Things to Do in Fort Collins

Do you want to know what are the best things to do in Fort Collins? The city is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts, craft beer lovers, and history buffs alike. There are so many things to do in Fort Collins that it can be overwhelming to plan your itinerary. 

In Fort Collins, you can hike to scenic overlooks, explore museums, visit local breweries, and much more. Whether you’re traveling solo, with friends, or with family, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. Keep reading to know the top things to do in Fort Collins, and start planning your trip today.

In this article, I will share some of the best ways to experience Fort Collins. From hiking in the Rockies to exploring the city’s museums and galleries, there’s something for everyone here. So, if you’re looking for a unique and memorable travel experience, read on to explore what Fort Collins offers.

History and Origin of Fort Collins

Fort Collins, a vibrant city in Northern Colorado, boasts a rich history that dates back to the 19th century. Originally a military outpost named Camp Collins, established in 1864, it was set up to protect travelers and settlers from Native American raids during the westward expansion. The outpost was moved to its present location after a flood and renamed Fort Collins.

The fort was decommissioned in 1867, but the settlement persisted, evolving into a center for agriculture and commerce. The arrival of the Colorado Central Railroad in 1877 spurred further growth, transforming Fort Collins into a regional hub. 

The city played a significant role in the Colorado sugar beet industry, and the establishment of the Colorado Agricultural College, now Colorado State University, in 1870, marked a pivotal point in its development. Today, Fort Collins is known for its preserved historical architecture, vibrant cultural scene, and as a gateway to the Rocky Mountains, reflecting a blend of its historical roots and modern innovation.

What Is The Best Time To Visit Fort Collins?

You may be wondering when the ideal time to visit Fort Collins is if you are considering a trip there. March through October is the response period. Due to the mild weather, there are many enjoyable outdoor activities to be engaged in during these months.

If you visit Fort Collins during the winter months, you can still enjoy indoor activities like visiting museums, art galleries, and breweries. However, keep in mind that the weather can be cold and snowy, so be sure to pack accordingly.

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How Do You Spend A Day In Fort Collins?

Here are some great ideas for doing things in Fort Collins on a day trip! This dynamic city has a plethora of sights and activities to offer. To assist you with your day-planning, consider these ideas:

  • Start your day with a cup of coffee from one of the many local coffee shops. You can’t go wrong with The Bean Cycle or Bindle Coffee.
  • Stroll through Old Town Fort Collins and explore the unique boutiques, restaurants, and galleries. You can also take a guided walking tour to learn more about the area’s history.
  • Visit one of the many craft breweries in Fort Collins. New Belgium Brewing Company and Odell Brewing Company are two of the most popular choices. You can take a tour, sample some beer, and even purchase some souvenirs.
  • If you’re in the mood for some outdoor activities, head to Horsetooth Reservoir for a hike or a swim. You can also rent a boat or kayak and explore the beautiful scenery.
  • For lunch, head to The Silver Grill Cafe for some delicious pancakes or Lucile’s Creole Cafe for some authentic Cajun cuisine.
  • In the afternoon, visit the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery to learn more about the history and culture of the area. You can also check out the interactive exhibits and planetarium shows.
  • End your day with a show at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. They offer a variety of performances, from theater to music to dance.

These are just a few ideas to help you plan your day in Fort Collins. With so much to see and do, you will have a great time exploring this vibrant city.

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Outdoor Adventures in Fort Collins

Outdoor Adventures in Fort Collins

You’re in luck if you’re looking for outdoor adventures in Fort Collins. The city offers a variety of activities for every type of person. There are plenty of things to do, from hiking and camping to fishing and kayaking.

Horsetooth Reservoir

One of the most popular outdoor destinations in Fort Collins is Horsetooth Reservoir. This 6.5-mile-long reservoir offers a variety of activities, including swimming, fishing, and boating. Numerous hiking and biking trails around the pool also make it an excellent spot for outdoor enthusiasts.

Poudre Canyon

If you’re looking for a scenic drive, head to Poudre Canyon. This 126-mile-long canyon offers stunning views of the Poudre River and the surrounding mountains. The area also has numerous hiking trails, including the Greyrock Trail, which offers panoramic views of the canyon.

Lory State Park

For a more secluded outdoor experience, check out Lory State Park. This 2,591-acre park offers various hiking and biking trails, as well as camping and picnicking areas. The park is also home to several wildlife species, including deer, elk, and mountain lions.

Biking Paths

Fort Collins has over 280 miles of bike paths and trails, making it one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a casual rider, there’s a bike path for you. Some of the most popular bike paths include the Spring Creek Trail, the Poudre River Trail, and the Mason Trail. These paths offer stunning views of the city and the surrounding mountains, as well as easy access to some of Fort Collins’ best attractions.

