Howdy, neighbor! If you’re looking for the best way to spend a vacation in Wyoming, Cody is the right place.

Enjoy all of the wild West action you’ve dreamed of, offset by modern attractions designed for the whole family to enjoy. Well known for being the Eastern gateway to Yellowstone National Park, Cody is the ideal destination for your next Western adventure.

The Best 12 Things to Do in Cody, WY

An art sculpture by TD Kelsey in Cody, WY, one of many top things to see in Cody.
If you’re an art lover, Cody offers so much more to see. Credit: @kevinwestphoto

From the fascinating Buffalo Bill Center of the West to the historic Old Trail Town, you can explore the rich history, natural wonders, and cultural treasures this vibrant city has to offer. Grab your cowboy hat: Here are some of the most poplar things to do in Cody, WY.

1. Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Buffalo Bill Center of the West, one of the best things to do in Cody, WY, with teepees in front.
Photo Credit: Visit Cody Yellowstone Country

It’s time to bring it all back to where it started with an ode to the city’s founder, William Frederick Cody, aka Buffalo Bill. An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is an enormous structure comprised of 5 museums, each designed to be entertaining, educational, and exciting for all ages.

Start at the Buffalo Bill Museum to take a walk through the life of the man himself, then learn the history of thousands of guns throughout the ages at the Cody Firearms Museum.

See one of the largest curated collections of Western art anywhere in the world at the Whitney Western Art Museum or get a hands-on look at the natural marvels of Yellowstone at the Draper Natural History Museum.

For an incredibly close view of the Native American civilizations that call the area home, don’t miss the Plains Indian Museum while you’re there.

2. Old Trail Town

Two women walk alongside Old Trail Town, one of the top things to do in Cody WY, wearing cowboy hats and boots.
Old Trail Town is known for being able to transport guests back into the days of Old Wild West.

It’s time to explore the Western way of life, and what better way to do it than in buildings where folks like Butch Cassidy and Buffalo Bill spent their time? Old Trail Town in Cody is an incredible historian-recreated village, using the original structures from days gone by to put significant homes, saloons, and even hideouts all in one place.

Not only can you take a closer look at the buildings themselves, but the street you’re strolling down is just as symbolic; this is the exact spot where plans for the city of Cody came to be! If you want to feel like an original cowboy, come see how the original cowboys really lived.

3. Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel & Restaurant

Relive the spirit of Buffalo Bill Cody in a place he loved, named after a little lady he loved. Since 1902, Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel & Restaurant has served up tasty eats (including a famous prime rib) and a belly-warming cocktail, capped off by a classic room to hang your hat in for the night.

Named after his youngest child, the Irma has been thoughtfully restored to retain the original charm that made it a favorite of visitors and locals alike. Check out Buffalo Bill’s own Historical Room at the hotel, and get a real feel for the finest Western accommodations back in his heyday.

With so much history, Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel is also famous for being a one of the most popular haunted places in Wyoming for guests to visit!

4. Kirwin Ghost Town Tours

Shhh! Did you hear that? If you’re strolling through Kirwin Ghost Town, you might have heard mystical communication from the village’s previous residents. Located a short distance from Cody in the beautiful Absaroka Mountains, Kirwin was settled by a failed drive for the gold rush that was ultimately impacted by a brutal natural tragedy.

The remaining land and structures tell their own beautiful and sad story, with nothing much changed since the last resident moved on. Now abandoned, some say it is a ghost town in more ways than one, leaving much to explore and experience in what was left behind. Your best bet to see the sights? Take an ATV tour through the terrain.

5. Cody Nite Rodeo

A man stands in front of a bucking bronco, a crowd favorite at Cody Nite Rodeo and one of the top things to do in Cody.
From bull riding to team roping, Cody Nite Rodeo is full of unending entertainment.

Nothing says Western fun like a day at the rodeo, but what if you could get all your cowboy thrills in the glow of moonlight? In the summer months, you’ll find that and more at the Cody Nite Rodeo, put on by Wyoming-staple Cody Stampede Rodeo.

This experience puts you at the center of the action under glittering stars, but there’s more to do than watch. You can get a lesson in how to rope like a pro, try your skills on a mechanical bull, and even get your picture taken with the real deal — the famous Mongo the Bull! Come on down for an evening you won’t forget.

