Discover the Best of Fort Collins: Your Ultimate Guide to Things to Do

Discover the Best of Fort Collins: Your Ultimate Guide to Things to Do


Nestled at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Fort Collins is a beautiful city in Colorado that has something to offer for everyone.

It is known as the “Choice City” and is located just a short drive north of Denver.

The city boasts a perfect blend of attractions that make it vibrant and exciting.

Take a stroll through its walkable historic downtown, explore why Fort Collins is called the “Craft Beer Capital of Colorado,” and immerse yourself in the endless outdoor adventures that surround it.

Whether you are a beer connoisseur following the brewery trail, a nature lover hiking mountain paths, a family looking for wholesome fun, or simply a traveler in search of a new adventure, Fort Collins, Colorado has it all.

Book your flight with Skyscanner to Fort Collins and explore the historic Old Town, inspiration for Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A.

Fort Collins FAQs

Fort Collins, Cloudy Spring Sunrise

What’s the best time of year to visit Fort Collins?

Fort Collins is a delightful destination year-round!

Here’s a seasonal breakdown:

  • Spring: Temperatures are pleasant, wildflowers may be in bloom, and the outdoor activities start ramping up.
  • Summer: Peak season! Expect warm weather, tons of outdoor festivals, and potential crowds (especially in Rocky Mountain National Park).
  • Fall: The foliage change draws leaf-peepers, but overall it’s a beautiful time with cooler temperatures returning.
  • Winter: Quieter season if you want to avoid the crowds. Expect some snow, but there are still opportunities for skiing within a short drive.
Is Fort Collins family-friendly? 


Fort Collins provides an extensive range of activities and attractions suitable for families, including the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, The Butterfly House, outdoor parks and trails, bike paths, and the delightful Old Town Square.

Several restaurants offer family-friendly menus, and numerous festivals take place throughout the year, providing entertainment suitable for all ages.

How do I get around Fort Collins?

Fort Collins has several transportation options:

  • Walkable Downtown: Old Town Square is compact and pedestrian-friendly.
  • Cycling: The city has a network of bike lanes and is considered a bike-friendly destination.
  • Public Transport: The MAX bus rapid transit line offers regular service around the city.
  • Ride-sharing & Taxi: Uber, Lyft, and traditional taxi services are readily available.
  • Car: For maximum flexibility, especially for exploring outside the city center, having your own car or renting one is recommended.

👉Stay in a downtown Fort Collins hotel for easy access to cultural attractions and vibrant nightlife.

What are some hidden gems in Fort Collins?

On Mountain Ave, Fort Collins, Colorado

Venture off the beaten path and discover unique experiences:

  • Poudre Canyon: This scenic drive offers less-crowded opportunities for hiking, fishing, and rock climbing compared to Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • Local Shops: Explore the boutiques and antique shops along side streets in Old Town.
  • Avery House: This restored historic home provides a glimpse into Fort Collins’ past.
  • Sunset Views: Take in a breathtaking sunset from Horsetooth Reservoir or Arthur’s Rock in Lory State Park.
Is Fort Collins a good base for exploring Rocky Mountain National Park? 


Fort Collins’ close proximity to the park makes it an excellent location to use as a base.

Although peak season can bring crowds into the park, staying in Fort Collins provides a wider range of accommodation options, diverse dining choices, and an opportunity to experience the city’s own vibrant atmosphere.

👉Find the best flight to Fort Collins on Skyscanner for a tasting tour of the city’s renowned craft breweries.

Explore the Heart of Fort Collins – Old Town

Step into the past and immerse yourself in the heart of Fort Collins at Old Town Square.

This delightful historic district, which served as the inspiration for Disneyland’s Main Street USA, emanates a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Get lost in the pedestrian-friendly streets flanked by restored historic buildings that now house unique shops, boutiques, and excellent local eateries.

Make sure to visit the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, where you can explore the region’s history, science, and culture.