Lincoln Center

If you’re looking for a more cultural outdoor adventure, the Lincoln Center is the perfect place for you. This outdoor performance venue hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including concerts, plays, and dance performances. With its beautiful surroundings and top-notch performances, the Lincoln Center is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves the arts.

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Fort Collins Cultural Attractions

Fort Collins is a city rich in culture and history. There are several cultural attractions that you should visit while you are here. Here are some of the best:

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is a must-visit for anyone interested in science and technology. This museum is home to various interactive exhibits that explore the natural world, space, and technology. You can also learn about the history of Fort Collins and the surrounding area. The museum is a great place to take kids, as plenty of hands-on exhibits will keep them entertained for hours.

Old Town Historic District

The Old Town Historic District is a must-visit for anyone interested in history and architecture. This area of Fort Collins is home to a range of historic buildings, many of which date back to the late 1800s. 

Annual Festivals

Fort Collins hosts a number of annual festivals that celebrate the city’s rich cultural heritage. One of the most popular is the Colorado Brewers’ Festival, which takes place each June and features over 150 beers from more than 50 breweries. Other annual events include the Taste of Fort Collins, the Colorado Marathon, and the Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest, which showcases some of the best local music talent.

The Gardens on Spring Creek

If you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, head to the Gardens on Spring Creek. This 18-acre botanical garden features a variety of themed gardens, including a rock garden, a children’s garden, and a garden designed specifically for people with disabilities. 

You can also take a guided tour of the gardens or attend one of the many educational programs offered throughout the year.

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Brewery Tours

If you’re a beer lover, Fort Collins is the perfect place. The city is known for its craft breweries, and taking a brewery tour is one of the best things to do in Fort Collins. Here are three breweries you should check out:

New Belgium Brewing

New Belgium Brewing is one of the most popular breweries in Fort Collins. They offer tours of their facility, where you can see how their beer is made and learn about the brewery’s history. The terms are accessible, but donations are accepted and go to local charities. During this time, you’ll sample some of their delicious beers, including their famous Fat Tire Amber Ale.

Odell Brewing Co.

Odell Brewing Co. is another must-visit brewery in Fort Collins. They offer tours of their facility, where you can see their brewing process and learn about their history. The times are free, but reservations are required. During the tour, you’ll get to sample some of their award-winning beers, including their flagship 90 Shilling Ale.

Fort Collins Brewery

Fort Collins Brewery is a local favorite known for its creative and unique beers. They offer tours of their facility, where you can see their brewing process and learn about their history. The tours are free, but reservations are required. During the tour, you’ll get to sample some of their delicious beers, including their Chocolate Stout and Red Banshee Ale.

Craft Beer Tasting

Craft beer tasting is a must-do activity in Fort Collins. You can take a guided tour or explore the breweries on your own. Some of the best breweries to visit include New Belgium Brewing, Odell Brewing Co., and Funkwerks. Most breweries offer a variety of beer-tasting flights, so you can sample a range of different beers. 

Feisty Spirits Distillery

If you’re looking for something a little different, head to Feisty Spirits Distillery. This family-owned distillery specializes in small-batch spirits, including whiskey, gin, and vodka. 

You can take a tour of the distillery and learn about the distilling process, or just stop by the tasting room to sample some of the spirits. The tasting room is open Thursday through Sunday, and you can also purchase bottles of your favorite spirits to take home.

Dining and Cuisine

Fort Collins is the ideal location for foodies looking for culinary adventures. The city offers various dining options from farm-to-table restaurants to specialty coffee shops and food trucks. Listed below are a few of Fort Collins’ top restaurants.

Farm-to-Table Restaurants

Fort Collins is known for its farm-to-table restaurants, which serve fresh, locally sourced ingredients. One of the top farm-to-table restaurants in the city is The Kitchen, which offers a seasonal menu featuring dishes made with ingredients from local farms. Another great option is Farmhouse at Jessup Farm, which serves up modern American cuisine made with ingredients from its farm.

Local Food Trucks

There are many food trucks in Fort Collins if you’re searching for a quick and delicious snack. The Silver Seed is a well-liked food truck in the city, offering nutritious and fresh vegetarian and vegan food. La Piadina, which serves delectable Italian flatbreads stuffed with a selection of meats, cheeses, and veggies, is an additional fantastic choice.

Craft Coffee Shops

For caffeine lovers, Fort Collins has a thriving craft coffee scene. One of the best places to get your caffeine fix is Bindle Coffee, which serves up a variety of specialty drinks made with locally roasted beans. Another great option is Harbinger Coffee, which offers a cozy atmosphere and a variety of coffee drinks made with beans from around the world.

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Shopping and Retail

You will be satisfied if you are looking for a shopping destination in Fort Collins. Fort Collins is home to various shopping options, from malls to unique boutiques. Here are some of the best shopping destinations in Fort Collins.

