Craft beer. Ghost tales. Faculty soccer. A Disneyland-esque Predominant Road. Fort Collins – or as each hip folks and wannabe locals name it, FoCo – sits about an hour north of Denver and is house to Colorado State College (go Rams!). Nevertheless it’s also called the craft beer capital of Colorado AND probably the most haunted cities within the nation – plus, its charming Previous City impressed Disneyland’s Predominant Road USA!
Add that along with Colorado’s gorgeous environment and the neighboring Rocky Mountains, and also you’ve acquired one unbelievable place to go to for a weekend getaway (and sure, it made the listing on our Colorado weekend getaways information!)
Though Fort Collins is a year-round vacation spot, the mixture of ghost tales, craft beer, faculty soccer, and colourful foliage places Fort Collins squarely within the “fall vacation spot” class for me. However hey, I’m not the skilled right here.
We’ve tapped a Fort Collins native to write down this information to issues to do in Fort Collins. Ali is the woman behind Impressed Life-style Weblog and a Fort Collins native. She’s lived in Fort Collins for near 10 years, and right now she’s sharing all of our prime ideas for visiting. Take it away, Ali!
Psst: Planning a visit to Colorado? Listed below are another posts that you just may discover useful:
Historical past of Fort Collins
One of the fascinating components of visiting Fort Collins is studying about its storied historical past, The Fort Collins space is wealthy with Native American historical past, wild west lore, badass girls, and even a legend of an enormous.
The world which is now Fort Collins has been the normal homelands of many Native American cultural teams, together with the tribes right now often known as the Ute, Comanche, Cheyenne and Arapaho.
As European-People pushed west, many of those tribes have been decimated by illness and the encroachment of their lands in northern Colorado. After the Colorado Conflict within the 1860s – throughout which an alliance of Native American tribes fought towards US encroachment, culminating in genocidal massacres of Native People in Colorado and Wyoming – many Native American tribes left the realm or have been pressured onto reservations in neighboring states.
Fort Collins itself was based in 1864 as a navy fort and initially known as “Camp Collins,” after Lt. Col. William Oliver Collins, a Union cavalry officer and one of many commanders of the Colorado Conflict. Camp Collins was constructed to guard the Colorado part of the Overland Path, a distinguished wagon path for settlers touring out west and that was initially Native American looking and touring routes.
The camp was washed away inside a yr throughout a flood and the fort was constructed on larger floor at what’s now Previous City Fort Collins.
Later the identical yr, European-American settlers started to reach, together with 64-year outdated Elizabeth “Auntie” Stone, the one European-American lady within the camp for an entire yr, who ran a multitude corridor and finally opened the town’s first resort, first grit mill, and first brickyard. Auntie Stone is now often known as the Founding Mom of Fort Collins since she was instrumental in beginning the primary college, advocating for girls’s rights and inspiring different European-People to settle within the metropolis.
When Auntie Stone handed away at 94 years outdated, all enterprise closed throughout her funeral and the firehouse bell tolled 94 instances in honor of her life. You may go to her authentic cabin at Heritage Courtyard in Library Park.
Fort Collins in the end developed as an agricultural metropolis due to the Colorado Central Railroad. In 1879 the Colorado Agricultural & Mechanical Faculty, now often known as Colorado State College, started constructing the varsity. In reality, if you happen to go to CSU right now, you’ll be able to see the railroad reducing via campus. It’s even made me late to class a number of instances!
You may study extra concerning the historical past of the realm, together with extra concerning the first peoples who name the realm house over 13,000 yr in the past, on the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.
Issues to Do in Fort Collins
My metropolis has many perks that you just simply can’t discover wherever else! We are also very near the mountains and have our personal stunning reservoir, climbing trails, and lots of vibrant companies. Have I satisfied you to go to, but?
In case you are taking a visit right here, I’m going to share with you an area’s information to the most effective locations and actions you HAVE to do when visiting.
Discover Previous City
Previous City Fort Collins is likely one of the prettiest and best-preserved downtowns you’ll discover wherever within the nation, with extensive European type walkways strung with lights and surrounded by charming facades. In reality, Previous City’s historic buildings alongside Walnut Road served because the inspiration for Disneyland’s Predominant Road!
Previous City is the place the unique enterprise middle of Fort Collins popped up across the fort means again within the 1860s, and modern-day Previous City is a nonetheless the center of the town. On weekends you’ll discover avenue performers, musicians, and simply usually time. And in the summertime, there are stay performances and music within the Sq.!
The various Ghost Indicators – pale, hand-painted ads of shops lengthy out of enterprise – present in Previous City demonstrates how outdated Previous City is and makes you are feeling such as you’ve stepped again in time.
Fort Collins additionally has a declare to Hollywood fame with the childhood house of Hattie McDaniel, the primary African American to win an Academy Award (Gone With the Wind in 1940), to be discovered on Cherry Road in Previous City Fort Collins.
- Cease into native retailers: Previous City is lined with charming locally-owned retailers and boutiques. I really like The Cabinet, a kitchen retailer filled with cute decor and fancy kitchen devices – and yummy chocolate! And I actually like Put on It Once more Sam, a thrift retailer filled with superior classic finds.
- Seize a beer: You’re by no means quite a lot of steps away from a brewery in Previous City! Equinox Brewing, Coopersmith’s Brewery and Pub and Pateros Creek Brewing Firm are all centrally positioned.
- Get some dessert: Kilwins. They promote chocolate, scrumptious fudge, ice cream, and lots of extra desserts. I additionally advocate Previous City Churn. Previous City Churn is the sister retailer to Little Man Ice Cream in Denver. They make home made ice cream and at all times have totally different flavors and totally different combos so that you can attempt! Strive Salted Oreo and Foco Choco!
Fort Collins is house to and well-known for its many breweries. From large names comparable to New Belgium, to smaller native breweries like Zwei Brewing Co, there’s a brewery right here – or close by – for each palate.
It’s exhausting to slender down the highest breweries in Fort Collins – right here’s an entire listing of them – however these are the highest three that I’d advocate to a first-time customer:
- New Belgium: Finest identified for Fats Tire Amber ale – which, enjoyable reality, is an authorized Carbon Impartial beer – the brewery right here can be house to the most important small-batch bitter beer barrel growing older program within the nation. Yum! Not solely does New Belgium have scrumptious beer, however in addition they usually host occasions and have a fantastic out of doors space to get pleasure from your drink. New Belgium can be house of the Tour de Fats, which is impressed by the Tour de France – solely much more drunk and much more enjoyable! Yearly, on the finish of summer season, the roads round Previous City are closed for drunk folks in costumes, driving their bikes to the bars. It’s fairly a sight and numerous enjoyable! If you happen to’re in Fort Collins for this occasion, I extremely encourage you to take part.
- Odell Brewing: Implausible beer and, for my part, the most effective brewery patio in Fort Collins. In addition they usually have meals vehicles and stay music outdoors too! Strive their flagship beer, 90 Shilling.
- Prost Brewing: A German-style brewery and biergarten! Strive their Helles for a light-weight beer or Dunkel for a darkish beer – and naturally, an enormous pretzel. They’re tremendous yummy.
Unsure the place to begin? How about doing. all of them, so as? This brewery hop information from Eater organizes every cease geographically into an epic bikeable or transit-able brewery hop.
If you happen to actually need to expertise Fort Collins like an area, guide a Bike and Brewery tour! Go on – it’s native custom.
Discover Colorado State College’s Campus
CSU has a wealthy historical past to match the historical past of Fort Collins. Established in 1870 as an agricultural faculty (therefore the enormous white letter ‘A’ proudly displayed on the western hillside of Fort Collins – it’s a yearly custom that CSU freshmen repaint the ‘A’ into the hillside ), Colorado State College has many engineering and architectural examples of the late 19th century.
This contains the picturesque Oval Drive, which was designed by civil engineering college students and college as a mannequin to exhibit how roads may very well be constructed from native supplies. And talking of which, that’s the primary place we advocate visiting on campus!
Stroll via The Oval
The Oval at Colorado State College is a hidden gem in Fort Collins. It’s a gorgeous and serene place stuffed with grass and 100-year-old Elm timber. It’s a stunning place to have a picnic or take an autumn stroll within the chilly crisp air surrounded by colourful fall foliage!
The Oval is positioned on the CSU campus however is tremendous simple to get to and is in an space that isn’t normally very populated. I like to recommend occurring the weekend or after Four PM, when parking on campus is free! If you happen to go earlier, you’ll be able to park on a public avenue close by and stroll over if you wish to keep away from paying for parking.
- Native Tip: If you happen to stroll over to the oval, cease by Mug’s Espresso Store and seize a mug of fair-trade espresso to sip as you stroll.
Watch a Soccer Sport at CSU’s New Stadium
If you happen to’re visiting throughout soccer season, among the finest issues to do in Fort Collins is to go to a sport and cheer on the CSU rams!
The CSU Canvas soccer stadium is a gorgeous soccer stadium, and I’m not simply saying that as a result of I’m biased. Most college students (myself included) have been truly a bit grumpy concerning the stadium being constructed on campus, largely as a result of it resulted in much less parking than we already had.
The stadium was completed after I was a senior and I acquired to be one of many first folks to see soccer video games there. And let me inform you, it’s attractive! It’s a way more skilled and trendy stadium than the one being beforehand used.
If tailgating is extra your type – or extra in your finances vary – the free Coors Mild Ram Stroll Tailgate has every part from stay music to beer to large display TV’s. Simply remember to put on inexperienced! You may benefit from the tailgate for a number of hours earlier than the sport begins.
- Only a warning: if CSU scores, they set off a cannon and it may be somewhat stunning at first. It at all times makes me soar! So if you happen to hear cannons and it’s soccer season … you already know why. Go Rams!
Meet a Ghost
Fort Collins has a storied and sophisticated historical past, and which means one factor: host tales, Fort Collins has been rated because the third most haunted metropolis within the U.S. (behind Savannah and New Orleans). There are many spooky spots to go looking for Fort Collins’ most notorious deceased residents!
Listed below are a number of locations the place you simply may get a creepy encounter from past the grave:
- Walrus Ice Cream in Previous City has its personal cheeky ghost, a captivating businessman from Fort Collins’ previous named Charles Dinnebock (now often known as “The Walrus Man.”) However that’s not all: tunnels beneath Walrus reportedly served because the underground entrance to the store’s neighboring morgue, mausoleum and crematorium. Ooooh, spooly! Even if you happen to don’t meet the seductive Walrus Man, you may as properly go to for some ice cream.
- The Avery Home: Constructed for one in every of Fort Collins’ most distinguished households in 1879, The Avery Home is now a historical past museum and Nationwide Historic Landmark with a gorgeous historic costume assortment and restored rooms that permit guests to step again in time. However beware: you may simply counter the sad spirit of a kid within the center upstairs bed room…
- Nature’s Personal is one in every of my favourite retailers to discover in Previous City Fort Collins. It’s a nature and science retailer filled with various kinds of rocks, geodes, and enjoyable issues to have a look at. However beware: there’s a resident ghost immortalized in one in every of his work behind the shop…. however as you method, he disappears.
- The Fort Collins Museum of Artwork: You’ll discover greater than collections of artwork right here – the museum was constructed on the website of Camp Collins’ first cemetery again within the 1860s. No person is aware of what number of our bodies are nonetheless buried beneath, however no less than one – nicknamed George – nonetheless haunts the basement.
For true ghost hunters, the great information to the Ghosts of Fort Collins is written by a tour information who led ghost excursions via Previous City.
The guide tells the tales of the haunted corners and darkish historical past of the town, often known as probably the most haunted cities within the nation. Learn it earlier than your journey and also you simply may end up recognizing creepy haunts throughout city!
Go to Horsetooth Mountain & Reservoir
When visiting Fort Collins, look West, and if you happen to see an enormous rock (principally the highest of the mountain) that appears like a horse’s tooth, that’s it! At its base you’ll discover Horsetooth Reservoir, a six and a half-mile lengthy reservoir simply eight miles west of downtown Fort Collins.
When full, the Horsetooth Reservoir’s expansive 1,900 acres of water presents guests a surprising place to camp, swim, boat, SUP, fish, kayak, even scuba dive.
The reservoir is known as after close by Horsetooth Mountain, a craggy rock outcropping simply west of the reservoir. You may hike to Horsetooth Mountain and benefit from the expansive views of the reservoir, Colorado Entrance Vary, and Fort Collins by way of trailheads on the reservoir.
In accordance with Arapaho legends, this iconic rock formation is the physique of a slain big, who used to observe over the ‘Valley Of Contentment,’ the valley that’s now flooded by Horsetooth Reservoir. The large prevented the tribes from looking within the Valley of Contentment, inflicting the folks to starve.
One evening, a warrior from one of many tribes took a magical tomahawk and killed the enormous whereas he slept so his folks could be saved. The large’s physique turned to stone however you’ll be able to nonetheless see the gashes of the tomahock’s deadly blows on what’s now often known as Horsetooth Mountain.
There’s quite a bit you are able to do at Horsetooth Reservoir: you’ll be able to drive round it, pull over and watch the views, take within the dawn or sundown, look out over the town of Fort Collins, mountain bike, paddleboard, swim, hike, kayak, go boating, rock climb, or run on a path. Horsetooth has all of it.
Within the summertime, I really like taking place to the shore and spending the day within the water, or renting a ship from an area marina and going out on the lake with a number of mates. You can too hike and mountain bike on the a number of trails within the surrounding 2,000 acres of public lands.
Listed below are the most effective issues to do at Horsetooth Reservoir & Mountain:
- Watch the dawn: For the most effective dawn view of Fort Collins, go on a hike to the highest of Horsetooth rock! For a dawn hike to the highest, you’ll want to depart your home at three am, however it’s so value it to see the dawn behind the town. You’ll see Fort Collins on one facet, and on the opposite Colorado’s gorgeous nature that actually appears like one thing out of a film.
- See a waterfall: The hike to the waterfalls is 2.9 miles and is a better hike than Horsetooth Rock. They’re each stunning hikes and when you have a number of days accessible to go climbing, I might advocate doing each!
- Go Bouldering: Colorado has unimaginable mountain climbing and bouldering, and Fort Collins isn’t any exception! Try a few of Colorado’s greatest bouldering areas at Rotary Park.
- Drive to the highest: When the climate is chilly – otherwise you’re not up for athletic exercise – you’ll be able to take a drive as much as the highest and take a look at the views or watch the sundown. It truly is one thing particular.
Notice that you’ll want an entrance allow ($9/per car) if you happen to intend to go to!
Go on an Out of doors Journey
Colorado is greatest identified for 2 issues: beer, and out of doors journey. Fort Collins has each in spades. Along with Horsetooth Mountain, listed below are extra alternatives for out of doors journey!
Pineridge Path is a 4.1 mile lengthy loop via the rolling foothills of the Pineridge Pure Space simply west of the town. The path is rated as simple, with little climbing or elevation acquire, it’s largely uncovered and loops across the Dixon Reservoir (and is a superb place to identify prairie canine colonies!).
The Pineridge Pure Space was one in every of Fort Collins’ first protected pure areas and is a superb place to see wildlife. I like to recommend strolling up the dam to get a fairly view!
Poudre River Path
Poudre River Path is a 21-mile lengthy paved path that meanders alongside the Cache la Poudre (pronounced pooh-der) River and thru a number of giant parks and wildlife areas.
The Cache la Poudre River (identified extra merely because the Poudre River) is regarded as named after French-Canadian trappers hid their gunpowder close to the river’s banks throughout a blizzard within the early 1800s.
Whereas exploring the path, you can too search for wild turkeys on the Kodak Watchable Wildlife Space and study concerning the historical past of the realm on the Poudre River Studying Centre. You can too hire a motorcycle or scooter on the town and take it for a experience on this path!
Cache la Poudre River Canyon
About 1 hour northwest of Fort Collins, the Cache la Poudre River Canyon is a hidden gem, with alternatives to go whitewater rafting (class I-V rapids) and climbing to discover its distinct cliffs, rock formations, and extensive number of native flora. Many guests evaluate the canyon to Rocky Mountains Nationwide Park, solely with out the lots of vacationers.
Among the finest hikes within the Cache la Poudre River is the hike to Greyrock – pictured above – whose trailhead is lower than 20 minutes from Previous City Fort Collins. There are two path choices: the Meadows path (7~ miles) and the Greyrock Summit path (6~ miles), which each supply gorgeous views.
It is best to know that this hike is a bit difficult: you’ll acquire 2,000 ft of elevation to a summit sitting at 7,480 ft, and there’s somewhat bouldering towards the tip. However the payoff is value it for the superb views of the Poudre River Canyon!
- Out of doors Journey Tip: Among the finest campgrounds in Colorado is about an hour away from Fort Collins alongside the banks of the Cache la Poudre River! Discover out extra in our Colorado tenting information.
Driving via the canyon additionally means you’ll be taking one in every of Colorado’s many scenic roads! Which brings us to our subsequent factor to do in Fort Collins…
Take a Scenic Drive
The Cache le Poudre Scenic Byway follows a route that was as soon as used to attach the northern plains of Colorado with the Inexperienced River settlement in Utah. At this time, the scenic drive begins in Fort Collins on U.S. Freeway 287, heads northwest till it intersects with Colorado Freeway 14 in Bellvue, then winds up the rugged and scenic Cache la Poudre River Canyon.
As you drive, maintain an eye fixed out for whitewater swells within the crystal-clear river under and bighorn sheep on the rocky cliffs up above!
If you happen to maintain driving up via the canyon, you’ll finally make it to alpine meadows and Cameron Move, which sits between the Rawah Wilderness and Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park and presents sweeping views of the gorgeous North Park basin surrounded by mountain peaks. Flip round and head again to Fort Collins right here, or proceed on to Walden!
- Journey Tip: If you happen to do drive the complete route from Fort Collins to Walden, permit three hours every means and provides your self loads of time to return earlier than darkish.
Get Some Scrumptious Meals (& Drinks)
After an extended day of climbing and out of doors journey, hit the city for some scrumptious meals.
- Farm-to-Desk: The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm serves completely plated, fastidiously crafted, home-grown deliciousness from their 19th-Century farmhouse within the coronary heart of the gorgeous Jessup Farm Artisan Village. Strive the inexperienced chile mac & cheese, buttermilk battered fried hen, and truffle-parm brussel sprouts!
- Cheese (& Different Stuff): The Fox and the Crow is a bistro and cheese store specializing in, largely, cheese. Head right here for twists on scrumptious cheese classics like mac & cheese (ahem: roasted butternut squash, brown butter, blue cheese, and maple syrup, omg) and grilled cheese (attempt the Apple Pie grilled cheese).
- Pub Fare & Burgers: Coopermith’s Pub is a FoCo staple, positioned proper within the coronary heart of Previous City Sq.. Order a burger, fish & chips or bangers and mash with a craft beer and play pub video games like billiards and shuffleboard.
- Mexican: Cafe Mexicali makes their meals from scratch and their (big) burritos are phenomenal. Lupita’s is the most effective budget-friendly place to attempt a Colorado Southwestern traditional: inexperienced chile sauce. The chile rellenos, burritos, and chimichangas are greatest smothered in scrumptious inexperienced chile sauce!
- Pizza: Hey, you’re in a university city, keep in mind? Fort Collins has some AMAZING pizza. It’s my favourite meals and I’m choosy about my pizza. Krazy Karl’s is well-known round city and CSU for having the most effective pizza on the town! For budget-minded people, Krazy Karl’s does a deal on Mondays and Thursdays the place you need to beat the clock. So, beginning at 5, if you happen to name and order a 1-topping pizza the time is what you pay. So, for instance, if you happen to name and order your pizza at 5:25, your pizza will price $5.25 plus tax! No matter pizza you select to get, be sure to get cream cheese on it. It could sound gross to you, however belief me, it’s truly superb! One other CSU favourite pizza place is Pizza Casbah. They promote New York-style skinny crust pizza and it’s critically so good – and SO cheap.
Go to a Espresso Store
Nothing goes collectively greater than faculty & soccer video games, besides possibly faculty & ingesting loads of espresso since you barely acquired any sleep and also you’re going out with mates later tonight. So fake you’re nonetheless a sleep-deprived scholar (and never only a sleep-deprived grownup) and hit up one in every of Fort Collins’ greatest espresso retailers!
- Bindle is a really cute espresso store positioned at Jessup Farm. Don’t fear, it’s not a farm. It’s a quaint purchasing space you’ll be able to go to! They’ve eating places, purchasing, and my favourite: Bindle. Bindle is a enjoyable place to go for an hour or two and simply loosen up. The espresso store could be very aesthetically pleasing and has actually scrumptious espresso and desserts.
- Alley Cat is a Fort Collins staple. It has a cool bohemian vibe and options paintings from numerous artists on the partitions and ceiling. They’re open 24 hours and is a superb place to go play playing cards or a board sport and hangout. I extremely advocate their chai shake, it’s superb.
Have Some Previous-Normal Enjoyable
In terms of nightlife, among the greatest issues to do in Fort Collins are good-old classic enjoyable!
See a Film at a Drive-In Theater
If you happen to’re visiting in the summertime, watching a film on the Vacation Twin Drive-In Theater is a should! Though the flicks that play are normally new releases, it’s a traditional drive-in theatre expertise: you park your automotive earlier than the solar goes down, in a row with different vehicles going through an enormous display, you tune in to the radio to listen to the film, and also you get to observe a film from the consolation of your automotive when the solar goes down.
Identical to a typical film theatre, there are bogs and concessions like popcorn and sweet.
I like to recommend getting there a bit early to keep away from the lengthy line. To make issues extra-cozy, many individuals convey chairs, and a few make their trunks tremendous cozy – however I sometimes sit within the entrance seat of my car with some popcorn, my pet, and a comfy blanket from house to observe the film.
Sip an Egg Cream at a Soda Fountain
The Union Bar Soda Fountain could seem somewhat outdated on the floor, however it’s imbibed (get it) with modern-day class. And sure, what I’m attempting to say right here is that there are boozy milkshakes.
Cut up a maple egg cream or root beer float and a plate of inexperienced chile cheese fries… or actually lean into the school environment and down a cognac, espresso, and oreo shake with a inexperienced chile breakfast burrito at 10am just like the champion you as soon as have been.
Play Classic Arcade Video games
Pinball Jones is one in every of my favourite date spots in Fort Collins. It’s an arcade and a bar. How a lot better can that get?
They’ve a number of pinball machines, however in addition they have classic arcade video games you’ll be able to play! One in every of my favourite video games dates again to the 1960s!
They’ve two areas, they’re each nice, however the one in Previous City Sq. is my favourite.
The place to Keep in Fort Collins, Colorado
When visiting Fort Collins, the most effective place to base your self is in centrally positioned Previous City. You’ll be strolling distance from FoCo’s greatest retailers, eating places, and low retailers, and surrounded by Disneyland-esque appeal.
Listed below are a number of choices for locations to remain in Previous City Fort Collins:
- Boutique Resort: The gorgeous Armstrong Resort has been round for 95 years, however it appears extremely trendy. The resort is pet pleasant – they even have an lovable resident cat named Oreo! Throughout your keep, head underground – and step again in time – with stay music and craft cocktails at Ace Gillet’s Lounge.
- AirBnB: This charming Previous City Victorian Cottage dates again to 1903 (so, in all probability haunted?) however has restored from Victorian glamour to cottage-core cute. This cozy tiny home with a mod black-and-white type is positioned in Fort Collins’ funkiest little neighborhood, Buckingham, and is actually steps away from each Odell’s and New Belgium, whereas solely half a mile’s stroll from Previous City. Your keep additionally contains bikes to get round city! For extra choices, browse AirBnbs in Fort Collins.
- Hostel: Yep, Fort Collins has a budget-friendly hostel! Though The Solarium appears extra like a boutique resort, with stunning gardens and a solar terrace.
About Our Contributing Author: Ali is a life-style blogger who’s obsessive about all issues journey, cash smarts, and private progress! She lives in Colorado and loves seeing the world any probability she will get. When she’s not running a blog or touring yow will discover her ingesting a glass of Pink Moscato and watching Schitt’s Creek and cuddling along with her pet and planning out her subsequent trip on Pinterest! You may click on right here to take a look at Ali’s way of life weblog for the most effective journey, cash, and life ideas, and her Fb web page
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