Food & Drink

What to Do (and Eat) in Laramie, Wyoming

Laramie, in southeastern Wyoming, is on the alternative facet of the state from such big-name vacationer attracts as Yellowstone National Park and Jackson Hole. But there’s sufficient to do (and eat!) in Laramie to make it a vacation spot in its personal proper. Here’s why it is best to go there.

This publish is sponsored by Visit Laramie.

Laramie, Wyoming, is a small, youthful faculty city, residence to Wyoming’s solely college and a various vary of eating places that attraction to visiting out-of-towners. It’s a conventional cowboy city, notably when the rodeo comes by means of to the native fairgrounds, because it lately did throughout July’s Jubilee Days festivities. It’s a high-plains, big-sky city (7,165 ft up) with plenty of outside fans, the place trout-filled rivers abound and a brief drive in both course brings you to dramatic, lovely mountain ranges or rock formations.

The rodeo at Laramie Jubilee Days 2022

 

For non-collegiate vacationers, Laramie is perhaps a stopover for these driving cross-country, heading to factors northwest within the state, or maybe happening to Denver, a brief 2.5 hours away. For us, nonetheless, it was a vacation spot, a spot to remain and hang around, hike and eat very nicely for just a few days. And it delivered in a giant approach.

Between all the standard Wyoming meals and native beers, the free museums and beautiful hikes, there may be a lot to do, see, and eat in Laramie. Here’s why this a part of southern Wyoming needs to be in your vacation spot radar the following time you’re out West.

View from the Laramie Railyard Pedestrian Bridge

 

Things to Do in Laramie

This could be very a lot an space for lovers of the outside—the pure magnificence that exists simply exterior this city is astonishing—and if you happen to’re fortunate there might be a vigorous carnival or rodeo coming by means of city. But don’t miss the good museums and, past what’s detailed right here, the numerous retailers of downtown, which give an ideal buffer between pleased hour and dinner.

Child hiking Turtle Rock Trail in the Vedauwoo Climbing Area near Laramie, WY

Go mountain climbing (or climbing).

Our household likes to stand up shut and private with nature on hikes, so this was a high precedence throughout our go to to Laramie. Twenty miles (about 25 minutes) southeast of city is the Vedauwoo Climbing Area, the place the prairie freeway instantly runs into beautiful rocky outcrops. This is a superb vacation spot for mountain climbers, and we noticed a number of of them, excessive up and ant-like, scaling the cliffs. But we got here to hike, and the attractive, wildflower-studded Turtle Rock Trail was good for us. It’s a three-mile loop across the big rock formation it’s named for, however it additionally offers loads of low-to-the-ground rock-scrambling alternatives, which our boys beloved. Bonus: Look for the faces within the rock formations!

A shady, forested part of the Turtle Rock Trail, Vedauwoo Climbing Area

 

Wildflowers abound among the Snowy Range Mountains, near Laramie, WY

West of Laramie, many extra hikes await inside Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, tucked across the dramatic Snowy Range. (These nationwide forests really embody 2.9 million acres and 5 main mountain ranges throughout Colorado and Wyoming; the Snowy Range is only one of them.) Drive half-hour west alongside the very flat Highway 130 till you attain the tiny city of Centennial (pop. 292), which sits on the entrance to the forest. Within minutes you’re winding your approach alongside the attractive Snowy Range Scenic Byway, which is open for just a few months every year, typically between about Memorial Day and mid-November. Driving this cross is a should, even if you happen to’re not mountain climbing.

A view of Centennial, WY, at the base of the Snowy Range

But you’ll need to get nearer to this mesmerizing alpine panorama, which is carpeted in the summertime with wildflowers, shimmering with lakes, and nonetheless snowy in July (regardless of 80-degree temps). We parked on the Mirror Lake Picnic Area and launched into the Lakes Trail. Within three miles it is going to take you as much as Medicine Bow peak, the very best on this space (12,018 ft), however we needed a extra leisurely hike, so simply adopted the path alongside the lake’s edge till we had been prepared to show again. It’s an absolute stunner, so surprisingly colourful and peaceable, and our youngsters beloved climbing on the boulders and taking part in within the snowfall of their T-shirts.

