Cheyenne was founded in 1867 by Major General Grenville Dodge, the chief engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad. In 1869, Cheyenne became the capital of the Territory of Wyoming. It became the state capital in 1890.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
- 1 Cheyenne Municpal City Hall, 2101 O Neil Ave (attached to the Civic Center on 20th Street). A good place to start, with itineraries, city ordinances, and civic center next door.
- Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce, 1601 Capitol Ave, Cheyenne, WY 82001, ☏ . M-F 9AM-4PM. Here you can obtain guides, itineraries, and audio walking tours. Through these audio tours, one can learn all about Downtown Cheyenne. The chamber allows for past, present, and future to meet in one place.
- 1 Boots of Cheyenne (begin at Wyoming State Muesum). Spread over the area, there are 7 larger-than-life boots with art on them. Pick up a pamphlet or your from the state museum. The pamphlet will give you tourism info, and if you have an audio device, the boots will reveal Cheyenne to you. Can you find them all? (Hint: The first one is on the property.)
The original town plot was laid in 1866 when General Dodge of the Union Pacific railroad had built a tent town overnight for the workers. This was the start of Cheyenne. Something noticeably different about the grid is that an area from 15th to Pershing is tilted 45 degrees so north is really north-west, and even stranger is that 1st street is not in downtown, but south of it. When the railroad was placed, many towns, including Fresno, and Denver, was parallel to the tracks, which didn't always run east-west. As for the streets, Cheyenne started downtown, but rapidly expanded before street names were assigned, thus Cheyenne's borders were already at where I-80 (and 1st street) is today.
Later on, notable buildings were put up, such as the Cheyenne Depot Plaza, the Hynds Building and Nagle Warren Mansion. Cheyenne, particularly downtown, became the wealthiest city in the world per capita, and these brick and mortar mansions prove this wealth, as did the Intercontiental hoitel (which burned down in 20th century). Cheyenne was not only wealthy, but the fastest growing American city of the 19th century. It earned the nickname "magic city of the plains". Soon, when Wyoming became a state in 1890, the golden capitol was built. It remains the tallest building in the city.
Growth had slowed to a near halt in the 1900s as Denver became the seat of the region. While downtown did okay by expanding into other parts of Cheyenne (namely Lakeside and Capital North), things remained stagnant. However, various oil booms proved prosperous over the decades. By the 1970s though, the economies of Downtown and of the city had diversified, and the district became the tourism center of Southeast Wyoming. This helped avoid the problems Casper and Gillette was facing at the time, and Casper relented the title of largest city in Wyoming to Cheyenne.
The city and its downtown were prosperous by the late 20th century. Many businesses had developed, the streets had been revitilized, and there was an overall positivity about the future. The California Zephyr train began running through the depot, resulting in growth. And the Wyoming Financial Center (134 ft tall) became the tallest office building of the state in 1990. The California Zephyr moved away in 1982, as did the Pioneer in 1997. However, hope for growth never stopped.
In the 21st century, Downtown Cheyenne is quickly reemerging as the city's cultural and shopping center. Several worn-down buildings have been revitalized or replaced, there are frequent events in Depot Plaza, and new stores have been popping up, such as the Metropolita. Grill, and a grocery store. Even though the spirit of the 1860s or the 1980s may be gone, a new one is coming up that is opening up the Downtown area to become alive and well.
Variety is the best word to describe buildings here. William Dubois orchestrated much of the development of the town, however everyone has had their hand in turning the place into the mosaic that Cheyenne can be proud of.
From very early on, Cheyenne has 2 high-rises that refuses to conform, rather stand out as a beacon for the city.
- Cheyenne Depot Tower, 121 W 15th St #300. 61 ft (19 m) tall, The Cheyenne Depot was one of the first to be built, after the railroad came through. The iconic clock tower is nearly hypnotic for some and attracts many, even at night. The pinnacle is something that sticks around the back of people's minds because of the original shape, made out of masonry. See listing in Do section
- Wyoming State Capitol. 148 ft (45 m). The Capitol is truly a star of the skyline, and has been around since statehood. It eas built in 1891, and has continually served the government and citizens. Designed like the national capitol, the building has received attention from all over the world. Because of that, projects to keep the building in shape, even in 2019, are always being created. Yet in the 19th century, the Capitol was just the original structure. Then extensions were completed in the 20th century for the complete structure, which is the tallest in Wyoming. (Though this has been disputed with White Hall in Laramie, which is said to be either 146 ft tall (shorter than the capitol), or 200 ft tall (taller), and is still disputed.) As of May 2019, the Capitol is under renovation as part of the Capitol Square restoration. For Cheyenne's size, the skyline falls in the middle of its peers. Grand Junction has smaller buildings, while Charleston, West Virginia has taller buildings on average. Most towers over 100 ft (30 m) tend to be on the west side on either Capitol Ave or Carey Ave.
