Fort Collins, Colorado is the fourth most populous city in Colorado, and it offers travelers endless things to do. Visitors love this northern Colorado city for its excellent craft beer, outdoor activities, hiking trails, historic architecture, and nightlife. Did you know Fort Collins, Colorado is home to 70% of Colorado’s craft beer?
Whether you’re a new resident, or a tourist looking for things to do in Fort Collins, this beautiful city has activities for everyone. Here are the best options for you!
COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN FORT COLLINS
- Best for Foodies: The Armstrong in a historical boutique hotel that’s amazing and Instagram-worthy. The onsite restaurant, Ace Cafe, showcases the best craft cocktails and shared small plates around. Mugs Coffee Lounge is the perfect place for a morning cup of joe.
- Best for Music Lovers: With amenities like in-room record players, The Elizabeth Hotel is the perfect place for music lovers. This downtown Fort Collins hotel features locally-loved dining, an energetic live music venue, and a chic rooftop lounge with mountain views.
- Best Tried and True: The Fort Collins Marriott is less than a minute drive from Warren Lake, and features an indoor and outdoor pool. You’ll love the onsite Copper Creek Restaurant, and drinks and snacks found at The Falls Bar.
OLD TOWN FORT COLLINS
Old Town Fort Collins in downtown Fort Collins is a stunning part of the city. With relics dating back to the 19th century, historians adore walking around the area and visiting the buildings in this amazing historic district. The area includes over 20 restored historical buildings, and historic guided tours and self-guided public art tours are a great way to get to know Old Town Fort Collins better.
Old Town Fort Collins is so beautiful, it inspired Disneyland’s Main Street. Two of America’s most famous icons, Walt Disney and Harper Goff, are from Fort Collins. As a result, Old Town’s Main Street helped inspire their design of Disneyland’s Main Street.
Old Town Fort Collins Colorado offers an abundance of food. You’ll find food trucks, coffee shops, and local breweries dotted around the area. Since it’s home to Colorado State University, Old Town Fort Collins has some superb nightlife — where you’ll find art, dining, culture, mini golf, and live entertainment. During the evenings, you can watch theater performances at the nearby Bas Blau, Lincoln Center, and OpenStage.
If you visit during the summer months, be sure you check out the local concerts and watch the Gallery Walk and the Foodie Walk. Another popular option is the Fort Collins Ghost Tour. You can complete this tour year-round. Knowledgeable actors will take you through Old Town’s suspected haunted history.
Featured Tour: The Fort Collins Ghost Tour
ODELL BREWING COMPANY
When tourists come to Fort Collins, they often think of craft beer (and rightly so). Fort Collins, Colorado is home to Odell Brewing Company, a well-known brewery that’s home to weekly live music, daily tours, on-site food trucks, and draft microbrews.
The founders created the brewery in 1989. Thirty years later, Odell Brewing Company helped Fort Collins produce 70% of Colorado’s craft beer. The brewery prides itself on four things: innovation, independence, quality, and evergreen. Popular craft beers include IPA, lager, blonde ale, and pale ale.
If you’re also feeling hungry, the food truck serves gourmet burgers, hot dogs, nachos, tacos, and Cubanos. The food on offer changes daily, so you should check what food is available each day.
Do you love wine tasting? If so, you should check out Odell Brewing Company’s comprehensive wine list. After 30 years of serving award-winning craft beer, the brewery has started delving into the wine world. So ensure you check out their wines! Their options include Pinot Noir Reserve, Colorado Chardonnay, Guava Spitz, Rose with bubbles, and Sparkling Pinot Noir.
Other breweries in Fort Collins include CooperSmith’s Pub and Brewing, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, and New Belgium Brewing Company.
Featured Tickets: Haunted Pub Crawl
CACHE LA POUDRE RIVER CANYON
When visitors prepare themselves to visit Fort Collins, they often pack plenty of adventure gear. That’s because Fort Collins is a dream for any outdoor enthusiast. The Cache La Poudre River Canyon is the best spot for outdoor fun. A popular option is whitewater rafting along the Cache La Poudre River Canyon.
