It’s happened to all of us: your family is coming to town and suddenly you forget everything you love about our amazing city. Don’t worry though. You live in Fort Collins which means you could simply stroll through Old Town or Jessup Farm Village and get one hundred new ideas.
To kick-start your itinerary, we rounded up a few of our favorite must-visit destinations in town. From breakfast, lunch and dinner locales to craft beer bars, breweries and underground cocktail spots, our list includes the places that are perfect for families while showing off FoCo’s characteristic charms and outstanding local businesses. Our guide also includes activities because, unfortunately, you probably can’t eat the entire time. Enjoy!
This breakfast paradise has been a Fort Collins favorite since it opened in 1933. As the oldest restaurant in Northern Colorado, Silver Grill Cafe has had plenty of time to learn the ropes and perfect breakfast. Though the café is most popular for their enormous, gooey cinnamon rolls, don’t miss the rest of the menu — filled with American classics. And there’s an entire lunch menu to get through as well!
Located on a cozy corner in Old Town, locals always look forward to seeing what Rare Italian is cooking up next. With a menu of classic Italian fare made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, they’ve nailed the dining out experience — from Old Town atmosphere to mouth-watering (and Insta-worthy) meals. Inspired by traditional Italian cuisine and driven by modern preparations, you’ll find approachable options every time you visit and a new favorite with each change of season.
Coopersmith’s represents everything we love about the Fort Collins food scene. The team makes pub food gourmet, brews their own beer while also showcasing other local favorites, offers a fun, lively atmosphere, and has one of the best patios in FoCo (they technically have two). And it’s all in the heart of Old Town!
Photo courtesy of Ginger and Baker and Christian Rhea
In November 2017, the long-awaited Ginger and Baker opened the doors to their café, market and bakery, restaurant, teaching kitchen, and rooftop bar located inside the historic Northern Colorado Feeders Supply building. That impressive list of offerings makes this more than just a restaurant destination. If you’re looking to sit down for a meal, they have a casual café and a more upscale restaurant called The Cache. You can also take handcrafted treats to-go from The Market and Bakery, take a class in The Teaching Kitchen, or sip cocktails and share snacks on The Rooftop.
As far as casual spots go, MCHC should be at the top of your itinerary! The first of its kind to showcase Nashville Style Hot Chicken in Fort Collins, this lunch, dinner and brunch spot was founded by brothers Jordan and Sam who are FoCo locals, Lambkin and CSU grads. Alongside an impressive lineup of craft beers on tap, the menu includes their signature hot chicken which is crispy fried chicken topped with a spicy drizzle. Your parents might come back just for that.
Photo courtesy of Stuft Burger Bar and Marianne Pellin Photography
As both a local business and home to one of the best burgers in the region, Stuft is another casual option to make room for on your agenda. And we’re not exaggerating when we say they’re the best; they’ve won numerous awards, including a 2016 title from the Colorado Burger Summit which named them the best in the state. Make sure you save room for a milkshake! The bartender hand-spins every one and can add mix-ins like Nutella and graham crackers.
Photo courtesy of Bean Cycle Roasters
If you want to highlight a taste of FoCo student culture, coffee culture, bike culture and book culture all at the same time, fuel up at The Bean Cycle. As one of the city’s favorite Old Town hangouts and one of our favorite coffee roasters, you can get an outstanding cup of coffee or crafted espresso drink, snack on pastries, admire vintage bikes hanging on the wall, and shop books from the Old Firehouse Books pop-up shop!
Another student favorite, Wild Boar Cafe merges coffee house vibes with handmade, artisan bistro foods and craft beer on tap. It’s the perfect FoCo mashup! Highlighting local and sustainable goods, the team does much of their own gardening, makes their own ginger chai and serves Fort Collins’ own Bootleg Boocha. And that’s just the shortlist; stop by to experience it all!
Photo courtesy of The Mayor of Old Town
The Mayor of Old Town is probably already your go-to destination for craft beer — with 100 beers available on tap every day, there’s a good reason! And because of that, it’s practically a local landmark. Their picturesque taps feature beers from down the street and around the world. When you stop by, you’ll also get the opportunity to try one of the city’s best burgers, a long list of mouth-watering snacks and sandwiches, and one of the best soft pretzels you’ll ever eat. Schedule your visit on Pretzel Friday and you’ll get a free pretzel when you buy any adult beverage!