Foothills Mall

Foothills Mall is a great place for both locals and tourists to shop. The mall has over 100 stores, including popular brands like H&M, Victoria’s Secret, and Bath and Body Works. You can also find various restaurants and entertainment options, including a movie theater and an arcade. Foothills Mall is a great place to spend a day shopping and having fun with your friends and family.

Unique Boutiques

If you are looking for something unique and one-of-a-kind, Fort Collins has plenty of boutiques to explore. Some of the best boutiques in Fort Collins include the Perennial Gardener/Sherlock’s Antiques, which offers a unique blend of antiques and gardening items, and the Cupboard, which sells high-quality kitchen items and gourmet foods. 

You can also check out the Art Lab, which offers a variety of handmade goods from local artists.

Old Town Shops

Old Town Fort Collins is a charming historic district with a variety of shops and restaurants. If you are looking for unique gifts, you can check out the Old Firehouse Books, which has a great selection of books and assistance for all ages. 

Another great option is the Crooked Cup, which is a coffee shop that also sells handmade pottery. If you are looking for something sweet, you can check out Kilwins, which sells handmade chocolates and ice cream.

Recreational Activities in Fort Collins

Recreational Activities in Fort Collins

Looking for some fun outdoor activities to do in Fort Collins? Look no further than these three options: Biking Trails, Disc Golf Courses, and Whitewater Rafting.

Biking Trails

Fort Collins has a plethora of biking trails for you to explore. One of the most popular trails is the Poudre Trail, a 21-mile paved trail that runs along the Poudre River. This trail is perfect for beginners and experienced riders and offers beautiful views of the river and surrounding mountains.

Another great option is the Foothills Trail, which is a 6.8-mile trail that offers stunning views of Horsetooth Reservoir and the surrounding foothills. This trail is a bit more challenging than the Poudre Trail but is still suitable for most riders.

Disc Golf Courses

Check out one of Fort Collins’ disc golf courses if you want a fun and unique outdoor activity. Edora Park is one of the most popular courses, with 27 holes spread out over a beautiful park setting. Other great options include the Cache La Poudre Disc Golf Course and the Aggie Greens Disc Golf Course.

Whitewater Rafting

For the ultimate adrenaline rush, try whitewater rafting on the Poudre River. Several companies in Fort Collins offer guided rafting trips for all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rafter, you will have a blast navigating the rapids and taking in the beautiful scenery.

So, whether you’re a biking enthusiast, a disc golf pro, or an adventure seeker, Fort Collins has plenty of outdoor activities to keep you entertained. Get outside and start exploring!

Family Fun Things to Do in Fort Collins

Are you looking for some fun family activities in Fort Collins? You’ve come to the right place! Fort Collins has a variety of family-friendly attractions that are sure to keep everyone entertained.

The Farm at Lee Martinez Park

If you’re looking for a fun and educational experience for the kids, be sure to check out The Farm at Lee Martinez Park. This working farm offers a chance to meet and interact with barnyard animals, including goats, pigs, sheep, and more. Your little ones can even take pony rides! The farm is open year-round, and admission is free.

Fossil Creek Park

For outdoor fun, head to Fossil Creek Park. This park features a playground, picnic areas, and plenty of open space for running around. But the real highlight is the splash pad, which is perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day. The park also has a disc golf course, so be sure to bring your frisbees! Admission to the park is free.

Educational Activities

If you’re looking for educational activities to do with your family, Fort Collins has plenty of options. Here are two great places to start:

Colorado State University Tour

One of the best ways to learn about the history and culture of Fort Collins is by taking a tour of Colorado State University (CSU). CSU is a public research university and is one of the largest employers in Fort Collins. 

The university offers tours to the public, which are led by knowledgeable students who can answer any questions about the campus, its history, and the academic programs offered. 

During the tour, you’ll see the campus’s beautiful architecture and landscaping and learn about the university’s commitment to sustainability. The tours are free, but you must make a reservation in advance.

Environmental Learning Center

The Environmental Learning Center (ELC) is a great place to take your family if you’re interested in learning about the natural environment of Fort Collins. The ELC is on a 212-acre nature reserve with wetlands, forests, and prairies. The center offers a variety of educational programs for people of all ages, including guided hikes, birdwatching, and environmental science classes. 

You can also explore the reserve by hiking the trails, fishing in the ponds, or picnicking in the meadows. The ELC is a great place to learn about the plants and animals that call Fort Collins home and appreciate the beauty of the natural world.

Remember, Fort Collins has many more educational activities to offer. These are just two great places to start.

Seasonal Events in Fort Collins

Fort Collins is known for its vibrant seasonal events that unite the community. Here are a few seasonal events that you will want to attend.

