Cheyenne, Wyo. - Wyoming's Capital City embodies the spirit of the Old West. It is considered the nation's rodeo and railroad capital and is home to a variety of museums, historic hotels and mansions, a collection of steam engines, Western-themed attractions and shopping, with lodging options from resorts to ranches.
But there is more to this iconic destination than just boots and spurs: with a thriving art community, a variety of soft adventure opportunities nearby, and an eclectic selection of shopping and dining options, Cheyenne offers travelers an experience that is truly unique. Here is a list of the top ten things not to miss when visiting Cheyenne.
1) Terry Bison Ranch
Terry Bison Ranch consists of nearly 30,000 acres of rolling hills and lush grasslands, and more than 2,300 grazing bison. A train delivers visitors to the middle of the herd where they can hand-feed the enormous creatures. Other features include the Sunday lunch train, horseback riding, ATV tours, fishing, and Trading Post gift shop. The ranch is also home to The Senator's Restaurant and Brass Buffalo Saloon, a full-service old-West restaurant and saloon.
2) Cheyenne Depot and Depot Museum
The Cheyenne Depot, formerly known as the Union Pacific Depot, finished construction in 1887. Renowned as one of the most beautiful railroad stations in North America, it is one of the last of the grand 19th century depots remaining from the Transcontinental Railroad. Today, the Cheyenne Depot is home to the Cheyenne Visitor Center, a brewery, and the Cheyenne Depot Museum. The museum's exhibits and interactive displays showcase the history and romance of the railroad. Trainiacs should ask the staff about the historic trains on display in local parks – one of eight remaining Big Boys (Old Number 4004) and Engine 1242, the oldest train engine in Wyoming.
3) The Downtown Cheyenne Experience
When visiting , visitors can't help but get into the spirit of the West with the downtown area's many Western stores and museums. Looking for a bit of Wyoming to take with you? The Wrangler, Prairie House Home Goods, and The Downtown Mercantile are just a few local treasure troves. Visitors wanting to incorporate a touch of the West into their home can swing by Wyoming Home or Red Bison Home, which both feature Western and Wyoming-themed home furnishings.
Also located downtown are several museums that speak to the history of Cheyenne and the region, including the Nelson Museum of the West, dedicated to the preservation of fine cowboy and Native American objects and art. The Cowgirls of the West Museum also lends insight to the role of the frontier woman and is flush with stories of adventure and bravery.
4) Curt Gowdy State Park and Vedauwoo Recreation Area
Curt Gowdy State Park lies among the picturesque foothills of the Laramie Mountains. The area features granite towers, rocky soils and timbered slopes. Two small reservoirs form the heart of Curt Gowdy State Park. Granite Reservoir, the larger of the two, is an excellent base for water sports as well as rainbow trout and kokanee salmon fishing. Visitors can also visit the ancient rock formations at Vedauwoo Recreation Area, which allows for beautiful sightseeing, hiking, rock climbing, camping and mountain biking.
5) Wyoming State Capitol Square
The Wyoming State Capitol, a National Historic Landmark, is a dominant structure in the Cheyenne skyline. Historically, it is one of the most important buildings in the state (its cornerstone was laid in 1887). Just across the street, the Wyoming State Museum houses artifacts and collections showcasing Wyoming's history. The Wyoming Supreme Court Building is home to the interactive Judicial Learning Center. A short walk away sits the Historic Governor’s Mansion, a step-back-in-time for a look at daily life for the government’s family. All of these are free and open to the public, year-round.
6) Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley
For a fully-narrated historic tour of Cheyenne, jump on board the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley. The trolley operates from May through the end of September. Ghost tours are offered in October and Christmas Lights tours in December.
7) Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens is considered the crown jewel of Cheyenne and is a true oasis on the high plains. Located in Lions Park, visitors can explore the solar-powered Grand Conservatory, rooftop views and exterior gardens. The Paul Smith Children's Village, which showcases and interprets sustainable systems for food production and preparation, water quality, energy production, habitation, and cultural fulfillment. The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens are open year-round and free to the public.
8) Brewery/Distillery Trail
The Greater Cheyenne area is home to several breweries and distilleries. All locally owned and operated, the variety of craft beers and spirits available spans the spectrum from sweet to spicy. Freedom’s Edge Brewery, Accomplice Beer Company, and Blue Raven Brewery all have outdoor seating in the summer and are a great way to sample the vibes found downtown. Sheridan, Wyoming’s Blacktooth Brewing Company opened up a test market brewing location on the West Edge of downtown, allowing Cheyenne to weigh in on what’s next for the season’s selections! The West Edge is also home to Chronicles Distilling, owned by Marine Corps veterans who encourage the story-making lifestyle. Good conversation is never hard to find here. A drive east is Pine Bluffs Distilling, a soil-to-spirits distillery (that also provides the malt for some of the local breweries too!)
9) Foodie’s Delight
Cheyenne is home to a wide variety of eateries. Beyond the national chain restaurants, any palate can be tantalized here with our local chefs’ fare. The Metropolitan Downtown, led by head chef Juan Coronado features a high-end New American Cuisine in an art deco-meets-industrial setting. The largest craft beer selection pairs with a cajon-spin menu with enormous portion sizes at Sanford’s Grub & Pub. Hometown favorite 2 Doors Down is the go-to burger and shake shop downtown, “Flippin’ Great Burgers Since 2009.” The Air Force base has diversified the population and with that, brought a plethora of ethnic restaurants, including Thai, Korean, and Japanese. There is no shortage of family-run Mexican restaurants and food trucks, bringing their home cooking to your table!
10) Quebec 01 Missile Alert Facility State Historic Site
A quick 30-minute drive north of Cheyenne to Quebec 01 Missile Alert Facility State Historic Site is worth the trek to get an up close and personal look at the Cold War and the defenses hiding in plain sight. Top-side, the facility is a self-guided museum where the missileers and support staff lived during their shifts. Every half-hour there is a guided tour to descend the impressive 60 feet underground to the command center capsule. The temperature noticeably drops in the 1 minute 27 second elevator ride down. Codes, lockboxes, and an escape hatches that fill with sand after a blast seem like elements from an H.G. Wells novel, but in fact, were the United States’ strongest line of defense for several decades.