Jackson, Wyoming

Best Things to Do in Jackson

BY Fifty Grande Editors | November 12, 2020

Welcome to Fifty Grande’s Best of the U.S. Bucket List series. This is your one-stop travel guide to the best, most unique and quintessential experiences of a city, state or event. Want to know how to “do” Jackson? We’ve got you covered. Curated by experts, vetted by in-the-know locals, this is all you need to have the best trip ever. If we’ve written a Bucket List, we recommend you go. If it’s on this list, it’s the best the city has to offer right now. Consider this your one-stop answer to “What are the best things to do in Jackson?”

The site of America’s longest-running Old West gunfight and a recent star-studded Kanye release party are the same place: Jackson, Wyoming. It’s a place that embraces its trendiness as a luxury outdoor adventure haven while proudly repping its Wild West heritage. Take a look at the cool restaurants down the street from a rowdy rodeo, the upscale resorts modeled after old log cabins, or the classic frontier breakfasts with a modern twist. It’s managed to keep that pioneer spirit alive while lining its streets with art and breweries. And it’s a fascinating combination. You might be arriving with a singular focus — skiing, hiking, horseback riding, etc. — but make sure you take in all Jackson has to offer. 

 

You didn’t come here to stay inside

If you’re outdoorsy, welcome to heaven. If you’re not, these parks are worth a trip anyway.

Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming. Pic via Shutterstock
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Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming. Pic via Shutterstock

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA

Jackson Hole sits at the foot of one of America’s most captivating national parks. A short drive north will put you amidst the Teton Range’s snow-capped peaks, hidden lakes, renowned fishing spots and 200 miles of hiking trails. Some of the most popular scenic hikes are Cascade Canyon Trail and Lake Solitude Trail, but they’re also long. The Taggart Lake Trail is easier but still stunning. Real go-getters can climb 2,700 feet to summit Grand Teton if they dare. The rest of us will enjoy the scenery.

Yellowstone National Park, Jackson, Wyoming. Pic via Shutterstock
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Yellowstone National Park, Jackson, Wyoming. Pic via Shutterstock

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park, United States

It’s only an hour’s drive away, ideal for day trips. Make sure you see the otherworldly Grand Prismatic Spring, the third-largest hot spring in the world (resist every urge to slip in for a calming bath — people have died). But the best hiking area is the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, an impressive feat of hydrothermal action marked by pink and yellow walls, natural steam vents and waterfalls. And don’t forget an obligatory stop at Old Faithful, which erupts around 20 times per day.

Where to drink

These Western-themed bars will have you feeling like you just sidled into town, hitched your horse and pushed past swinging batwing doors. 

Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, Jackson, Wyoming.
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Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, Jackson, Wyoming.

Million Dollar Cowboy Bar

25 N Cache St, Jackson, Wyoming, USA

The quintessential country-Western bar in Jackson. It’s most famous for its Western swing dancing, and they offer free lessons on Thursday nights. The live entertainment isn’t bad either — it’s played host to Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr. and other country music legends. 

Stagecoach Bar, Jackson, Wyoming. Pic via Instagram
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Stagecoach Bar, Jackson, Wyoming. Pic via Instagram

Stagecoach Bar

5755 W, WY-22, Wilson, WY

Visitors flock to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, but locals love “The Coach,” especially for “church” on Sunday nights, which means live music and dancing. It’s more lowkey and homey, but no less entertaining. 

Ride the river

The Snake River, to be exact, which carves its way through the Grand Teton National Park and runs along Jackson Hole’s west side. It offers class II and III rapids for whitewater rafting as well as calmer sections for scenic float trips and kayaking. Fishers, though, will recognize it as a top fly fishing location, where you can catch cutthroat trout (as long as you have a license or you’re on a guided tour).

The Snake River, Jackson, Wyoming. Pic via Shutterstock
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The Snake River, Jackson, Wyoming. Pic via Shutterstock

Snake River

Snake River, WY, USA

Live music venues

Nature is the headliner in Jackson, but that doesn’t mean culture is nonexistent. These venues have carved out a nice live music scene amidst the mountains.

The Mangy Moose, Jackson, Wyoming. Pic via Instagram
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The Mangy Moose, Jackson, Wyoming. Pic via Instagram

The Mangy Moose Restaurant and Saloon

3295 Village Dr, Teton Village, Wyoming, USA

This eclectic Teton Village establishment has been showing tired skiers a good time for decades. After a long day on the slopes, you can tear into a steak, and jam to a typically acoustic performance from underneath a huge taxidermied moose.

Silver Dollar Bar, Jackson, Wyoming.
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Silver Dollar Bar, Jackson, Wyoming.

Silver Dollar Bar & Grill

50 Glenwood St, Jackson, WY, USA

The Silver Dollar could also fall under the Western bar section above. It’s known across town for its country-Western shows and dancing.

Snow King Ballpark, Jackson, Wyoming.
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Snow King Ballpark, Jackson, Wyoming.

Snow King Ballpark

Snow King Mountain Resort, East Snow King Avenue, Jackson, WY, USA

Home of the summertime outdoor concert series JacksonHoleLive!, which typically runs from April to September.

