Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Cheyenne, WY

  • Published 2023/02/11

Cheyenne evokes thoughts of cowboys, railroads, and the great outdoors for Wyoming visitors.

While today’s Cheyenne has retained that vibe, it has more to offer!

Cheyenne is Wyoming’s capital and largest city.

It is also the county seat of Laramie County.

Residents named the city after the Cheyenne tribe of Native Americans in 1867.

Over 1.1 million tourists visit Cheyenne annually because of the city’s many exciting attractions, including the Wyoming Buffalo Jump and the Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Hikers and campers will enjoy the varied landscapes, from lush, verdant hills to glistening rivers to barren, desert-cracked mountain areas.

The best part is you can enjoy the city without cutting back on your planned vacation activities.

So, to help you plan your wallet-friendly vacation, here are some free things to do in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Spot the Cheyenne Big Boots

Cheyenne Big Boots at downtown Cheyenne

littlenySTOCK /

Don’t pinch yourself when you are staring at a giant cowboy boot or two in Cheyenne because you are not dreaming.

Forty-five enormous cowboy boots are strewn across the city, each indicating a significant landmark.

A scavenger quest to collect all the footwear makes for an exciting way to see the city’s sights.

A local artist from Cheyenne has hand-painted the Cheyenne Big Boots.

Every boot symbolizes many different places and events in Cheyenne’s past.

Cheyenne Big Boots in front of a museum

MLambousis /

The Cheyenne Big Boots provide a fresh and exciting perspective on the city.

A pamphlet is available at the Cheyenne Depot with information on where to find these gigantic novelties.

An audio tour that describes the inspiration behind each boot is accessible as a download for mobile devices.

Cheyenne Big Boots in front of a depot

Paul Brady Photography /

Cruise along the Happy Jack Road

Happy Jack Road, which connects Cheyenne and Laramie, is a well-loved drive thanks to its picturesque scenery and convenient proximity to exciting sights.

You may explore the various parks, waterfalls, and lookout sites that dot the route.

Otherwise, you can stay in the car and have a relaxing drive through the scenic countryside.

Under a vast, cloudless blue sky, the plains extend indefinitely.

Lakes and hills sprout up from the dry rock formations.

Wildlife abounds, whether you’re looking for it in the woods or down by the cliffs.

Relax along the beautiful Happy Jack Road whenever your holiday stress levels rise.

Check Out the Record-Breaking Big Boy Steam Engine

Night view of the Big Boy Steam Engine

GagliardiPhotography /

Do you love trains?

A short drive will take you to Holliday Park, where you can see the Big Boy Steam Engine, the world’s largest steam engine.

The massive locomotive, one of just eight in the country, is an impressive sight due to its size and magnitude.

Daytime view of Big Boy Steam Engine

David Brossard, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With its 4-8-8-4 wheel configuration, the steam engine, built in 1941, transported large cargo through the Wasatch Mountains, which separated Wyoming and Utah.

Despite the Big Boy Steam Engine’s remarkable power, thanks to its coal-fired engine, it was replaced with efficient diesel and gas-turbine electric locomotives within a few decades.

Besides seeing its excellent features, parkgoers may learn about the steam engine’s history through an instructive exhibit next to it.

Explore State History at Wyoming State Museum

Exterior of Wyoming State Museum

Smallbones, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn about Wyoming’s past at the Wyoming State Museum, which opened in 1895.

Since then, it has expanded to a two-story building that chronicles Wyoming’s history.

Exhibits showcase the region’s rich cultural heritage and abundant natural resources.

Besides learning about the pioneers and cattle workers who moved west with the railroad in the 19th century, you’ll learn about the rich history of the Native American nations who called Wyoming home.

The “Hands-On Habitats Room” is the ideal place to take the young adventurers in your family to learn about the diverse wildlife of Wyoming via direct tactile contact.

Family-friendly events and seminars are held regularly at the Wyoming State Museum.

If you find yourself in Cheyenne on the first Saturday of the month, you might want to check out the museum’s family-friendly activities.

