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(Image courtesy of Visit Casper).

Guess What? Casper, WY should be your next weekend getaway

I was recently invited to visit Casper, Wyoming a few weeks ago and without hesitation I said yes because number A) I love getting on a plane literally anywhere, number B) I was due for a getaway/adventure and number C) who doesn't love winter sports and activities?

I've also never been to Casper, or Wyoming for that matter, and visiting a new place to me is like the feeling a five-year-old kiddo gets on Christmas morning.

Although Casper has offerings year round, I'm going to recommend it for the winter, well because, that's the only time I got to see it - sound fair? There are two types of adventurous spirits who would be fulfilled from taking a visit or vacation to Casper so let me ~break it down, now~.

Number 1. The Downtown Dweller

When you think of Wyoming you probably think of outdoor activities - and you're not wrong! Casper is an absolute dream for outdoorsy folks, but it also has quite the up-and-coming, bustling downtown vibe. It's the second largest city after Cheyenne, but they've really focused their energy on revitalizing their art and culinary scenes, and revamping their downtown area.

Recall back to a few years ago when the total eclipse happened, summer of July 2017. Casper was on the path of full totality so the town, just shy of 60,000, was expecting a HUGE turnout of out-of-towners. This inspired them to ban together and ramp up their food scene - cultivating modern and fun spaces for groups of people to come eat, drink, be merry and see the total eclipse. Casper opened several fun and poppin' restaurants as well as outdoor venues and spaces for people to congregate in.

On top of the food scene, Casper has quite the art community as well. They just started their first opera, where actors and actresses from all over Wyoming come together to put on a different (and unbelievable) show every month. Most, if not all, of the actors and actresses are Wyoming natives who have been classically trained and this is what makes it especially sweet - most of the performers are just your average locals. Think bank tellers, real estate agents, you name it, they are just there to put on an amazing show for their community and flex those golden pipes!

Where to stay

Holiday Inn Casper East - Medical Center. Okay so I know it's not a boutique hotel - but the Holiday Inn in Casper is beautiful and the beds are incredibly comfy. They have a wonderful bar and restaurant, views of Casper Mountain and THEY BAKED HOMEMADE COOKIES. Okay that's all, let's continue.

721 Granite Peak Drive
Casper, WY 82609

Where to eat

Johnny J's Diner. This diner feels like the 50s froze in time! Not only does it have a super cute vibe, the breakfast food is fabulous. Not too many bells and whistles, just a good ol' fashioned American diner with a strong cup of joe, which we LOVE.

1705 E 2nd St
Casper, WY 82601

Racca's Pizzeria. Racca's Pizza is new on the culinary scene in Casper, and their pizza is DROOL. WORTHY. What was once a produce warehouse has now become Racca's right in downtown. I would recommend you get yourself a personal Del Re Pizza or if you are feeling extra hungry - go with a medium! HECK, even a large!

430 S Ash St
Casper, WY 82601

Eggington's. This was one of my favorite breakfasts in town. Apparently the line on weekends is usually around 30 minutes to an hour wait because it's so dang popular. Eggs-cellent coffee and tons of different options for everyone.

229 E 2nd St Suite 200
Casper, WY 82601

Grant Street Grocery and Market. Okay so this isn't a sit-down place but if you are looking for some high quality food items to buy and take back to your hotel or Airbnb with you for a small bite - you HAVE to try Grant Street Grocery & Market. They just celebrated their 100th birthday and are now under new ownership which has totally spiced the place up, but of course keeps the same heart. This would be the place to grab yourself some bangin' cheeses and meats for a fancy charcuterie board or a perfect pairing with your wine. They also serve brunch on the weekends and have some fabulous coffee in the morning. Definitely get yourself an almond milk latte!

815 S Grant Ave
Casper, WY 82601

FireRock Steakhouse. Okay so I am a 80 percent vegan, 20 percent vegetarian so it seems kind of blasphemous to go to a steakhouse for dinner right? I know. But I went with a group of four other meat-loving women who all got steaks and said that the meat they got was maybe some of the best beef they've ever had! I ordered a black bean burger and it was so amazing, it actually tasted like a real hamburger so it was an absolute treat. They also have a DENSE wine and cocktail list, which happened to have my favorite red wine on it so consider me a happy camper! Please visit FireRock for a nice meal out in Casper.