Tour de Fat

Tour de Fat is a unique bicycle festival that takes place in September. New Belgium Brewing hosts the festival. The festival’s highlight is the bike parade, where participants dress up in creative costumes and ride through the streets of Fort Collins. This festival is a great way to celebrate the end of summer and enjoy the beautiful fall weather.

Holiday Lighting Ceremony

The Holiday Lighting Ceremony is a beloved Fort Collins tradition in late November. The ceremony features tree lighting, carolers, and hot cocoa. The event occurs in Old Town Square, which is decorated with thousands of holiday lights. This is a great event to attend with family and friends and get into the holiday spirit.

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Travel Tips and Recommendations

If you’re planning to visit Fort Collins, here are some travel tips and recommendations to help you make the most of your trip:

  • Best time to visit: The best time to visit Fort Collins is from June to September when the weather is warm and sunny, and there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy.
  • Getting around: Fort Collins has an excellent public transportation system, including buses and bikes. You can also rent a car if you prefer to drive.
  • Where to stay: Fort Collins has plenty of great hotels and vacation rentals, depending on your budget and preferences. Some popular options include the Armstrong Hotel, the Elizabeth Hotel, and the Fort Collins Marriott.
  • What to pack: Fort Collins has a dry climate, so pack plenty of sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. You’ll also want to bring comfortable shoes for hiking and biking and a light jacket for cooler evenings.
  • Must-see attractions: Some of the top attractions in Fort Collins include Horsetooth Reservoir, Old Town Fort Collins, and the Cache la Poudre River. You can also visit local breweries like New Belgium and Odell Brewing Company to taste the local craft beer scene.
  • Where to eat: Fort Collins has a great food scene, with plenty of options for every taste and budget. Some popular restaurants include The Kitchen, The Welsh Rabbit, and Fish Restaurant.

Following these travel tips and recommendations, you’ll be well-prepared for your trip to Fort Collins and ready to enjoy all this beautiful city offers.

Is Fort Collins Worth A Visit?

Yes, Fort Collins is worth a visit! This city in Colorado offers a unique blend of outdoor activities, cultural experiences, and delicious food and drinks. Whether you’re traveling solo, with friends, or with family, there’s something for everyone in Fort Collins.

One of the main draws of Fort Collins is its proximity to the great outdoors. With stunning natural attractions like Horsetooth Reservoir, Cache la Poudre River, and Lory State Park, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to hike, bike, fish, and camp. The city also boasts over 50 parks, so you can easily find a spot to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Things to Do in Fort Collins

What are the top attractions to visit in Fort Collins?

Fort Collins has many attractions to offer. Some top attractions to visit in Fort Collins include the Colorado State University campus, Horsetooth Reservoir, and the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. You can also see Old Town Fort Collins, a charming historic district with shops, restaurants, and galleries.

Where can families with children find entertaining activities in Fort Collins?

Fort Collins has many family-friendly activities. Some of the best places to take your kids include the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, the Farm at Lee Martinez Park, and the Gardens on Spring Creek. You can also take your kids to the Fort Collins Children’s Theatre or the Swetsville Zoo, a unique sculpture park.

Can you recommend any outdoor activities in Fort Collins?

Fort Collins is known for its outdoor activities. You can go hiking or mountain biking in the nearby foothills or go fishing or boating at Horsetooth Reservoir. You can also go whitewater rafting on the Cache la Poudre River or take a scenic drive up the Poudre Canyon.

What are some unique hidden spots to explore in Fort Collins?

Fort Collins has many hidden gems waiting to be explored. Some unique spots include the Swetsville Zoo, the Avery House, and the Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures. You can also stroll through the Spring Creek Gardens or visit the New Belgium Brewing Company for a tour and tasting.

Are there any notable events or activities happening in Fort Collins during winter?

Fort Collins has many winter activities to enjoy. You can ice skate at Edora Pool and Ice Center or ride a horse-drawn carriage through Old Town. You can also attend the Fort Collins Winter Farmers’ Market or check out the holiday lights at the Gardens on Spring Creek.

What evening entertainment options are available in Fort Collins?

Fort Collins has a vibrant nightlife scene. You can catch a show at the Lincoln Center or the Fort Collins Children’s Theatre or a concert at the Aggie Theatre or the Mishawaka Amphitheatre. You can also drink at one of Old Town’s many breweries or bars.


Fort Collins is a vibrant and exciting city that offers something for everyone. From the charming historic district to the stunning natural beauty of Horsetooth Reservoir, there is no shortage of things to do and see.

During your visit, check out some of the city’s top attractions, such as the Totally 80s Pizza Museum, the CSU Annual Flower Trial Garden, and the many art galleries and performance theaters.

Whether you’re a foodie, an outdoor enthusiast, or a culture buff, Fort Collins has plenty to offer. So why not plan your next adventure to this amazing city today?

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope it has provided valuable information and inspiration for your next trip.