city in and county seat of Ford County, Kansas, United States

Dodge City is a town of 27,000 people (2019) in Western region of Kansas. In and around the city, there are historical sites, museums, and landmarks dedicated to Dodge City's Old West heritage.


Front Street

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."

Sound like a local

The river that meanders through the southern half of the city is the Arkansas River. While this river is in Kansas, the name is pronounced Arr-KAN-sas, to match the state name. Outside of Kansas, the pronunciation changes to Arr-kan-SAW, to match the state of Arkansas.

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 connection to the cattle trade remained, however, and can be seen in the meatpacking plants and the lines of refrigerated trucks on the highways.

Most of western Kansas has struggled with de-population since the 1970s, but Dodge City was a center of population growth from the 1970s through the 2010s. It is now a majority–minority community, with nearly two-thirds of the residents being Latino.

Get in


By car


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, which goes from Garden City on the western end of the state, through Dodge City and Emporia, before angling up to Kansas City in the east.

By plane

  • 1 Dodge City Regional Airport (DDC  IATA). United Airlines has nonstop service on a regional jet to Denver through their partner, SkyWest Airlines. Flights typically happen once or twice a day.    

By train


Arriving by rail is less common, but fully possible via Amtrak and its daily ChicagoLos Angeles Southwest Chief train, which has five other stops within Kansas and many more outside it. East-bound trains (next major stop outside of Kansas: Kansas City) arrive just before midnight, while west-bound ones (next major stop: Albuquerque, New Mexico) arrive in the early morning around 5:30AM.

  • 2 Dodge City station, E Wyatt Earp Blvd. While the station might look impressive from the outside, there are few amenities and no ticket office or machines.    

Get around

Map of Dodge City
  • 1 Boot Hill Museum, Front St, +1 620-227-8188. 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.    
Carnegie Art Center
  • 2 Carnegie Art Center, 701 2nd Ave, +1 620-225-6388. Tu-F 1:30–5PM, Sa 9:30AM–noon, Su M closed. Art gallery in the historic Carnegie Library building. Listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.
  • 3 Coronado Cross, 11666 E US Hwy 400 (east of the city, near Fort Dodge), +1 620-227-6791. 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.
  • 4 Fort Dodge, East Highway 400 (5 miles east of Dodge City), +1 620-227-2121. Fort Dodge served as a supply depot and a base of operation while fighting the Indians from 1865-1882.    
Mueller-Schmidt House
  • 5 Mueller-Schmidt House (Home of Stone), 112 E Vine St, +1 620-227-6791. The 1881 house of a bootmaker with original furnishings and a gallery dedicated to local pioneer women.
  • 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.
  • 1 Boot Hill Casino & Resort, 4000 West Comanche, toll-free: +1-877-906-0777, . Open 24 hours. Run by the Kansas Lottery. Adults only (minimum age of 21).
  • 2 Southwest Kansas Storm (Professional Indoor Football). United Wireless Arena in West Dodge City is home to the town's professional indoor football team, the Southwest Kansas Storm, replacing the Dodge City Law.  
  • Dodge City Cowboy Band, Wright Park, toll-free: +1-800-653-9378. Tuesday nights in June and July only. The oldest municipal band west of the Mississippi River.
  • 6 Depot Theater Co., 201 E. Wyatt Earp, +1 620-225-1001. A historic Santa Fe Depot theater with dinner theater productions. Typically five shows a year, each running for three weekends. Dinner tickets must be bought at least 24 hours in advance, but show-only tickets are sometimes available at the last minute. $60 ($30 for show only).
  • 3 Long Branch Lagoon Water Park, 111 4th Ave (in Wright Park), +1 620-225-8156. Fun water park with slides, lazy river, and shaded areas. Hours vary, but generally open in the afternoons and early evenings during the summer. Open daily when school isn't in session (June to mid-August), and then weekends only until early September. $6 adults, $4 kids, season pass available.

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.





Hotel options tend to be large chains, with a few no-name budget motels with little to recommend them beyond the price. Almost all of the hotels are along US Highway 50, mostly on the western side of town. There are four RV parks.

There are also a couple dozen home stay rentals available in town and in the surrounding area. These generally run about $150 a night and have two or three beds.

  • Executive Inn, 2200 West Wyatt Earp Blvd, +1 620-227-8146.
  • 1 Gunsmoke RV Park, 11070 108th Rd, +1 620-227-8247, . Check-in: starts at noon, check-out: 11AM. Out on the western side of Dodge, this RV park offers full hookups, gravel lots, wifi at no extra charge. Outdoor swimming pool during the summer. Coin-operated laundry. $48/night.
  • 2 Holiday Inn Express & Suites Dodge City, 201 4th Ave, +1 620-225-1000.
  • Regency Inn and Suites, 2110 East Wyatt Earp Blvd, +1 620-225-2654.
  • 3 Dodge City KOA, 701 Park St (in Wright Park). Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. An RV park right where you want to be for summer-time fun: next door to the dog park, a few minutes' walk to a big water park in town, and a half mile from the historic downtown area. Also offers 10 two-bedroom cabins ($170–250/night) and tent camping sites ($35/night). $60–70.

Go next

  • Wichita, the largest city anchored in Kansas, is about 150 miles (250 km) east of Dodge City.
Routes through Dodge City
AlbuquerqueGarden City  W   E  HutchinsonKansas City
PuebloGarden City  W   E  HutchinsonKansas City
Boise City ← Jct N   S  W   E  LyonsMcPherson
WaKeeney ← Ness City ←  N   S  → Cheyenne → Sayre
LamarGarden City  W   E  GreensburgWichita

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