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Composing the southeastern corner of Wyoming and the western corner of Nebraska, the Cheyenne Destination is home to a mix of natural areas and a fairly wide arrangement of cities. The southwestern region of the destination consists of the namesake, Cheyenne, a city with an estimated population of 64,831 people.[2] Western culture is a significant aspect of the city, evident in the attractions, events, and historic sites throughout it. As an example, eight-foot-tall cowboy boots are dispersed across the city, all of which were painted by local artists.[4] Furthermore, the city is the setting for the Cheyenne Frontier Days, “the world’s largest outdoor rodeo,” deemed as such by the World Record Academy. This event celebrates Western traditions and customs through a variety of activities, namely parades, carnivals, concerts, bull riding shows, art exhibits and sales, line dancing, horse races, and bareback riding, to name a few.[3] Beyond the city of Cheyenne, the destination has a few natural sites that may pique the interest of outdoor enthusiasts, such as Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area and Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge.[5][7] It should be noted that Cheyenne and its surrounding areas receive moderate temperatures roughly from June to September, averaging around 74°F in the course of these months. Thus, visitors who plan on undertaking outdoor activities during their travels to the Cheyenne Destination may find that this period of time facilitates access to outdoor pastimes in comparison to other months of the year.[8]

What Cheyenne is known for

The Cheyenne Destination comprises a portion of Wyoming and Nebraska in the general heart of the United States. While the destination’s namesake, Cheyenne, is located in the state of Wyoming, Nebraska constitutes the majority of the destination in the north, east, south, and central regions. Cheyenne serves as the capital city of the state and the county seat of Laramie County, notably acknowledged as the most populous city in Wyoming.[1] As of 2023, an estimation of 64,831 residents accounts for the total population of the city, with a present annual decline rate of -0.17%. The population previously totaled 65,161 people in 2020, a -0.51% decrease since the most recent census.[2]

Cheyenne is most commonly known for the Cheyenne Frontier Days, an annual summer event that is acclaimed as “the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and western celebration.” This rodeo draws approximately 200,000 tourists and is typically held over the course of the last ten days of July. During Cheyenne Frontier Days, lodging in the city and its vicinity is reportedly booked out at a relatively quick pace throughout the southern and eastern parts of Wyoming, extending into Colorado and the eastern fraction of the destination in western Nebraska. With a number of Western-themed shows and activities, Cheyenne Frontier Days continually receives several professional cowboys who compete for cash prizes of roughly one million dollars. Attendees are given the opportunity to enjoy wild horse races, truck riding, professional bull riding, a chuck wagon cook-off, parades, and dancing, among other forms of entertainment. Oftentimes, a Native American village, an old frontier town, and a saloon are featured at Cheyenne Frontier Days as well. This celebration of American Western culture has taken place in the city since 1897. As such, some people consider these festivities to be historically significant.[3]

In addition to Cheyenne Frontier Days, the city offers a wide range of attractions, many of which bear historical value. One such attraction that combines artistic and historic characteristics is Cheyenne’s downtown district, which is composed of buildings that date back to the 1800s. These older establishments now presently operate as shops, restaurants, and galleries under the management of local owners. The downtown strip extends from the Depot clock tower to the city’s Capitol. As previously noted, artistic qualities adorn the downtown area, with several murals around Cheyenne’s central portion, some of which depict Western-themed elements in accordance with the city’s culture. Another particularly distinguishing feature of the city is the arrangement of eight-foot-tall cowboy boots that were painted by local artists. These boots are scattered throughout Cheyenne and can be observed on a self-guided tour. The city’s Visitor Center offers maps for those who are interested in the scavenger hunt for the painted boots, and the maps are located in the Depot. Furthermore, visitors can also board a train in Cheyenne at the Cheyenne Depot and the Big Boy Steam Engine. Some locals and tourists consider the city to be “America’s Railroad Capital,” as trains played a role in Cheyenne’s history and have had an influence on the city’s present-day attractions.[4]


With regard to the urban areas of the Cheyenne Destination, the following cities occupy parts of the destination, specifically along the highway of U.S. Route 26 between the northwestern corner of the destination and the southeastern corner: Torrington, Morrill, Scottsbluff, Bayard, Bridgeport, Broadwater, and Oshkosh. Other cities that are found closer to the destination’s namesake, Cheyenne, along Highway I-80 include South Greeley, Burns, Pine Bluffs, Kimball, Potter, Sidney, Chappell, Big Springs, Brule Ogallala, Paxton Sutherland, and Hershey. 

