Last Updated on July 21, 2023
Billing itself as the nation’s rodeo capital and just 100 miles north of Denver on Interstate-25, Cheyenne, WY gives summer visitors a taste of the Old West without the cowpies or saddle sores. Leave that to the cowboys competing at Cheyenne Frontier Days. Every year at the end of July, Cheyenne welcomes tens of thousands of visitors to its signature event, the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration.
Cheyenne Frontier Days features rodeo, of course, but also major name musical acts, food, a carnival midway, dancing, storytelling – it’s quite the hootenanny!
It’s not the only reason to visit Cheyenne during the summer however.
Cheyenne’s Burgeoning Brewery and Distillery Scene
Located in the northern tip of the Rocky Mountain Front Range, an area known worldwide for its concentration of great beers and creative craft brewers – the now-nationwide movement began in Denver – Cheyenne’s beer scene is playing a large, and thirst-quenching role, in the destination’s appeal.
Boasting five breweries, all within downtown’s walking distance, and two distilleries, Cheyenne is a crowd-pleaser for the craft beverage enthusiast seeking locally owned watering holes. Highlights include Freedom’s Edge Brewing, the oldest operating brewery in the heart of downtown, Black Tooth Brewing for its exceptional live music scene and variety of beers on tap, and Accomplice Beer Company located in the Historic Cheyenne Depot.
Cheyenne is an under-the-radar outdoor mecca with countless adventures for the casual nature lover to the avid outdoor enthusiast alike. Acting as the ideal basecamp, Cheyenne’s nearby Curt Gowdy State Park offers an IMBA ‘Epic’ designated bike system and 25-miles of trails for every level. A favorite among locals, the park also offers an array of scenic hiking and trail running paths.
West of Cheyenne is the scenic Medicine Bow National Forest where a variety of recreational opportunities can be found including hiking, ATVing, backcountry camping, but most notable is world-class rock climbing and bouldering in Vedauwoo Recreation Area. Appearing almost like an oasis for adventure – the land transitions from great plains to 1.4-billion-year-old Sherman Granite towers and landforms.
Rich in History and Authentic Western Offerings
Wyoming’s capital city is filled with opportunities to explore the history of the West. On July 4, 1867, the first tents were pitched on the site now known as Cheyenne. Growing rapidly, Cheyenne soon gained another name, “The Magic City of the Plains.”
Located in the heart of downtown, the Cheyenne Depot is a designated National Historic Landmark and a former Union Pacific Depot that has been restored to its former glory. Home to a visitor center and restaurant, the Depot also features the Cheyenne Depot Museum, rich with railroad history, exhibits and interactive displays.
History buffs will enjoy exploring downtown and many of its interesting sites and historic buildings with a “Wild West History Tour” on the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley. Other highlights include the Nelson Museum of the West for an impressive display of fine Cowboy and Native American objects as well as Western art, or the Cowgirl of the West Museum showcasing artifacts from women’s roles in pioneering the West.
Cheyenne Chic Offerings
What fun is cowboying if you can’t dress the part?
Providing ranchwear since 1943, The Wrangler is a staple western-wear outfitter for locals and visitors alike. Boasting over 13,000 square feet, this storefront offers everything from Carhartt’s and leather jackets from Arello, to a sky-lit hat room with a selection of nearly 500 hats (with custom hat shaping), including diamond-studded Stetsons. It most famously offers something for almost everyone in its vast boot department.
Owned by female entrepreneur Lexie Garret, Alexis Drake is a beloved luxury handcrafted leatherwork shop. Offering handbags and leather goods that make for the perfect accessory, Alexis Drake celebrates effortless style, Cheyenne community and mindful materials.
Other shops to suit up in full cowboy/cowgirl style include Just Dandy, The Desperado Depot and Aly L’s Custom Boots & Shoes. A passion and expertise as an American shoemaker inspired her to offer unique, high-quality footwear reminiscent of western style with an urban fashion flair.
An under-the-radar destination for foodie travelers, Cheyenne presents an array of dining options from classic and historical, to downright quirky and cool.
Classic: A historic restaurant and bar in the heart of downtown, the Albany was built in 1905 and its past lives include a hotel, café and bar. A local favorite, the Albany today has been a family-owned business since 1942 and specializes in prime rib, chicken fried steak, and open-faced sandwiches.
Offering cowboys and cowgirls alike a place to park their horses, Bunkhouse Bar & Grill is a must-stop for a classic, Western experience. Off the beaten path, the Bunkhouse offers everything from incredible steaks to slow-cooked prime rib, burgers, homemade sweet potatoes and more.
Quirky: A go-to classic breakfast diner with a unique history, Luxury Diner prepares meals from scratch, and some recipes, like the green chili and sausage gravy are decades old. Legend has it, the Luxury Dining Car was an operating trolley car on the streets of Cheyenne from 1894-1912 and later transitioned to a working diner in 1926, and named the Luxury Diner we know today in 1964.
Perhaps the quirkiest and most-entertaining restaurant in Cheyenne, Sanford’s Grub & Pub is a funky, memorabilia-filled space offering large portion sizes and fun for the whole family. Serving authentic down-home cooking with a Cajun attitude, highlights include Cajun-style burgers, steaks, beer and more.
Cool: Offering a classic menu with elevated service and polished casual atmosphere, The Metropolitan Downtown invites locals and visitors alike to enjoy innovative twists on comfortable classics, exceptional wines and creative cocktails. A menu of New American cuisine, The Met has everything from perfectly seasoned and prepared steaks to vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
A family-owned pizzeria and local favorite, Bella Fuoco Wood Fired Pizza offers a welcoming atmosphere and an intimate backyard patio experience. Bella Fuoco features Neapolitan style, thin crust pizzas that are handmade and cooked in a wood burning oven as well as salads, pastas and drinks.