The Laramie, Wyoming You Never Expected

If you’re expecting country music and cowboy boots, that’s what you’ll get in Laramie, Wyoming, but you’ll also get a vegetarian food restaurant, more ethnic bistros than you have ever imagined, craft beer, craft cheese, craft ice cream and craft chocolate. Unexpected? That’s Laramie, Wyoming. 

The Laramie, Wyoming You Never Expected by HeidiTown (5)

We visited this Wyoming college town earlier this year to help celebrate Laramie’s 150th birthday—celebrations are happening all summer. It wasn’t our first visit but it was my first official visit as a tourist; we’d been to town visiting friends several times in the past but spent most of our time watching football and drinking beer at The Library.

The Laramie, Wyoming You Never Expected by HeidiTown (3)
Wyoming Territorial Prison

If you love Wild West history, Laramie has loads and there’s no better place to get your fill of it than at the Wyoming Territorial Prison Historic Site. More than a museum, this site is a unique, inside look at a place that housed famous outlaws such as Butch Cassidy. I’ve seen a handful of exhibits on Cassidy and this one is by far the best. He did two years of hard labor here and the curators have collected a lot about the man, even movie paraphernalia.  

I’d plan on spending several hours here, longer for history buffs.

The Laramie, Wyoming You Never Expected by HeidiTown (8)
They finally got me.

The Territorial Prison is close to downtown, which was hopping when we visited. There’s little doubt that Laramie is a college town as there are a lot of bars here as well as a high number of ethnic food restaurants. The restaurants, I assume, exist in part because of the University of Wyoming’s approximately 12,000 students.

The Laramie, Wyoming You Never Expected by HeidiTown (4)
Another angle of downtown Laramie shot from the bridge over the railyard.

Located next to an active railyard, periodically Laramie’s old buildings rumble as a train goes by, which happens fairly frequently. A large foot and bicycle bridge joins the east and west sections of the town.

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There’s one impressive block in Laramie that is home to a bar, restaurant, two bookstores, a soda fountain and a chocolate store. If I moved into the upstairs of one of these buildings I’d have everything I have ever needed.

The Laramie, Wyoming You Never Expected by HeidiTown (9)

We started at Coal Creek TAP, a stone’s throw away from the aforementioned block. It’s one of the coolest little breweries I’ve stepped foot in and we especially loved the snug style seating along the wall they share with their coffee shop, Coal Creek Coffee. This is another block in Laramie that appears to cover most of my needs.

The Laramie, Wyoming You Never Expected by HeidiTown (2)

We also ran into some insanely proud locals here who love their town and told us about all of the best aspects of Laramie including a cupcake place called Sweets that we never made it to—obviously, we have to go back. 

As most of you know by now, I have a thing for cheese shops so you can imagine my delight when Ryan, on our way out of downtown, squealed to a stop in front of Chalk n’ Cheese where we bought some cheese to take back to our cabin at Vee Bar Ranch. It’s a kitchen store, cheese shop and liquor store featuring a wonderful selection of Colorado beer and spirits, as well as wine from around the world.

The Laramie, Wyoming You Never Expected by HeidiTown (6)

The Laramie, Wyoming You Never Expected by HeidiTown (1)

Later that evening, we returned downtown to enjoy a $10 cheese plate and glasses of wine at Chalk n’ Cheese. They always have a flight of featured red and white wines and the owner is more than happy to tell you about each of them. We really loved this cheese shop in Laramie.

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This was our one night to eat in Laramie so we choose the #1 restaurant in town according to both locals and Surprisingly, it’s a vegetarian restaurant called Sweet Melissa’s. Don’t worry, we had steak the next night at Vee Bar, after all, this is Wyoming, but Sweet Melissa’s has a cozy feel and tasty food.

The Laramie, Wyoming You Never Expected by HeidiTown (7)

While my husband was skeptical about eating at a vegetarian restaurant, we had a fabulous waitress who walked him through the menu with a genuine smile on her face—I think she does this a lot. I grew up a vegetarian, falling off the wagon at 16-years-old, so this place was like coming home for me, but it was good for Ryan to hear about the creative menu from an enthusiastic third-party.

Sweet Melissa’s is proof positive that you do not have to be a vegetarian to like a vegetarian restaurant. Also, this restaurant is an affordable dining option in Laramie, Wyoming.

On our last morning in Laramie, we went back downtown for breakfast at J’s Prairie Rose Cafe. You can’t go wrong with downhome diner cooking.

Thank you to Visit Laramie for hosting us at Vee Bar Ranch during our stay.


  1. I’m not sure how I missed this post when it was made. Our son went to school in Laramie, and we spent some weekends there. We loved the territorial prison!


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