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How To Spend One Fun Day In Cody Wyoming

How To Spend One Fun Day In Cody Wyoming

We’ve been to many Wyoming towns thanks during our epic national park road trips to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and most recently, Glacier National Park (in Montana). And few towns hold a candle to Cody for embracing the Western spirit. If you have just one day to explore Cody — like we did — here’s a suggested 24-hour itinerary. 

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Our 24 hours spent in Cody was just one stop during a larger Wyoming road trip. You could easily make Cody be your home base for exploring nearby attractions, especially Yellowstone National Park.

Morning

Housed in a former gas station, The Station embraces the quirkiness of it all by keeping some of classic Mobil and Texaco signs up. This is a legit breakfast spot, though, with a variety of sweet and savory crepes that will please any age.

A cup of to-go coffee at The Station in Cody, Wyoming

My kids? They ordered a crepe with Nutella and whipped cream and a crepe with eggs, cheddar cheese and bacon.

The adults? The hearty Mountain Man Crepe stuffed with ham and cheese and veggies, and the Turgerkin with turkey, avocado and some other stuff.

Delicious. 

And more importantly, the coffee was top notch. They roast their own beans as part of the Cody Coffee Co.

Afternoon

We ended up getting into town much later than intended, so all we managed to do was window shop along Sheridan Avenue, a strip of souvenir shops, clothing boutiques, a bookstore, bars, and art galleries and leather shops. 

Exterior of Buffalo Bill's Irma Hotel
Photo courtesy Wyoming Office of Tourism

While you’re on Sheridan Avenue, be sure to peek into Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel, a historic hotel and restaurant that’s steeped in Buffalo Bill Cody history.

There are plenty of restaurant options along Sheridan Avenue. I recommend the local favorite, Pizza on the Run, but you can also dine at Irma. If you’re craving something different, we passed by steakhouses, a German restaurant, Thai restaurants and a Wendy’s.

Interior of Pizza on the Run located on Sheridan Avenue in Cody, Wyoming

Evening

We were in Cody in the summer (in fact, it was the Fourth of July), so we did what everyone does in the evening – went to the rodeo.

Being the Fourth of July, it was the big Cody Stampede Rodeo. Reserved seats are recommended but you can walk up and get tickets, too.

If you are traveling with kids, try to get there early because they’re going to want to explore and try some of the activities there. If you get there late (cough…like we did), the kids are going to beg to do the activities during the actual rodeo. Which is fine if you’re bored, but you’re missing out on bronc riding action. 

Sign at the Cody Stampede Rodeo

Side note: The side entertainment is a mix of awesome trick performers and a rodeo clown. The jokes are pretty dated and not even trying to hide the racism and sexism, so take this as entertainment with a grain of salt.

For dinner, you can certainly fill up on concessions.

I’d recommend getting an early dinner near the rodeo grounds, and then just getting snacks at the actual event.

Tip: They serve domestic beer at the rodeo, of course, but I recommend trying one of the Wyoming beers. I had the Saddle Bronco from Black Tooth Brewing Co. out of Sheridan.

More things to do in Cody

I had more plans to explore the town but like I said earlier, we arrived later than planned. Here are a few of the places I’d had on my to-visit list:

Inside the Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Photo courtesy Wyoming Office of Tourism
  • Cody Trolley Tour. This would’ve been the easiest way to see the most of Cody in a short amount of time (like, an hour).
  • Buffalo Bill Center of the West. A few years ago, they loaned items for an exhibit at The Durham Museum in Omaha and ever since, I’ve been curious to see this sprawling campus in person.
  • Heart Mountain WWII Japanese Confinement Site. Sure, not exactly the stuff of family vacation excitement, but this was a site that caught my eye because of its a dark part of U.S. history I don’t know much about. It’s outside of Cody, so it was going to be more of a day trip than a quick stop to add to our Cody itinerary.
  • Old Trail Town. Think: Old-time frontier land with buildings and artifacts.

Where to stay in Cody

There are plenty of chain and locally-owned hotel accommodations in Cody. Narrow down your choices by picking a budget and area of town. My picks are in-town and near the city center (give or take a mile).

Exterior of A Western Rose Motel in Cody

$ – We planned this stop at the last minute and its was for a holiday night, no less. We secured one of the few remaining rooms in town, and stayed at A Western Rose Motel. The no frills motel was clean, welcoming and close enough to walk to the shops and restaurants on Sheridan Avenue.

The pros of Western Rose: Budget-Friendly and within walking distance to downtown Cody.

The cons of Western Rose: No pool, dated decor

$$– If you’re looking for a hotel with a pool, there aren’t a whole lot to choose from. The highest rated hotel on Booking.com is The Cody, which is one of the closer hotels to the rodeo arena.

The pros of The Cody: Hotel suites, breakfast provided each day, and word is they offer s’mores in the evening

The cons of The Cody: Not within walking distance of downtown Cody

$$$ – One of the best-reviewed Cody hotels on Booking.com is Chamberlain Inn. Guests love the location and the charming decor.

The pros of Chamberlain Inn: Prime location with a balcony terrace overlooking downtown Cody, plus a bar, a garden, a parlor and a library on site.

The cons of Chamberlain Inn: No pool for the kiddos.

Great things to do in Cody Wyoming if you only have one day to visit - plus some tips on additional activities if you have more time! Restaurant recommendations included.
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