Fort Collins, a charming city nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and culture vultures alike. The city is not only a thriving college town, thanks to Colorado State University, but also a vibrant cultural hub with a rich history, thriving arts scene, and a renowned craft beer industry. This guide will take you through the best things to do in Fort Collins, CO, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this unique destination.
Embrace the Vibrancy of Old Town
Old Town, also known as Downtown Fort Collins, is a must-visit area in Fort Collins. Known for its distinctive architecture and picturesque streets, the Old Town draws inspiration from a bygone era yet pulses with a modern, creative vibe. This area served as the model for Disneyland’s Main Street USA, exuding an old-fashioned charm that captivates visitors.
Shop, Dine, and Explore
Old Town is home to an array of bookstores, art galleries, local boutiques, and eateries that offer a unique shopping and dining experience. Whether you’re on the hunt for an eccentric souvenir, tucking into local delicacies, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll, Old Town has something for everyone.
Take a Historic Tour
For history enthusiasts, a self-guided historic walking tour of downtown is a must. Alternatively, you can hop onto a guided tour, which often comes with themed packages such as food tours, historic tours, ghost tours, or even brewery tours. These tours offer an insider’s perspective, enhancing your understanding of the city’s heritage.
Experience Fort Collins’ Craft Beer Scene
Fort Collins has earned a reputation as Colorado’s craft beer capital. The city is home to over 20 craft breweries, including industry leaders like New Belgium Brewing and Odell Brewing Company, which produce a variety of award-winning beers.
Craft beer enthusiasts can take advantage of guided tours that offer behind-the-scenes access to the brewing process. Tours at Odell Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing Company, and Anheuser-Busch Brewery offer insights into sustainable practices, water and green energy initiatives, and tasting tips.
Craft Beer Experiences
For an immersive craft beer experience, consider a guided tour with Magic Bus Tours. These tours offer transportation between breweries, allowing visitors to sample a range of beers without the worry of driving.
Soak Up the Natural Beauty of Fort Collins
Fort Collins is an outdoor lover’s paradise, boasting a myriad of opportunities for adventure amid stunning landscapes. The city is surrounded by national parks, open spaces, and bodies of water, offering a plethora of outdoor activities.
Spend a day at Horsetooth Reservoir, a popular destination for boating, swimming, camping, fishing, and even rock-climbing. For a rewarding challenge, hike up to Horsetooth Rock, which offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding area.
Lory State Park and Cache la Poudre River
Coyote Ridge Natural Area
For a more tranquil experience, head to the Coyote Ridge Natural Area, a serene location perfect for hiking, bird watching, or simply soaking in the natural beauty.
Dive into Fort Collins’ Rich History and Culture
Fort Collins’ rich history and vibrant culture are reflected in its many museums and historical sites.
Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is a unique blend of history, science, and culture. The museum houses a wide range of exhibits, from ancient artifacts to interactive displays that showcase the city’s history and its connection to the natural world.
The Avery House, a beautifully preserved Victorian home, offers a glimpse into the life of a prominent Fort Collins family in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A visit to the Avery House is like stepping back in time, with many of the home’s original furnishings and personal items on display.
Annual Flower Trial Garden
The Annual Flower Trial Garden at Colorado State University is a stunning exhibition of perennial and annual flowers. The garden, which is free to visit, serves as a research center for horticulture students and is a beautiful place to spend a leisurely afternoon.
Family-Friendly Fun in Fort Collins
Fort Collins offers a wealth of family-friendly activities that are sure to keep kids entertained.
The Farm at Lee Martinez Park
Experience farm life at The Farm at Lee Martinez Park, where children can meet farm animals, take pony rides, and learn about agriculture.
Offering a host of outdoor and indoor activities, Fort Fun is a family favorite. From go-kart racing and mini-golf to laser tag and arcade games, there’s something for everyone at this entertainment center.
Swetsville Zoo is not your typical zoo. Instead of live animals, you’ll find a collection of whimsical sculptures made from scrap metal, providing a unique and memorable experience for kids and adults alike.
Dine and Unwind in Fort Collins
After a day of exploring, unwind at one of Fort Collins’ many dining and relaxation spots.
Austin’s American Grill
Austin’s American Grill is a local favorite, offering an array of American classics and a selection of local beers. With its warm ambiance and friendly service, it’s the perfect spot for a relaxing evening.
Alleycat Coffee House
For a caffeine fix, head to Alleycat Coffee House, a cozy spot tucked away in a downtown alley. With its eclectic decor, board games, and delicious coffee, it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind.
Horseback Riding at Beaver Meadows Stables
For those looking for a unique and relaxing experience, Beaver Meadows Stables offers horseback riding tours through the breathtaking Roosevelt National Forest.
Fort Collins is a city that has something to offer everyone, from outdoor adventures and cultural explorations to culinary delights and unique attractions. Whether you’re a history buff, a beer connoisseur, an outdoor enthusiast, or a family looking for fun, Fort Collins is a destination worth exploring. Come see for yourself why this vibrant Colorado city is a favorite among locals and travelers alike.