With railroad roots, incredible views, and an outlaw cowboy past, visiting Laramie is like coming home to the essence of the Western town.
A classic combination of rugged and quaint, the city waits to tip its hat and welcome you in.
The Best 12 Things to Do in Laramie
1. Vedauwoo Recreation Area
Born of lava-turned-igneous rock and situated in the Medicine Bow National Forest, Vedauwoo is a craggy, imposing formation that rises to about 8,000 feet. It is said to be a sacred, spiritual place for Indigenous Peoples and may have been the home of many rituals, but that’s not all it’s been.
From being utilized in film to serving as an outdoor amphitheater, this robust, towering structure has topped the must-see list of many visitors to Laramie. Today, outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the stony faces for rock climbing and the surrounding Vedauwoo Recreation Area for hiking, camping and spotting wildlife.
2. Laramie Plains Museum at the Historic Ivinson Mansion
Why not give your next getaway a splash of old-timey luxury? That’s easy to do when you visit the Laramie Plains Museum at the Historic Ivinson Mansion. Named for one of many powerful women at the helm of Wyoming’s history, the Ivinson Mansion went from being a family home to a school for girls and, finally, a lovingly-maintained ode to life in Laramie in the late 1800s.
Spend an afternoon wandering the floors of the Victorian home and take in their fashions and home furnishings. Additionally, look for special events at the Ivinson Mansion while you’re in town: from art festivals to weekly high tea, they always have something fancy going on.
3. University of Wyoming
Whether school is in session or you’re coming to visit on a lazy summer day, there’s more for visitors to explore at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, the state’s only four-year university. From the rush of Cowboys and Cowgirls sports to the portals to the past found in their many museums, UW is about far more than making the grade.
Visit the University of Wyoming Art Museum for popular rotating exhibits, or check out their permanent collection with pieces from around the world dating back to the 15th century. Stop by the Geological Museum for a selfie with Big Al and the Allosaurus fossil, or take a guided tour to help you make the most of your trip.
4. American Heritage Center
Western history lives on in Wyoming and remains on full display at the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. A hub of artifacts, photographs and documents from days gone by, the museum is the result of decades of fact-finding research that paints a vivid picture of Wyoming’s history.
Take a peek at their rotating “Featured Collection” exhibits and sample the life’s work of everyone from artists to prohibitionist-era outlaws you may have never heard of before. From pop culture facts to yesterday’s politicians, spend a day fascinated by state history.
5. Williams Conservatory
You may have never thought your visit to Wyoming would involve a trip to the tropics, but you might be surprised. The Williams Conservatory, located on campus at the University of Wyoming, is a greenhouse that keeps a tropical indoor environment year-round so that more than 600 plant species can flourish.
The conservatory is a great place for curious travelers and budding botanists alike to explore different flora from around the world, providing the public with a deeper understanding and appreciation of plant life. Additionally, admission is free, so bring the whole family to explore.
6. Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site
It wouldn’t be Wyoming without bad boys and outlaws, and it wouldn’t be a visit to Laramie without stopping by the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site.
From the late 1800s-early 1900s, this building served as the first of its kind in the state, eventually becoming a museum after its closure as a penitentiary. If you’re hoping these historic walls can talk, you’re in luck — the museum has exhibits, artifacts and mug shots from outlaws you know and names you don’t. Gift yourself a day of historical true crime.
7. Medicine Bow National Forest
To say that Wyoming is a haven for the outdoor enthusiast is not an understatement, and a trip to the Medicine Bow National Forest makes the reason clear. This massive expanse of land spills over the state line into Colorado, but on the Laramie side, you can expect no shortage of incredible views.
Rocky canyons cut through by bright blue water, tall grasslands with wildflowers, and a wide array of wildlife make Medicine Bow the perfect place for an outdoor adventure. Additionally, plenty of hiking, water sports and fishing are available in the forest.
8. Wyoming Women’s History House
Wyoming’s heritage is rooted in freedom and equality, a fundamental truth that has extended to women since the state’s inception.
Visitors can celebrate that at Wyoming Women’s History House in Laramie, a museum dedicated to the brave women who set the course of history for both their state and the country at large. Run by the Luisa Swain Foundation (named for the Wyoming woman who was the first to cast an equal vote), visitors can learn more about the state’s many other “first” ladies, catch historical reenactments, and take part in the museum’s frequent special events.
9. Deerwood Ranch Wild Horse EcoSanctuary
The best things in life are wild and free; that sentiment echoes throughout Wyoming. A great example of this can be found a little west of Laramie at the Deerwood Ranch Wild Horse EcoSanctuary, where over 300 mustangs are free to live and roam on close to 5,000 acres of land.
The ranch is staffed with experts in caring for these horses, but they are primarily left wild as they would be otherwise, including sharing their home with coyotes, deer and elk on the property. Be sure to check into renting their guest cabin for a getaway you won’t soon forget.
10. Laramie Mural Project
There is nothing like the arts to unite people, creatively showcasing their diversity while giving them a common theme to bond over. The Laramie Mural Project aids the city in doing just that, coupling local artists who work hand in hand with leadership at the Laramie Main Street Alliance to create breathtaking, colorful murals on historic downtown buildings.
Not only do these murals put a fresh face on local businesses and help them preserve their classic facades, but they also convey the viewpoints and experiences of their creators, showing every visitor what Laramie means to them loud and proud. Do you want to see some for yourself? Just take a cruise around the downtown area.
11. Downtown Laramie
Charming, bustling, and effortlessly Western, the Downtown Laramie area is a must-see while you’re in town. Laid out around the bed of the famous Transcontinental Railroad, this vibrant village is full of personality, combining antique architecture with modern businesses that easily blend past and present-day pride.
Stroll around, and you’ll find your choice of local boutiques, eats, bars and brewhouses to explore. Check out Works of Wyoming Gift n Gallery, Coal Creek Tap and Range Leather Co., among others.
12. The Sugar Mouse Cupcake House
One of the best things about exploring a new destination is having experiences you might not expect to find there. While there’s plenty of Wild West rough and tumble to see and do in Laramie, there is also a chic, U.K.-inspired eatery right downtown.
The Sugar Mouse Cupcake House combines tasty handcrafted desserts with the European delights of British teatime, offering visitors a dining experience as unique as it is delicious. Come by for the gourmet cupcakes, and stay for the English stew, ice cream, and crumpets.
FAQ: Things to Do in Laramie, WY
Plan Your Visit to the Laramie Today
The city of Laramie is forward-focused but keeps one eye on its firm foundations, which makes for a vacation that feels old-timey and brand-new. Find out more about visiting Laramie, and book your trip today.