In 1865 Fort Dodge was constructed along the Santa Fe Trail to help protect travelers from Indians. Dodge City was formed near the fort in the years that followed. In the 1870s it exemplified the spirit of the Wild West portrayed in American television and movies, most notably in the American television show Gunsmoke, which was set in Dodge City and popularized the phrase "Get the hell out of Dodge."
The town had its heyday during the cattle drives of the late 1800s as quarantines made it one of the few places along the railroad where Texas ranchers could bring their cattle. This quarantine, created to protect other breeds of cattle from a parasitic tick carried by longhorns, was extended to Dodge City in 1885, essentially ending the town's run as the "Queen of the Cow Towns". By 1886 the gambling saloons, brothels, and other notorious establishments that had built the town's reputation had mostly closed.
The most common way of getting to Dodge City is by car, and is a worthwhile stop for anyone road-tripping along the US-50.
Arriving by rail is less common, but fully possible via Amtrak and its daily Chicago - Los Angeles Southwest Chief train. East-bound trains arrive just before midnight while west-bound ones arrive in the early morning around 5:30AM.
- 1 Boot Hill Museum, Front St, ☏ . Hours: Memorial Day through Labor Day, 8AM-8PM daily. Off-season hours: M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Sunday 1-5PM. The Boot Hill Museum contains a reconstruction of 1876 Dodge City and Boot Hill Cemetery, so named because most of the deceased were buried with their boots on. Between Memorial Day and the end of August, visitors can see gunfight re-enactments, a variety show, and have a chuckwagon dinner. Summertime Admission: $8 for adults, $7.50 for senior citizens and students, children six and under get in free. Off-season admission is 50 cents less.
- Depot Theater Co., 201 E. Wyatt Earp, ☏ . A historic Santa Fe Depot theater with dinner theater productions.
- Carnegie Art Center, 701 2nd Ave., ☏ . Tu-F noon-5PM, Sa 11AM-3PM, Su M closed. Art gallery in the historic Carnegie Library building. Listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.
- Coronado Cross, East Highway 400 (east of the city, near Fort Dodge), ☏ . 38-ft-tall cross marking the spot where Spanish explorer Francisco Vasques de Coronado crossed the Arkansas River in search of the fabled "Seven Cities of Gold" in 1541.
- Dodge City Cowboy Band, Wright Park, toll-free: . Tuesday nights in June and July only. The oldest municipal band west of the Mississippi River.
- Dodge City Legend (Dodge City Civic Center). Semi-pro basketball team.
- 2 Fort Dodge, East Highway 400 (5 miles east of Dodge City), ☏ . Fort Dodge served as a supply depot and a base of operation while fighting the Indians from 1865-1882.
- Dodge City Days. Dodge City Days are held in late July to early August. Events include a barbeque contest, the Dodge City Days Rodeo, an arts and crafts show, a parade, and a classic car show.
- Boot Hill Casino & Resort, 4000 West Comanche, toll-free: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Dodge City Law (Professional Indoor Football). United Wireless Arena in West Dodge City is home to the town's professional indoor football team, the Dodge City Law. The team competes in the CIF.
While the cowboy-era downtown buildings were torn down in the 1970s, the "new" downtown maintains a frontier feel and offers dozens of shops ranging from vintage photos and art galleries to the more utilitarian.
- Wichita, the largest city anchored in Kansas, is about 150 miles (250 km) east of Dodge City.
|Routes through Dodge City|
|Albuquerque ← Garden City ←||W E||→ Hutchinson → Kansas City|
|Pueblo ← Garden City ←||W E||→ Hutchinson → Kansas City|
|Boise City ← Jct N S ←||W E||→ Lyons → McPherson|
|WaKeeney ← Ness City ←||N S||→ Cheyenne → Sayre|
|Lamar ← Garden City ←||W E||→ Greensburg → Wichita|