6100 E 2nd S
Casper, WY 82609

Where to enjoy some art

Nicolaysen Art Museum. Nicolaysen Art Museum is kind of a central hub for the arts community in Casper. Not only do they have a beautifully curated gallery from local artists as well as national and international and started the Wyoming Opera, but they offer several different classes for community members. Whether its for kiddos or for disabled folks, the Nic offers it all.

400 E Collins Dr
Casper, WY 82601

Art 321. This art space is specifically designed for locals to come and enjoy a class OR enjoy locally curated art as well. Art 321 offers weekly classes each with a different theme and method of creating art. This is much smaller than the Nic and run by a tight knit group of women, Art 321 is an inspiring spot.

321 W Midwest Ave
Casper, WY 82601

Where to nightlife

Backwards Distilling Co. Backwards Distilling Co. is a family owned and operated hard alcohol distilling and tasting room. If you are a fan of vodka, gin or whiskey, they have a great selection. You can go and taste the alcohol or just enjoy the fun circus themed atmosphere and a delicious cocktail.

158 Progress Cir
Mills, WY 82644

The Beacon. If you want a truly authentic Wyoming, "dancing club" to line or swing dance - get sneakin' to the Beacon. This is a Casper staple has been around for DECADES. Enjoy the sea of cowboys and cowgirls who are getting down to some country music. This was maybe my favorite part of the whole endeavor! Ladies - be prepared to be swept off your feet by a cowboy.

4100 W Yellowstone Hwy
Mills, WY 82644

Gaslight Social. Gaslight Social is the perfect place to go watch a sports game or play some games, grab a beer and a bite! They have sooo many beers on tap, it's hard to decided which one to get. I HIGHLY recommend the cheese curd poutine. It was to die for.

314 W Midwest Ave
Casper, WY 82601

Number 2. The Outdoorsman/Woman

Okay so here's a little secret. Casper has A LOT of fun outdoor activities. When you think of Wyoming you probably think of Yellowstone National Park or maybe skiing in Jacksonhole, but Casper is a well kept secret. Those Wyomingites (??) kept telling me that Casper is the best kept secret in the U.S. and I kind of have to agree with them on this one! If you want to extend your trip beyond Casper to get a bit more Wyoming in, I would recommend starting in Casper and then driving to Yellowstone National Park so you can get the whole experience.

For summer, I was told that the hikes are also amazing. Click here to check out the trails and let's get back to winter programming.

What to do outside

Casper Mountain. For starters, we visited Casper Mountain which is an absolute WINTER WONDERLAND and outdoorsy persons dream. We snowshoed and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the snow and fresh, crisp air. You can also cross country ski the same routes, so pick your poison. Someday I think I'll try putting on snow ski's and giving it a whirl but for now - snowshoes have to do.

Hogadon Ski Area. There is also skiing and snowboarding on Hogadon Ski Area that is located 11 miles south of Casper proper. The mountain features 27 trails of varying difficulty. Of those trails, 20 percent are beginner, 40 percent intermediate and 40 percent are expert ski terrain.

Fly Fishing. If you are an avid fly fisherman, Casper is a land perfect for fisherman. The Platte River runs right through downtown Casper, and doesn't freeze in the winter so it has access to fish year round.It's also perfect because you can stay downtown, have some beers and hit the river for fishing! The coolest thing about the Platte River that runs through Casper is that it doesn't freeze over in the winter meaning you can fly fish year round. And - it gets even cooler, folks. The anglers in Casper have worked incredibly hard to rehab the banks of the river meaning that the quality of life for those fishies is outstanding and truly cared for. Because of the efforts, the fish have repopulated and are stronger than ever which means the quality of fish meat is great as well.

Now that I've totally overwhelmed you with information - why not just give it a shot? Go ahead! Visit Casper!