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49 miles NW of Cheyenne; 360 miles SE of Yellowstone/Grand Teton; 207 miles E of Rock Springs; 124 miles N of Denver

Though the political capital is 49 miles to the east, Laramie is the cultural and intellectual capital of Wyoming. It's home to the state's only university, public or private. Unlike Jackson, which has a prefabricated feel designed to appeal to visitors, Laramie has an earnest charm that seems to have developed by accident, and it has been this way for nearly a century. Located just east of the beautiful Medicine Bow Mountains, at an altitude of more than 7,000 feet, Laramie is sometimes buffeted by chill winds. But it has university-town amenities like bookstores and coffee shops, and a few Western features to boot, including outlying ranchlands and some rowdy downtown bars.