There are three places along the Cache La Poudre River Canyon to enjoy whitewater rafting: Lower Poudre, Mishawaka, and Upper Poudre. The best time to visit the River Canyon is from May to September. However, if you’re looking to go whitewater rafting at Upper Poudre and Mishawaka, you’ll need to be at least 13 years old.
Hiking along the Poudre River Trail is also superb for outdoor enthusiasts. The paved trail is perfect for runners, cyclists, inline skaters, and cyclists. The total trail distance is 35km, so it’s ideal for a long bike ride during the summer months.
Another terrific option is taking a drive down the scenic driveway along Cache La Poudre. The scenic driveway connects Fort Collins and Walden. Although it’s a three-hour drive, you’ll spend the hours checking out the stunning Roosevelt National Forest, beside the Cache La Poudre River.
One of the best outdoor attractions in Fort Collins Colorado is the Horsetooth Reservoir. You’ll find the Horsetooth Reservoir in the foothills, next to the city. Although the area requires entrance and camping permits, it’s an outstanding place to watch the sunrise.
Another excellent option is visiting the nearby waterfall, and you’ll find the waterfalls via various trails. The best time of the year to visit the waterfalls is mid-June, because you’ll find the most moisture in the falls.
Do you love incredible viewpoints? If you do, you’ll love driving to the top of Horsetooth Mountain. From the top, you can see breathtaking views of Horsetooth Reservoir and the surrounding scenery of Fort Collins Colorado. The highest point is 7,256ft, which is why driving is the best option unless you’re an avid hiker with robust fitness levels.
If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you should go climbing and bouldering. Many Americans consider the Horsetooth Reservoir as the home of American Bouldering. The area offers various superb boulder problems of all shapes and sizes, including the popular John Gill boulder problems in Rotary Park.
Adjacent to the Horsetooth Reservoir is another great place for outdoor activities — Lory State Park. With 26 miles of trails, this state park is perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
TOTALLY 80’S PIZZA MUSEUM
After a day of adventuring or drinking delicious local craft beer, there’s nothing better than grabbing a bite to eat at the Totally 80s Pizza and Museum. It’s the world’s only 1980’s popular culture restaurant and museum, and it’s home to the largest collection of 1980’s pop culture memorabilia.
What’s more, the restaurant doesn’t just service delicious pizza! Although its pizza is delicious, with its own dough and sauce made with 14 herbs and spices, this restaurant also includes a massive salad bar, garlic parmesan twists, ice-cold beer on tap, and tasty chicken wings.
FORT COLLINS MUSEUM OF DISCOVERY
The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is a must-see attraction for any history enthusiast. The museum’s exhibits include Natural Areas, Healthy Steps, People on the Move, Wildlands & Wildlife, Music and Sound Lab, and the Schatz Family Exploration Zone.
Additionally, the museum has books, house photographs, and other materials covering local history. The Fort Collins Museum collections include approximately 38,000 objects.
THE GARDENS ON SPRING CREEK
The Gardens on Spring Creek is a stunning 18-acre botanical garden on the Spring Creek Corridor. The site first opened in 2004, and has since become one of the top outdoor attractions within the city. Recently, the gardens added an expanded visitor center, a gift shop, and a butterfly house.
Additionally, Gardens On Spring Creek includes children’s gardens, community gardens, the Foothills Garden, the Garden of Eatin, the Prairie Garden, and the Great Lawn and Everitt Pavillion. Near the Gardens on Spring Creek, you’ll find Coyote Ridge, which is home to excellent scenery and hiking trails. (More on that below.)
Looking for more gardens? Check out Colorado State University’s Annual Flower Trial Gardens. You’ll find beautiful plants and flowers and special events throughout the year.
One of the best places for hiking enthusiasts in Fort Collins is Coyote Ridge. You can experience the foothills meeting the plains at this stunning site. Coyote Ridge has 4.1 miles of surface trails with an elevation gain of around 600 feet.
