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Greetings, Internet Stranger! Welcome to 24 hours of the Best Things to do in Jackson Wyoming. Have you ever dreamed of escaping modern city life? Just want to get away from it all and live free among the bison and the tumbleweed in Wyoming? But the only thing stopping you is that you’d miss your artisanal vinegar too much?
Then Jackson Hole Wyoming is the place for you! The town of Jackson in the Jackson Hole Valley is fancy enough to satisfy the most discerning vinegar enthusiastic. But you’re still just a short walk away from wild elk and other untamed beasties. Allow me to take you around the Best Things to do in Jackson Wyoming! At the end of the day, you’ll be enjoying your new home where the buffalo roam.
Best Things to do in Jackson Wyoming
Where to Stay?
Jackson Hole hotels can be very pricey because it’s such a popular tourist destination. Fortunately, I found the Modern Mountain Motel, which was definitely an affordable and convenient option. It was within perfect walking distance of all the Best Things to do in Jackson Wyoming.
But even though it was affordable, the rooms were still chic in a Wyoming lumberjack sort of way. Plus there was a free coffeemaker and great Wifi in the rooms, which is literally all I need to be happy.
If you’re looking for a great deal on my most recommended hotel in Jackson Hole, click here. And if you’re looking for a different hotel closer to your travel budget, try exploring many great deals on Jackson Hole hotels by clicking right here.
Best Things to do in Jackson Wyoming
What to Pack?
You’ll need comfy shoes for all the walking we’re going to do today. It’s very frequently hot in Wyoming in the summer, though not always, so it’s smart to wear sandals. I love my special pink Birkenstocks. These aren’t your grandpappy’s Birkenstocks anymore. They come in every shade, and I always get compliments on my electric magenta shoes.
Also, don’t forget the sunscreen! The sun can get scorching! My favorite is the Neutrogena spray bottle because it’s so easy to apply. And as a solo traveler, I can actually use it myself on my own back. I just put it in my purse and re-apply throughout the day.
Finally, since we’re going to be out all day, you’ll want a battery for your cell phone. I always use the Anker charger. It’s light enough to fit in even a small purse. You don’t want your phone to run out of juice when you’re trying to photograph Yogi Bear, eh Boo Boo? It will be too hard to fit on our hipster bike! Plus the Anker lasts for several full charges of a phone, so I’ll never run out of juice!
Best Things to do in Jackson Wyoming
Morning: National Museum of Wildlife Art
What better place than Jackson Hole, Wyoming to have a National Museum of Wildlife Art? After all, when you’re in Jackson Hole, you’re surrounded by wildlife all the time: elk, bison, bears with hats who steal pickanic baskets, etc. This museum is definitely one of the best Jackson Hole attractions out there. And it’s just a short Uber ride away from the center of Jackson.
You can easily spend all morning exploring the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Just don’t bring a backpack because they’re not allowed in the museum! But as long as you remember that, you’ll have an easy and enjoyable time diving right into…
Three Fun Facts: Museum of Wildlife Art
1) I Like Pretty Things! Where’s the Art for Me?
Well there’s certainly plenty of beautiful and pleasant works of art to enjoy at the Wildlife Museum. Take this bucolic painting depicting the peaceful kingdom. Everyone is so happy in this picture: the animals, the weirdly distorted little girl in the red dress, Native Americans, Pilgrims, etc. If only real life were anything like this!
Want something even cuter? Feast your eyes on this adorable portrait of two bears asking one of their parent’s permission to get married. This is so sweet, and I think Bear Wedding shows would be a big hit on HGTV. Like BearBrideZilla or Say Yes to the Dress Instead of Eating It.
And if you want real beauty, head out to the sculpture garden where you can enjoy the works of art set off by the insanely gorgeous Wyoming scenery. Human artists are very impressive, but they’ll never out-beautify Mother Nature.
2) I Like Disturbing Art. Where’s the Art For Me?
I’m a little scared of you now, Internet Stranger. But we aim to please. Start by feeling bad about yourself in front of this giant painting of a bison. He’s silently judging you for killing him and destroying his habitat.
Looking for something more violent? Enjoy this Fight to the Death between a bunch of birds. Silly Angry Birds! You’re supposed to kill the pigs, not each other. How will you ever win the game this way?
Not dark enough? How do you feel about this statue of a Dead Raven lying in a sarcophagus? It’s called The Silent Messenger, and I can hear this dead bird silently judging me. Why didn’t you listen to Greta Thunberg? Now I’m dead and it’s all your fault. But one day the birds will rise again and take the planet back!
3) I’m hungry! Where’s the Food for Me?
I’m always happy to oblige with food suggestions. For breakfast before the Wildlife Museum, I suggest Cafe Genevieve. Get there when it opens because it fills up fast. They do amazing classic American breakfasts like eggs, bacon, toast, and hash browns. If my doctor wouldn’t get mad about my clogged arteries, I would eat this for breakfast every morning.
For lunch, try the Palate restaurant in the Wildlife Museum. The food is tasty, and the views are jawdroppingly good. I recommend the bison gyro, which is made with Indian fry bread. Fry bread is better than not-fry bread because it has more fat. That’s just science. And bison is healthy, sustainable meat, so that cancels out the fat in the fry bread.
Best Things to Do in Jackson Wyoming
Afternoon: Explore the Best Things to do in Jackson Wyoming
I suggest walking back into downtown Jackson from the Wildlife Museum. You’ll get the most amazing views of Jackson’s flawless natural setting. You won’t see a lot of walkers, but it’s definitely possible to do it, and I know because I did it. Just walk on the same path the cyclists use. (Or take a bike if, unlike me, you know how to ride one.)
