The Old West welcomes new generations to relive the Dodge City area’s glory days and play in the sand.
In the 1870s and 1880s, the cattle business made Dodge City a rough-and-tumble boomtown. Its saloons, gambling halls and brothels drew soldiers, buffalo hunters, railroad workers, drifters and desperadoes. Gunfighters like Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson gained fame as town lawmen. Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City re-creates the smoky shoot-outs every summer day at noon and 7 p.m., with good guys and bad guys exchanging fire while crouched along historic Front Street’s boardwalk.
For a quieter walk, stroll The Dodge City Trail of Fame, a route marked by tributes to the town’s most famous residents. See life-size sculptures of James Arness, who played Matt Dillon on TV’s Gunsmoke, and Doc Holliday, the dentist-turned-gambler-and-gunfighter.
The cow town offers culture, too. Enjoy dinner and a show at the Depot Theater Company, a renovated 1889 Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroad depot. Or entertain yourself with nearly 700 slot machines and 18 table games at Boot Hill Casino and Resort, including Old
West-style poker variations like Texas Hold ’em. The casino’s partnerships with local hotels mean great stay-and-play packages.
About two hours west of Dodge City, play outside at Syracuse Sand Dunes Park, the state’s largest dunes park and one of the largest in the Midwest. Ride your motorcycle, buggy, ATV or SUV across hills, bowls and flats.
Credit: Doug Stremel
Spirits and Spices
Get into Dodge City’s spirits. Boot Hill Distillery, in an area called Booze Hill, is the first craft distillery in western Kansas. Sip the Red Eye Whiskey or a cocktail made with Prickly Ash Bitters. Down the street (also on Booze Hill), drink craft beers and feast on Old West-style pizza (their take on New York-style) at Dodge City Brewing. Nearby in Garden City, ethnic restaurants provide some light and fresh flavors. Try spring rolls and pho at Pho Hoa One, seafood enchiladas at Las Margaritas, and grilled shrimp at Tequilas Mexican Grill.
Cowboy up and “Get the Heck Into Dodge!” Learn more at https://www.travelks.com/regions-cities/cities/dodge-city/ and discover tons of additional fun in the 2019 Official Kansas Travel Guide.