Let Your Kids Enjoy Nature at Paul Smith Children’s Village

The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens hosts the wonderful Paul Smith Children’s Village, intended for kids of all ages.

The village began during the Great Depression as part of the Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) job-training program.

It was later renamed after a previous board member and gardening enthusiast.

The program aims to make learning about gardening and sustainability exciting and engaging for young students.

Wading ponds, teepees, sand for castle building, monthly story time, creative craft programs, and a hidden garden with a puppet theater are just a few of the features that make this library perfect for kids.

Each sustainable garden serves as a classroom and a place for community engagement.

Paul Smith Children’s Village features a dog house with a green roof, a greenhouse made from energy-saving materials, a windmill used by a local farmer, a solar pump, and a wetland for water purification.

Stroll around Cheyenne Botanic Gardens

Horseshoe arch at Cheyenne Botanic Gardens

Gregory Simpson /

Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, located directly adjacent to the Frontier Days Old West Museum, is a tranquil and beautiful spot for a stroll.

Within Lions Park, you’ll find a wide variety of beautiful landscapes waiting to be discovered, along with an abundance of vibrant flowers, foliage, and bushes.

The gardens, first planted in 1977, have since flourished, adding sections dedicated to roses, herbs, perennials, ponds, and wooded areas.

Also included are a cactus exhibit, a Garden Labyrinth, some beautiful water features, and a children’s village that’s a lot of fun to explore.

The best part is the lovely conservatory with tropical plants, a koi pond, and a garden.

The stunning Cheyenne Botanic Gardens has received accolades over the years for its innovative use of renewable energy and outstanding community programming.

Have a Picnic at Mylar Park

Do you want to have a good time in nature with your loved ones?

Enjoy the great outdoors at Mylar Park, so take a picnic lunch and a blanket and travel there for a day of fun with the family.

Mylar Park is a great place to get out of the house and enjoy the great outdoors since it offers several different activities, such as a disc golf course, a fishing pier, and biking trails.

If you like running, you can join a 5K or 10K race around this stunning park.

After a long sports day, relax in the park’s brand-new restrooms or fire up the grills.

With so much to do, spending a whole day here is easy.

Take Photos of the Wyoming State Capitol

Exterior of the Wyoming State Capitol

Nagel Photography /

Visit the Wyoming State Capitol, whose golden tower sparkles day and night to greet tourists to the city.

Self-guided visitors to this Renaissance Revival-style building will learn that the gilded dome uses natural gold leaf.

There are only 20 such state capital buildings in the United States, and the Wyoming State Capitol is one of them.

Rotunda in the Wyoming State Capitol

Nagel Photography /

Historic landmarks from Wyoming’s past are depicted on the building’s walls and stained glass windows.

Recent restorations to the Capitol have unveiled its historic beauty and character, obscured by artificial walls and suspended ceilings.

Check out the original skylights, carved wooden reliefs, and stained glass dome that hasn’t seen the light of day in almost 40 years!

Senate chamber on the Wyoming State Capitol

Nagel Photography /

Explore the Wyoming Historic Governors’ Mansion

Exterior of Wyoming Historic Governors' Mansion

Wyatt Perry, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

From 1905 through 1976, the Governor of Wyoming and his family lived here.

Recently, this magnificent Colonial Revival estate has been transformed into a museum.

You are welcome to take a free, self-guided tour of the Governor’s Mansion or take advantage of the services of knowledgeable tour guides.

The guides will gladly show you the whole building, including the basement.

The Wyoming Historic Governor’s Mansion houses furniture and antiquities dating back to 1905 and the 1960s.

The Governor’s Den, the underground bomb bunker, the VIP guest room, and the library are all worthy of your close inspection.

The estate’s staff is ready to give you a tour catered to your interests and filled with interesting anecdotes about the home and its families.

Visit the Cowgirls of the West Museum and Emporium

Cowgirls of the West Museum and Emporium aims to honor and preserve the legacy of the women who helped settle and shape the American West.

Learn about homesteading, raising children, and working as a woman in the prairie era.

