While most tourists may think of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as the gateway to Yellowstone National Park, what they may not know is that Cody, Wyoming, offers a Wild West-style alternative on its eastern side. Visitors to the famed park will definitely want to spend a few days in Cody for an epic cowboy experience.
1.Buffalo Bill Center of the West
© Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Buffalo Bill Center of the West is a complex containing five museums and the McCracken Research Library in Cody, Wyoming. Visitors to the center will be able to explore over 50,000 works of art and artifacts from the American West era. The five museums housed within the center are the Plains Indian Museum, Whitney Western Art Museum, Draper Natural History Museum, Buffalo Bill Museum, and the Cody Firearms Museum. The center also features exhibitions that include Albert Bierstadt: Witness to a Changing West, Monarch of the Skies: The Golden Eagle in Greater Yellowstone & the American West, Yellowstone Discovered: William Henry Jackson’s Lost Prints Reveal the Park for America, and Native Nations Now: An Exhibition of Contemporary Native Arts.
720 Sheridan Avenue, Cody, WY, Phone: 307-587-4771
2.Bridger-Teton National Forest
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Containing over 3.4 million acres of land in the western part of Wyoming, Bridger-Teton National Forest is the fifth largest National Forest in the United States. The entire forest is part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and features tree species that include whitebark pine, aspen, subalpine fir, Douglas fir, Engelmann spruce, and lodgepole pine. The forest contains more than 2,000 miles of picturesque hiking trails that provide access to unspoiled wilderness areas, as well as interlink with Yellowstone National Park trails. Visitors can enjoy canoeing and fishing on Snake River, do a little mountain biking at the Cache Creek trailhead, or take a dip in the rejuvenating Granite Hot Springs.
340 North Cache / P.O. Box 1888 Jackson, WY, Phone: 307-739-5500
3.Plains Indian Museum
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Visitors will find the Plains Indian Museum situated inside of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. The museum gives patrons a glimpse into the lives of the Plains Indian people and their history, values, traditions, and culture. With the museum’s nationally significant collection of Plains Indian art, it has been a crucial leader in advocating the importance of the Native American art to the public. Also featured is the Paul Dyck Plains Indian Buffalo Culture Collection, complete with moccasins, peace medals, cradles, shields, buffalo hide tipis, tipi furnishings, bear claw necklaces, eagle feather bonnets, clothing, and much more. Visitors won’t want to miss the Plains Indian Museum Powwow held every June at the Robbie Powwow Garden.
720 Sheridan Avenue, Cody, WY, Phone: 307-587-4771
4.Cody Firearms Museum
© Cody Firearms Museum
Cody Firearms Museum is located inside of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. The museum houses one of the largest and comprehensive American firearm collection in the world. To date, the museum features over 7,000 firearms, and more than 30,000 related artifacts. Visitors will have the chance to explore the firearms evolution from its very beginning to what modern technology has made it today. The Winchester Arms Collection is the heart of the museum, but visitors will also see firearms that represent significant manufacturers from all over the world. From sporting to military to embellished to Hollywood guns, the museum has a little something for everyone.
720 Sheridan Avenue, Cody, WY, Phone: 307-587-4771
5.Draper Natural History Museum
© Draper Natural History Museum
The Draper Natural History Museum resides within the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. Since its inception in 2002, the Draper Museum has garnered international attention for its inspiring, informative, and immersive exhibit experiences. The museum’s exhibits are focused on the natural history and ecology of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The three, large, interconnected galleries include the Alpine-to-Plains Trail, Expedition Trailhead, and the newest addition, Monarch of the Skies: The Golden Eagle in Greater Yellowstone and the American West. Visitors will see everything from rustic cabins to visual arts to geological samples to a grand rotunda standing 90 feet tall complete with an ever-changing Yellowstone sky.
720 Sheridan Avenue, Cody, WY, Phone: 307-587-4771
6.Cody Dug Up Gun Museum
© Cody Dug Up Gun Museum
Visitors will find Cody Dug Up Gun Museum situated just off of the city’s bustling Sheridan Avenue in downtown Cody, Wyoming. With over a thousand weapons and relic guns from different historic locations and time periods on display, visitors will have the opportunity to stroll through history as they explore the museum. These beautiful artifacts have been unearthed in locations that include the American Revolutionary War, the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, the California Gold Rush era, and the roaring 1920s. One of Cody’s newest attractions, the museum has quickly become a favorite among locals and visitors alike since opening its doors in 2009.