For a touch of artisanal charm, drop by Jessup Farm Artisan Village to peruse the works of local craftspeople.

Old Town Square is where the city’s energy truly shines, so take a relaxing stroll and soak up the lively ambiance.

👉Book a family-friendly hotel near City Park for convenience and endless entertainment.

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery offers interactive exhibits and immersive experiences for all ages.

  • Uncover the Past: Explore the rich history of Northern Colorado, from its Native American heritage to the region’s agricultural roots. Discover artifacts, photos, and stories that bring the past to life.
  • Spark Your Scientific Curiosity: Immerse yourself in the world of science! Experiment with interactive exhibits that explore physics, energy, and the human body in a fun and engaging way.
  • Get Up Close with Music: Love music? The museum’s unique collection of historical instruments will take you on a journey through the evolution of sound. You might even get a chance to try your hand at playing some yourself!
  • Special Exhibitions and Events: The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery keeps things fresh with rotating exhibitions, workshops, and special events throughout the year. Check out their calendar to see what’s on during your visit.
Why You’ll Love It:

The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is a wonderful mix of education and entertainment, making it a fantastic stop for families, history buffs, science lovers, and anyone who enjoys learning and exploring.

👉Use Skyscanner to fly into Fort Collins and enjoy the natural beauty of Horsetooth Reservoir with activities like hiking, biking, and kayaking.

Shops, Boutiques, and Local Eateries: Old Town Treasures

Old town square. Fort collins, co

Old Town Fort Collins is the perfect destination for shoppers who love to discover unique finds.

From stylish clothing and home decor to quirky gifts and souvenirs, locally-owned boutiques have it all.

You’ll be amazed by the hidden gems that you’ll find around every corner.

When you need to take a break and refuel, Old Town’s dining options are just as impressive.

Enjoy delicious farm-to-table cuisine at cozy bistros, or soak up the lively atmosphere at bustling brewpubs.

If you’re looking for something sweet, charming cafes offer a wide range of indulgent treats.

What’s more, the emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients adds a special touch to your dining experience.

Be sure to look out for restaurants with outdoor patios for a delightful way to soak in the Old Town atmosphere.


Old Town’s side streets are where you’ll find some of the most delightful shops and eateries. 

Don’t be afraid to venture away from the main square!

👉Find a cozy B&B near the Cache La Poudre River for a unique blend of comfort and nature.

Jessup Farm Artisan Village: A Hub of Creativity and Community

Nestled within Old Town, Jessup Farm Artisan Village is a vibrant collection of restored historic farm buildings transformed into a hub of local businesses.

Here, the spirit of craftsmanship and community thrives.

Things to Do at Jessup Farm:
  • Eat & Drink: Start your day with coffee and pastries at Bindle Coffee, savor farm-fresh cuisine at The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm, or unwind with a craft beer at Jessup Farm Barrel House.
  • Shop & Explore: Discover handcrafted watches at Vortic Watch Company, browse stylish finds at HEYDAY, or pick up artisanal goodies from The Loafing Shed.
  • Pamper Yourself: Treat yourself to a haircut at Lucky 27 Barbershop or a rejuvenating fitness class at REVE Fitness.
  • Capture Memories: Book a session with Clayton Jenkins Photography to create timeless photos with the charming farm buildings as your backdrop.
Why You’ll Love It:

Jessup Farm Artisan Village is a one-of-a-kind destination that provides an array of experiences, ranging from delightful dining to exclusive shopping and personalized services.

It’s a hub where you can support local artisans, engage with the community, and relish in the picturesque surroundings that are steeped in Fort Collins’ rich history.

👉Secure your flight with Skyscanner and wander through the lush gardens of the Spring Creek Botanical Center.

Fort Collins: Craft Beer Capital of Colorado

Fort Collins is widely regarded as the “Craft Beer Capital of Colorado.”