Just ask one of the numerous cowgirl volunteers to learn more about the museum’s impressive collection of horse equipment, western dress, and homesteading relics.

Some of the ladies honored at the Cowgirls of the West Museum and Emporium were trailblazers who dared to do things their way.

If you visit the museum, inquire about the pioneering female riders in the rodeo and trick-riding communities.

Some of their names may be familiar, such as Lucile Mulhall and Annie Oakley, both famous Old West entertainers who often performed for presidents by roping and shooting.

Take a Historic Downtown Cheyenne Walking Tour

Street scene at Downtown Cheyenne

photo-denver /

Seeing Cheyenne’s old town is a must if you’re in town.

The downtown area features many blocks of enormous, mansion-style mansions and other architecture that goes back centuries.

Further out, you’ll find museums, churches, monuments, and historical tourist sites in the larger Cheyenne region.

You should take the Historic Downtown Cheyenne Walking Tour to see everything.

Buildings along Downtown Cheyenne

Kit Leong /

The tourist center has maps, and there are many routes to take depending on how much time you have and how physically fit you are.

The shortest trip is a leisurely 0.7-mile round of the city’s main attractions, while the most extended and in-depth route will take you back to the state capital.

Stop by the information desk and grab a pamphlet if you plan to take the Historic Downtown Cheyenne Walking Tour.

Immerse in Local Artistry at Cheyenne Artists Guild

Cheyenne Artists Guild was established in 1949 and is Wyoming’s longest-running and continuously active artists’ group.

As the nonprofit organization that helps over a hundred artists advance in their fields, the guild has become an integral element of the town’s artistic culture.

It features various items: paintings, pottery, cards, jewelry, scarves, and many more.

The Cheyenne Artists Guild rotates its exhibits monthly, with new themes each time, so more local artists can display their work.

Every year, the guild holds a painting competition known as the Seven State Regional, to which artists from around the United States submit their work.

See the Items at Antiques Central

Antiques Central is a one-stop shop for treasures and souvenirs, with over 20 dealers selling items from furniture to jewelry.

The store is inside a massive red-brick structure that was once a creamery.

Today, it features two stories full of antiques.

Everything inside is vintage, unlike a regular thrift store; it is more like a museum of historical artifacts.

For example, you might find a collection of hand-sewn Native American figurines to a closet of dazzling clothes from the Jazz Age.

Spend an afternoon in Cheyenne at Antiques Central!

See Little Trains at Sherman Hill Model Railroad Club

See some of the country’s most stunning and lovingly constructed model railways at the Sherman Hill Model Railroad Club.

It offers much more than simply an excellent place for model builders to meet and talk shop.

Visitors at Sherman Hill Model Railroad Club can join a wide range of public and private activities and workshops that teach skills useful for constructing large and tiny models.

The Sherman Hill Model Railroad Club, a nonprofit organization, provides its guests with a wealth of information on the rich history of railroading in Wyoming.

Wander Cheyenne Depot Plaza

Entrance arch of Cheyenne Depot Plaza

littlenySTOCK /

Cheyenne Depot Plaza, located in front of the equally spectacular Cheyenne Depot Museum, is one of the most visited spots in town.

Many of the city’s festivals and significant community events take place in this vast outdoor space, home to many sculptures, monuments, and attractive historic buildings.

Historic markers, such as plaques, are strategically placed throughout the central business district so tourists can learn more about the area’s background.

Museum at Cheyenne Depot Plaza

Kit Leong /

Colorful cowboy boot sculptures are only one of the unique art projects you’ll come across while exploring the site, along with magnificent statues of horses and notable personalities.

The Cheyenne Depot Plaza, surrounded by stores and eateries, serves as a central gathering place for Cheyenne residents and visitors throughout the year.

A statue at Cheyenne Depot Plaza

Kit Leong /

Final Thoughts

When visiting Cheyenne, Wyoming, you can always find something fun to do without spending any money.

This city has something for everyone, with breathtaking sights, rich history, and exciting recreation.

It’s easy to become immersed in the wonders of this city without breaking the bank, thanks to free things to do in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

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