Last Updated on September 24, 2021 by Candy Wafford
Laramie offers visitors a unique experience. Surrounded by stunning scenery, it maintains a strong sense of its past while providing modern conveniences. Home to the University of Wyoming, Laramie feels like a small town but it offers visitors so much to see and do. I’ve visited twice and feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what this unique town has to offer. Here are some of the best things to do in Laramie.
Laramie’s downtown is charming. You’ll find a variety of restaurants, shops and things to do. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places Laramie was once known as a “hell-on-wheels” town. Take a moment to appreciate the murals around downtown Laramie that are part of the Laramie Mural Project which uses local artists to create large scale murals that represent the culture and history of the community.
Restaurants in downtown Laramie run the gamut from Sweet Melissa which features a vegetarian menu to Cavalryman Steakhouse for those craving a big hunk of meat. You’ll also find several bar and grills and breweries downtown. Craving something sweet, grab a scoop of ice cream at Big Dipper Ice Cream.
Some of my favorite shopping in downtown Laramie includes Chalk N’Cheese where you can find a variety of artisan cheeses and other specialty foods. I also love Poppy’s where you can get a fresh bouquet of flowers and a brand new outfit. If you like antiquing, make sure and visit the antique shops downtown and find a treasure to take back home.
Visit Laramie offers a brochure you can download to use on a walking tour of downtown Laramie.
Fun Things to Do in Laramie
This is big sky country and you will find yourself in awe of the scenery in and around Laramie. Make sure to take time to take at least one drive, and hopefully more, to see the gorgeous vistas that are at every turn.
Deerwood Ranch Wild Horse EcoSanctuary
One of the best activities to do in Laramie is to visit the Deerwood Ranch Wild Horse EcoSanctuary. It is a private wild horse ranch in Wyoming that has been approved by the federal government to care for wild horses. Wild horses in Wyoming present a problem because there are more horses for there is land available for grazing. This program was created as a way to ensure wild horses are taken care of in a responsible manner.
You can stay in a cabin on the ranch or book a tour. Several tour options are available including a photographic tour which I was lucky enough to take. We were able to get close to the horses and take some incredible photos. The horses are naturally curious, so don’t be surprised if they walk up to the vehicle. Seeing the wild horses in their natural habitat and so lovingly cared for is a special experience. I encourage anyone visiting Laramie to make plans to visit the ranch.
Snowy Range Scenic Byway
The Snowy Range Scenic Byway runs along Wyoming State Highway 130 between Laramie and Saratoga. Snow in the upper elevations means that the byway is generally open from Memorial Day through October. I loved seeing colorful wildflowers and gorgeous lakes throughout our drives in the area. Hungry? Stop in the cowboy town of Centennial and enjoy a bite to eat.
Vedauwoo is a campground and recreational area located between Laramie and Cheyenne. It features some really cool rocky outcrops and taking a quick hike around the area will make you feel like you have landed on another planet. The area is popular with climbers and you’ll see brave souls climbing and rappelling the larger rocks. Without a doubt one of my favorite things to do in Laramie (and it’s free).
Abraham Lincoln Memorial Monument
As you drive along Interstate 80 just east of Laramie, you’ll see a huge monument of Abraham Lincoln. I live in the birthplace of Lincoln and am used to seeing monuments to America’s favorite president everywhere. But I didn’t quite understand why there is a monument to him in Wyoming. it was sculpted by Robert Russin in 1959 to commemorate the highest point on the Lincoln Highway. Built in 1913, the Lincoln Highway was America’s first coast-to-coast highway.
Wyoming Territorial Prison
Wyoming is in the heart of the wild west and has a history of lawlessness and outlaws. Built in 1872, the Wyoming Territorial Prison was home to famous outlaws including Butch Cassidy. Today, the prison is open to visitors where you can tour the historic buildings, see exhibits, walk a nature trail, and visit the gift shop. It was one of my husband’s favorite things to do in Wyoming.
Other activities in Laramie include visits to the Laramie Plains Museum and the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming.
Is Laramie a Good Place for Kids?
Absolutely! Between the outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, and fishing, a trip to Laramie is a perfect family-friendly vacation. Kids will be entertained on drives looking for wildlife including deer, antelope, and elk. And if they’re lucky, they may even spot a moose. Many of the activities available in Laramie are not only kid-friendly, but they are free making a trip here an affordable one for families.