Here’s a guide to finding fun when you’re in Fort Collins, Colorado. From where to stay to where to visit, we’ve got you covered.
Fort Collins, Colorado is part of the Front Range of Colorado. It’s near Boulder (about an hour’s drive), Denver (closer to an hour and a half with traffic) as well as lots of other great communities like Longmont and Loveland with their own downtowns and cultural scenes. Fort Collins benefits from gorgeous views, with mountain peaks in the background wherever you go, and it’s a convenient spot for exploring lots of nature in Colorado. But today, I will focus on what to do inside the city.
Fort Collins is a university town, with an estimated 161,000 residents. Its high student population contributes to late-night dining options and lots of cultural resources through the college, but in recent years the city has grown and evolved, with some truly special offerings worth a visit while you’re in the area.
Here are some of the must-dos while you’re in Fort Collins.
1. Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
The Museum of Discovery might sound like a children’s museum, and in some ways, it is! But it is 100% for everyone, managing to teach you about the arts, sciences, history and much more in an engaging and interactive way. This is one of the best museums I’ve ever encountered, bar none. If you don’t like reading exhibits, fear not! Watch a video or listen to audio clips. Pick up the displays or step inside them. This is a hands-on museum of the world and Fort Collins you really don’t want to miss out on. Bring yourself, your partner, your kids, or your grandparents and they’ll all have a great time.
2. Breweries, Distilleries & Bar Tours
Whether you visit breweries like New Belgian for a tour, check out smaller distilleries like CopperMuse or are more interested in bar-hopping at Scrumpy’s Hard Cider Bar or geek bar Dungeons & Drafts, this is a fantastic town for getting your drink on. Take a tour or order up a pint or a glass and sample what Fort Collins has to offer! All of the bars seem well-stocked with local brews, so experiencing a variety of local offerings is even easier than you might think.
3. The Farm at Lee Martinez Park
Fort Collins has a wonderful network of biking/walking/horseback riding trails and parks, and one of the stops is The Farm. If you love animals, you won’t want to miss your chance to visit here! Admission is only $3.35, with childcare options for residents, and pony rides for the kids are only $5 each. Check their website for a variety of special events at the farm.
4. Annual Flower Trial Garden (CSU) and The Gardens On Spring Creek
There are two great garden options to explore in Fort Collins. CSU’s garden gets rave reviews and it’s free! Take a walk through the gardens at night and enjoy the ever-changing sights. If you’ve got a few dollars to spend, I recommend a visit to The Gardens On Spring Creek, Fort Collins’ Botanical Gardens. The themed gardens will be expanding in 2019 but even at their current size, children and adults will find a lot to love here.
5. Enjoy A Great Meal
Eating is one of my favorite things to do in Fort Collins! I’m particularly fond of Mexican food, so my favorite is Los Tarascos, but this is a true foodie town, so whether you’re enjoying bar food or a gourmet meal, you’ve got wonderful options here. Restaurants are also quite good at accommodating gluten-free or other dietary restrictions, so don’t hesitate to ask for what you need. If you’re partial to breakfast, Snooze is a wonderful place to check out.
Fort Collins is a fantastic place to visit. There are lots of nearby campgrounds to stay in, including Fort Collins/Lakeside KOA which is only a few miles by bike or car (or a walk) to historic Old Town, the central area we’d typically call a “downtown.” Don’t overlook Fort Collins as you schedule your visits to Denver, Boulder, and Rocky Mountain National Park.