Embrace your inner cowboy

Despite its status as a mountain resort town, Jackson Hole still harbors its Wild West spirit.

Jackson Hole Rodeo, Jackson, Wyoming,
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Jackson Hole Rodeo, Jackson, Wyoming,

Jackson Hole Rodeo

447 W Snow King Ave, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA

Rodeos have been an integral part of Jackson’s cowboy culture since the town was founded. Every Wednesday and Saturday from Memorial Day to Labor Day, you can watch bull riding, calf roping, bronc riding and more. 

Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson, Wyoming.
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Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson, Wyoming.

Spring Creek Ranch

1600 NE Butte Rd, Jackson, Wyoming, USA

One of several ranches where you can book horseback riding trail rides. Spring Creek’s Castagno Outfitters will guide you along the East Gros Ventre Butte for 360-degree views of the Teton Range.

Grab a bison burger

The American bison is Wyoming’s state mammal, so it’s only natural that Wyoming restaurants would put them on a bun. Bison meat is leaner and slightly sweeter than beef and a popular choice for burgers in Jackson.

Snake River Brewing, Jackson, Wyoming. Pic via Instagram.
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Snake River Brewing, Jackson, Wyoming. Pic via Instagram.

Snake River Brewing

265 S Millward St, Jackson, Wyoming, USA

A popular hangout in downtown Jackson. Word is that the beer is so good because it’s sourced from wells near the Snake River itself. It’s a perfect sidecar to their solid bison burger. 

The Gun Barrel, Jackson, Wyoming.
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The Gun Barrel, Jackson, Wyoming.

The Gun Barrel

862 West Broadway, Jackson, Wyoming, USA

Okay, it’s not necessarily a burger, but the log-cabin-esque Gun Barrel has every other part of the buffalo, including its giant ribs.

Eat a hearty breakfast

The most important meal of the day is doubly important if you’re going to be hitting the trails or slopes. Fill up here. 

Cafe Genevieve, Jackson, Wyoming.
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Cafe Genevieve, Jackson, Wyoming.

Cafe Genevieve

135 E Broadway Ave, Jackson, Wyoming, USA

A log cabin vibe with robust, down-home-inspired breakfasts like chicken and waffles or eggs and grits. They also serve lunch and dinner and have a solid wine list ($2 off glasses during happy hour).

Pearl Street Bagels, Jackson, Wyoming.
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Pearl Street Bagels, Jackson, Wyoming.

Pearl Street Bagels

145 W Pearl Ave, Jackson, Wyoming, USA

Authentic boiled and baked bagels alongside build- your- own sandwiches.

Cool hotels

Jackson Hole is on the shortlist for “cool nature-y places to visit,” so it’s no surprise that it has some hip hotels. Among the ski resorts and chain motels, there are a few gems.

Rustic Inn, Jackson, Wyoming.
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Rustic Inn, Jackson, Wyoming.

Rustic Inn

475 N Cache St, Jackson, Wyoming, USA

Airbnb posts might use “rustic” as a nicer term for “run down,” but these are some luxurious cabin accommodations, complete with a spa, on-site fishing, dining and a seven-acre nature preserve.

Rusty Parrot, Jackson, Wyoming.
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Rusty Parrot, Jackson, Wyoming.

Rusty Parrot

175 N Jackson St, Jackson, Wyoming, USA

Another dark-wood-and-leather upscale experience. Like the Rustic Inn, it’s got a spa, dining and other amenities.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Jackson, Wyoming. Pic via Shutterstock.
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View from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Jackson, Wyoming. Pic via Shutterstock.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

3395 Cody Ln, Teton Village, Wyoming, USA

If you’re in town for winter sports galore, this is the spot. Go skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling or ride the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram.

 

Take a break with some art

There’s only so much adventuring you can do. Why not appreciate some of the world’s best wildlife-inspired art in between?

National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, Wyoming. Credit: Shutterstock.
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National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, Wyoming. Credit: Shutterstock.

National Museum of Wildlife Art

2820 Rungius Rd, Jackson, Wyoming, USA

It’s built into the hillside that overlooks the National Elk Refuge and contains more than 5,000 pieces from around the world, including some by Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol and Robert Kuhn. The artwork, some of which dates back to 2500 B.C., features animals and other wildlife. Afterward, you can head down to the National Elk Refuge for a sleigh ride.

Relax in the hot springs

Slip into geothermal-heated waters and let the tension melt away

Granite Hot Springs, Jackson, Wyoming. Credit: Shutterstock.
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Granite Hot Springs, Jackson, Wyoming. Credit: Shutterstock.

Granite Hot Springs

Granite Hot Springs Pool, Wyoming, USA

Tucked away among the spruce, fir and pine trees of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, these springs are naturally heated in both the summer and winter. There are plenty of hiking trails and campsites nearby, so you can plan a multiple-day trip around it. 

While you’re here:

Town Square Shootout: Monday through Saturday at 6 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Jackson Hole has a good old-fashioned gunfight. Show up in Town Square and you’ll find two gunslinging actors locked in a standoff.