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Cheyenne, Wyoming

March 24, 2010

Now that I’m living so close to so many interesting cities, the occasional roadtrip is inevitable. I’ve already posted about road trips to Laramie, Wyoming, and Littleton, Colorado. Next up: Cheyenne, Wyoming, only about 2 hours away from Scottsbluff by car.

If you’re heading to Cheyenne via I-80 westbound, I highly recommend stopping at the rest area in Pine Bluffs, just over the Wyoming border. They are stocked with a gajillion brochures, mostly for Wyoming attractions, but also some for Nebraska and Colorado. On my most recent stop there, I scored a “gift pack coupon book” that has some nice discounts for restaurants, shops, and attractions in Cheyenne.


On the way into historic downtown, I first stopped at Sierra Trading Post, an outlet retailer for outdoor gear and clothing, and also household goods and higher-end fashion clothing. I’ve been shopping from their catalog for years, and I’ve been itching to get into the brick-and-mortar store since seeing billboards for it on highway 26 eastbound out of Scottsbluff. If it weren’t for the fact that I was accompanied by at least one rather reluctant shopper, I would have spent way more than an hour there.


We’d gotten a late start that day, so the first thing I and my traveling companions did was find a restaurant. We chose The Capitol Grille inside the historic Plains Hotel, in part because they looked like they had a nice, varied menu, but also because, according to their online lunch menu, THEY HAD BUFFALO-MEAT REUBENS!!! If you’ve read previous blog posts, you know I am a fan of reuben sandwiches. How could I pass up the opportunity to eat a CORNED BUFFALO BRISKET reuben in a hotel built in 1911, when the west was still wild?

To my dismay, the menu handed to me at the restaurant listed only plain-ol’ corned beef reubens. What a letdown!! I ordered the plain-ol’ reuben, since I’d gotten myself into the mood for one. And it tasted like . . . a plain-ol’ reuben. Nothing special. I was somewhat mollified by the fact that The Capitol Grille serves up some decent sweet potato fries. My dining companions opted for buffalo meat in the form of burgers and meatloaf. The burgers seemed pretty standard. I got a taste of the meatloaf , and it was uniquely yummy, topped with a piquant chipotle ketchup.


Winter is not the best time to visit Cheyenne. There’s the risk of sudden snow that closes I-80 and traps travelers. And there’s the hibernation of tourist activities, probably because of the potential for said entrapping snow. One traveling companion was interested in the trolley. Closed for the season. I thought it would be neat to visit the Nelson Museum of the West, which has some artifacts displayed in a glass case in the Plains Hotel. Closed for the winter.

So, we chose a (rather chilly) attraction that was not closed, but that was rather confusing at times: the self-guided walking tour.

Downtown Cheyenne is like no other city I’ve seen before. The architecture is definitely worth a look-see. The guidebook contains some very interesting factoids and a handy glossary of architectural terms. Problem is, the guidebook is confusing and outdated. The copy I was using was published in 2005, and there have been major changes since then, including the loss of the 1882 First National Bank building in a December 2004 fire.

I’m a very visually-oriented person, and I often had a hard time following the written instructions on where to walk and look. Adding to the confusion was the fact that the guidebook included several stops for sites where buildings were formerly located, but didn’t make clear the distinction between existing and lost buildings. Sorry, that’s just dumb. I’m not against including the lost buildings, but perhaps put their descriptions in a lighter font or something, to make it easier for someone who can’t pay close attention because they are fighting the wind for possession of the guidebook.

To cap off this post, I include some of the photos from my walking tour.

STOP #1: 1886 Union Pacific Depot


STOP #6: 1871 Addoms & Glover Drug


STOP #8: 1892 Tivoli


STOP #10: 1883 Commercial Building (I liked the sign for the shop located in this cool building, and the U.S. Marshall sign in the window)


STOP #12: 1887 Atlas Theatre


STOP #20: 1916 United Mineworkers’ Hall


STOP #48: 1927 Lincoln Theatre


STOP #50: 1911 Plains Hotel


STOP #54 1882 Phoenix Block

Copyright 2010 by Katie Bradshaw

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 24, 2010 11:44 am

    Sounds like an overall fun trip!


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