With a quiet, speakeasy-inspired atmosphere and some of the most meticulously crafted cocktails in town, this is a must-visit for cocktail lovers. The locally-owned, underground bar is centrally located in Old Town. And, in addition to the seasonal drinks, bottled cocktails, beers and wines, you can enjoy a menu of charcuterie platters and cold, tapas-style snacks.
If your parents are craft beer fans (or if they want to taste what all the hype is about), we’d hate for them to miss one of the city’s best new breweries. The business is owned and operated by Laura and Zach Wilson, who come from FoCo’s now closed 1933 Brewing, and Frezi and Peter Bouckaert, who have been with New Belgium since the beginning. It’s an impressive team, we know. Often sour and always driven by local ingredients, the tap list is more impressive with each new release!
You might have guessed this from their name, but Funkwerks is a truly unique craft beer destination in Fort Collins. Over the years, they’ve become famous for their specialty Saisons. And we’re not the only ones who think it’s well deserved! This orange, citrusy FoCo original has earned them multiple medals at Great American Beer Fest every year — and it has a special place in many local hearts.
Photo courtesy of The Lyric
The Lyric Cinema is a favorite spot for locals looking to see the latest flick or a festive, themed throwback. If you stop by Saturday or Sunday morning, you can enjoy free cartoons from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. And because the lineup can include everything from Looney Toons to Johnny Bravo, everyone in your family will find something to laugh about. The Lyric offers it all in addition to a full bar and restaurant so you can enjoy your film with a meal and a drink in hand!
This isn’t just a drink destination; it’s a bucket list activity for any Colorado resident and every visitor. The free, 90-minute tour will take you through the history, the processes and the tastes of New Belgium, and it ends in a complimentary craft beer sampling of a few of their most famous brews! Be sure to reserve your date and time in advance so you don’t your chance!
Part of the brand new Elizabeth Hotel in Downtown Fort Collins, Magic Rat Live Music is as eclectic as it is refined, as unexpected as it is comfortable. The lineup includes weekly big-name artists and local late-night jam sessions so everyone can find something on the calendar to enjoy. And with an atmosphere built around comfort, music enjoyment and vintage decor, this is the perfect opportunity to sit back, relax and sip a cocktail with your loved ones.
Old Town Fort Collins inspired Walt Disney himself and is a favorite haunt of most FoCo residents. Show off the history, charm and local businesses of our city simply by strolling down the street. This all-inclusive idea can include shopping, listening to live music, perusing art galleries, eating a delicious meal and sampling your favorite beverage option! For ideas, check out Your Guide to Old Town Fort Collins or stop in The Group’s Old Town Relocation and Visitors’ Center and ask for recommendations.
This farm-inspired village is nestled in Fort Collins’ Bucking Horse neighborhood. Developed to showcase and preserve the city’s agriculture history, the community of businesses includes boutique shops, The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm restaurant, Jessup Farm Barrel House brewery, Bindle Coffee and even a barbershop and social club. The family photo opportunities and scenery are worth the visit alone, but you’re sure to find goods, foods and drinks to enjoy as well!
The drive through the Poudre Canyon winds along Colorado’s only designated Wild and Scenic River. From Fort Collins, simply take U.S. Highway 287 northwest to its intersection with Colorado Highway 14 in Bellvue. From there, the highway proceeds up the rugged Cache la Poudre River Canyon. Be sure to bring binoculars and keep an eye out for wildlife and kayakers!
It’s impossible to run out of hiking options around Fort Collins. If your family is the outdoorsy type — and if they love jaw-dropping views as much as we do — we recommend Lory State Park’s Arthur’s Rock Trail or the Horsetooth Rock Trail. There are plenty of reasons these have become two of the most popular treks near the city. For starters, they’re accessible for most skill levels and end in unforgettable views! Get directions to Horsetooth Mountain Open Space here or get directions to Lory State Park here. Once inside the parks, signs will point you toward your trails!
Help visiting families find something to do! Share your go-to places and activities in the comments below.