The Lakes Trails winds around a lake and Medicine Bow peak in the Snowy Range

 


Go fly fishing.

Early summer time is prime fly fishing round right here, notably on the higher North Platte and Big Laramie Rivers. We finally ran out of time earlier than we may get on the rivers, however being inexperienced on the sport, we’d have employed a information, and there are a number of to select from. Two Dogs Guide Service, based mostly out of the West Laramie Fly Store proper on the town, provides classes domestically for $50 per individual (per two-to-three-house class), in addition to a number of wade or float journeys in extremely scenic areas. Four Seasons Fly Fishing is one other clothing store doing conventional guided half- or full-day float journeys.

More skilled anglers who’d prefer to go it alone ought to undoubtedly swing by the West Laramie Fly Store for gear leases (or purchases) and fishing stories. Visit Laramie has some good tips on where locals like to fish

Dinosaur skeletons at the University of Wyoming's Geological Museum

 

Visit museums, free of charge.

The University of Wyoming is residence to a number of superb museums which are completely free, offering a terrific method to swap gears for an hour or two (additionally, in our case, to take refuge in some air-conditioned indoor areas in the course of scorching afternoons!). We beloved the fossil-filled Geological Museum, notably the dinosaur skeletons and the interactive Augmented Reality Sandbox depicting topography and watersheds. It’s a small, two-story area however it’s full of fascinating displays. There can also be an Anthropology Museum and a preferred Art Museum on campus, the latter of which presents world-class artwork by regional, nationwide and worldwide artists, in addition to artwork from the American West.

Kids play with the interactive Augmented Reality Sandbox at the University of Wyoming's Geological Museum

Over in Centennial, following our hike within the Snowy Range, we loved wanting across the summers-only Nici Self Historical Museum, likewise free (and open to donations). On the grounds of this museum—which is called for Berniece “Nici” Self, one of many founding members of the Centennial Valley Historical Association—you’ll be able to discover the 1907-built Centennial Railway Depot, a Union Pacific caboose relationship to 1944, a one-room schoolhouse, a blacksmith store, and different historic buildings full of fascinating artifacts and images. It’s an interesting take a look at the Western way of life within the early- to mid-Twentieth century. (Centennial additionally makes a worthwhile lunch cease; see beneath.)

A pioneer kitchen display at the Nici Self Historical Museum in Centennial, Wyoming

 

Downtown Laramie architecture

 

 

Favorite Restaurants and Breweries Near Laramie

We are about to scratch the floor of the eating (and consuming) alternatives on this city, that are fairly assorted and quite spectacular for its small measurement. As guests to the state, we had been naturally drawn to essentially the most native, conventional Wyoming meals we may discover, and we discovered fairly just a few. But we additionally discovered unimaginable pastries and nice native beers, a preferred vegetarian restaurant and even a chocolatier downtown. Here’s the place to eat and drink in Laramie.

The outdoor dining setup at Alibi Wood-Fire Pizzaria in Laramie includes fire pits and tables.

Alibi Wood-Fire Pizzaria + Bakery

This place is a three-for-one gem: artisan bakery within the morning, the place to deal with your self to an unimaginable croissant or cardamom bun; a country sourdough bread specialist after 12pm; and a wild-fermented wood-fired pizza joint within the afternoon and night, with a menu augmented by stacked sandwiches, charcuterie boards, and craft cocktails.

We visited Alibi each morning and night time, and had been blown away by the choices. No industrial yeast is utilized in something produced right here—not even the peerlessly flaky pastries. As the proprietor casually informed us, in a dry local weather at 7,000 ft, this was no straightforward job for the bakers to determine.

The cowboy beef brisket pizza at Alibi Pizzaria in Laramie, WY

On the pizza entrance, we beloved the candy and meaty, Wyoming-esque Cowboy Beef Brisket Pizza (with slices of hickory-smoked brisket, pink onion, cheddar and mozzarella, drizzled with horseradish cream and honey), in addition to the Best Ever, a pepperoni pie with garlic, ricotta, caramelized onions and recent mozzarella. The sourdough crust on each was chewy and flavorful—fairly excellent in our ebook.

