Cheyenne, Wyoming, the state’s largest city and capital, is among the best of the West, with cowboys, rodeos, ranches, railroads historic hotels, and western food, entertainment, art and artifacts. Situated on the front range of the Rocky Mountains, Cheyenne offers a slew of attractions that transport visitors back to America’s frontier days.
Among them are the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum & Store, where pioneer days comes to life; the Nelson Museum of the West, with more than 3,700 artifacts; the Messenger Museum, featuring authentic Western displays, including a carriage owned by Buffalo Bill Cody; and the Cowgirls of the West Museum. Nearby, the Terry Bison Ranch features Western entertainment, motorized tours of the bison herd, horseback riding, fishing, a restaurant and saloon, and lodging. And the University of Wyoming Archaeological Dig Site in Pine Bluffs is an active site of historic relics and pre-historic artifacts dating back over 11,000 years.
Cheyenne is also the nation’s railroad capital. Evidence of that can be found at the Cheyenne Depot, a restored National Historic Landmark and museum; the Old Number 4004 Big Boy Steam Engine, the world’s largest steam locomotive, located in Holliday Park; and Ol’ Sadie, Wyoming’s oldest steam engine, at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens in Lions Park.
There’s no dearth of entertainment in Cheyenne, which offers a range of performing arts, from a symphony orchestra to the Cheyenne Little Theater, an Old West melodrama completed with heroes, villains and damsels, which runs in July and August. In fact, summer is high season for a slew of entertainment events, including Cheyenne Frontier Days, the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration; Cheyenne Gunslingers, featuring gunfight re-enactments and Western skits in downtown’s Old Town Square; and the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley, a fully narrated historic tour of Cheyenne.
And, within a day’s drive of Cheyenne are some of the country’s most majestic sites, including Mt. Rushmore, the Black Hills, Devils Tower, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Cheyenne is known for its Western cuisine, with restaurants that range from old-style saloons to fine dining establishments. Visitors can savor creative interpretations of Western classics with local ingredients at The Capitol Grille, or make a night of it at the Bit-O-Wyo Ranch Horse Barn Dinner Show & Trail Rides, for example.
Cheyenne Regional Airport, located two miles from downtown, is served by American Eagle and Great Lakes Airlines, with car rentals available. Visitors can also fly into Denver International Airport and drive north about 90 miles via I-25, one of two interstate highways that run through Cheyenne. (The other is the east-west I-80.)
With mild temperatures that reach the mid 80s and a slew of seasonal events, summer is prime time to visit Cheyenne. But layered clothing is recommended, as temperatures can drop to the low 40s overnight. Winter is cold, with frequent strong winds and snow.