- Wyoming Financial Center (US Bank Branch), 2020 Carey Ave. The tallest office building in Cheyenne, unusual vertical flow design.
- Federal Center (Joseph C Mahoney), 2120 Capital Ave. Large narrow design with an antenna that can be seen from the suburbs. Humbly though, it is home to a post office.
- Atlas Theatre, 211 West Lincolnway. Whilst not overly big, it is famous for the plays there, as well as possibly being haunted.
- 2 Nagle Warren Mansion and B&B. Once the symbol of early wealth, and the Victorian era, the mansion is riddled in mystery. Today, the building, and three Victorian era houses still stand, and leaves one to ponder.
Wacky Urban Weather
•The old saying "If you don't like the weather in Wyoming just wait 15 minutes " is true, particularly in Spring (see "Climate" on the left), where weather is unpredictable. Just in May 2019, a rainy day was followed by a tornado, then snow. In 1985, a blizzard followed a flood and some hot conditions.
•Urban Heat Island Effect: At nighttime in major cities, the day's heat is retained more than the suburbs. Cheyenne isn't as affected, however the summer nights may be warmer than expected, and can leave the unsuspecting traveler sweating in a coat.
Generally speaking, the climate is largely similar to the rest of Cheyenne, and Downtown is under the classification of mid-latitude steph and semi-arid (Bsk).
In summer, you can expect warm to hot temperatures (usually around 75 °F (24 °C)), however the rest is chaotic. Dry treacherous days are mixed with severe storms and heavy rains.
For winter, it's cold, but not always snowy. The fact is, the snowiest month is in Spring. Then there is the in between seasons. Autumn is cool, crisp, but generally peaceful. Spring, however, is a mixture of everything. If you wanted all four seasons in one week, consider visiting between March and May. However, be wary of spring storms that can leave you stuck in town for a day. One day is sunny, the next it's snowing, the next there is a tornado.
Typically though, temperatures are jacket weather, usually above 30 °F (−1 °C), even in winter.
In such a rural state, the route to Cheyenne is pleasantly and surprisingly modern, with the almighty Interstate system in full supply, and a few buses to help you get in. (And who's to say Wyoming is backwards?)
Cheyenne is at the crossroads of Interstates 80 and 25 in southeastern Wyoming, about 40 miles west of the Nebraska border, 180 miles south of Casper, 50 miles east of Laramie, and 8 miles north of the Colorado border.
Cheyenne is 90 miles directly north of Denver. The trip takes approximately 1½ hours, depending on Denver traffic. Inside of Cheyenne, there is minimum traffic, except during rush hour on Dell Range Boulevard, Lincoln-way, and Central Avenue/I-180, where urban traffic jams actually occur, thanks to influx from Colorado. If you're looking to really avoid traffic, avoid CFD (last week of July), which sees 200,000 visit the capital city, and I-25 is screwed.
- 2 Cheyenne Regional Airport/Jerry Olsen Field (CYS IATA). Beginning June 2020, there will be two commercial flights into Dallas: one Su-F at 6:15AM or Sa at 10:50AM, and one daily at 1:25PM. Until then, such flights are reduced to one Sa at 10:50AM or Su-F at 1:25PM. For the adventurous, small 15-seat prop planes fly from Denver International Airport. The flight is not recommended for those with weak stomachs or those who hate roller coaster rides. However, if you would like both an aisle and a window seat you are in luck. Great Lakes Airlines operates the 40-minute flights (about 20 minutes of flying time) and code shares with Frontier and United.
In some cases, hotels will give you rides to the airport, like Fair-field on West Lincolnway. Check your hotel's website to see if it offers this service. Additionally, arranged taxis and other transits will get you there.
Denver International Airport (DEN IATA) is the closest major airport to Cheyenne, for those that want to go international. Rental cars are available at the airport, which is 90 mi (140 km) from Cheyenne, via E-470.
Cheyenne has no Amtrak services. In the summer, the Denver Post runs a train for tourists up to Cheyenne, particularly often during Cheyenne Frontier Days (CFD).
The Colorado Department of Transportation is contemplating a high-speed rail service along the Front Range and beyond, with service from Cheyenne to Albuquerque.
They may appear few and far in-between, however, a good mantra is "the more you look, the more you see", which is true here. Knowing which miniature (and not necessarily mainline) companies will get you where you want to go for cheaper makes all the difference.
