10 Fun Things to Do in Laramie, WY

Laramie, Wyoming is a charming college town in the Rocky Mountains and home to the University of Wyoming. Affectionately known as “Laradise”, it's a fun and vibrant community where you'll find the spirit of the West meets the excitement of outdoor adventure and historical exploration!

In Laramie, in every direction, you'll get a glimpse into the heart of Wyoming's rugged beauty. There's no shortage of activities like hiking trails, historical sites, and cultural experiences. So, in this guide, we'll bring you 10 fun things to do in Laramie, WY that give you a taste of everything this historic town has to offer.

We'll explore Medicine Bow National Forest and take a scenic drive along the Snowy Range Scenic Byway. You'll find activities like exploring the history of the University of Wyoming and stargazing at the Wyoming Infrared Observatory. No matter what you're into, this post will get you excited about visiting Laramie, Wyoming!

Laramie Travel Guide: What To Do in Laramie, Wyoming

A scenic view in Laramie, WY.
Source: Unsplash.

1. Hike or Bike the Happy Jack Trails

When planning a trip to Laramie, WY what sets the Happy Jack Recreation area apart is the abundance of trails for all skill levels. Located in Medicine Bown National Forest, visitors can enjoy beautiful and scenic trails among the aspen trees, mountain biking, and even cross-country skiing. Notable trails are the Aspen Trail, Middle Aspen, and Pole Creek.

2. Visit the University of Wyoming

You don't have to be a student to stroll through the University of Wyoming; it gives you a good taste of history, culture, and architectural beauty. Check out the the American Heritage Center which houses an extensive collection of historical archives and artifacts that tell the story of Wyoming and the American West.

If that's not your thing, there's always the University of Wyoming Planetarium for live and interactive shows and then there's the University of Wyoming Art Museum. So many fun things to do at the University of Wyoming!

3. Attend a Rodeo

If you're visiting Laramie in July, you may be lucky enough to attend an authentic American Western rodeo!

The Laramie Jubilee Days is an annual event that typically takes place in July and is steeped in tradition. It showcases the skills and bravery of cowboys and cowgirls through various rodeo events. The centerpiece is the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) rodeo, where you can witness heart-pounding action like bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, and team roping.

Beyond the rodeo itself, Jubilee Days features a parade, street dances, pancake breakfasts, and a carnival. You can expect delicious food stands offering Western-style eats, and the opportunity to shop for cowboy hats, boots, and other Western gear from vendors. It's a great way to experience cowboy culture and a vital part of Wyoming's heritage.

watching a rodeo in Laramie, WY.
Source: Pxhere.

4. Try Local Breweries and Eats

In a college town, I would fully expect there to be some great breweries and eateries and Laramie does not disappoint. Some favorite breweries include Coal Creek TAP for craft beer and coffee or Altitude Chophouse for brews and good ole American fare like steaks, pizza, and burgers.

If you're vegetarian or vegan then you can't miss Sweet Melissa's, which is a local favorite even if you usually eat meat! And if you're a fan of Guy Fieri's Diners Drive-Ins and Dives, then Born in a Barn is a must-stop with its great beverage selection and tasty American eats!

5. Attend a Performance at the Gryphon Theatre

The Gryphon Theatre is an iconic restored historic building where you'll find a lineup of productions like Battle of the Bands, theater shows, comedy shows, and film screenings. It's an small and intimate atmosphere where every seat in the house is a good one and the acoustics are exceptional.

Lake Hattie in Laramie, WY.
Source: Pxhere.

6. Go Fishing or Boating at Lake Hattie

Lake Hattie is part of the Laramie Plains Lakes and is known for its abundance of Wyoming wildlife. It's the place you go if you want to catch a big fish away from the crowds!

The lake's clear, expansive waters are also ideal for boating, kayaking, and windsurfing, providing a refreshing way to enjoy the stunning surroundings and sunny Wyoming skies.

