period through 1943 when U.S. Army cavalry units disbanded.
COWGIRLS OF THE WEST MUSEUM
Not far from the Nelson Museum is the Cowgirls of the West Museum. The museum highlights and preserves the memories of the women who helped to pioneer and tame the American West.
At the museum, you’ll discover what it took to run a homestead, raise a family, and work as a woman on the prairie. You can ask one of the many cowgirl volunteers all about the museum’s fascinating collection of horse tack, western wear, homesteading artifacts.
The women represented at the Cowgirls of the West Museum stepped outside the lines and made history. While you’re at the museum, make sure to ask about the women who took on the world of rodeo and trick riding. You might recognize some of their names, like Annie Oakley and Lucile Mulhall, who were known to entertain presidents with their roping and shooting skills in the days of the Old West.
Admission is free.
One local haunt that you’ll want to visit is Holliday Park. While initially looking like your run-of-the-mill city park, Holliday is actually home to some fantastic Cheyenne history. As I’ve mentioned, the Transcontinental railroad is why Cheyenne exists, and Holliday Park keeps an essential piece of that history alive today.
To see this extraordinary piece of history, head for the south end of the park. There, the Big Boy Steam Engine has found its resting place. Known as “The Old 4004,” Big Boy is the world’s largest steam locomotive. Though retired, it holds a significant place in railway history.
In its heyday, the Big Boy steam engine endured a dauntless task; it climbed steep grades and mountains from Cheyenne to Ogden, Utah. Now, the engine guards a picturesque picnic area and playground that happens to provide a perfect space for the family to relax during your Cheyenne visit.
WYOMING TERRITORIAL PRISON STATE HISTORIC SITE
The nefarious ghosts of Wyoming past reside in the Wyoming Territorial Prison. The National Historic site began as a Territorial Prison before Wyoming entered statehood, and it evolved into a State Penitentiary.
Inside the prison walls, you’ll discover the stories of infamous outlaws and criminals. Some of its most notorious convicts included Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch associate Bob E. Lee. During your guided tour, you’ll learn their stories and those of the prisons’ lesser-known prisoners, too.
The museum offers more than just tales of dastardly Western villains. You can explore their scenic nature trail, enjoy a delicious picnic, or go stream fishing in the Big Laramie River while you’re there too! Make sure to stop by the gift shop on your way out and grab some Wyoming-made gifts and snacks for the trip home!
CHEYENNE BOTANIC GARDENS
Across the street from the Cheyenne Frontier Days grounds sits a hidden oasis of calm and natural beauty. The Cheyenne Botanical Gardens is one of Cheyenne’s greatest treasures, featuring nine acres of perennials, landscaping, and a year-round conservatory for locals and visitors to enjoy.
The outdoor gardens meld seamlessly with Lions Park, another favorite escape for locals. The gardens include several scenic walkways through paths and overbridges straight out of a fairy tale. Rose gardens, gondolas, roses, fountains, and statues are just a few sites you’ll see along the way.
The jewel in the Botanical Garden’s crown is the Shane Smith Grand Conservatory. Inside its glass walls, tropical plants thrive. Exhibits featuring cacti, prehistoric plants, and Mediterranean foliage are just a few of the unique offerings of the conservatory. You’ll also find an Orangerie, bonsai house, and fairy garden inside its walls.
PAUL SMITH CHILDREN’S VILLAGE
Just outside the Grand Conservatory of the Botanical Gardens stands the Paul Smith Children’s Village. This one-of-a-kind site welcomes children and adults of all ages through its gates.
The village is an eclectic collection of water features, architectural pieces, and exhibits geared towards getting kids interested in nature. Its interactive exhibits include a wetlands area, outdoor Jenga, and a secret garden!
While planning your trip, make sure to check the Paul Smith Children’s Village’s website. The village often hosts drop-in classes that teach visitors science, horticulture, art, and other related topics. The classes are free and perfect for the future gardener or scientists in your family!
You haven’t experienced the real Wild West until you’ve stayed a night or two on the prairie. The Bit-O-Wyo Ranch provides a scenic Western escape, complete with a log cabin and horseback riding adventures.
When you stay at Bit-O-Wyo Ranch, you’ll get to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the city and reconnect with nature. The ranch offers a cozy cabin to accommodate guests wanting to experience the sights and sounds of the prairie.
Along with scenic horseback riding, you can enjoy easy access to Curt Gowdy state park and some of the best prairie views in Wyoming when you visit Bit-O-Wyo Ranch. On your way back to Cheyenne, you can grab a bite at the nearby Bunkhouse Grill, which offers some of the best grub on the range.
CHEYENNE WYOMING FAQ
What is Cheyenne Wyoming known for?
Cheyenne, Wyoming is known for being the railroad and rodeo capital of the United States. You’ll find plenty of museums, historical parks, western-themed attractions, and more here.
Is Cheyenne, Wyoming worth visiting?
Cheyenne, Wyoming is absolutely worth visiting! With museums, historical buildings, parks, outdoor adventures and more…there is something for everyone in Cheyenne!
When is the best time to visit Cheyenne?
The peak season to visit Cheyenne, Wyoming is during the summer u002du002d specifically, June through August. Hiking, camping, rodeos and nice temps make summer the perfect time to visit.
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WHERE TO STAY IN CHEYENNE WYOMING
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