The Coyote Ridge Trail connects the Blue Sky Trail, the Devil’s Backbone Open Space, and Loveland’s Prairie Ridge Natural Area. Another superb option is The Hidden Clues Trail. It’s a ¼ mile loop situated about 1 mile into Coyote Ridge.
THE FORT COLLINS MUSEUM OF ART
The Fort Collins Museum of Art is a tremendous spot for any art enthusiast. The museum first opened in 1983, and ever since, the museum has attracted thousands of visitors every year. The museum prides itself on a mission “to spread the power of visual art.”
The museum is within the Old Post Office Building. Once described as the finest building in the city, James Knox Taylor—the Supervising Architect for the U.S. Treasury—designed the Old Post Office Building. The National Register of Historic Places has listed the post office building, and Fort Collins has designated it as a local landmark.
HOLIDAY TWIN DRIVE-IN THEATER
If you’re visiting Fort Collins in the summer months, you should explore the Holiday Twin Drive-In Theater. Visitors love the old-school feeling of the theater, where you can watch modern and classic movies in an outdoor setting.
Every summer, the theater treats guests to a double feature for the price of one. The theater has a delicious snack bar where you can grab a bite to eat. The theater asks guests to buy from the snack bar because it keeps the theater running.
1879 AVERY HOUSE
If you’re looking to experience the vast history of Fort Collins, you’ll have to visit 1879 Avery House. Frank Avery built many of the wide streets in Fort Collins that people love today. In 1879, Frank and his wife Sara, built a family home on the corner of Medium Street and Mountain Avenue.
Members of the Avery House lived there until 1962. Poudre Landmarks Foundation, Inc purchased the property for $79,000 in 1974 and restored the house to its former beauty. Today, the house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Many people regard Avery House as the city’s most haunted house.
Pinball Jones is an excellent destination for anyone looking for a small, eclectic bar to relax after a day of work or exploring. The site first opened in 2011 with only 10 pinball machines and smaller floor space. However, the sight of pinball machines — which locals hadn’t seen for years — helped the business grow.
Before long, the business had more pinball machines and more games. In addition to the pinball machines, you can find bowlers, air hockey, and arcade games within a family-friendly environment.
THE FARM AT LEE MARTINEZ PARK
Since 1985, The Farm at Lee Martinez Park has provided locals with family fun with farm animals, pony rides, and birthday party rentals. Guests love adopting an animal for one year by making a tax-deductible donation. A “farm parent” even receives a certificate of adoption as a poster with a “thank you” note.
In addition to all the fun games, you can check out antique farm equipment and learn how the farming industry grew in the Fort Collins area. Although adults can learn plenty, it’s also a perfect opportunity to teach your children about farming with all the fun interactive exhibits on offer.
There’s no better place in Fort Collins to relax during the summertime than the excellent City Park. Although Fort Collins is home to 966 acres of developed parks, the main city park is home to Sheldon Lake. You can go fishing here and relax beside the water.
City Park is also home to the City Park Lake Path, an excellent place for running, cycling, and hiking. You can use the path to walk to the swimming pools, sports fields, or the miniature replica of The Statue of Liberty.
However, the summertime isn’t the only great time to enjoy City Park. During the winter, Sheldon Lake remains a popular spot for ice skating, pond hockey, and ice fishing. City Park checks the lake daily to ensure the water maintains a 6-inch thickness for ice skating, so you don’t have to worry!
FORT COLLINS FAQ
How do I spend the day in Fort Collins?
A great way to spend the day in Fort Collins is to visit some of the top attractions. Explore the Cache La Poudre River Canyon, enjoy the outdoors at the Annual Flower Trial Garden, grab a slice at the Totally 80’s Pizza Museum, relax at City Park, and enjoy the nightlife in Old Town Fort Collins!
What is Fort Collins best known for?
Fort Collins is best known for being Colorado’s craft beer capital! This CO city produces 70% of Colorado’s craft beers.
Is Fort Collins worth visiting?
Absolutely, Fort Collins is worth visiting. You’ll find a relaxing college town vibe along with plenty to see and do.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR TRIP TO COLORADO
- YOUR COLORADO VACATION
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WHERE TO STAY IN FORT COLLINS
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