48 Hours In Fort Collins: Things To Do

FORT COLLINS | Located in the north of Colorado, at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Fort Collins is a mid-sized college city that has a lot for visitors to enjoy.

The city is home to beautiful historic architecture, a vibrant arts scene, and plenty of activities year-round. Fort Collins also punches above its weight when it comes to food and drink, with a large and diverse selection of breweries, bars, restaurants, and cafes.

Fort Collins is a great city for a weekend stay. It’s the kind of place you can explore at a leisurely pace, and still fit a lot in over 48 hours. Here’s some suggestions on things to do in Fort Collins, that will give you a taste of what this city has to offer.

Enjoy Local Produce At A Farmer’s Market

The Colorado Agricultural Marketing Cooperative was established in 1984, when it began running the Fort Collins Farmers Market. The purpose of the market is, as it always has been, to allow consumer the opportunity to support local farmers and ranchers by purchasing fresh products directly from the producer.

The market is open on Sundays from May 5th to November 10th, and Wednesdays from June 12th to September 25th. Both days operate from 10:00am to 2:00pm, and are a great way to enjoy the amazing seasonal, local produce of the area. You purchase fresh produce, and things like baked goods, honey, coffee, and more.

On the topic of food, if you’re looking for a bit to eat, check out Music City Hot Chicken for some brilliant Nashville-style hot chicken, and Lucile’s Creole Cafe for some of the best creole cuisine outside of Louisiana.

Explore The Great Outdoors

Given its location, it’s no surprise that Fort Collins offers a wealth of outdoor activities. Lory State Park and Horsetooth Reservoir are located directly next to the city, less than a 20 minute drive from downtown. They provide a wide variety of year-round activities for visitors. Things like boating, swimming, horseback riding, camping, fishing, mountain biking, hiking, and rock climbing.

Be sure to check out daily trail conditions when planning your visit to these areas, as what you are able do on a given day, especially in the winter, can change.

Immerse Yourself In The Local Arts Scene

Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University (“CSU”), with a student population that helps drive the city’s vibrant arts scene. CSU has a brilliant performing arts centre, multiple theatres, and outdoor performance spaces that host local musicians and performers, artists from further afield, Broadway shows, and more.

A great option to visit is the Lyric Theatre. It’s a popular locally owned independent movie theatre and event space that features musical and cultural events. Also check out The Fort Collins Museum. Established in 1941, it focuses on the culture and history of Fort Collins and the surrounding area.

Rent A Bike

Cycling is a popular way for locals to get around Fort Collins, and it’s easy to see why. The city has brilliant cycling infrastructure, and it’s so easy to get around on a bike. Being such a compact city, everything you could want to see in Fort Collins can be reached in less than an hour on bike.

Sample Local Craft Beer

Fort Collins is home to over 20 breweries, including some of the country’s most regarded craft breweries. Some, like New Belgium, are large operations that offer a wide assortment of beer styles, while others are smaller, and known for mastering particular styles.

Horse & Dragon Brewing Company is one of my favourite Fort Collins breweries, with around 12-14 beers on tap at any given time, and a real community vibe. Another favourite of mine is Jessup Farm Barrel House, which specialises in barrel-aging and blending. Funkwerks is the place to go if you’re a fan of sours and saisons, while Odell Brewing are famed for their innovative brews.

A great way to check out many of Fort Collins’ breweries is to do a “cycle and sip” tour. If you don’t have time to check out multiple breweries, drop by Tap and Handle. It’s one of the best bars in town for craft beer, with 74 different taps pouring craft beers.

See Some Street Art

Fort Collins has a fantastic street art scene thanks to its many local, talented artists, and a positive attitude towards street art by residents and the authorities. There are several street art initiatives running across the city, helping to give local artists the opportunity to promote their art in public spaces.

Take a look at my Fort Collins Street Art Guide to find out more about some my favourite neighbourhoods to visit for Fort Collins’ best street art.

Wander Through The Beautiful Old Town Historic District

Old Town Fort Collins is a historic district in the heart of downtown that’s home to several beautifully preserved historic buildings. The city began life on the site of an abandoned military post in the 1860s. Many of Old Town’s buildings are from the late 1800s/early 1900s, with unique western settlement architecture.

In the early 1950s, when Walt Disney and his colleague Harper Goff decided to build the first Disneyland, the drew inspiration from their childhood towns. Goff returned to his hometown of Fort Collins to take photos, and the area became the inspiration for Main Street Disneyland. Disneyland’s City Hall and it’s bank building, in fact, are almost direct replicas of their Fort Collins equivalents.



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