As the capital of a beautiful Western state, Cheyenne, Wyoming, represents its roots in more ways than one. From the westward advancement of the railroad to kicking up dust at the rodeo to the chic, upscale experience offered downtown — everywhere you go, the local folks will show you their history with a handshake and a smile. There’s more than meets the eye in Cheyenne.
The Best 12 Things to Do in Cheyenne
Whether you’re exploring the great outdoors or enjoying a night out downtown, Cheyenne invites you to experience the untamed spirit of the Wild West. Discover Cheyenne’s top things to do today and unlock the wonders of this captivating Wyoming city.
1. Terry Bison Ranch Resort
Something must be said for a complete cowboy experience, which comes standard when you visit Terry Bison Ranch Resort in Cheyenne. Rooted firmly in Wyoming’s political history, the Ranch grew to be world-famous for its bison train tour, which gets visitors (safely) up close and personal with these wild, wooly creatures by railcar.
Stop by the Senator’s Steakhouse and Brass Buffalo Saloon, and dine where former presidents did in the early 1900s. Explore the grounds with plenty of fishing and horseback riding opportunities, and don’t forget that you can stay where you play in their cabins or RV campground. A genuine cowboy getaway awaits.
2. Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
In a state with as rich a lineage as Wyoming, it should come as no surprise that the state capitol in Cheyenne would be a must-see, and it is. Constructed in the late 1800s, the Wyoming State Capitol is an impressive sandstone structure built in the Renaissance Revival style to suit the architecture of the time, and it has been beautifully and carefully restored since.
History buffs and those interested in legislative processes will find a self-guided tour fascinating, and art and architecture lovers will marvel at framed paintings and vaulted stained-glass ceilings. Check out their YouTube video tour to get a taste before you go.
3. Natural History Museum – Western Wyoming Community College
In a world of endless screen scrolling and wintry weather that sometimes keeps us indoors, finding a place to surround yourself with plant life can be incredibly refreshing. Cheyenne Botanic Gardens provides that opportunity for your next vacation, featuring various activities, attractions and events year-round, outdoors and in.
Bring your littles to learn more about environmental protection methods at the Paul Smith Children’s Village, find your moment of zen in their Peace Garden, or while away the hours amid the lush greenery inside the Grand Conservatory. However you choose to spend your time, you will come away with a new appreciation for the natural world around us.
4. Curt Gowdy State Park
Tucked away just outside the city of Cheyenne is the kind of outdoor getaway that pulls in visitors with the call of the wild, and that is Curt Gowdy State Park. Take the short drive, and you will find three reservoirs waiting for a fun day of boating, fishing, hiking and horseback riding, and do it all with the incredible backdrop of the Laramie Mountains. Take a hunting trip, camp out under the stars, and even try your hand/eye coordination at their archery range.
Pro tip: From mountain biking to ice fishing, there is plenty to do at Wyoming’s state parks in the colder months.
5. Quebec 01 Missile Alert Facility
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit the home of an actual nuclear weapon? You may be surprised to know that you can do that outside of Cheyenne in Chugwater, Wyoming, at the Quebec 01 Missile Alert Facility. This historic site and Cold War relic features control rooms and various artifacts from the U.S. military’s time occupying that site, which was in charge of nuclear missiles in wartime.
Embark on a self-guided tour, and you can step into military history and observe all the knobs, buttons and levers designed to control this powerful weapon.
6. Big Boy Steam Engine
All aboard for a visit to the heyday of the railway! Cheyenne is home to the Big Boy Steam Engine (full name Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4004), a vast and powerful steam locomotive made to move nearly 4,000 tons of freight with a coal-powered engine.
Used throughout the mountainous state of Wyoming, these trains were top-of-the-line in the early 1940s, and their size and power are still noteworthy today. While the Big Boy no longer runs, it is on display in a park where you can observe the outside and get a real feel for what it would be like to hop a ride on a train that size. Only eight of these are left in the U.S., so don’t miss your chance to see one.
7. Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum
Come one, come all to experience the deep, meaningful history of one of the West’s biggest bashes. The Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum pays homage to the days of old by honoring Cheyenne Frontier Days, a week-long festival and rodeo celebrating the Western spirit for over 120 years. The museum highlights the many facets that make Frontier Days a raving success, including their Hall of Fame, acknowledging the many important people that have made it possible.
Their rotating exhibits change frequently and highlight some of the celebration’s best features, including past years’ Rodeo Queens, beautifully-maintained antique buggies, and more. Frontier Days happens once a year, but you can experience it at the museum whenever you’re in town.
8. Chronicles Distilling
When it comes to fine spirits, there’s nothing like getting them directly from their source, and a trip to Cheyenne offers you the opportunity to do just that at Chronicles Distilling. Family and military bonds brought the owners, a pair of brothers, into the business, and their passion and fine craftsmanship show through every cocktail you sip. Stop in for a taste and experience flavors like Spit Shine corn whiskey or Tart Lemon vodka.
Always a family affair, Chronicles has plenty of non-alcoholic beverages to savor, too, so feel free to bring the kids with you when you visit.
9. Wyoming State Museum
Always free-spirited and forward-thinking, the people of Wyoming aren’t only honoring the past in their museums but the present and future as well. The Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne is a great example of this, providing guests with the ability to understand Wyoming’s deep appreciation for its history as a foundation on which everything else was built.
Funded by the state government, the museum is free to visit, and its exhibits range from honoring the National Park Service to taking a closer look at Wyoming’s topography to local artist spotlights. There are hands-on activities for the kids, too, so bring the whole family down.
10. Cowgirls of the West Museum and Emporium
It’s time to give a well-earned “yeehaw” to the ladies of the frontier. The Cowgirls of the West Museum and Emporium highlight women as a critical factor in winning the Wild West. From Annie Oakley to Ruth Roach to Sacagawea, Western women embodied the region’s spirit and set the stage for women’s rights across the country.
Stop into the museum to hear their stories, and take in some of the clothing, housewares and other artifacts that these women likely used in their daily lives. Then, stop by the gift shop in the same building and find the perfect Wyoming souvenir.
11. Cheyenne Depot Museum
The railroad boom in the late 1800s played an important role in history across the U.S., but it essentially built the city of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Housed in the beautiful Historic UPRR Depot (the last of its kind), the Cheyenne Depot Museum serves as a daily reminder of that to the public, chronicling life from the time the rail was laid to when it became the preferred method of travel.
Enjoy photographs, artifacts and documents outlining what life in Cheyenne was like at its inception, and learn more about why the Union Pacific is so important to Western settlement.
12. The Wrangler
It’s not enough to see what cowboy life is like — sometimes you have to look the part to really feel it. If you’re visiting Cheyenne, you’ve come to the right place. Appropriately marked by a colorfully-painted cowboy boot on the street outside, The Wrangler is a massive three-story Western goods retailer with a reputation for having everything you could want to outfit yourself (and then some).
They’ve got hundreds of cowboy hats, fresh styles of boots in vibrant shades, and Carhartt gear for those cold mornings out on the ranch. If you want it, they’ve got it. Go ahead and cowboy up.
FAQ: Things to Do in Cheyenne
Plan Your Visit to Cheyenne Today
Visiting Wyoming has a feeling like no other, and visiting Cheyenne shows you why. From a day of exploring the great outdoors to a night out downtown, it’s time to find your wild in the Wild West. Book your trip today.