With each changing season in Northern Colorado, we think we’ve discovered a new favorite time of year. It’s hard to choose between the snow-covered charm, the fall harvests, the spring recreation and the summer fun. But no matter which season you call your favorite, you can’t argue that there are plenty of reasons to love NoCo in the summer.
Coloradans enjoy the season to its fullest by heading to the mountains, the lakes, the beaches and even the rock walls — or by sharing a meal under the sun, dancing and singing at an outdoor concert, and attending the many other local events that take place each year.
But every year, August arrives and with it, the realization that summer is coming to an end. To help you make the most of the season, we put together a bucket list of activities to experience the community and the whole state! Get ready for a few fun-packed weeks and let us know how many you check off the list before September 22.
This one feels like a no-brainer, but with the impending close of Fort Collins Brewery and the birth of the Fort Collins Ale Trail, there’s never been a better time to explore local breweries.
If you haven’t heard of the Ale Trail yet, it’s Fort Collins’ newest craft beer excursion that combines 19 of the city’s best breweries with local charities. As a program of Fort Collins Foothills Rotary, it’s a great way to get involved in philanthropy while enjoying a craft brew! Find out how to download the free app, meet the beneficiaries and preview the participating breweries in our blog post, Everything You Need to Know About the Fort Collins Ale Trail.
Make sure the kids get a fun-packed summer and check off all the activities on 12 Things Every Kid Should Do in Fort Collins This Summer! You’ll find ways to keep them active, to help them learn something new and, of course, to eat sweet treats.
Trust us, it won’t be difficult. You’ll find local food trucks weekly at the City Park Food Truck Rally which takes place every Tuesday evening through September 26th. If you’re trying to track down a specific mobile eatery, we suggest following FoCo Food Truck Alliance on Facebook. They post weekly line-ups and details for each rally — featuring around 20 trucks every week!
You can also learn more about 40 regional food trucks on our ultimate guide! Or, taste something new with our round-up of The Most Unusual Things to Order From 12 Northern Colorado Food Trucks.
Photo courtesy of The Gold Leaf Collective
Fort Collins had quite a few restaurant openings this season, including The Gold Leaf Collective, MidiCi and DC Oakes Brewhouse & Eatery. But new doesn’t have to mean new to Fort Collins! If you haven’t tried it, it’s new to you, right? For inspiration, check out our guide to brunch in town, the city’s best late-night eateries and the best outdoor patios to enjoy the sun.
Fall in love with The Gold Leaf Collective before you even sit down with our exclusive interview and inside look at the hyper-local restaurant!
Photo courtesy of Fortified Collaborations
Fort Collins certainly knows how to celebrate summer. If you’re looking for proof, just check out the Lagoon Summer Concert Series, Noontime Notes Concert Series, Outdoor Movie Night and Downtown Sessions Concert Series! Below, learn more about the recurring events you can still attend from now until the end of summer.
Hosted by Fortified Collaborations, the Fortified Farm Dinner Series unites the communities of food lovers, makers and growers for an evening of food, drink and fun. Beginning in June and continuing through November, the monthly dinners take place on local farms and feature local chefs and brewers from places like Fish, Verboten Brewing, Odell Brewing and more.
The City Park Food Truck Rally is a weekly celebration of the region’s mobile eateries. Every Tuesday starting at 5:30 p.m., City Park is filled with nearly 20 trucks featuring our town’s best on-the-go food! Check out the Facebook page for a weekly line-up of trucks then get to City Park before the last event on September 26th.
Outdoor Movie Night is one of our favorite family-friendly series in town! Anything that includes movies, stars, pillows and snacks is fine by us. Bring food from home or stop by an Old Town business to stock up then hit the square with your pillows and blankets. Bring the whole family to watch Inside Out on August 8th and The Sandlot on August 15th.
One of the most anticipated annual series in Fort Collins, Downtown Sessions brings a diverse line-up of Colorado musicians to Old Town Square each month. Featuring beer service from Odell Brewing and High Country Beverage, the music is free and the fun is plentiful! You can still catch the music on September 1st and October 6th.
Photo courtesy of Bohemian Nights, LLC
Festival season in Northern Colorado is still kicking through August and our guide to the region’s most exciting summer festivals has barely even started. There are still five events from now through September 2nd — and that’s just on our list. Dance your heart out at NewWest Fest in Fort Collins, peruse art at Sculpture in the Park in Loveland, eat until you can’t anymore at the Fort Collins Peach Festival, sing the blues at the 27th Annual Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Lyons, and hop on your bikes for Tour de Fat on September 2nd! Get all the dates, details and ticket info in our blog post.
If you enjoy the outdoors, summer is the perfect time to get active and start a new hobby! It just so happens that Northern Colorado is the perfect taking off point. We’re located in the center of some of the state’s best hiking, camping, biking, rock climbing and even stand up paddleboarding!
For insights on a few local favorites, study our ultimate guide to kayaking in Northern Colorado, our beginner’s guide to backpacking, or choose something random from our list of 9 Things to Do in Northern Colorado for Outdoor Enthusiasts!
Photo courtesy of Jessup Farm Artisan Village
Jessup Farm Artisan Village is charming year-round, but each season brings a new character and atmosphere to the locally-focused community. Spend all day exploring after you start out at Bindle Coffee! Then grab lunch at The Farmhouse, sip beer at The Barrel House and shop at Heyday. Take a virtual tour of the village here, then bring the whole family for a day of local, farm-inspired fun!
If you haven’t explored our beautiful state this summer, make this a top priority. Just minutes from Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley and our other NoCo communities, you’ll find camping destinations, urban centers, secluded mountain towns, exciting day trips, hidden swimming holes and more!
To help you get started, we put together a round-up of the state’s best backpacking trips with all the details you need to get going. You can also head out right now with The Procrastinator’s Guide to Camping in Colorado. Or, for a less strenuous activity, tour the state’s best breweries!
Or explore our own back yard by checking out the Top 10 Attractions in Fort Collins That Aren’t Just for Tourists and take a tour of town like never before!
Farmers’ markets are usually the first thing we think of when we plan our summer outings. If you haven’t made it to a local market this season, there’s still time! And in Northern Colorado, you can make it to one nearly every day of the week. On our guide to the best markets in NoCo, you’ll find weekly events on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays so fill up your calendar and support local before the season ends!
Then, gear up for the smaller Winter Farmers’ Market which kicks off in October.
There’s nothing more nostalgic than a drive-in movie. The experience is quintessentially summery and in Fort Collins, we have our very own theater! The Holiday Twin Drive-in operates seven nights a week from spring through September. Playing the newest Hollywood hits and broadcasting sound via FM radio, this a seasonal experience you don’t want to miss. If you do, you’ll have to wait until spring!
Earlier this year, the Holiday Twin ran a Kickstarter campaign to combat higher costs and refurbishments. Your continued support keeps the family tradition alive! Learn more here.
Photo courtesy of Maxline Brewing
Summer is the best time to show your dog around town. In Fort Collins, we even have a few breweries, restaurants and stores that welcome your furry family member! Check out the city’s dog-friendly businesses. Then, make plans to stop by one of them after you embark on a nearby dog-friendly hike!
How are you saluting the summer in Northern Colorado?