Travel around the world and say the name “Cheyenne” and images of cowboys, bison, outlaws and heroes come to mind. The legend of Cheyenne lies in its past with the old west, but today’s Cheyenne is rewriting the legend with a diverse music scene, a variety of dining and the best concentration of craft breweries in all of Wyoming. In fact, Wyoming is fourth in the nation for craft breweries per capita.
The heart of any growing city lies in the downtown district. Cheyenne’s historic downtown, which is only a 90-minute drive north of Denver, has had a front row seat to many important moments in history. From its birth with the arrival of the Trans-Continental Railroad 150 years ago to being at the center of the women’s suffrage movement, you can feel the deep history as you explore the community. A 90-minute Wild West History Tour on a trolley is the perfect way to learn more about the outlaws, cattle barons and activists that built the “Magic City on the Plains”.
Historic Union Pacific Depot
The perfect jumping off point for your visit to Cheyenne is the Historic Union Pacific Depot. Housed in one of the last standing grand railroad stations along the Trans-Continental Railroad, the museum tells the history of the rails in Cheyenne from its days as a “Hell on Wheels” pop up town to today. You won’t want to miss the model railroad on the 2nd floor.
While at the Depot, stop at Accomplice Beer Company, pour a Great American Beer Festival award winning Krimson King and watch the trains go by in a historic setting.
Speaking of beer and craft beverages, those with a taste for all things hops should download Cheyenne’s Daddy of the Malt craft beverage pass. This pass is good for buy one, get one free drink breweries and distilleries around the Cheyenne area. Many local craft beverage makers use local malts from grains grown right here on the vast plains. Visit all six and you can take home your own stainless-steel pint glass.
Eat like a local
Locals and visitors alike will rave about the locally sourced beef and bison that adorns many a menu in town, but if you are looking to “eat like a local” try the green chile. The gravy can be found on menus ranging from steakhouses to Mexican restaurants and very few foods in spark such an intense debate over whose is better.
Poured generously over everything from burritos to fries to omelets, the chile varies widely in consistency, spiciness, and ingredients. The roux-base is flavored with one or more of the seven varieties of green chile peppers. Many incorporate ground sausage or shredded meat, some are spoon-worthily creamy and others absorb into the food quickly, but all of them are a unique taste of Cheyenne.
A visit to Cheyenne is not all eating and drinking. The undiscovered secret here is the rapidly growing arts scene. The most iconic artwork in the city are the 32 big boots that can be spotted in many different locations including more than a dozen of them downtown. The “These Boots were Made for Talking” is your guide to an all day scavenger hunt to see them all. While searching for the boots take in the numerous bronze statues that adorn the community and view the more that 30 murals that decorate the sides of buildings downtown. Every summer the annual Paint Slingers event adds to the already impressive public art with new murals on the historic buildings.
The city is also home to 11 museums, and 8 of them offer free admission. An insiders hack to Cheyenne is to pick up their Legendary Pass which grants admission to the Depot Museum, the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum and the Nelson Museum of the west along with a trolley ride and discounts at Terry Bison Ranch, all for only $25.
When the sun sets, the lights come up on stage for live music. National and regional acts find their way on stage at venues like the Lincoln Cheyenne, the Outlaw Saloon, Fridays on the Plaza downtown and the Terry Bison Ranch and their Chinook outdoor venue. While you’d assume country is the playlist of the day in Cheyenne, a wide variety of acts from rock to metal and hip hop will keep your head bobbing and toes tapping late into the evening.
Cheyenne’s undiscovered side is growing in popularity, but the community offers a wide selection of hotels, unique Airbnb locations and campgrounds to experience. A visit to Cheyenne today will reward you with bragging rights when everyone else discovers this growing city nestled on the plains in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains tomorrow.