By: Thomas Lipitz
For many students coming from out of state, the move to Wyoming can seem somewhat isolating. I know this was the case for me. In the small town of Laramie, however, one can find some hidden gems. Here are just a few things that you would not expect to find in this small Wyoming town.
In the small town of Laramie, you’ll find some big-name stores, including Walmart, Kmart, Dollar General, Maurice’s, and many others. Coming from Colorado, I knew a town the size of Laramie would have at least a few of the big stores, but when I went downtown I was surprised to see a Hallmark store nestled among all the mom-and-pop shops.
Another thing I did not expect was the range of the goods being sold from the mom-and-pop shops downtown. The character of these little stores is something that makes Laramie unique. On an evening stroll through the streets, you’ll pass everything from ski shops to herb sellers to a chocolatier to second-hand clothing stores. Finding a unique gift in downtown Laramie is very easy to do.
The biggest surprise for me when I came into town was to see that there were some great Mexican restaurants. For me this was essential, since I grew up with very high-quality Mexican food. Places like Almanza’s and Corona Village are great spots for delicious Mexican food—Almanza’s is especially great late at night because they are open 24 hours a day.
Aside from Mexican food, there is a surprising variety of other food choices in Laramie, including Chinese, Japanese/sushi, Korean barbeque and Thai. There is even a vegetarian place! Of course, in true Wyoming style, there are also plenty of great places to grab a burger and fries, including Born in a Barn, a restaurant which serves a burger stuffed with Gouda cheese as well as wings topped with peanut butter and jelly sauce.
The movie theater, which is only a couple blocks away from campus, holds fun for all ages. The newly renovated Regal has the recliner chairs and great snack bar items. The recliners were put in about a year ago and truly make you feel like you are watching a movie from the comfort of your own home.
If you're not a movie person head to the Cowboy Dance Hall on Wednesday nights for swing dancing. This is a huge draw for many students who enjoy swing dancing or want to learn how to swing dance. There is a cost, but it guarantees hours of fun.
If you don’t want to drive downtown to the Cowboy, every Thursday night on campus the Swing Club hosts a swing dancing night. The venues usually range from Washakie’s basement, the Union Ballroom or the Fieldhouse on very rare occasions. This is free to students and anyone who is willing to swing dance. So I hope you brought your dancing shoes.
The beautiful scenery is definitely hiding within the fine print of this city. Laramie is situated in a mountain valley and so mountains can be seen almost every direction you look. Within the town, small shops and corners are lined with banners showing their poke pride. The UW campus is also something to see. The scenes that are on campus are sometimes taken for granted. Some of the architecture and statues that exist around campus are amazing.
The town of Laramie is truly a hidden gem within the state of Wyoming. Even though it doesn’t have a shopping mall, Laramie is a truly beautiful town with many amenities you wouldn't expect to find in a town of this size.