6. The Cody Cattle Company

You’ve had dinner and a movie plenty of times — consider upgrading to dinner and a live show on your next Wyoming getaway. The Cody Cattle Company is ready and willing to provide you with a deliciously filling meal and some fantastic tunes to scoot your boots to while you eat. Gather ’round the guitar and fiddle, sing along with some Western favorites, and have a meal fit for the true cowboy in you.

Don’t forget about their Trifecta Tickets, which cover the show, the food, and admission to the Cody Nite Rodeo. A whole night out for one great price!

7. Buffalo Bill Dam & Visitor Center

When you come out West, it’s all about the view, and there are few better than the ones you’ll get at the Buffalo Bill Dam & Visitor’s Center, just a quick drive from Cody. This mammoth structure is both an incredible feat of engineering and a key player in the history of Cody’s civilization, as well as a National Landmark.

For the visitor, it is entirely walkable, putting you nearly 300 feet above the Shoshone River. Don’t forget to stop by the visitor center while you’re there and learn a little more about the dam’s history while picking up some must-have souvenirs.

8. Red Canyon Wild Mustang Tours

Top 12 Things to Do in Cody, WY
Horse tours are a popular activity for families, and offer both views of wildlife and sweeping views.

Western wildlife means breathtaking sights of wild horses in their natural habitat; if you’ve never seen them before, you’re in for a treat in Cody. The Red Canyon Wild Mustang Tours offers you the opportunity to team up with experts and take in some incredible views, both of the mustangs themselves and where they live.

You’ll get a full taste of the West and all of its desert plant life. If you time your tour just right, you can catch a fantastic, Instagram-worthy sunset to remember the experience. Get in on the excitement!

9. The Buffalo Bill State Park

Situated in the exact location of the dam that shares its name, The Buffalo Bill Reservoir is your one-stop destination for camping, fishing and outdoor fun in Cody. With a wide variety of available trout and multiple points of access for your boat in the North and South Fork Rivers, this picturesque waterfront has all the needs of an outdoor adventurer covered.

Additionally, plenty of RV parking is available, as well as tent space for roughing it with a traditional camping experience. This area comes complete with restrooms, picnic tables, and other amenities to make your campout as comfortable as it should be.

10. Cody Dug Up Gun Museum

Have you ever wondered how firearms have changed throughout history?. The Cody Dug Up Gun Museum features weaponry through the ages, from the War of Independence to the Civil War, and even popular firearms in the 1920s!

Take a closer look at how defense weapons have evolved, and catch a glimpse of their impact on American history. The tools of yesterday are waiting for you today in the heart of Cody.

11. Cody Trolley Tours

No trip to the Wild West is complete without a way to authentically experience days gone by, and in Cody, that’s as easy as hopping on the trolley. Cody Trolley Tours is a family-owned business providing visitors with a charming and efficient way to immerse themselves in the city’s best offerings.

Jump on at the Irma Hotel and let the locals show you the ropes throughout the one-hour tour, seamlessly blending Cody’s fascinating history with its thriving modern day. While the trolley runs 2-4 times a day depending on the season, seats book up quickly, so it’s best to reserve your tickets in advance.

12. Shoshone National Forest

Top 12 Things to Do in Cody, WY
From Cody to Lander, Shoshone National Forest is a massive draw for visitors every year.

You can’t fully experience Cody without taking in its incredible open-air spaces, and the Shoshone National Forest is here to provide you with that opportunity. Comprised of over 2 million acres of land, the forest (the first in the U.S.) is only matched in size by its fantastic views and powerful natural beauty.

Outdoor adventurers can choose everything from hunting trips to hiking trails, camping out to checking out glaciers, or all of the above. The forest is a wild, rugged and free space, much like the state it calls home.

FAQ: Things to Do in Cody

The top attractions to visit in Cody include, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Old Trail Town, Cody Nite Rodeoand the Cody Trolley Tours.

Many of the activities in Cody are family-friendly, but kids will especially enjoy the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which has five museums and lots of wild lands to explore for the whole family.

Cody is best known historically for its founder, William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Today, it’s known for the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, its closeness to Yellowstone National Park, Cody Nite Rodeo, and its incredible outdoor views.

While Cody has activities and attractions throughout the year, the best time to visit is in the warmest part of the summer to make the most of the great outdoors.

Cody is located 55 miles or about an hour’s drive from Yellowstone’s entrance on the park’s east side.

Plan Your Visit to Cody, WY Today!

The city of Cody is a quintessential example of a Western destination — rooted in history, with a love of the outdoors, good food, family, and a little grit. Don’t visit Wyoming without stopping by. Find out more and plan your trip today.

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