This spring, I was thrilled to find some outdoor things to do in Cheyenne, Wyoming for a weekend of sun and western experiences. Little did I know, Cheyenne is home not only to a real, authentic western vibe, but modern and cool amenities as well. Cheyenne has history, but it also has a great current culture.
Pulling into Cheyenne I was welcomed with an interesting mixture of wild west and modern times. The Cheyenne Depot is dotted with giant, colorful cowboy boots painted by local artists and a handful of actors in old-timey garb wandering the streets, waiting to inform curious tourists of their history. I started my adventure by meeting up with my friend Andi, a Cheyenne local who was the perfect companion to show me the best things to do in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Day 1: As West As it Gets
If you’re looking for things to do in Cheyenne, Wyoming, you won’t have to look too far. From the historic downtown, to the amazing food, to the wild west experiences, Cheyenne does not disappoint. I was thrilled to find so many cool activities, and some amazing food to boot.
Breakfast at the Luxury Diner
Nothing says Cheyenne like eating breakfast in a trolley car from the late 1800’s. The Luxury Diner was bustling when Andi and I showed up, and the waitresses had as much character as the trolley car itself. Filled with paintings and memorabilia (and stuffed with hungry patrons), the Luxury Diner was the perfect spot to fuel up. The biscuits and gravy are a decades old recipe, and boy do they stand the test of time.
Making Friends at The Terry Bison Ranch
The Terry Bison Ranch is a Cheyenne landmark, and a whole-day sort of adventure. I got checked in to my cute cabin, and got ready for the day’s adventure. After wandering around the Trading Post Gift Shop, I headed out to the stables. I was lucky enough to visit in the springtime, and there were even some newborn foals in the pens! I spent some time in the stables making friends while our helpful guides got us ready for our trail ride.
Trail Ride on the Open Plains
I grew up riding horses on the east coast, so I was thrilled at the chance to sit in a real western saddle. Our guides saddled up 13 horses, and our group got ready for the trail ride. Our horses were sweet and gentle, and we had to do little aside from remind them not to stop and eat the fresh grass. All I had to do was sit back and enjoy the ride.
This was, hands down, my favorite part of the trip. Our train ride out into the field of bison was cool, but having bison run up to the train where we could hand feed them was out of this world. I transformed from a young professional into a giggling school girl. Living three hours from Yellowstone, we regularly hear horror stories of tourists mistreating wildlife and getting injured or killed in the process. It felt so counter-intuitive to be able to get up close and personal with these incredible animals! The Terry Bison Ranch is the only place in North America where you can safely hand feed bison. Our guide Lonnie was incredibly knowledgeable about the animals and gave us some great background on the ranch during our train ride.
Note: Please, do not feed bison in Yellowstone or anywhere else, it is dangerous to both you and the animals!
Dinner at the Senator’s Steakhouse
After our train ride, we were famished. We headed up the hill and within minutes were seated at the Senator’s Steakhouse. It wasn’t long after that that we were enjoying the prime rib all you can eat buffet. The staff was fun and friendly, and the bison short ribs were delicious enough to make me forget how cute they are.
Feel like a Local at the Bunkhouse Bar
Nothing says western like a good country band and folks willing to dance to it. That’s what you’ll find at the Bunkhouse Bar, about 25 minutes from downtown Cheyenne. Believe me, it’s worth the drive. I walked in to find a band going and boots tapping, and it didn’t take too long before people were up dancing to the Y-4 band. If you feel like camping, it’s not too far down Happy Jack Road before you hit Curt Gowdy State Park, which is also a great area for hiking, mountain biking, and boating.
Day 2: Fresh Food and Fresher Flowers
After waking up to a view of bison grazing in the fields and our guide Lonnie doing his darndest to round them up, I enjoyed a cup of coffee on the porch and grabbed some breakfast at the Tombstone Cafe, legendary for their biscuits and gravy. That morning, Andi and I had plans to explore downtown. It was hard to choose what do to, because there’s so much going on in Cheyenne!
Finding Things to do in Cheyenne, Wyoming
Cheyenne loves its history, and downtown is the perfect place to explore it. From the Cowgirl Museum to the Wrangler store, where we tried on cowboy boots and hats, to new galleries and art museums, downtown Cheyenne has a lot to discover. Did I forget to mention massive murals? Cheyenne has a few of those, too.
Lunch at Cheyenne’s Central Cafe
After our heavy breakfast, I was craving something fresh. Luckily, Andi knew the perfect spot. We headed to the Central Cafe, a local secret for a fresh and healthy lunch. The Central Cafe blew my expectations away. I loved their Manchego Salad, with a delicious herb vinaigrette, Persephone granola, and shredded apple. After lunch, we were ready for a retreat as fresh as our salads.
Visiting the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
Little could prepare me for a visit to the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens. Located near the epic Cheyenne Frontier Days fairgrounds, the gardens consist of a three-story indoor conservatory filled with exotic plants, sculptures, and birds, and outdoor gardens and a children’s area. Andi and I wandered around in the humid air and enjoyed the tropical atmosphere. We met with some local volunteers who told us how nice it is to visit during cold Cheyenne winters.
Classy Cocktails at the Paramount
After an afternoon of wandering through the foliage, I was ready for a cocktail. Little did I know that the Paramount Ballroom would have some flowers of its own! Again, Cheyenne surprised me with its classy, modern amenities. The Paramount could fit perfectly in downtown Brooklyn, with its gorgeous wood floors, modern furniture, and black-and-white prints. The Ballroom features handcrafted cocktails and exceptional appetizers. I enjoyed my server’s recommendation, the Sweet Lavender, and was not disappointed.Coming from a small town, I was worried there wouldn’t be that many things to do in Cheyenne, Wyoming, but turns out, there is too much to do! Even with a packed two-day itinerary, there were plenty of things I didn’t have the chance to see. Guess I’ll just have to visit again. Need more Cheyenne coverage? Read about some other adventures our travel ambassadors have had there!