 The city boasts more than 20 craft breweries, including renowned brands like New Belgium Brewing Company and trailblazing ones like Odell Brewing Company.

Fort Collins offers a diverse range of craft beers, including award-winning IPAs, innovative sours, and classic lagers.

You can easily immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant beer scene by taking brewery tours or self-guided explorations.

If you’re a craft beer enthusiast, Fort Collins is a destination you don’t want to miss.

Here’s a look at a few of the must-visit breweries:
  • New Belgium Brewing Company: A craft beer pioneer, New Belgium is famous for its flagship Fat Tire Ale and classics like Voodoo Ranger IPA. They are also leaders in sustainability and known for their employee-focused business model.
  • Odell Brewing Company: Another Fort Collins staple, Odell offers an award-winning selection of year-round brews like their flagship 90 Shilling, innovative limited releases, and a unique wine project.
  • Horse & Dragon Brewing Company: This smaller, family-owned brewery exudes a welcoming atmosphere and is known for crafting excellent, community-focused beers.
  • CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing: Located in the heart of Old Town Square, CooperSmith’s offers a lively pub ambiance and a full menu of freshly-made food to pair with their on-site brews.
  • Brewery Tours: Many breweries offer guided tours for an in-depth look at the brewing process.
  • Variety is Key: Don’t limit yourself! Explore a mix of iconic breweries and smaller, more experimental ones.
  • Embrace the Culture: The lively atmosphere of Fort Collins’ taprooms is part of the experience!

👉Choose accommodations close to Horsetooth Reservoir for a nature-filled getaway.

Outdoor Adventures in and Around Fort Collins

Horsetooth Reservoir Fort Collins Colorado

Fort Collins serves as a gateway to a vast range of outdoor activities.

Horsetooth Reservoir invites you to enjoy boating, paddleboarding, and hiking trails.

The Cache la Poudre River, which is Colorado’s only designated Wild & Scenic River, provides exciting white-water rafting and fishing opportunities.

You can hike or bike the picturesque trails of Lory State Park or take a short drive to Rocky Mountain National Park, where you can experience stunning mountain views and see diverse wildlife.

Whether you love water-based activities, scenic hikes, or high-altitude thrills, Fort Collins has something to offer.

👉Skyscanner gets you to Fort Collins for an educational visit to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

Horsetooth Reservoir: Adventure on the Water and Beyond

Skyline viewing area vista of Horsetooth Reservoir and Rock, Spring Morning

Nestled in the foothills just west of Fort Collins, Horsetooth Reservoir is a gem for outdoor enthusiasts.

Its shimmering waters and scenic shoreline provide a perfect setting for a variety of activities.

  • Boating Adventures: Rent a motorboat, pontoon boat, kayak, or canoe and explore the reservoir’s 6.5 miles of shoreline. Soak in the stunning mountain views and seek out hidden inlets and coves.
  • Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP): Enjoy a tranquil paddle on the calm waters. SUP rentals are available, providing a fun way to get some exercise while taking in the scenery.
  • Hiking Trails: Several hiking trails wind around the reservoir, offering fantastic vantage points and varied levels of difficulty. Enjoy panoramic vistas stretching out towards Fort Collins and the surrounding peaks.
  • Picnics and Relaxation: Pack a lunch and find a spot along the shore to unwind. Several picnic areas and designated beaches offer a chance to soak up the sun.
Why You’ll Love It:

Horsetooth Reservoir is a convenient escape for those seeking both active adventures and relaxation by the water.


Check the current water levels and any park alerts before your visit, as these can fluctuate based on the season.

👉Secure a stay near the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery for hands-on learning and fun.

The Poudre River: Wild Waters and Scenic Beauty

La Poudre Pass Creek

The Cache la Poudre River, fondly referred to as “the Poudre,” is a vital source of water for northern Colorado.

It is also the only river in the state that has been designated as Wild & Scenic, which means that it is protected from any kind of development or alteration that might spoil its natural beauty and character.