Bonus: While the cubicles inside are inviting, the outside seating space is even higher, and the fireplace pits get lit on chilly nights. 404 S. 4th St., map

 

Prime rib and Rocky Mountain oysters from Cavalryman Steakhouse in Laramie, Wyoming

Cavalryman Steakhouse

If this place doesn’t scream Wyoming, I don’t know what does. It’s positioned a brief drive south of downtown, and it’s the form of place that college college students will convey their mother and father after they come to go to. Surrounded by cattle-specked fields, it’s extra than simply one other steakhouse. Here, an entire web page of the menu is devoted to “Wyoming traditions,” and meals begin with complimentary Wyoming soda bread, a quick-rising bread (as soon as made with a pure soda present in wooden ashes) invented by Native Americans and handed alongside to pioneers, served in a mini cast-iron pan with salted butter on the facet.

Traditional Wyoming soda bread at Cavalryman Steakhouse in Laramie

Among the opposite state traditions we loved listed below are the cattlemen’s turf and turf, pairing notorious Rocky Mountain oysters with 10 ounces of blackened prime rib, and karro kampos pie, a peppery lamb and veggie shepherd’s pie of types named for a conventional wagon utilized by Basque sheepherders in Wyoming within the early 1900s. About these “oysters”? They’re really fried bull testicles, meaty and served with cocktail sauce on the facet (which helps make them greater than palatable). We additionally loved the bison meatballs as an appetizer, and varied cocktails made with Wyoming Whiskey, distilled 300 miles north in Kirby, WY.

Wyoming whiskey and cocktails at Cavalryman Steakhouse

Bonus: The children’ meals are hefty and equally pay heed to the steakhouse custom, together with a 4 oz prime rib (with fries or mashed potatoes and sautéed veggies) and steak kebabs among the many choices. 4425 S. third St., map

 

Interior of the counter and table seating at J's Prairie Rose in Laramie, WY

J’s Prairie Rose Café

Here is your traditional small-town diner: lengthy counter seating, chatty waitresses who’re fast to refill your espresso mug, beneficiant all-day breakfast platters, a roster of home made pies. Established 17 years in the past, J’s Prairie Rose feels important to the Laramie neighborhood, and we beloved it for each that homey environment and the meals itself.

The chicken-fried steak breakfast at J's Prairie Rose in Laramie, WY

This is the place I had my first steak for breakfast—hand-breaded chicken-fried steak, to be exact, smothered in peppery, paprika-flecked nation gravy and served alongside two eggs, crispy hash browns, and toast. Every chew was scrumptious. It was quite a lot of meals for $9.99, however I additionally needed to strive a facet of (buttermilk) biscuits and gravy. The J’s 7220 burrito, full of eggs, shredded pork, black beans, hash browns and extra, lined in inexperienced chili and cheese, was successful at our desk, too, and our youngsters beloved their half-orders of French toast, with eggs and sausage on the facet. Expect a wait to your meals to reach, however it will likely be value it. And you’ll be full for hours! 410 S. 2nd St., map

 

A locally sourced grass-fed cheeseburger and pork green chile from The Post in Centennial, WY

The Post Restaurant + Saloon

Also often called the Trading Post, it is a nice little pit cease in tiny Centennial for lunch (or breakfast or dinner) after exploring Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest and the Snowy Range. I used to be drawn to this restaurant above the others on the town as a result of it solely carries native beef from Centennial Valley Grass-Fed Cattle, a provider that’s licensed Animal Welfare Approved by AGW (A Greener World). When I requested our waitress simply how native the cattle was, she identified the window. It’s across-the-street-local beef.

If you’re going to eat pink meat, nothing is healthier than sourcing it from such hyperlocal, grass-finished, unstressed cows. And I can attest the burgers served each day on the Post are scrumptious: 1/3-pound domestically raised and processed patties, crispy across the edges and juicy on the within. I topped mine with cheddar and obtained a facet of inexperienced chile with pork, which was the home made soup of the day. (Steak dishes are additionally served right here, as occasional nightly specials.)