- 3 Greyhound (Black Hills Stage Lines), 3306 W College Drive (I-25 Exit 7), ☏ . Greyhound moved in 2019-2020 to share a bus stop with Express Arrow (see below), and now is in Arby's parking lot. Service west to Laramie, Salt Lake City, and Portland, and Service East to Fort Collins and Denver.
- 4 Express Arrow (independent, but linked with Greyhound), 3306 W College Drive, ☏ . Varible. Service to Billings (6AM M W F), Buffalo WYO (3:35PM daily),and Denver (1:55PM daily).
Alternatively, check out these mom-and-pop companies:
- Powder River Transit. Coach USA and affiliates run charters to Cheyenne, with nearest official bus line in Lincoln, Nebraska. However, Gillette based Powder-River Transportation (a part of Coach USA now) will sometimes run routes to the Cheyenne Area.
Cheyenne has a relatively simple street grid, and on-street parking in the city is a breeze due to the lack of paid parking meters. However, time-limited parking exists on many downtown streets and roads, even the medical center. You should always know how long you will stay within a place before you park, or you could pay an unexpected $15 fine.
Rush hour runs from about 4:30PM to 6:30PM, Monday through Friday.
The Cheyenne Transit Program comprises six bus lines each serving their own region of the city. Accessible "Curb to Curb" buses are also available for the mobility-impaired — the wheelchair entrance is found in the rear.
Mostly used by tourists, these buses make a loop of the various downtown landmarks, stopping for about two minutes at each (don't dawdle on your way back in; the next trolley is usually about 90 minutes away).
During the "Christmas"" season, trolleys are arranged for decoration tours, which may take you across the entire city. Ask about pricing.
T&I Shuttle Service is the most comprehensive taxi company in the city.
- 1 Wyoming State Capitol, 200 W 24th St, ☏ . M-F 8AM-5PM. Completed in 1888 before Wyoming was a state, the Wyoming State Capitol is a National Historic Landmark and the dominant structure on the Cheyenne skyline.
- 2 Wyoming State Museum, 2301 Central Ave, ☏ . M-Sa 9AM-4:30PM. Features artifacts, various collections and gift shop, full of souvenirs and Wyoming books.
- 3 Cheyenne Depot Museum, 121 W. 15th St, ☏ . Former Union Pacific Railroad Depot and renovated National Historic Landmark. The plaza in front of the depot hosts concerts and other events during the summer. The station also hosts Shadow's Pub & Grill [dead link].
- 4 Old West Museum & Store, 4610 North Carey Ave, ☏ . Located in Frontier Park on the grounds of Cheyenne Frontier Days, the historic rodeo called the "Daddy of 'em All". Includes a large display of horse-drawn carriages and exhibits on the history of the CFD rodeo which was established in 1897.
- 5 Nelson Museum of the West, 1714 Carey Ave, ☏ . May 1-Oct 31: M-F 9AM-4:30PM. Western museum with 11,000 square feet of exhibits, including Indian artifacts, cowboy trappings, 19th century weapons and outlaw memorabilia.
- 6 Governor's Mansion, 300 East 21st St, ☏ . Tu-Su 9AM-5PM. The historic mansion, home to Wyoming governors from 1905 to 1976. Free.
- 7 Big Boy Steam Engine, 1142-,1188 E Lincolnway (17th St & Morrie Ave. (Holliday Park)). This powerful coal-fired engine was designed to pull a 3600-ton train over steep grades between Cheyenne and Ogden, Utah. The 4004 is one of eight remaining Big Boys on display throughout the country.
- 8 Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, 710 S. Lions Park Dr, ☏ . M-F 8AM-4:30PM, Sa Su 11AM-3:30PM. Includes diverse flora and a greenhouse conservatory. The grounds are also home to Historic Locomotive 1242 and the Western Walkway, connecting the Gardens to the Old West Museum. Free.
- 1 Cheyenne Frontier Days, 4610 Carey Ave. World's largest outdoor rodeo & Western celebration that takes place the "Last Full Week in July". This historic rodeo was established in 1897 and is called the “Daddy of ‘em All”. Events include numerous rodeo events, free pancake breakfasts, night-time concerts, and parades. There will be heavy vehicular traffic last week of July on I-25, Carey Ave, and 8th Ave.
- 2 Historic Trolley Tours, 121 W. 15th St, ☏ . Narrated, 90-minute tours of historic Cheyenne. Purchase tickets in the Depot and tours leave from the Depot Plaza. $10 adults/$5 children. There is also a horse-drawn carriage tour option.