Because of this protection, the river is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts who come to enjoy its unspoiled scenery and numerous recreational opportunities.

  • Whitewater Rafting: Experience the thrill of navigating the Poudre’s rapids! Guided rafting trips range from family-friendly floats to adrenaline-pumping class IV rapids for experienced rafters. Local outfitters provide everything you need for a safe and exhilarating adventure.
  • Fishing: The Poudre is a renowned trout fishing destination. Anglers can try their luck fly-fishing or spin-casting for brown trout, rainbow trout, and other species. Guided fishing trips are available for both experienced and novice anglers.
  • Tubing: When the summer water levels are lower, a leisurely tubing float down the Poudre is a fun and relaxing way to cool off. Rent tubes or bring your own and soak in the scenery as you drift along the river’s gentle currents.
Why You’ll Love It:

The Poudre River offers something for adventurers and those seeking serene moments alike.

Its stunning scenery, nestled within the Poudre Canyon, adds to the allure, making it a quintessential Fort Collins experience.


Be sure to check with rafting outfitters and river guides for up-to-date information on water levels and which sections of the river are best for your preferred activity.

👉Find flights to Fort Collins with Skyscanner and relax in the unique atmosphere of the Cache La Poudre River, Colorado’s only designated National Wild and Scenic River.

Lory State Park: 20 Miles of Trails

2008-06-09 Lory State Park

Lory State Park is situated a few minutes away from Fort Collins, and it offers a fantastic network of trails suitable for hikers and mountain bikers of all levels.

The park features rolling hills, scenic overlooks, and breathtaking views of the majestic Rocky Mountains, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

  • Hiking: Explore over 20 miles of trails that range from easy, family-friendly paths to more challenging climbs. Hike to the iconic Arthur’s Rock for panoramic views or discover hidden waterfalls and diverse plant life along lesser-known routes.
  • Mountain Biking: Lory boasts some of Northern Colorado’s best mountain biking trails. Test your skills on varied terrain, from flowy paths to technical rock sections.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for mule deer, coyotes, birds of prey, and even the occasional rattlesnake. The diverse habitats within the park provide homes for a wide variety of creatures.
  • Horseback Riding: Several trails are designated for horseback riding, allowing you to experience the park from a different perspective.
Why You’ll Love It:

Lory State Park offers a wonderful escape into nature, just a short drive from the city center.

Its diverse trail network caters to a wide range of abilities, making it a perfect spot for everyone from families to avid trail enthusiasts.


A park pass is required for entry. You can purchase passes online or at the entrance kiosks.

👉Opt for a scenic retreat near Lory State Park for relaxation amidst natural beauty.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Nature’s Masterpiece

Sunrise, Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is a magnificent park located a short drive away from Fort Collins, which is considered one of the most valuable assets in the American national park system.

It boasts towering peaks, pristine alpine lakes, cascading waterfalls, and an abundance of wildlife, making it an essential destination for nature enthusiasts.

  • Scenic Hikes: Rocky Mountain National Park boasts over 300 miles of trails, ranging from easy lakeside strolls to challenging mountain ascents. Hike to pristine Emerald Lake, seek out cascading Alberta Falls, or summit the iconic Longs Peak for breathtaking 360-degree views.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Watch for majestic elk herds, curious marmots, playful pikas, and if you’re lucky, even a bighorn sheep. The park’s diverse habitats support a rich variety of wildlife, making each hike a potential animal encounter.
  • Trail Ridge Road: This scenic road, the highest continuous paved road in the U.S., winds through the park, offering breathtaking vistas and access to high-alpine ecosystems unique to the Rockies.
  • Fall Colors: Rocky Mountain National Park explodes in vibrant colors during the autumn season. Plan your visit for September or early October to witness the transformation of the aspen groves into shimmering shades of gold.
Why You’ll Love It:

Rocky Mountain National Park embodies the grandeur of the American West.