1020 12th Street, Cody, WY, Phone: 307-587-3344
7.Shoshone National Forest
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Shoshone National Forest is comprised of nearly 2.5 million acres to the east of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in the northwestern part of Wyoming. Part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the forest contains many tree species that include cottonwood and willow at lower elevations, and lodepole pine, quaking aspen, whitebark pine, subalpine fir, and Rocky Mountain juniper at higher elevations. While exploring the forest, it isn’t uncommon to spot bighorn sheep or whitetail deer. Lucky adventurers may even catch a glimpse of a grizzly bear with her cub – hopefully from a safe distance. The forest’s picturesque, unspoiled mountains, lakes, and rivers provide the ideal setting for a variety of outdoor recreation.
808 Meadow Lane Avenue, Cody, WY, Phone: 307-527-6241
8.Buffalo Bill Dam
© Buffalo Bill Dam
Buffalo Bill Dam is an arched dam built from concrete and situated on Wyoming’s Shoshone River in northwest. Designed by Daniel Webster Cole and constructed between the years of 1905 and 1910, the dam stands 325 feet in height, and measures 200 feet in length at the crest. Visitors can walk along the top of the damn and take in beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, Shoshone River, and Buffalo Bill Reservoir. There’s a mini-theater onsite where patrons can enjoy a short film about the Dam’s construction, along with its vital importance to Buffalo Bill State Park. The Dam also provides a gift shop with souvenirs, a visitor center, and complimentary shuttle services from the parking area.
4808 North Fork Highway, Cody, WY, Phone: 307-527-6076
9.Cody Nite Rodeo
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Cody Nite Rodeo is a high-energy rodeo featuring bulls, broncos, and cowboys, situated along U.S. Highway 14 in Cody, Wyoming. Families living in the Rocky Mountains around Cody required horsemanship, roping, and animal taming skills in order to manage their livestock. Buffalo Bill Cody’s showmanship and entertaining twists on herding skills helped catapult the city of Cody to the “Rodeo Capital of the World.” Patrons can arrive early before the start of the rodeo and have their faces painted by rodeo clowns, get a picture taken on a live rodeo bull, learn to rope, and visit the rodeo store. Rodeo events include Saddle Bronc Riding, Bull Riding, Jr. Barrel Racing, and a kid’s calf scramble.
421 West Yellowstone Avenue, Cody, WY, Phone: 307-527-9453
10.Old Trail Town
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Old Trail Town is a museum comprised of historic Western artifacts and buildings situated just off of U.S. Highway 14 in Cody, Wyoming. Visitors will take a trip through Old Western history as they explore the museum’s buildings and artifacts that date between the years of 1879 and 1901. One of the museum’s biggest attractions is the outlaw cabin that was used by the Sundance Kid and Kid Curry as a hideout near Montana’s border. The site of the museum is actually the original area surveyed by Buffalo Bill in 1895 for the location of ‘Cody City’. Visitors will also see a cabin used by Butch Cassidy, the grave of John Johnson, and Old Western horse carriages.
1831 Demaris Drive, Cody, WY, Phone: 307-587-5302
11.Sleeping Giant Zipline
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Visitors will find the Sleeping Giant Zipline situated along U.S. Highway 14, just steps from the North Fork Shoshone River in Cody, Wyoming. Located just a few minutes down the road from Yellowstone National Park, this zipline covers 3,520 feet of Wyoming’s picturesque mountain terrain, making it the largest zipline in the state. The zipline features dual lines for racing, sections of line that range up to 930 feet in length, and vertical drops over 80 feet. Visitors will soar over Shoshone National Forest – the nation’s first national forest, while taking in marvelous views of the surrounding Absaroka Mountains. It’s the perfect way to get the adrenaline pumping while enjoying Wyoming’s breathtaking scenery.