Once you get into town, you’ll be able to enjoy all the cutest and Best Things to do in Jackson Wyoming. I’ll get you started with…
Approximately Top 5: Jackson Wyoming
1) Town Square
Any tour of the best things to do Jackson Wyoming needs to start with the Town Square. It’s famous for this giant arch made from elk antlers. You can see tourists from all over the world posing with this huge heap o’ head bones.
On Saturday mornings, there’s a lovely farmer’s market in the Town Square. If it’s there when you’re in Jackson, stop and go shopping before you head to the Wildlife Museum. If you’ve ever wanted Wyoming Lemon Jam or need an artisanal vinegar fix, this is the place to go.
2) Moo’s Ice Cream
I cleverly did not get us dessert at the Palate restaurant at the Wildlife Museum because I knew we’d get it in town. Moo’s Ice Cream claims to have the best ice cream in the world. I really don’t know how you would measure something like that. Did they get a ten out of ten from the East German judge in the Ice Cream Olympics?
Even if Moo’s may not be the best in the world, it’s pretty damn delicious, and the lines outside the door prove it. I wanted to get the huckleberry ice cream because it’s their most famous flavor, but I was feeling kind of sleepy because I was adjusting to the altitude, so instead I got Buzz Buzz which has quite a bit of real espresso in it. I suggest getting one scoop of huckleberry and one of Buzz Buzz, so you get the best of both worlds.
3) Jackson Wyoming Architecture
On a beautiful summer day, you can’t go wrong with a self-guided walking tour of the most interesting buildings in Jackson. (The Jackson Hole Historical Society has a great app with a free self-guided tour.)
One of the most famous buildings in Jackson is the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. It’s been around since 1937, and it has actual saddles for bar stools. It doesn’t get any more Wyoming than that!
And now for something completely different…the Wort Hotel. It looks like it belongs in Elizabethan England, but it only dates back to the 1940s. It was the first luxury hotel in Jackson, which puts it out of my price range.
But if you want to experience affordable luxury, get a drink at the Silver Dollar Bar. More than 2000 1921 silver dollars are stuck in the decor of the Silver Dollar Bar. (Don’t bother trying to steal one. Those babies are literally freeze-dried into the bar.)
And for a building that isn’t a bar, check out St. John’s Episcopal Church. Jackson took off as a tourist destination because city slickers were coming out here for a dude ranch experience. (A dude ranch is an upscale ranch for tourists, not a real ranch.) But they missed having a church where they could wear their Sunday finest, so they flocked to St. John’s Episcopal. The moral of this story is that everyone loves making fun of dude ranches.
4) Jackson Hole Historical Museum
The Jackson Hole Historical Museum is unique because there are two museums. One is dedicated to Native American life and the other is dedicated to the lives of the homesteaders, ranchers, and explorers. But one ticket buys admission to both museums. It’s easy to see both in the same day.
My favorite part of the Native American museum was the elaborate beadwork on display. Each shoe is a perfect work of art. You can see why these goods were so sought after on local trade routes. (Beavers were also an extremely popular good to trade, and one of the English traders in the area was known as Beaver Dick which is literally the worst name I have ever heard.)
The homesteader museum shows how hard life was for the homesteaders, especially during those Wyoming winters.
They also have a replica of the dude ranches for tourists to show how artificial they look in contrast with the simple life of the homesteaders. NO ONE LIKES YOU, DUDE RANCHES!
My favorite part of the homesteader museum was the display on brands and what they meant. One symbol would have stood for a ranch called the Flying Bull while another would have stood for the Bar None. If I had a ranch, I would name it the Flying None. You’re welcome!
5) Snake River Brewing
We’ll want to take a load off after all that exploring, so stop for a drink at Snake River Brewing. This craft brewery has everything from standard lagers to wacky creative beers. I had a sparking IPA which they called a “Bro-se”, which is pretty funny. But it wasn’t a wine at all, just a yummy beer with a good fizz to it.
Best Things to Do in Jackson Wyoming
Evening: Dinner at Trio
This might surprise some silly people with preconceived notions about Wyoming, but going out to dinner is definitely one of the best things to do in Jackson Wyoming. For a small town, it has an amazing number of top-drawer eateries. One of my favorites is Trio: An American Bistro. If you’re looking to nom on local produce and meats, this is the place to go.
The beef in Wyoming is as good as the beef anywhere in the world, and Trio serves some decadent local cow. Everyone knows that the right way to serve good meat is as raw as possible so you get the full flavor, so why not go the full carpaccio? It’s simply dressed with avocado purée, onion jam, and quail egg yolk so you can really taste that Wyoming meat.
For the main course, I recommend the pork chop if it’s on the menu. Ordinarily, you’d serve pork chop with apple sauce, but this is kicked up a notch of class with sweet golden beets and pearl barley instead. It was so satisfying tearing into this giant piece of meat. I almost felt like a real cowgirl for a second. But then I realized this is a dish they’d serve on a dude ranch, not to an actual cowboy.
The only way I would ever skip dessert at a restaurant after dinner is if my stomach literally exploded and an alien crawled out. And who could say no to something called a Smore Cake? It is such a good idea to combine chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows into a cake form. Why doesn’t every restaurant have this on the menu?
And once again, this is dude ranch food because you can definitely imagine cowboys eating smores around a campfire but it wouldn’t have been this fancy. I guess I love dude ranches after all!
That’s the Best Things to Do in Jackson Wyoming!
What do you think are the best things to do in Jackson Wyoming? Are dude ranches hot or not? And is Greta Thunberg mad at me for killing that raven because I didn’t care about the environment enough? Please leave your thoughts below!
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours with the Best Things to do in Jackson Wyoming. If you have more time, add on this Yellowstone day trip.