Nestled in the southeast corner of Wyoming, Cheyenne is the state’s capital city and largest urban area. Located 90 minutes north of Denver, the city’s rich history, cowboy culture, and natural beauty make it a great day trip, weekend getaway, or road trip stop. I recently spent two nights in the Magic City of the Plains on a cross-country road trip, enjoying its fascinating museums, unique public art, gorgeous gardens, and more. Here are my favorite things to do in beautiful Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Note: Some of my experiences were hosted. All opinions are my own.
Things To Do In Cheyenne
1. The Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley
I recommend starting your visit with the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley. On this 90-minute tour, a knowledgeable guide will drive you through town in a comfortable red trolley bus, calling out historic buildings and other points of interest while sharing the town’s history.
2. The Cheyenne Depot Museum
When you return to the historic Union Pacific Railroad Depot after the trolley tour, visit the Cheyenne Depot Museum. Housed in the beautifully restored train depot, it contains exhibits that detail how the railroad shaped Cheyenne and the Wild West. Don’t miss an impressive collection of train models on the second floor along with great views of the active railway in the museum’s backyard.
Pro Tip: Stop by The Wrangler on the corner of the Cheyenne Depot Plaza for a pair of cowboy boots, a hat, a pair of Wranglers, and other Western wear that will make you feel like a local.
3. Cheyenne’s Public Art
Throughout the Cheyenne Depot Plaza and Downtown Cheyenne, look for the oversized cowboy boots that are part of Cheyenne Big Boots. Decorated by local artists, these 8-foot-tall pieces of art celebrate Cheyenne’s Western heritage and offer fantastic photo opportunities. As you explore Wyoming’s capital city, you’ll also discover impressive murals and bronze sculptures.
4. The Wyoming State Capitol
Did you know that Wyoming was the first government in the world to grant full voting rights to women? That’s right! More than 50 years before the rest of the United States followed suit, the Territory of Wyoming passed a bill allowing women to vote and hold office. At the Wyoming State Capitol, a National Historic Landmark, you can take a free tour to learn more about one of history’s greatest suffrage victories.
Pro Tip: Don’t miss the Women’s Suffrage mural on the west side of the building at 218 W. 17th Street, the site where the bill was passed in 1869.
5. The Historic Governors’ Mansion
Get a glimpse into the lives of the governors who served Wyoming from 1905 to 1976 at the Historic Governors’ Mansion. This elegantly restored, two-story red brick home, built in 1904, offers a unique look into the lives of the state’s early leaders and their families.
6. Celebrate Cheyenne Frontier Days Year-Round
Billed as the “World’s Largest Outdoor Rodeo and Western Celebration,” the city has hosted Cheyenne Frontier Days annually since 1897. For 10 days at the end of July, the town of 65,000 residents welcomes more than half a million visitors who watch rodeo events, attend concerts, and participate in other celebrations. But you can experience the excitement and spirit of the event at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum any time of year. Along with the Hall of Fame and Miss Frontier Banners, you’ll discover an impressive collection of historic carriages and wagons.
7. The Nelson Museum Of The West
With a focus on Native American culture, cowboy life, military history, and more, the Nelson Museum of the West draws visitors into the rich history of the American West with its extensive collection of more than 6,000 artifacts and pieces of Western art. The Nelson Museum of the West is open seasonally and closed for the winter, so double-check that it is open before you go.
8. The Cowgirls Of The West Museum
With its progressive women’s voting rights, it should be no surprise that Cheyenne has a museum dedicated to the women who helped shape its history. The Cowgirls of the West Museum is a small but fascinating museum that showcases memorabilia, clothing, and stories of the courageous cowgirls who played a vital role in the Western frontier.
Pro Tip: The Cowgirls of the West Museum is typically closed during the winter months, so if you’re visiting Cheyenne then, be sure to check that it’s open before you go.
9. The Retired “Big Boy” In Holliday Park
Although it’s been retired to the green space of Holliday Park, Number 4004 remains an imposing sight. Affectionately known as “Big Boy,” this powerful locomotive is the world’s largest steam engine and is one of just eight that remain in the US.
