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Fans of those always-romantic, often-silly, and reliably heartwarming Christmas movies that air throughout the holiday season may sometimes find themselves daydreaming about what it would be like to live their own version of one of these iconic films.

Well, here in Cody Yellowstone, our marketing elves have done some serious scouting, and they have discovered more than a few places to serve as a movie set. All you must do is supply the actors. Or just bring your lover to Cody Yellowstone, check out some of our recommendations, and let nature take it from there.

Let’s start with the eight things every holiday movie has in common:

  • A charming downtown lined with coffee shops, restaurants, and gift shops, without even a hint of a big box store. Bonus points if the sounds of holiday music can be heard along the street.
  • Colorful holiday decorations carefully hung on every storefront, light post, and yard.
  • Happy, friendly people strolling along the sidewalks every hour of the day.
  • Homes with inviting front porches. Their owners will wave to you if they happen to be out as you walk by.
  • There’s always snow.
  • Mountains views. (Not always, but the best movies always have mountains.)
  • Ruggedly good-looking, charmingly brooding locals. (In a town full of ranchers, rodeo performers, and fiercely independent businesspeople, most of them wearing Stetsons, there’s a good chance of an encounter. But remember, since you’re already with your lover, don’t make things awkward by gawking.)
  • A great backstory about the town: sometimes the town is at risk from a greedy, nefarious bad guy who may or may not grow a heart before the end of the movie; Sometimes the town has a colorful history, and famous people once lived there; Sometimes those famous people founded and named the town.

Cody easily features all eight of these key elements. Well, maybe not the nefarious bad guy. Most of the bad guys who passed through Cody, like Butch Cassidy, visited a long time ago, and they already have their movies.

Choose where to stay

An exterior short of the Irma lit up in Cody Yellowstone

With dozens of accommodation choices, ranging from charming boutique inns to historic hotels, there are plenty of places for you and your lover to unpack and settle in after long days of fun. Fans of small, one-of-a-kind inns will love the Chamberlin Inn. If you stay there, check out Ernest Hemingway’s guest signature. He stayed there after finishing a draft of “Death in the Afternoon.” History buffs — and anyone intrigued by haunted hotels — should check into the Irma Hotel. Town founder Buffalo Bill Cody built the hotel and named it for his daughter. Irma and her husband died tragically of the Spanish flu in 1918, and there have been many reports of ghostly sightings in the hotel. But don’t worry. Your lover is betting that a little ghostly encounter will prompt you to seek comfort in your lover’s strong embrace.

Sort out the food

Couple toasting wine glasses in a restaurant

Since your lover is prone to the “hangries,” choosing the day’s culinary adventures is high on the to-do list.

Breakfast – If you have a hearty appetite, check out Granny’s Restaurant for a homestyle breakfast served up by a friendly staff. Or try a fresh-made crepe and locally roasted coffee from The Station. There are plenty of other options as well, from a traditional breakfast at the 8th Street at the Ivy to a grab-and-go breakfast sandwich at Rawhide Coffee Co.

Lunch – Since you’re a fan of Guy Fieri, you’ve already heard of Sitti’s Table, the hot new and charmingly tiny restaurant just off the main street. Come early if you want to sit in the restaurant or grab a sandwich and have a picnic at a table beneath a weather-repelling glass dome near the Cody Visitor’s Center. If you’re a fan of Mexican food, dine at Zapata’s. Don’t skip the guacamole and chips; it’s the best around.

Dinner – Oh so many options. When in Wyoming, eat steak, and the best in town is at the Cody Steakhouse. Be sure to make reservations, as this place is as popular among locals as it is among visitors. Or feast on a prime rib dinner buffet at the Irma Hotel. For a lighter supper, order some small plates and a killer cocktail at The Blanca Tatanka.

Time to explore downtown Cody

Downtown Cody Yellowstone in the Winter

All right then. You have your lover at your side, you are well-rested and well-fed, and here you are standing on Sheridan Avenue (Cody’s main street) facing East, with a clear view of Spirit Mountain rising above the town. It’s time to explore.

Take a brisk walk along Sheridan Avenue and enjoy the morning as store owners turn on their lights, unlock their doors, and wave a friendly “good morning” as you walk by.

Head to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and spend a leisurely morning exploring the five museums there. If you’re a fan of wildlife and geology, don’t miss the Draper Natural Science Museum, which explores the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

Visit the galleries and be wowed by the awesome talent of local artists. With its abundant natural beauty, it is no wonder that Cody Yellowstone has a higher-than-average percentage of artists per capita than most towns, and much of their work can be found in galleries such as By Western Hands, Cody Country Art League, Mountain Valley Artistry, Timmer Gallery and Open Range Images.

Shop for gifts. Nothing says “we went there and you didn’t…ha-ha-ha” like a gift basket from the Wyoming Buffalo Company, a friendly, family-run shop with a vast array of specialty made-in-Wyoming products like hickory smoked buffalo, elk and venison summer sausage. If you’re a fan of blingy, girly fun clothes, stop in at The Pretty Buffalo Boutique and see the latest offerings from this chic, Wyoming women-owned shop. Or, stop in at Sunlight Sports and shop for the latest in outdoor gear, cold-weather clothing layers, guidebooks, maps, and more. While you’re there, chat with the knowledgeable staff, and be sure to ask about the latest mountain conditions as well as equipment rentals. You’re going to need some good gear when you…

Go outside and play

A woman on the chairlift at Sleeping Giant Ski Area near Cody Yellowstone

There are abundant ways to enjoy the frosty days outside in Cody Yellowstone. Head toward the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park and enjoy a day of alpine skiing or snowboarding at Sleeping Giant Ski Area, where you will find friendly staff and plenty of runs to keep your adrenaline junkie lover happy. What you won’t find, though, are long lift lines and expensive food. If you prefer to cross-county ski, strap on your skis near the Sleeping Giant Ski Area lodge and ski in tracks along the Shoshone River. If you’re looking for an even more remote adventure, head to the Wood River Valley Ski Touring Park. (Hint: if your lover is really into remote adventures, consider spending a night in the ski-in/ski-out South Park Cabin. Although the cabin is equipped with bunk beds, we’re unaware of any rule requiring you to sleep separately. Plus, it will be cold.)

Since every good Christmas movie includes a night of ice skating followed by a steamy mug of hot chocolate, you and your lover should make time for Homesteader Park. Hold hands, glide around the ice, and then warm up with hot chocolate in the warming hut. It is crucial for one of you to have less-than-stellar skating skills so the other can pick you off the hard rink, brush you off, and then patiently help you improve your skills.

And, of course, who needs a Christmas tree farm when you have the Shoshone National Forest. Grab a tree permit and get lost in the woods with your boo as you search for the perfect Christmas tree to add to your home.

Alternatively, you could just…

Explore the Cody Yellowstone Sippin’ Trail. The new Sippin’ Trail is a great way for visitors to experience some of the town’s most popular restaurants and bars. The trail includes breweries, restaurants, and unique venues such as a cigar lounge. Or cap your Cody Yellowstone holiday adventure with a quiet cocktail and live music at the Chamberlin Inn Cocktail Lounge. This intimate little lounge serves up inventive cocktails and nibbles in a cozy setting overlooking the inn’s spacious gardens.

Set the Scene For Your Hallmark Holiday Moment

A man and woman toast by the fire in Cody Yellowstone

Lights, camera, Cody Yellowstone! Start planning your magical holiday today.

We hope you enjoyed your Cody Yellowstone Christmas adventure. Take that, Hallmark.