Whether you’re seeking breathtaking hikes, incredible wildlife watching, or simply want to immerse yourself in stunning mountain scenery, this park never fails to inspire.


Timed entry reservations are required during peak seasons.

Plan your visit and secure your reservation well in advance, especially for summer and fall foliage weekends.

👉Book through Skyscanner for a trip to Fort Collins and explore the vibrant art scene at the First Friday Art Walk.

Fort Collins After Dark: Nightlife & Entertainment

As the sun sets, Fort Collins transforms into a lively city with an active nightlife.

You can explore various live music venues that showcase both local and national bands.

If you love dancing, you can head to energetic clubs, or if you prefer a more laid-back evening, you can visit cozy pubs and breweries that offer a wide range of local craft beers.

You can also choose to embark on a speakeasy-themed outing or enjoy a comedic performance.

Whether you prefer to relax on a rooftop patio sipping cocktails or join a crowd to enjoy live music, Fort Collins has something to suit your tastes.

  • Live Music Hotspots: Fort Collins boasts a thriving local music scene. Catch intimate performances at venues like the Aggie Theatre or the Armory, or rock out to bigger names at the Washington’s Sports Bar and Grill. Discover up-and-coming bands and enjoy the energy of live tunes throughout the city.
  • Alfresco Ambiance: Many downtown bars and restaurants boast gorgeous outdoor patios perfect for warmer evenings. Sip a local brew on the rooftop at Tony’s Bar & Rooftop, savor a cocktail under the twinkling lights of The Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, or enjoy the ambiance of Old Town Square while dining al fresco.
  • Magic Bus Tours: Explore Fort Collins’ haunted side with a unique Magic Bus Tour. Delve into the city’s spooky history, learn about local legends, and perhaps even encounter some paranormal activity on this quirky adventure.
  • Hidden Speakeasies: Step back into the Prohibition era at one of Fort Collins’ hidden speakeasies. Find your way into these clandestine spaces, where craft cocktails, live jazz, and a hushed atmosphere create a mysterious and unforgettable experience.
Why You’ll Love It:

Fort Collins’ nightlife offers variety to suit every mood.

Whether you crave a lively concert, relaxed patio vibes, a touch of the unusual, or the thrill of the hidden, you’ll find your perfect evening out.


 Check local calendars and venue websites for current music listings and special events happening during your visit.

👉Discover a historic inn near Old Town Fort Collins to immerse yourself in the city’s charm.

Beyond the Main Attractions

Color Walk - Gardens on Spring Creek

Fort Collins has more to offer beyond its famous breweries and outdoor activities.

You can take a stroll through the stunning Colorado State University campus and explore the vibrant Gardens on Spring Creek.

Families can enjoy a magical encounter with nature at the Butterfly House, where fluttering butterflies offer an enchanting experience.

Additionally, every summer, the city’s Annual Flower Trial Garden bursts with color, adding to the vibrant energy of Fort Collins.

👉With Skyscanner, reach Fort Collins and step back in time at the Avery House, showcasing local history and Victorian architecture.

Colorado State University: Campus Charm and Botanical Beauty

Anthropology and Geography Hall

Colorado State University (CSU) adds a unique dimension to Fort Collins, and its campus is worth exploring even if you’re not an aspiring student. Here’s what you’ll find:

  • Campus Tours: Embark on a guided campus tour to discover CSU’s history, academic programs, and stunning architecture. Highlights include the iconic Oval, a central green space surrounded by historic buildings, and the modern Lory Student Center.
  • Gardens on Spring Creek: This botanical garden is a true oasis of beauty on the CSU campus. Stroll through themed gardens exploding with colorful flowers, relax by serene water features, or visit the children’s garden for playful learning. Enjoy the vibrant displays of seasonal blooms and attend special events hosted throughout the year.

Why You’ll Love It:

The CSU campus is a wonderful mix of historical architecture and natural beauty, offering a peaceful contrast to the more bustling attractions of Fort Collins.