7. Take a Scenic Drive on the Snowy Range Scenic Byway

Starting from Laramie, the Snowy Range Scenic Byway heads west on Highway 130, leading you into the heart of the Medicine Bow National Forest. This route is famous for its dramatic elevation changes, eventually crossing the Snowy Range Pass at nearly 10,800 feet.

It's a dramatic change of scenery from open prairies and ranchlands to dense forest. You'll love the panoramic views of mountain peaks and lakes of Snowy Range Pass. It's the place to stop and have a picnic or go for a short hike. Lake Marie and Mirror Lake are great spots to stop along this scenic drive.

8. Take the Scenic Route to Cheyenne

Give yourself a tour of Southeastern Wyoming and take a scenic drive from Laramie to the capital city of Cheyenne. The more direct and faster route is I-80, but the scenic route along Happy Jack Road (Wyoming Highway 210) offers stunning views of the high plains and the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests.

It will take you about an hour to get from Laramie to Cheyenne on this route. It's a perfect way to take a break from the fast pace of the highway and explore the natural splendor of the region and Wyoming's diverse landscape.

A scenic route between Laramie and Cheyenne, WY.
Source: Unsplash.

9. Stargaze at the Wyoming Infrared Observatory

If you're a fan of astronomy consider heading up to the Wyoming Infrared Observatory for some incredible stargazing. Situated atop Jelm Mountain in the Snowy Range Mountains, near Laramie, this observatory is managed by the University of Wyoming and is a premier facility for astronomical research.

The observatory periodically hosts public viewing nights so be sure to check before visiting. If not available, check out the University of Wyoming Planetarium for their show schedule.

10. Take a Day Trip to Vedauwoo Recreation Area

Vedauwoo Recreation Area, located between Laramie and Cheyenne on Interstate 80, is renowned for its striking granite rock formations that have been sculpted by wind and water over millennia. These formations a variety of activity for climbers of all skill levels, with routes ranging from easy scrambles to challenging climbs. 

It’s also a great spot for hiking and mountain biking with trails. You may even get a glimpse of wildlife such as mule deer, elk, and a variety of birds. The Turtle Rock Trail is a favorite hike, but Vedauwoo is also a great place to have a picnic among the rock formations or in the many picnic areas. It’s a stunning place and a fun way to spend the day near Laramie!

How to get to Laramie, Wyoming

Getting to Laramie, Wyoming, is relatively straightforward, whether you're traveling by car or plane thanks to its convenient location and good transport links. 

By Car

Laramie is easily accessible by car and located along Interstate 80, one of the major east-west highways in the country. If you're coming from the east or west, I-80 will take you directly to Laramie.

From the north or south, highways like US-287 connect to Laramie from Colorado and other parts of Wyoming. It’s a beautiful drive and only about 2-3 hours away from Denver

Road trip to Laramie, WY.
Source: Unsplash.

By Plane

The nearest commercial airport is Laramie Regional Airport (LAR), just a few miles from downtown Laramie. It offers daily flights to and from Denver International Airport (DEN), which makes it a convenient option. Alternatively, you can fly into Denver International Airport and take a scenic drive to Laramie.

Final Words

Laramie, Wyoming, offers more than just a glimpse into the heart of the Rocky Mountains; it gives you insight into a world of adventure in a small town atmosphere. I highly recommend that you take time to explore the University of Wyoming to get a sense the town’s history. 

If you are more into scenic drives and outdoors, Laramie gives you access to Medicine Bow National Forest where you can explore Vedauwoo and Snow Range Pass. It’s truly breathtaking!

No matter what you decide to do, a visit to Laramie, Wyoming is a quintessential American town rich with history and charm. You can’t go wrong!

Guest Author

Genni Franklin is a travel blogger based in South Florida. She loves exploring the world on a budget and documenting adventures on her blog Traveling Franklins. She has a background in hospitality, working for companies like Hilton and Marriott. But her true passion is teaching others how to travel more for less because everyone deserves to take their PTO and explore the world on their own budget!


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