- 3 Terry Bison Ranch, 25 Service Rd, ☏ . 51 I- 7 miles south of Cheyenne off I-25, this ranch is home to more than 2,000 bison. Take a tour through the herd from the safety of a vehicle. The ranch also has “horses, longhorn steer, camels, llamas, ostriches, emu, chickens, turkeys, turkins (1/2 turkey-1/2 chicken), peacocks, donkeys, goats, and beefalo (1/2 buffalo-1/2 steer).”
- 1 Frontier Mall, 1400 Dell Range Blvd, ☏ . Su-F 6AM-9PM, Sa 6AM-10PM, some stores open on their own schedule. One-story indoor shopping area near Cheyenne Regional Airport and anchored by Dillard's (2 spots), J.C. Penny's (1 spot), Planet Fitness (1 spot), and Jax Outdoor Gear (1 spot, in place of old Sears). The food court has recovered from gloomy times,and now is home to 3 options, including the new Honolulu Poke and Ramen.
- 1 The Egg & I, 2300 Carey Ave, ☏ . 6:30AM-2PM. A specialty breakfast and lunch chain in Downtown, great place to watch the CFD parade on the fourth Tuesday/Thursday of July.
- 2 Plains Hotel Diner (Potentially called Captiol Grille), 1600 Central Ave, ☏ . Gourmet restaurant located in the historic Plains Hotel, not a budget choice
- 3 Poor Richard’s, 2233 E. Lincolnway, ☏ . Fine dining specializing in steaks and seafood.
- 4 Sanford’s Grub & Pub, 115 E. 17th St. Eclectic décor with a huge menu. Look for the back-end of a pickup truck hanging over the entrance
- 5 Good Friend's Chinese Restaurant, 507 East Lincolnway, ☏ . Serves Chinese and Japanese.
- 6 The Albany, 1506 Capitol Ave, ☏ . The Albany Restaurant Bar.
- 7 The Pie Lady, 3515 E Lincolnway, ☏ . "Mom's Kitchen" feel with a wide variety of pies.
- 1 Midtown Tavern (inside old Anderson's Corner), 1303 E. Pershing Blvd. (I-25 exit 11, follow Pershing to Anderson sign.), ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F Sa 11AM-2AM. Local pub with live music.
- 1 Candlewood Suites Cheyenne, 2335 Tura Pkwy, ☏ . $129/night.
- 2 The Cheyenne Motel, 1601 E. Lincolnway (1 Mile East of Downtown on Lincolnway), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 10:30AM. Small, quiet establishment with affordable nightly and weekly rates. Friendly service, attentive staff, and low rates you just can't get at the larger chain motels. $40 and up.
- 3 Fairfield Inn & Suites Cheyenne, 1415 Stillwater Ave, ☏ , fax: .
- 4 The Historic Plains Hotel, 1600 Central Ave, ☏ .
- 5 Holiday Inn Express & Suites Cheyenne, 1741 Fleischli Parkway, ☏ .
- 6 Little America Hotel & Resort, 2800 Lincolnway, ☏ .
- 7 Motel 6, 1735 Westland Rd, ☏ , fax: .
- The Rocky Mountains can be a rewarding adventure, that will always be remembered, just watch for road closures on I-80 in winter.
- Casper: Once larger than Cheyenne thanks to a 1970s oil boom, this still quaint town retains the western lifestyle and the loyal locals can relate to Casper. With that being said, shopping is prevalent, and there is a number of eateries that is worth trying, and Wyoming's only International airport is located here. Old and New, Small and Big, everything is thrown together in this city of 59,000 (2014 est) people.
- Laramie is less than an hour away on I-80/US 30, and is a college town set amongst the flat frontier and the rocky mountains. With a population of 30,000, the town still thrives today, and is a worthwhile stop on a route through Wyoming.
- Wellington: A small town that is quickly falling to Northern Colorado urbanization, Wellington is still small, and can offer an unmatched experience and hospitable atmosphere. This bedroom community of Fort Collins is 6,000 people in the 2010 census, but now is estimated up to 8,500 people. Stop by for a trip of the lifetime.
- Fort Collins, Colorado is only 44 miles to the south, and offers an active "NoCo" scene.
|Routes through Cheyenne|
|Casper ← Douglas ← Jct E ←||N S||→ Wellington → Fort Collins|
|Rock Springs ← Buford ←||W E||→ Kimball → North Platte|
|Laramie ← Buford ←||W E||→ Kimball → North Platte|
|Spearfish ← Torrington ←||N S||→ Greeley → Thornton|