Those with an appreciation for horticulture and serene outdoor environments will especially enjoy visiting The Gardens on Spring Creek.


Check the CSU visitor center and the Gardens on Spring Creek website for current tour schedules and event information.

👉Select a place to stay close to Colorado State University for a vibrant campus atmosphere.

Annual Flower Trial Garden: A Burst of Color and Inspiration

Annual Flower Trial Garden

Every summer the Annual Flower Trial Garden on the Colorado State University campus showcases a beautiful display of colorful flowers.

The garden’s natural beauty is enhanced with informative displays, making it a unique and educational experience.

  • Floral Extravaganza: Wander through rows upon rows of vibrant annual flowers. Over 1,000 varieties are planted each year, showcasing the latest flower trends and dazzling color combinations.
  • Garden Inspiration: Get ideas for your own landscaping and admire the creative combinations designed by horticulturists. Discover new plant varieties to add a burst of color to your garden spaces.
  • Horticultural Science: The Annual Flower Trial Garden is a test site for flower companies. Observe how new varieties perform in Colorado’s unique climate, helping breeders develop more resilient and beautiful plants.
  • Photo Paradise: The stunning displays are a photographer’s dream. Capture colorful close-up shots or wide-angle vistas with rows of blooms stretching into the distance.

Why You’ll Love It:

The Annual Flower Trial Garden is a wonderful place to visit for gardeners and flower enthusiasts alike.

It’s a visual delight and a valuable resource for anyone who appreciates the beauty of nature.

You’ll be inspired by the gorgeous blooms and the amazing variety of colors.


The peak bloom season is typically mid-summer to early fall. Check the garden website for up-to-date flowering information.

👉Book your flight with Skyscanner to Fort Collins and explore the historic Old Town, inspiration for Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A.

The Butterfly House: A Magical Encounter for Families

Bordano - Butterfly House

Experience a tropical paradise bursting with vibrant colors and breathtaking beauty at The Butterfly House, located within the Gardens on Spring Creek.

Families will adore this enchanting attraction, which offers a unique and educational adventure.

  • Free-Flying Butterflies: Walk through a lush, rainforest-like environment where hundreds of colorful butterflies flutter freely around you. Watch them land on vibrant flowers, sip nectar, and perhaps even gently rest on a lucky visitor!
  • Explore and Discover: Learn about amazing facts about butterfly lifecycles, metamorphosis, and the vital role they play as pollinators. Interactive exhibits allow for hands-on discovery, making learning engaging for kids and adults alike.
  • Photo Opportunities: Capture the magic! The vibrant butterflies and lush surroundings offer endless photo opportunities to create lasting memories.
  • Beyond Butterflies: The Gardens on Spring Creek offer even more for families, with outdoor gardens, a children’s garden, and frequent special events.
Why You’ll Love It:

The Butterfly House provides a multi-sensory experience that captivates visitors of all ages.

Kids will be amazed by these delicate creatures and leave with a greater appreciation for the natural world.


Weekend visits can be busy. Plan to visit during the week or earlier in the day for less of a crowd, allowing for a more leisurely experience.

👉Stay in a downtown Fort Collins hotel for easy access to cultural attractions and vibrant nightlife.


City In Snow-41

Fort Collins is a beautiful city located in Colorado, known for its breathtaking natural landscapes and breweries that have put it on the map for craft beer enthusiasts.

The city offers a perfect mix of urban excitement and outdoor activities, making it an ideal destination for anyone looking for adventure.

Whether you prefer to explore historic Old Town, go hiking in the mountains, or simply relax on a sunny patio with a perfectly crafted beer, Fort Collins has something for everyone.

So, why wait? Start planning your trip to the “Choice City” today and experience an unforgettable Colorado adventure!

👉Find the best flight to Fort Collins on Skyscanner for a tasting tour of the city’s renowned craft breweries.

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