348 North Fork Highway, Cody, WY, Phone: 307-587-3125
12.Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue
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Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue is located in the Kuyper Dining Pavilion, at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Over the summer months from June 1st to September 30th, the group puts on a wonderful musical performance while an exquisite dinner is served in the pavilion. Proudly entertaining audiences for the last fourteen years, Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue has performed for over 155,000 people from all over the state, country, and world. Dan, Hannah, and Wendy will play song favorites requested by the audience as patrons dine on their meals. Guests will enjoy menu items that include grilled prime tenderloin, fresh seasonal vegetables, organic barbeque chicken, roasted rosemary potatoes, and assorted fresh desserts.
720 Sheridan Avenue, Cody, WY, Phone: 307-578-7909
13.The Cody Cattle Company
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The Cody Cattle Company features an American home-style buffet with live country-western music performances in the Rocky Mountain city of Cody, Wyoming. The exterior has an old-western saloon look to it, while the interior features cement floors, farmhouse-style chandeliers, long-bench seating, and a fully-equipped stage for live performances. The award-winning entertainment is provided by Ryan Martin and his band, the Triple C Cowboys. Every night they put on a spectacular show filled with foot-stomping fun for the whole family. The show ends at 7:30 p.m., giving diners plenty of time to make it to the Cody Nite Rodeo. Buffet items include baked chicken, beef brisket, steak, apple sauce, baked potatoes, Caesar salad, and campfire cornbread.
1910 Demaris Drive, Cody, WY, Phone: 307-727-5770
14.Cody Firearms Experience, LLC
© Cody Firearms Experience, LLC
Cody Firearms Experience, LLC is a state-of-the-art shooting range situated along U.S. Highway 14 in Cody, Wyoming. The shooting range aims to provide an environment that explains both the evolution and historical significance of firearms from the Old West era. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience some of that history through the use of firearms. They’ll have access to a wide selection of guns that range from modern to tactical to historic replicas. The space is much more than a shooting range, also featured is a western history exhibit, a North American wildlife display, and a cowboy-western-themed arcade that’s fun for the whole family.
142 West Yellowstone Avenue, Cody, WY, Phone: 307-586-4287
15.Buffalo Bill State Park
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Buffalo Bill State Park is a beautiful public recreation area that surrounds the Buffalo Bill Dam and Reservoir in Park County, Wyoming. The park boasts two campgrounds, North Shore and North Fork, 3,000 acres of land, and 9,000 acres of pristine water recreation. The North Shore Bay Campground is equipped with 37 sites, a day use area, and a boat ramp. The North Fork Campground features 62 sites, a playground, shower facilities, and a group-camp area that can be reserved. Mountains dominate the picturesque scenery around Buffalo Bill Stat Park, while visitor’s boat, fish, and camp, they’ll enjoy marvelous views of the surrounding Rocky Mountain Absaroka Range.
4192 North Fork Highway, Cody, WY, Phone: 307-587-9227
16.Cody Wyoming Adventures
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Cody Wyoming Adventures is a sightseeing tour agency situated along Sheridan Avenue in downtown Cody, Wyoming. The agency offers truly one-of-a-kind tours to visitors that include Five Whitewater River Rafting Adventures on the Shoshone River, Yellowstone Wildlife and Photo Tours, Red Canyon Wild Mustang Tours, and Kirwin Ghost Town Tours. Yellowstone National Park is one of the most beautiful places on earth, visitors taking this tour will be treated to a plethora of wildlife on display, spectacular mountain views, and fantastic geothermal phenomenon. The outfitter also provides Surfing in the Rockies – water sports rental equipment that includes kayaks, duckies, and paddle boards.
1119 12th Street, Cody, WY, Phone: 307-587-6988
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17.Red Canyon Wild Mustang Tour
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The Red Canyon Wild Mustang Tour is offered through Cody Wyoming Adventures, located in downtown Cody, Wyoming. Visitors won’t want to miss this true American safari experience to the McCullough Peaks Wild Mustang Management Area. Along the way it’s fairly common to spot wildlife that includes Blacktailed Prairie Dogs, Coyotes, Golden Eagles, and Pronghorn Antelope. The tour gives patrons the unique opportunity to see Mustangs grazing, playing, fighting, and sleeping. These powerful and majestic creatures are sure to put on a dazzling display that’ll have visitors scrambling for their cameras to capture the next “great shot.” During the tour they’ll enjoy sounds of nature, beautiful blue skies, picturesque views, and fresh Wyoming mountain air.