We additionally loved the hummus plate and domestically baked Golden Prairie bread, and from the pub facet of this institution, the Bloody Marys had been unbelievable! 2753 WY-130, Centennial, map

 

Two locally made beers from Coal Creek Tap in Laramie

Coal Creek Tap

Coal Creek, like Alibi above, is one other triple-threat form of enterprise that Laramie apparently excel in. First (and since 1993) there was a Coal Creek Coffee, then there have been two, after which Coal Creek Tap, specializing in handcrafted beer, joined the occasion. There’s additionally a roastery, and there’s meals!

We stopped at Coal Creek Tap, which is positioned downtown adjoining to one of many espresso retailers, for an early night beer at a sidewalk desk one night time. It’s a ravishing area with a formidable vary of beers. We beloved the Bath Farmhouse Belgian amber and the Molly Belgian-style spiced blond ale—a lot in order that we went residence with a sixer of the latter.

Our children snacked on a from-scratch pretzel, and if time permitted we’d have returned to the espresso store for a breakfast sandwich or sourdough French toast. Next time, Laramie! 108 Grand Ave., map

 

Two local craft beers at Bond's Brewing in Laramie, WY

Bond’s Brewing

We popped into Bond’s one night time whereas searching the retailers downtown, and I want we’d had extra time there. The brewery is cavernous, with a wraparound central bar and loads of tables scattered round. It’s an area conducive to being, as its Instagram web page states, “where friends come to meet and strangers become friends” … in addition to the form of place the place a pleasant native will serendipitously supply up VIP tickets to that night time’s rodeo, which is what occurred to us.

Bond’s prides itself on its traditional kinds, however we had been within the seasonal choices, which may embrace a spicy Hatch chili ale and a Jack o’Lantern (pumpkin) ale. And on this highly regarded day, we had been drawn to essentially the most refreshing choices: a tough honey dew seltzer and the tart rhuberry, brewed with recent rhubarb and strawberry. 411 S. 2nd St., map

 

Ice cream cone from Big Dipper in Laramie, WY

Big Dipper Ice Cream

What’s a small city with out a home made ice cream store? Big Dipper fills the void, and has for practically a decade. The ice cream on this inviting, year-round store is wealthy and nearly fluffy, due to high-speed churning and 14% butterfat milk. You’ll additionally discover denser gelato, refreshing sorbetto, frozen yogurt, and vegan ice lotions right here, plus milkshakes, malts, floats, and extra.

The flavors are enjoyable—suppose Fruity Pebbles ice cream, peppermint crunch, Oreo cookie cotton sweet swirl, sometimes a seasonal native huckleberry—however we beloved a traditional chocolate Oreo topped with Andes mint. 111 E. Ivinson Ave., map

 

Truffles at the Chocolate Cellar in Laramie, WY

A Few More Laramie Restaurants

During our time in Laramie, we additionally made it to Turtle Rock Coffee + Cafe for considered one of their scrumptious summer-special drinks—an iced hibiscus berry tea latte with coconut milk—and to the 40-year-old Chocolate Cellar to strive a few of its decadent handmade truffles and choose up edible souvenirs to convey residence. But we would have liked extra days! With extra time we’d have additionally hit up the next:

Sweet Melissa: This beloved vegetarian comfort-food restaurant can be the proper respite from the standard meat-heavy Wyoming food regimen, with plenty of burgers, banh mi, enchiladas, burritos, and extra. I had my eye on the jerk ravioli! 

Lovejoy’s: A neighborhood favourite bar and grill for greater than 25 years, Lovejoy’s appears to have one thing for everybody. I’d go for the avalanche nachos, the big variety of burgers, the pork inexperienced chili, and the rooster fried steak sandwich.

Altitude Chophouse + Brewery: More native (award-winning) beer and steak! Plus rooster and fish, tacos and burgers, after all, however I had my sights set on the lamb and inexperienced chili meatloaf.

Corona Village: We stored passing this good-looking, imposing Mexican restaurant close to our Airbnb, however sadly ran out of time earlier than we may strive the extremely really helpful carne asada, shrimp fajitas, enchiladas, burritos, and big selection of margaritas.

Driving the plains highway outside Laramie, WY

Until subsequent time, Laramie! We will certainly return to expertise extra of your small-town, big-delivering pleasures.

 

 

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