If you’re just passing through, Laramie, Wyoming might give a first impression as a small town in the middle of nowhere. You might ask yourself, what do people here do? If you look just below the surface, however, you will discover that Laramie is actually a small town in the middle of it all.


Laramie has something to offer visitors year-round, with each season boasting epic outdoor recreation opportunities as well as special events and activities. What’s more, the University of Wyoming is a prominent fixture of the community, enriching Laramie’s art and culture scene and hosting college-level athletic events. The city is also packed with fascinating history and boasts a charming downtown full of great places to eat, drink, and shop. 


In this post, we highlight the main reasons why Laramie is an all-around amazing place to live and visit. Add us to your destination bucket list, and read on to plan your getaway.



Plains Lakes Meeboer Fishing Laramie

Outdoor Recreation

Visitors and locals alike frequently point to the easily accessible and plentiful outdoor recreation opportunities that surround the city as one of the key reasons they love Laramie. The Snowy Range Mountains and the Tie City / Happy Jack Recreation Area, both part of the stunningly beautiful Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, are the main stars of Laramie’s backyard, along with the Vedauwoo Recreation Area and Curt Gowdy State Park. Fabulously, none of these destinations are more than an hour’s drive away, and many are as quick as 20 minutes or less. 


Cross Country Ski Trails


Winter recreation in Laramie is both excellent and diverse. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat biking are three choice activities for the Snowy Range Mountains (approximately 35 miles west of Laramie) and the Tie City / Happy Jack Recreation Area (about 12 miles east). 


The Snowy Range Ski Area is an excellent and affordable option for downhill skiing and snowboarding. Snowy Range Ski Area’s lift ticket prices are hard to come by these days, and smaller crowds mean visitors spend less time waiting in long lift lines and more time enjoying time on the slopes. 


Laramie is also a premier snowmobile destination, boasting vast expanses of groomed trails as well as backcountry territory. Check out our guide to visiting Albany Lodge, which offers snowmobile rentals and tours in the beautiful Snowy Range. 


See our top five recommendations for winter activities here.


Spring Flowers Offwidth Climbing


At 7200 feet, winter in Laramie lasts just a little bit longer than in most places, with spring’s onset typically marked by a heavy coating of snow. This means that many of the winter recreation activities listed above are still going strong well into early and even mid-Spring. 


As warmer spring weather starts to bring an end to winter recreation, a favorite annual tradition among locals is to drive into the Snowy Range Mountains along the breathtaking Snowy Range Scenic Byway right after the pass opens, typically sometime in mid-May. Other late-spring activities begin to merge with summer season activities.    


Mountain Biking Summer


Simply put, Laramie summer is special, particularly if you are a fan of the outdoors. The Snowy Range is the perfect playground for hiking, fishing, camping, backpacking, wildlife viewing, ATV riding, and more, all with a backdrop of stunningly beautiful high-alpine scenery. Take a look at our top recommendations for scenic hikes as well as a sample itinerary for spending a weekend in the Snowy Range. 


Laramie’s Mountain biking scene is among the best you can find anywhere, with single-track trails leaving right from town and easy access to miles and miles of trails at Tie City/ Happy Jack and Curt Gowdy State Park, which is nationally known and loved among the mountain biking community. See Laramie locals’ recommendations for favorite mountain biking trails here


Vedauwoo is a rock climber’s paradise and is also great for hikes, camping, and star gazing.


Fish the plains lakes, the beaver ponds in the Happy Jack Recreation Area, the Platte River, and the Snowy Range’s pristine glacial lakes to your heart’s content. Four Seasons Anglers even offers guided fishing trips


Summit Trailhead Fall Laramie Wyoming


Summer outdoor recreation activities continue into early fall, and late fall is the beginning of winter recreation. Fall’s crisper temperatures are particularly well suited for exercise-intensive activities such as mountain biking, and cooler days bring water temperatures back into a range that is more tolerated by trout, making fall one of the best times of the year for fishing (see our tips on fall fishing here). The changing leaves also bring scenic hiking to the top of the list during this season. Take a fall colors sightseeing tour for another great way to enjoy this beautiful time of year.   



University of Wyoming Art Museum with family

Arts and Culture

Outdoor recreation is often the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Laramie, but there is plenty to do and see in Laramie beyond the great outdoors. Laramie is considered by many as the cultural capital of Wyoming, and the town is proud of its local artists and loves showing them off. The Laramie Mural Project is perhaps the best example of this and brings vibrancy and color to many community spaces, hidden alleyways, and local businesses. Take the Downtown Mural Walking Tour to learn more. Downtown Laramie also includes several fantastic art galleries.