While the destination contains several cities and communities, the central regions are fairly rural and natural, with one particular site being the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1931. The refuge is found approximately 28 miles north of Oshkosh, Nebraska, situated at the southwestern border of the Nebraska Sandhills. Nearly 18% of the refuge’s acreage consists of 21 wetland complexes, containing a mixture of marshes, shallow lakes, wet meadows, seasonal wetlands, and a small stream. As the Nebraska Sandhills are regarded as “one of the few large native prairie areas in the United States that have not been substantially converted to farmland or otherwise modified,” the majority of flora and fauna species that existed prior to settlement can still be found in the refuge today. Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge was initially established under Executive Order 5597 to serve as a breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. In total, 31 species of waterfowl have been confirmed to be living in the refuge, 15 of which nest in the area. In addition to housing flora and fauna species, the Nebraska Sandhills are deemed “the largest system of sand dunes in the Western Hemisphere.” Considering its size, visitors are given the opportunity to engage in a number of outdoor recreational activities throughout the wildlife refuge, such as fishing, hunting, boating, and walking, to name a few.[5]

In the southeastern region of the Cheyenne Destination, one can find the Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area, often nicknamed “Big Mac” in reference to its size. The lake encompasses a surface area of 30,000 acres, ranking it “Nebraska’s largest reservoir.” Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area is typically frequented by those who enjoy the outdoors, as the white sand beaches along the lake tend to draw campers, windsurfers, boaters, water skiers, swimmers, scuba divers, hunters, and anglers to the area.[6] Fishing may also pique the interest of travelers, as channel catfish, walleye, northern pike, wiper, and white bass inhabit the lake’s waters. The Platte River courses from the southeast into Lake McConaughy; however, Kingsley Dam holds back much of the river’s water to maintain the lake’s formation.[7]

The city of Cheyenne experiences a cold semi-arid climate, akin to other areas of Wyoming.[1] Summers in the city are characterized as “warm and mostly clear,” in contrast to the winter season, which is said to be “long, freezing, snowy, windy, and partly cloudy.” As a general range, temperatures vary roughly between 19°F and 83°F over the course of the year, seldom dropping below 2°F and exceeding 91°F. From June to September, it is most commonly recognized as the warm season, as the average daily high reaches above 74°F. Average highs continue to increase upon the approach of July, which is typically the hottest month of the year in Cheyenne. During this month, the average daily high rests around 82°F with a low of around 57°F. As for the cold season, temperatures decrease below 47°F from November to March, with the coldest month being December. Cheyenne receives temperatures between 20°F and 39°F during this month. In view of these average climatic statistics, warm-weather activities tend to be more accessible from late June to late August when moderate temperatures influence the city.[8]


The word “Cheyenne” translates to English meaning “people of foreign language,” and this name was initially given to the “Dzitsistes” tribe—the original inhabitants of the Cheyenne plains—by the Sioux Indians; the name itself was first spelled “Shyenne.”[9] It wasn’t until 1867, however, that the city’s development began when Grenville M. Dodge, the general of the Union Pacific Railway, publicly declared the selection of a townsite for its mountain region headquarters.[1][10] The site was established in the Territory of Dakota across Crow Creek, and the town was named in honor of the Cheyenne Native Americans. In the same year of its establishment, in 1867, it was incorporated as a town, and H.M. Hook was elected as the first mayor of the settlement. From 1886 to 1890, the construction of the Wyoming State Capitol took place in Cheyenne.[1] On account of the community’s relatively rapid populational growth, the city was nicknamed the "Magic City of the Plains.”[1]

Throughout its earlier years of development, Cheyenne became a hub for the form of entertainment that is often associated with “the Wild West.” The city had five theaters and a fair amount of saloons that would host burlesque performances. As the Union Pacific Railroad made its way to Cheyenne, entertainment increasingly became a more popular aspect of the city’s culture. In 1882, the newly constructed opera house brought performers such as Lily Langtry and Emma Nevada to Cheyenne along their course of travels to San Francisco. With direct access to the East via the railroad, Cheyenne also adopted some of the latest furniture styles, as well as up-to-date magazines/newspapers and fashion apparel from eastern saloons. In other words, the city of Cheyenne embraced much of the East’s cultural orientation by means of the railroad.[9] 

Over 50 different locations in Cheyenne are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[1] The aforementioned Downtown Cheyenne Historic District is one such destination that was listed in 1978. Encompassing seven blocks, Downtown Cheyenne’s boundaries have been expanded three times throughout its history, and in 1996, it included 96 buildings. Some of the most prominent components of the district that can be visited today are the Union Pacific Railroad Depot, the Dinneen Building, and the Masonic Temple. The latter displays a Romanesque Revival architectural style, making it comparatively more distinguishable from other buildings in the district. As for the Union Pacific Railroad Depot, this site’s appearance is characterized as Richardsonian Romanesque with red and grey sandstone elements. The Dinneen Building extends two stories high and consists of two towers that frame a diagonal facade. Some of the other buildings that make up the Downtown Cheyenne Historic District include the Plains Hotel, the Majestic Building, the Hynds Buildings, the Capitol Avenue Theater, the First National Bank Building, the Cheyenne Western Galleries Annex, Atlas Theater, the Rex Hotel, and Phoenix Block, among several others.[10]