A New West in Cheyenne, Wyo.

Old West charm meets a vibrant, new cultural scene

Photo: by Whitney James courtesy Visit Cheyenne

In Cheyenne, Wyo., two worlds collide. As you drive to Wyoming’s capital from Denver, Colo., you’ll pass herds of bison at the Terry Bison Ranch where you can go on a trail ride or train ride to see these iconic creatures up close. Each July, you can visit Cheyenne Frontier Days, a world-renowned festival full of pro-rodeo, country music and Western heritage. If you’re not visiting in July, the Hell on Wheels Rodeo Series on select Friday nights throughout the summer, complete with a Chuck Wagon Dinner, will give you a taste of cowboy culture.

Feeding bison from the train at the Terry Bison Ranch in Cheyenne, Wyo.
Feeding bison from the train at the Terry Bison Ranch in Cheyenne, Wyo. (Photo: by Mark Harris courtesy Visit Cheyenne)

The Old West traditions are still a vital part of Cheyenne’s culture, but there’s so much more to this city than cowboy charm.

“For one thing, the music scene here is exploding,” says Jim Walter, director of sales and marketing at Visit Cheyenne. “It’s really incredible for an Old Western town.”

Take Ernie November, a quirky record store which occasionally hosts heavy metal concerts. Or the newly restored Lincoln Theatre, which first opened in 1927 and now hosts live shows from every genre you could imagine. It attracts big names like comedian Bob Saget and has become a staple of downtown. Before attending a show, have dinner at the Met Downtown, which has a moody art-deco interior and sleek menu featuring ahi crudo alongside a pulled pork sandwich. It’s something you’d expect to find in hip neighborhoods in Seattle or Denver. Or, stop by the Paramount Ballroom close to the theatre for craft cocktails.

The Met Bar in Cheyenne, Wyoming
The Metropolitan (Photo: Courtesy Visit Cheyenne)

There’s also the incredible outdoor scene from rock climbing mecca Vedauwoo Recreation Area (pronounced vee-da-voo) or Curt Gowdy State Park, both of which are approximately 30 minutes from downtown. At Curt Gowdy, hike the 3.6-mile Hidden Falls Trail, a family-friendly loop with great views.

Hiking Vedauwoo Recreation Area in Wyoming near Cheyenne
Hiking Vedauwoo Recreation Area in Wyoming near Cheyenne (Photo: Flickr/Paul Langlois)

Before your hike, head to Mort’s Bagels, another surprising twist for this Western town, featuring more than 17 different types of cream cheese.

“I’m a New York kid, and these are the real deal,” says Walter.

And after your hike? Stop by Black Tooth Brewing Co., one of five craft breweries in town. Here, saddle broncs and mules adorn the cans, a nod to an Old West that lives on despite craft beer, underground music and a burgeoning scene of North Face-clad millennials in town. That’s the charm of Cheyenne. It’s a vibrant, modern town but it holds its roots close.

Don’t know where to start? Purchase a Legendary Pass at cheyenne.org, which costs $25 and is good for admission to three museums, a ride on the iconic trolley and exclusive discounts to Curt Gowdy State Park and the Terry Bison Ranch.

For more information:
Visit Cheyenne Convention & Visitors Bureau
(800) 426-5009
Depot Square at 121 W. 15th St, suite 202