10. The Wyoming State Museum
The Wyoming State Museum is packed with exhibits that showcase the state’s natural history, cultural heritage, regional wildlife, mining industry, and more. Additionally, special events and lectures are held at the museum throughout the year.
Pro Tip: Looking for more ways to connect with Wyoming’s pioneer spirit? Here are six additional things to do in the Cowboy State.
11. The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
Head outdoors for some sunshine and a leisurely stroll through the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens. Spread over nine acres, it’s a beautiful oasis filled with a diverse array of plants and flowers in stunning landscapes, a children’s village, and a serene conservatory.
12. Curt Gowdy State Park
Located 30 minutes west of Cheyenne in the foothills of the Laramie Mountain Range, about halfway between Cheyenne and Laramie, the Curt Gowdy State Park is a picturesque spot with rocky outcroppings and crystal-clear lakes. It’s the perfect place for hiking, fishing, camping, and other adventures for outdoor enthusiasts.
13. Terry Bison Ranch
While you’re not likely to see a herd of bison roaming wild in this region where they once played an important role in the lives of Native Americans, you can head south of Cheyenne (almost to the Colorado border) where some 2,500 bison reside at the Terry Bison Ranch. A custom-made train car will drive you to the middle of the herd where you can feed a special pellet treat to the largest land mammal in North America.
Best Restaurants In Cheyenne
Satisfy your cravings for classic American comfort food at Luxury Diner, a local favorite that’s been serving up delicious meals since the 1920s. This cozy eatery offers a nostalgic atmosphere and classic dishes — like omelets, pancakes, green chili, and chicken fried steak — as well as house specialties like corned beef hash and fried trout.
Sanford’s Grub & Pub
For a laid-back dining experience with a lively atmosphere and eclectic decor, head to Sanford’s Grub & Pub where they serve a wide variety of American fare with a Southern twist. Their “burger board” features ½-pound sirloin burgers with a wide range of toppings, from the Hot A$& Miss Piggy, topped with slow-smoked barbecue pulled pork and topped with ghost pepper jack cheese, to the Cajun Garlic Blue, smothered in blue cheese and roasted garlic.
Bunkhouse Bar & Grill
If the word “bunkhouse” makes you think of Teeter and the boys at the Dutton Ranch on Yellowstone, then you won’t be surprised that the Bunkhouse Bar & Grill is the place to go for darn good grub and boot-scootin’ dancing. The menu is packed with Western classics and filling comfort food, including burgers, steak sandwiches, and chicken fried steak. And every Friday and Saturday, the Bunkhouse offers live music and dancing in a family-friendly atmosphere.
The Metropolitan Downtown
For upscale dining in Downtown Cheyenne, my favorite spot is The Metropolitan. This Cheyenne restaurant serves classic American dishes with a modern twist like mango and peach shrimp cocktail, turkey BLT with avocado, lobster mac & cheese, portobello mushroom burger, and Buffalo NY strip served Oscar style. No matter what you choose, be sure to try the house fries (even if it means stealing a few off of a dining partner’s plate). Although I don’t know what is in it (believe me, I tried asking my server), the seasoning is absolutely amazing!
Best Hotels In Cheyenne
Nagel Warren Mansion
Known as the Duchess of Cheyenne, the Nagel Warren Mansion is an impressive Victorian on the National Register of Historic Places offering some of the finest accommodations in town. Recently restored to its original 1890s glory, this architecturally stunning bed and breakfast offers visitors luxurious lodging followed by a gourmet, three-course breakfast.
Fairfield Inn & Suites By Marriott Cheyenne
With spacious rooms and suites near downtown Cheyenne, the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in Cheyenne is both comfortable and conveniently located. Most of the things to do on this list are a 2- to 4-minute drive from the Fairfield Inn.
Staybridge Suites Cheyenne
Another great hotel in Cheyenne is the Staybridge Suites. Part of the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), it is an all-suite hotel with free parking, free breakfast, an indoor pool, and a 24-hour fitness center.