Cheyenne is a fun place to live!

Photo of downtown street in Cheyenne with lights strung across the street and cars driving byLeaving home to go to college can be one of the most challenging adjustments students make in their educational journeys. The number of students who leave their home states to attend college varies widely, as the opportunities differ from place to place.

In Wyoming, 65% of first-time degree or certificate-seeking undergraduate students enrolled in college are Cowboy State residents, according to the U.S. Department of Education. That means more than one-third of first-time college students are coming from outside of the state. That’s not a huge surprise, because Wyoming schools offer outstanding educational quality at a comparatively affordable price.

And there are plenty of opportunities for Wyoming residents who choose to stay in the state for college, including the Hathaway Scholarship for students right out of high school and the Wyoming Works Grant for those not eligible for Hathaway. Whether those students go to the University of Wyoming in Laramie or relocate to pursue opportunities at one of the eight community colleges, WyoTech or another postsecondary institution, many leave the communities where their roots lie.

Relocating to attend college can be a daunting prospect. Not only do college students have to take on one of the biggest challenges in their lives as they attempt to attain degrees or certifications, but many have to do so without the support systems of home. It doesn’t have to be scary though! Moving to a new place can help you grow, as you meet friends and have new experiences that will carry through a lifetime.

There’s no doubt Wyoming is a rural state and that Cheyenne is not a crowded metro area like Denver. We like it that way! However, it can create the misconception that our urban centers lack culture and entertainment.

When speaking with prospective students at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Student Success Coach Kaycie Kilmurray said the area has a lot to offer in the way of fun.

“We are rich in Western history and culture. Cheyenne has several wonderful options for places to eat, shops and boutiques to explore, and there are world-class outdoor recreation areas, such as Vedauwoo to adventure in just a short drive down the road,” she said. “Along with this, its proximity to larger cities along the Colorado Front Range and amenities, such as DIA, make Cheyenne a great place to be where there is always something to look forward to.”

Cheyenne, the state’s capital, is bustling with lively activity throughout the year. 

“We’re a small capital city, but we have a lot of the amenities bigger cities offer,” said Domenic Bravo, Visit Cheyenne president and CEO. “We have that small-town feel while at the same time offering a lot for people to enjoy.”

Cheyenne offers retail chains that can cover a lot of your shopping, whether it’s King Soopers, Target, Kohl’s or the stores in Frontier Mall, you don’t have to drive to the Colorado Front Range to meet your needs. Downtown Cheyenne features lots of fun shops, including antiques, record stores, gift shops, comics, games and more. Foodies will be satisfied, whether they’re looking for pizza, steaks, wings, burgers, upscale, Indian, Thai, Mexican — Cheyenne has it all.

Summers bring Fridays on the Plaza, where musical entertainment and food trucks at the railroad plaza are just the start of the night’s fun. All of downtown lights up as restaurants, breweries, distilleries and shops are flooded with merrymakers. The Lincoln in downtown Cheyenne brings musical acts throughout the year and various smaller venues keep the entertainment going, too. Whether it is art galleries, outdoor murals or the theatre, the burgeoning arts scene is simultaneously bringing celebrations of diversity and tradition to new heights. 

“There’s so much that makes Cheyenne a unique, interesting destination,” Bravo said.

Cheyenne is, at its heart, a Western and railroad town. The Cheyenne Depot and its museum provides a sensory, emotional and historical journey into United States expansion in the West. The Union Pacific Railroad is still operating outside the depot, letting visitors see industry up close. Just a few blocks away, the Wyoming State Museum offers exhibits on everything from dinosaurs to dynamic artists, showing the character of the state, its animals and people. Located nearby is the Wyoming Capitol, which was recently renovated without losing its historic character. There’s too much Western culture to give a comprehensive list here, but if nothing else, you can’t miss Cheyenne Frontier Days in July, the world-famous rodeo and Western celebration. With top-tier entertainers, the carnival midway, Indian Village and more, there’s something for everyone at CFD.

Outdoor adventure awaits whether you’re in the city or up for a short drive. The Greater Cheyenne Greenway concrete path provides a safe and accessible way to travel through Cheyenne and parts of Laramie County, connecting neighborhoods, schools and socioeconomic divides. Just to the west of Cheyenne in Laramie County is Curt Gowdy State Park, featuring more than 35 miles of well-marked scenic trails for biking and hiking. You can also get on the water in Curt Gowdy, whether you want to fish or float. Vedauwoo Recreation Area is to the west, featuring incredible rocks you can climb or just hike around. And if you think summer hiking is fun, wait until you’ve gone snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. This is all just an introduction — there are benefits to being a rural state, you know?

If you have family that needs to fly in, Denver International Airport is just about an hour away. Cheyenne’s proximity to the Colorado Front Range in general means you’re always a short trip away from the big city attractions.

There is no way to concisely explain everything Cheyenne has to offer. But if you want to get an idea of what’s available at any given time, is a great resource with its events calendars. There’s no doubt that anyone with a desire to be a part of something exciting should consider Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne.