Craft beer. Ghost tales. School soccer. A Disneyland-esque Important Road. Fort Collins – or as each hip folks and wannabe locals name it, FoCo – sits about an hour north of Denver and is dwelling to Colorado State College (go Rams!). But it surely’s also referred to as the craft beer capital of Colorado AND probably the most haunted cities within the nation – plus, its charming Outdated City impressed Disneyland’s Important Road USA!
Add that along with Colorado’s gorgeous environment and the neighboring Rocky Mountains, and also you’ve bought one incredible place to go to for a weekend getaway (and sure, it made the listing on our Colorado weekend getaways guide!)
Though Fort Collins is a year-round vacation spot, the mix of ghost tales, craft beer, school 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 put in writing this information to issues to do in Fort Collins. Ali is the woman behind Inspired Lifestyle Blog and a Fort Collins native. She’s lived in Fort Collins for near 10 years, and at this time she’s sharing all of our high ideas for visiting. Take it away, Ali!
Psst: Planning a visit to Colorado? Listed here are another posts that you simply would possibly discover useful:
Historical past of Fort Collins
One of the crucial attention-grabbing elements of visiting Fort Collins is studying about its storied historical past, The Fort Collins space is wealthy with Native American history, wild west lore, badass girls, and even a legend of an enormous.
The world which is now Fort Collins has been the standard homelands of many Native American cultural teams, together with the tribes at this time referred to as the Ute, Comanche, Cheyenne and Arapaho.
As European-Individuals pushed west, many of those tribes have been decimated by illness and the encroachment of their lands in northern Colorado. After the Colorado War within the 1860s – throughout which an alliance of Native American tribes fought towards US encroachment, culminating in genocidal massacres of Native Individuals in Colorado and Wyoming – many Native American tribes left the world or have been pressured onto reservations in neighboring states.
Fort Collins itself was founded 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 Struggle. Camp Collins was constructed to guard the Colorado part of the Overland Trail, a outstanding wagon path for settlers touring out west and that was initially Native American searching and touring routes.
The camp was washed away inside a 12 months throughout a flood and the fort was constructed on greater floor at what’s now Outdated City Fort Collins.
Later the identical 12 months, European-American settlers started to reach, together with 64-year previous Elizabeth “Auntie” Stone, the one European-American lady within the camp for a complete 12 months, who ran a large number corridor and ultimately opened town’s first resort, first grit mill, and first brickyard. Auntie Stone is now referred to as the Founding Mom of Fort Collins since she was instrumental in beginning the primary faculty, advocating for ladies’s rights and inspiring different European-Individuals to settle within the metropolis.
When Auntie Stone handed away at 94 years previous, all enterprise closed throughout her funeral and the firehouse bell tolled 94 instances in honor of her life. You may go to her unique 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 School, now referred to as Colorado State College, started constructing the varsity. The truth is, when you go to CSU at this time, you possibly can see the railroad chopping via campus. It’s even made me late to class a couple of instances!
You may study extra in regards to the historical past of the world, together with extra in regards to the first peoples who name the world dwelling over 13,000 12 months in the past, on the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.
Issues to Do in Fort Collins
My metropolis has many perks that you simply simply can’t discover anyplace else! We are also very near the mountains and have our personal stunning reservoir, mountaineering 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 Outdated City
Outdated City Fort Collins is without doubt one of the prettiest and best-preserved downtowns you’ll discover anyplace within the nation, with huge European model walkways strung with lights and surrounded by charming facades. The truth is, Outdated City’s historic buildings alongside Walnut Road served because the inspiration for Disneyland’s Important Road!
Old Town is the place the unique enterprise middle of Fort Collins popped up across the fort method again within the 1860s, and modern-day Outdated City is a nonetheless the guts of town. On weekends you’ll discover road performers, musicians, and simply usually time. And in the summertime, there are dwell performances and music within the Sq.!
The various Ghost Signs – light, hand-painted ads of shops lengthy out of enterprise – present in Outdated City demonstrates how previous Outdated City is and makes you’re feeling such as you’ve stepped again in time.
Fort Collins additionally has a declare to Hollywood fame with the childhood dwelling of Hattie McDaniel, the primary African American to win an Academy Award (Gone With the Wind in 1940), to be discovered on Cherry Street in Outdated City Fort Collins.
- Cease into native retailers: Outdated City is lined with charming locally-owned retailers and boutiques. I really like The Cupboard, a kitchen retailer stuffed with cute decor and fancy kitchen devices – and yummy chocolate! And I actually like Wear It Again Sam, a thrift retailer stuffed with superior classic finds.
- Seize a beer: You’re by no means quite a lot of steps away from a brewery in Outdated City! Equinox Brewing, Coopersmith’s Brewery and Pub and Pateros Creek Brewing Company are all centrally situated.
- Get some dessert: Kilwins. They promote chocolate, scrumptious fudge, ice cream, and lots of extra desserts. I additionally advocate Old Town Churn. Outdated City Churn is the sister retailer to Little Man Ice Cream in Denver. They make do-it-yourself ice cream and all the time have completely different flavors and completely different combos so that you can strive! Attempt Salted Oreo and Foco Choco!
Fort Collins is dwelling to and well-known for its many breweries. From huge names akin 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 onerous to slim down the highest breweries in Fort Collins – here’s a complete list of them – however these are the highest three that I’d advocate to a first-time customer:
- New Belgium: Greatest identified for Fats Tire Amber ale – which, enjoyable reality, is an authorized Carbon Impartial beer – the brewery right here can also be dwelling to the most important small-batch bitter beer barrel ageing program within the nation. Yum! Not solely does New Belgium have scrumptious beer, however additionally they repeatedly host occasions and have an incredible outside space to take pleasure in your drink. New Belgium can also be dwelling of the Tour de Fat, which is impressed by the Tour de France – solely much more drunk and much more enjoyable! Every year, on the finish of summer season, the roads round Outdated City are closed for drunk folks in costumes, using their bikes to the bars. It’s fairly a sight and numerous enjoyable! In case you’re in Fort Collins for this occasion, I extremely encourage you to take part.
- Odell Brewing: Incredible beer and, for my part, the most effective brewery patio in Fort Collins. In addition they usually have meals vans and dwell music outdoors too! Attempt their flagship beer, 90 Shilling.
- Prost Brewing: A German-style brewery and biergarten! Attempt their Helles for a lightweight beer or Dunkel for a darkish beer – and naturally, an enormous pretzel. They’re tremendous yummy.
Undecided the place to start out? How about doing. all of them, so as? This brewery hop guide from Eater organizes every cease geographically into an epic bikeable or transit-able brewery hop.
In case you actually need to expertise Fort Collins like an area, e book 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 school (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 University has many engineering and architectural examples of the late 19th century.
This consists of the picturesque Oval Drive, which was designed by civil engineering college students and school as a mannequin to exhibit how roads could possibly 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 phenomenal and serene place crammed with grass and 100-year-old Elm bushes. It’s a beautiful place to have a picnic or take an autumn stroll within the chilly crisp air surrounded by colourful fall foliage!
The Oval is situated on the CSU campus however is tremendous straightforward to get to and is in an space that isn’t often very populated. I like to recommend happening the weekend or after Four PM, when parking on campus is free! In case you go earlier, you possibly can park on a public road close by and stroll over if you wish to keep away from paying for parking.
- Native Tip: In case you stroll over to the oval, cease by Mug’s Coffee Shop and seize a mug of fair-trade espresso to sip as you stroll.
Watch a Soccer Recreation at CSU’s New Stadium
In case you’re visiting throughout soccer season, among the best issues to do in Fort Collins is to go to a sport and cheer on the CSU rams!
The CSU Canvas football stadium is a phenomenal soccer stadium, and I’m not simply saying that as a result of I’m biased. Most college students (myself included) have been really a bit grumpy in regards to 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 bought 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 fashionable stadium than the one being beforehand used.
If tailgating is extra your model – or extra in your funds vary – the free Coors Light Ram Walk Tailgate has every part from dwell music to beer to huge display TV’s. Simply be sure you 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 a little bit stunning at first. It all the time makes me leap! So when you hear cannons and it’s soccer season … why. Go Rams!
Meet a Ghost
Fort Collins has a storied and sophisticated historical past, and meaning one factor: host tales, Fort Collins has been rated because the third most haunted city within the U.S. (behind Savannah and New Orleans). There are many spooky spots to go searching for Fort Collins’ most notorious deceased residents!
Listed here are a couple of locations the place you simply would possibly get a creepy encounter from past the grave:
- Walrus Ice Cream in Outdated City has its personal cheeky ghost, a captivating businessman from Fort Collins’ previous named Charles Dinnebock (now referred to 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 when you don’t meet the seductive Walrus Man, you would possibly as properly go to for some ice cream.
- The Avery House: Constructed for certainly one of Fort Collins’ most outstanding households in 1879, The Avery Home is now a historical past museum and Nationwide Historic Landmark with a phenomenal historic costume assortment and restored rooms that enable guests to step again in time. However beware: you would possibly simply counter the sad spirit of a kid within the center upstairs bed room…
- Nature’s Own is certainly one of my favourite retailers to discover in Outdated City Fort Collins. It’s a nature and science retailer stuffed with several types of rocks, geodes, and enjoyable issues to have a look at. However beware: there’s a resident ghost immortalized in certainly one of his work at the back of the shop…. however as you method, he disappears.
- The Fort Collins Museum of Art: 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 one 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 excellent information to the Ghosts of Fort Collins is written by a tour information who led ghost excursions via Outdated City.
The e book tells the tales of the haunted corners and darkish historical past of town, referred to as probably the most haunted cities within the nation. Learn it earlier than your journey and also you simply would possibly end up recognizing creepy haunts throughout city!
Go to Horsetooth Mountain & Reservoir
When visiting Fort Collins, look West, and when you 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.
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 response to Arapaho legends, this iconic rock formation is the physique of a slain big, who used to look at over the ‘Valley Of Contentment,’ the valley that’s now flooded by Horsetooth Reservoir. The enormous prevented the tribes from searching within the Valley of Contentment, inflicting the folks to starve.
One night time, 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 enormous’s physique turned to stone however you possibly can nonetheless see the gashes of the tomahock’s deadly blows on what’s now referred to as Horsetooth Mountain.
There’s quite a bit you are able to do at Horsetooth Reservoir: you possibly can drive round it, pull over and watch the views, take within the dawn or sundown, look out over 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 couple of associates. It’s also possible to hike and mountain bike on the a number of trails within the surrounding 2,000 acres of public lands.
Listed here 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 top of Horsetooth rock! For a dawn hike to the highest, you’ll want to depart your own home at three am, but it surely’s so value it to see the dawn behind town. You’ll see Fort Collins on one facet, and on the opposite Colorado’s gorgeous nature that truthfully appears to be like like one thing out of a film.
- See a waterfall: The hike to the waterfalls is 2.9 miles and is a neater hike than Horsetooth Rock. They’re each stunning hikes and when you have a couple of days out there to go mountaineering, I might advocate doing each!
- Go Bouldering: Colorado has unimaginable mountaineering and bouldering, and Fort Collins is not any exception! Take a look at a few of Colorado’s finest bouldering areas at Rotary Park.
- Drive to the highest: When the climate is chilly – otherwise you’re not up for athletic exercise – you possibly can 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.
Observe that you’ll want an entrance permit ($9/per car) when you intend to go to!
Go on an Out of doors Journey
Colorado is finest identified for 2 issues: beer, and outside journey. Fort Collins has each in spades. Along with Horsetooth Mountain, listed here are extra alternatives for outside journey!
Pineridge Path is a 4.1 mile lengthy loop via the rolling foothills of the Pineridge Natural Area simply west of town. The path is rated as straightforward, with little climbing or elevation achieve, it’s largely uncovered and loops across the Dixon Reservoir (and is a good place to identify prairie canine colonies!).
The Pineridge Pure Space was certainly one of Fort Collins’ first protected pure areas and is a good place to see wildlife. I like to recommend strolling up the dam to get a fairly view!
Poudre River Path
Poudre River Trail is a 21-mile lengthy paved path that meanders alongside the Cache la Poudre (pronounced pooh-der) River and thru a number of massive parks and wildlife areas.
The Cache la Poudre River (identified extra merely because the Poudre River) is considered 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 Area and study in regards to the historical past of the world on the Poudre River Learning Centre. It’s also possible to hire a motorbike or scooter on the town and take it for a journey 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 mountaineering to discover its distinct cliffs, rock formations, and huge number of native flora. Many visitors evaluate the canyon to Rocky Mountains National Park, solely with out the lots of vacationers.
Probably the greatest hikes within the Cache la Poudre River is the hike to Greyrock – pictured above – whose trailhead is lower than 20 minutes from Outdated City Fort Collins. There are two path choices: the Meadows trail (7~ miles) and the Greyrock Summit trail (6~ miles), which each provide gorgeous views.
It is best to know that this hike is a bit difficult: you’ll achieve 2,000 toes of elevation to a summit sitting at 7,480 toes, and there’s a little bit bouldering towards the top. However the payoff is value it for the superb views of the Poudre River Canyon!
- Out of doors Journey Tip: Probably the greatest 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 camping guide.
Driving via the canyon additionally means you’ll be taking certainly one 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. As we speak, 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, hold an eye fixed out for whitewater swells within the crystal-clear river beneath and bighorn sheep on the rocky cliffs up above!
In case you hold driving up via the canyon, you’ll ultimately make it to alpine meadows and Cameron Move, which sits between the Rawah Wilderness and Rocky Mountain National Park and provides sweeping views of the attractive North Park basin surrounded by mountain peaks. Flip round and head again to Fort Collins right here, or proceed on to Walden!
- Journey Tip: In case you do drive the total route from Fort Collins to Walden, enable three hours every method and provides your self loads of time to return earlier than darkish.
Get Some Scrumptious Meals (& Drinks)
After an extended day of mountaineering and outside 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 attractive Jessup Farm Artisan Village. Attempt 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 (strive the Apple Pie grilled cheese).
- Pub Fare & Burgers: Coopermith’s Pub is a FoCo staple, situated proper within the coronary heart of Outdated 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 strive a Colorado Southwestern basic: inexperienced chile sauce. The chile rellenos, burritos, and chimichangas are finest smothered in scrumptious inexperienced chile sauce!
- Pizza: Hey, you’re in a university city, bear 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 of us, Krazy Karl’s does a deal on Mondays and Thursdays the place it’s a must to beat the clock. So, beginning at 5, when you name and order a 1-topping pizza the time is what you pay. So, for instance, when you 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 you get cream cheese on it. It might sound gross to you, however belief me, it’s really 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 school & soccer video games, besides possibly school & consuming plenty of espresso since you barely bought any sleep and also you’re going out with associates later tonight. So faux you’re nonetheless a sleep-deprived scholar (and never only a sleep-deprived grownup) and hit up certainly one of Fort Collins’ finest espresso retailers!
- Bindle is a really cute espresso store situated at Jessup Farm. Don’t fear, it’s not a farm. It’s a quaint buying space you possibly can go to! They’ve eating places, buying, and my favourite: Bindle. Bindle is a enjoyable place to go for an hour or two and simply chill out. 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 varied artists on the partitions and ceiling. They’re open 24 hours and is a good place to go play playing cards or a board sport and hangout. I extremely advocate their chai shake, it’s superb.
Have Some Outdated-Long-established Enjoyable
With regards to nightlife, among the finest issues to do in Fort Collins are good-old classic enjoyable!
See a Film at a Drive-In Theater
In case you’re visiting in the summertime, watching a film on the Holiday Twin Drive-In Theater is a should! Though the flicks that play are often new releases, it’s a basic drive-in theatre expertise: you park your automobile earlier than the solar goes down, in a row with different automobiles dealing with an enormous display, you tune in to the radio to listen to the film, and also you get to look at a film from the consolation of your automobile 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 usually sit within the entrance seat of my car with some popcorn, my pet, and a comfortable blanket from dwelling to look at the film.
Sip an Egg Cream at a Soda Fountain
The Union Bar Soda Fountain could seem a little bit outdated on the floor, but it surely’s imbibed (get it) with modern-day class. And sure, what I’m making an attempt to say right here is that there are boozy milkshakes.
Break up a maple egg cream or root beer float and a plate of inexperienced chile cheese fries… or actually lean into the faculty ambiance 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 certainly one of my favourite date spots in Fort Collins. It’s an arcade and a bar. How significantly better can that get?
They’ve a number of pinball machines, however additionally they have classic arcade video games you possibly can play! One among my favourite video games dates again to the 1960s!
They’ve two places, they’re each nice, however the one in Outdated 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 situated Outdated City. You’ll be strolling distance from FoCo’s finest retailers, eating places, and low retailers, and surrounded by Disneyland-esque attraction.
Listed here are a couple of choices for locations to remain in Outdated City Fort Collins:
- Boutique Resort: The gorgeous Armstrong Hotel has been round for 95 years, but it surely appears to be like extremely fashionable. The resort is pet pleasant – they even have an cute resident cat named Oreo! Throughout your keep, head underground – and step again in time – with dwell music and craft cocktails at Ace Gillet’s Lounge.
- AirBnB: This charming Old Town Victorian Cottage dates again to 1903 (so, in all probability haunted?) however has restored from Victorian glamour to cottage-core cute. This cozy tiny house with a mod black-and-white model is situated 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 Outdated City. Your keep additionally consists of 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 to be like extra like a boutique resort, with stunning gardens and a solar terrace.
About Our Contributing Author: Ali is a way of life blogger who’s obsessive about all issues journey, cash smarts, and private progress! She lives in Colorado and loves seeing the world any likelihood she will get. When she’s not running a blog or touring yow will discover her consuming 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 here to check out Ali’s lifestyle blog for the most effective journey, cash, and life ideas, and her Facebook page
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