1119 12th Street, Cody, WY, Phone: 307-587-6988
18.Experience Yellowstone Tours
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Experience Yellowstone Tours is a tour operator headquartered out of Wyoming’s beautiful and charming mountain city of Cody. The van tours depart daily from downtown Cody where visitors will enjoy a 50 mile drive along the Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway, regarded by many as the most scenic drive in Wyoming. These fun-filled tours emphasize ecology, geology, wildlife viewing, and nature photography. During the full day of exploring Yellowstone’s marvelous 2.2 million acres, visitors will see clear alpine lakes, lush valleys, rugged mountains, stunning wildflower displays, and the largest collection of thermal features in the world. The park’s thousands of thermal features include roaring fumaroles, mud pots, bubbling cauldrons, colorful hot springs, and spectacular geysers.
Cody, WY, Phone: 844-262-9160
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19.Rocky Mountain Backroads Adventure LLC
© Rocky Mountain Backroads Adventure LLC
Rocky Mountain Backroads Adventure LLC offers 4x4 Jeep rentals for excursions through Cody, Wyoming’s rugged and beautiful mountainous terrain. Before visitors select their excursion (including level of difficulty) and get underway, they’ll be taught Jeep dynamics, safe 4x4 driving techniques, trail etiquette, personal preparedness, proper land usage, and recovery techniques. The rentals offered are 2016 and 2015 Jeep Wrangler Sport models equipped with four doors, five seatbelts, radio/CD players, heat/AC, and removable tops. Some of the incredibly scenic 4x4 off-roading trails they provide maps for include Carter Mountain, Yellowstone National Park North/South Loops, Phelps Mountain and Franks Peak, Kirwin Gold Mine and Ghost Town, and the Meeteetse Trail.
Cody, WY, Phone: 307-254-1438
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20.Pat O’Hara Brewing Company
© Pat O’Hara Brewing Company
Travelers will find Pat O’Hara Brewing Company situated along Sheridan Avenue in the charming mountain town of Cody, Wyoming. The brewery has quickly become a popular choice for locals and visitors to the Cody area since opening its doors in 2013. It provides Irish pub fare, locally brewed beers, and a welcome atmosphere. The interior features a wrap-around bar, large, stainless steel brewing tanks, exposed brick, a rollup garage door, chalkboard beer menus, and flat-screen TVs. Diners will want to try the Bacon Wrapped Grilled Shrimp – 4 large shrimp wrapped in bacon and marinated in Teriyaki sauce, then grilled to perfection, and misted with freshly squeezed lime juice.
1019 15th Street Cody, WY, Phone: 307-586-5410
21.Wild West Spectacular
Wild West Spectacular the Musical is the original live production presented by Rocky Mountain Dance Theatre at the historic theater on Sheridan Avenue in downtown Cody. The show is offered on select days for six weeks during the summer. Wild West Spectacular is entertaining but also full of fun history. It brings to life the legend of Buffalo Bill Cody, the greatest showman ever, and the town of Cody, Wyoming's town namesake. The story is told through action, humor, romance, perils, fights, acting, singing, and dancing. You will meet "Wild Bill" Hickok, Annie Oakley, Frank Butler, sharp shooters, and can-can girls. You will have great fun but you will also learn or be reminded of America’s wild past and some of the characters who played interesting roles in it.
1171 Sheridan Ave., Cody, WY 82414, Phone: 307-527-9973
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© Bubba’s Bar-B-Que
Bubba’s Bar-B-Que is a family-owned-and-operated barbeque restaurant situated along U.S. Highway 14 in Cody, Wyoming. The restaurant prides itself on serving quality food, providing a friendly atmosphere, and offering exceptional service. The mouthwatering barbeque selections are slow-smoked for 12 to 14 hours in a special hickory-fired smoker. After one taste of their delicious beef brisket, patrons will understand why they exercise patience during the smoking process. The interior is warm and inviting, equipped with wood booths and tables, and features rustic design. First-time diners should give the Sloppy Bubba a try – delicious pork and beef simmered in their famous Bar-B-Que sauce, served on garlic toast or a toasted bun with one side.