Without a doubt, the University of Wyoming is one of the greatest cultural assets to the Laramie community. Check out their events calendar to see what’s happening on campus while you’re in town. You might catch a play or a dance performance at the theater, attend a talk given by an acclaimed speaker, experience great music at the symphony orchestra, or enjoy any number of other activities. Laramie also has several well-renowned museums that are a great way to pass a few hours, including the Laramie Plains Museum at the Ivinson Mansion and the University of Wyoming’s Art Museum, Geology Museum, and Anthropology Museum. 


You might also consider attending a theatrical production offered by Laramie’s own Relative Theatrics. A Laramie native founded the company in 2013 and has been bringing “risky, relevant, real” live theater to Laramie ever since. 



Part of the cultural scene but in a category all its own is Laramie’s rich history. Laramie is full of colorful wild-west history that has landed its downtown on the national register of historic places. Founded in 1868, the town owes its existence to the Union Pacific Railroad. Train enthusiasts will be awe-struck by the pedestrian footbridge that traverses the tracks and is one of only two remaining footbridges of its kind in the United States. It’s also a great place to watch the sunset.


Old west architecture is prominent in Laramie’s Historic Downtown, and the best way to enjoy the downtown is simply by walking around. You’ll get to revel in the historic architecture, mural after colorful mural, a wide array of charming local shops and boutiques (see local recommendations on where to shop here), and plenty of places to get a delicious bite to eat.  


You could spend an entire day or more touring Laramie’s historic sites and landmarks. Some of our top recommendations include Historic Downtown Laramie, the Wyoming Territorial Prison, the Ivinson Mansion, and the Laramie Railroad Depot


Laramie is also home to Women’s Suffrage. Right here in Laramie, in 1869, Louisa Swain became the first woman in the United States to vote in a general election. A statue of her stands in the plaza of the Wyoming Women’s History House between Grand and Garfield on 2nd street to honor this historical moment. A year after Ms. Swain cast her vote, Laramie also became the home of the first woman to serve on a jury. This act is commemorated by a pedestal and plaque in the park near the footbridge.  


Cauliflower Wings Vegan at Sweet Melissa Laramie

Food and Drink

Good food is easy to come by in Laramie and goes beyond the steaks and burgers of a typical small town in the West. Offering everything from a mouth-watering steak at the Cavalryman to raw fish at Mizu Sushi to Wyoming’s only fully vegetarian restaurant at Sweet Melissa’s Cafe, Laramie is a unique destination for those looking for a great meal. See our top five restaurant picks and favorite dishes and restaurants as named by Laramie locals.


Wash your meal down with a beer from one of our many local breweries. Laramie overflows with delicious craft beer and scores points for fewer crowds and convenience when compared to bigger cities in the Rocky Mountain West. A surprising five local breweries are located within just a few blocks of one another in Downtown Laramie. For those who are less enthusiastic about beer, Front Street Tavern is our top recommendation for signature and classic cocktails, enjoyed in a cozy atmosphere in one of Laramie’s oldest buildings.



Special Events

In addition to Laramie’s epic outdoor adventure, arts and cultural enrichments, Western and railroad-era history, and exciting culinary scene, Laramie is home to several special events that are a delight to experience. 


Ride Carnival Laramie Jubilee Days Rodeo

Jubilee Days

Visit Laramie in July to catch Laramie Jubilee Days, the town’s celebration of statehood. This multi-day event features rodeos, a carnival, street dances, a parade, and Laramie Brewfest. You can find more information about Jubilee Days here


Farmers Market Downtown Laramie

Farmers Markets

The Laramie Farmers Market runs every Friday from 3pm - 7pm from the end of June through September at Depot Park in Downtown Laramie. The market offers not only fresh produce, but also live music, handmade goods, local art, seasonal cocktails and beer, and a wide variety of delicious food vendors. 


A smaller and exclusively local market is also held every Thursday from 3pm - 7pm from June through September in Undine Park. It’s great to be able to enjoy a leisurely stroll through a beautiful park while filling your bag with goodies along the way.  



Live Music

Laramie also boasts a diverse music scene that includes intimate venues for both up-and-coming artists and big-name bands. Coal Creek, The Buckhorn Bar & Parlor, The Ruffed Up Duck, and The Great Untamed (to name a few) are common venues for local and out-of-town acts. The Cowboy Saloon and Dance Hall is known for hosting well-known country artists, and the Gryphon Theatre and the University of Wyoming’s 7220 Entertainment bring in acclaimed, well known music artists as well.


University of Wyoming Football at War Memorial Stadium


The University of Wyoming has 17 Division I NCAA sport teams, including football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, wrestling, swimming, diving, tennis, track, cross country, and golf. Because the University is the state’s sole 4-year institution, thousands of fans from all corners of the state travel to Laramie on game days, especially for Cowboy Football during the fall. The excitement in the air is palpable, and you can become part of it from either the stands of the stadium or a seat at a local bar or restaurant’s watch party.