502 Yellowstone Avenue, Cody, WY, Phone: 307-587-7427
23.Irma Restaurant and Grill
© Irma Restaurant and Grill
Irma Restaurant and Grill is an American steakhouse situated inside of Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel in downtown Cody, Wyoming. Irma’s is well-known for its incredibly delicious Prime Rib, Buffalo Rib Eye Steak, Wild West Salmon, and Jumbo Shrimp. Guests will find a full-menu offered at this restaurant, providing daily selections for dinner, lunch, and breakfast. During the summer guests can sit on the hotel’s porch with a drink and snack and watch the actors put on Old West gun-fighting performances. The interior features maroon carpet, cappuccino colored walls with taxidermy pieces on display, vintage photo art, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Diners should try the French Dip – thinly sliced beef on a French roll with a side of au jus.
1192 Sheridan Avenue Cody, WY, Phone: 307-587-4221
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24.Annie’s Soda Saloon & Cafe
© Annie’s Soda Saloon & Cafe
Annie’s Soda Saloon & Café is a restaurant offering light fare, shakes, and classic ice-cream sodas in downtown Cody, Wyoming. As soon as visitors enter the café they’re greeted with warm hospitality, sweet smells of fresh pastries, and Old Western charm. The interior features dairy pails turned upside down for light fixtures, reclaimed wood from an old barn used for the soda bars, vintage photo art, wood tables and chairs, and rustic décor. Travelers visiting the area will definitely want to check out this Cody staple. They’ll enjoy menu favorites that include the Bacon & Jalapeno Popper Panini – prepared with bacon, habanero jack cheese, cream cheese, and jalapenos on Texas toast.
1202 Sheridan Avenue, Cody, Phone: 307-578-8400
24 Best Things to do in Cody, Wyoming
- Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Photo: Buffalo Bill Center of the West
- Bridger-Teton National Forest, Photo: Courtesy of Zack Frank - Fotolia.com
- Plains Indian Museum, Photo: Courtesy of jeanClaude - Fotolia.com
- Cody Firearms Museum, Photo: Cody Firearms Museum
- Draper Natural History Museum, Photo: Draper Natural History Museum
- Cody Dug Up Gun Museum, Photo: Cody Dug Up Gun Museum
- Shoshone National Forest, Photo: Courtesy of Krzysztof Wiktor - Fotolia.com
- Buffalo Bill Dam, Photo: Buffalo Bill Dam
- Cody Nite Rodeo, Photo: Courtesy of Jackson Photography - Fotolia.com
- Old Trail Town, Photo: Courtesy of Silvy K. - Fotolia.com
- Sleeping Giant Zipline, Photo: Courtesy of lanarusfoto - Fotolia.com
- Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue, Photo: Courtesy of Elena - Fotolia.com
- The Cody Cattle Company, Photo: Courtesy of michelangeloop - Fotolia.com
- Cody Firearms Experience, LLC, Photo: Cody Firearms Experience, LLC
- Buffalo Bill State Park, Photo: Courtesy of tab62 - Fotolia.com
- Cody Wyoming Adventures, Photo: Courtesy of ink drop - Fotolia.com
- Red Canyon Wild Mustang Tour, Photo: Courtesy of Jim - Fotolia.com
- Experience Yellowstone Tours, Photo: Courtesy of Olga Mendenhall - Fotolia.com
- Rocky Mountain Backroads Adventure LLC, Photo: Rocky Mountain Backroads Adventure LLC
- Pat O’Hara Brewing Company, Photo: Pat O’Hara Brewing Company
- Wild West Spectacular, Photo: shocky/stock.adobe.com
- Bubba’s Bar-B-Que, Photo: Bubba’s Bar-B-Que
- Irma Restaurant and Grill, Photo: Irma Restaurant and Grill
- Annie’s Soda Saloon & Cafe, Photo: Annie’s Soda Saloon & Cafe
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Silvy K. - Fotolia.com