The River District marks the meeting point of the river, industry, art and history in downtown Fort Collins, making it the ideal place to set forth on all foodie, outdoorsy and artistic adventures. Separated from Old Town by the train tracks, the neighborhood has seen huge development in recent years and its future is even brighter! A few of these highlights include Ginger and Baker, Union Bar & Soda Fountain, and Poudre River Whitewater Park — all of which you can learn more about below.
Throughout the development of the River District, the City of Fort Collins has set a goal to preserve its history while also making it more accessible. Future developments will focus on maximizing on-street parking, enhancing linkages to Old Town, North College Avenue, and the Poudre River, and building in accordance to aesthetic and sustainable ideals.
Photo courtesy of Wolverine Farm Letterpress & Publick House
Today, we’re exploring the River District, an important sector of the Downtown Fort Collins Creative District, home to Fort Collins Rescue Mission, and one of the most promising and growing areas in the city today. To learn more about the new, the historic, and the innovative businesses and park spaces that call this neighborhood home, keep reading!
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. With this addition, the River District has a one-stop shop for all-day dining, creative cocktails, shopping and culinary education. Famous for their handmade pies, you can get a sweet treat in the form of a classic cherry pie or a savory meal in the form of a delectable chicken pot pie. Their outstanding menu and amazing setting have landed them on lists like The Best Seasonal Menus From Fort Collins Restaurants, Must-try Northern Colorado Restaurants with a View and Where to Take Your Parents When They Visit Fort Collins.
Union sits at the downtown entrance to the River District — and what a great welcome it is! This new restaurant features some of the most mouthwatering comfort foods, most innovative cocktails, one of the best patios, and some of the most stunning design in the city. Inspired by the food and the ideals of the old-school soda fountain and diner, the menu includes milkshakes (both kid-friendly and adult-friendly), donuts, all day brunch and American classics. To learn more about Union, check out our interview with co-owner Ty Fulcher: Meet the Team Behind Fort Collins’ Union Bar and Soda Fountain.
El Burrito has been serving authentic, homemade Mexican foods from their charming Linden Street restaurant since 1960 which means they were the first Mexican restaurant in town. Family owned and operated throughout the decades, the team serves everything from chili relleno to stuffed sopapillas. And don’t skip the margarita, either!
Photo courtesy of Mobb Mountain Distillers
Mobb Mountain Distillers is one of a few local businesses putting Northern Colorado on the craft distilling map. With community, adventure, sustainability and quality at the forefront of their craft, they represent FoCo through and through. Handmade and bottled right here in town, their rye whiskey and rye gin are must-try liquors — and you can try them in the River District headquarters and bar!
If you don’t know about New Belgium Brewing Company, maybe you should start here. Located just a minute up the road from the River District, this landmark brewery is the home to some of the most celebrated beers in the country. And you can tour the whole facility for free, enjoy a pint in the dog-friendly tasting room, play lawn games outside and bask in the sun on the patio.
Odell may have a large following within the U.S. (and even across the pond in the UK) but over the years, the brewery has kept to its family-owned roots right here in its hometown of Fort Collins. Their brews are built on British styles, where innovation and creativity meet balance, consistency and quality. The brewery is located just two minutes from Linden Street on the other side of Buckingham Park. And you can tour the brewery; just reserve your spot 24 hours in advance!
Photo courtesy of Wolverine Farm Letterpress & Publick House
Wolverine Farm is a publisher and organization focused on high-quality literature and art. From their Willow Street headquarters, they publish serials, books and a community newspaper — all of which strive to engage our community with the world and with literature. Because Wolverine Farm is also a Publick House, you can stop in and enjoy a local beverage or snack, shop local makers in the retail space, and attend one of many events. Their space is as inspiring and welcoming as their literary work!
A cultural anchor of downtown Fort Collins and the developing River District, Bas Bleu has been presenting outstanding theater shows since they opened their doors in 1992. Showcasing theatre, music and art, their facility hosts five mainstage shows each year, five Readers’ Theatre plays, local art in the Gallery Bleu and shows from the Comedy Brewers.
A home and workspace for the creatives of Fort Collins, The Articulate is a beautifully renovated co-working hub in the River District. Members of the organization have 24-hour access to the vibrant community of designers, tech innovators and creators, the fully equipped photo and video studio, high-speed internet, a conference room, and more.
Smokestack Pottery is the River District headquarters for pottery classes, art gallery exhibitions and art studio space. The Happy Hour Throw Down is a reservation-only experience that invites budding pot throwers to bring drinks and share snacks for a two-hour art experience. To learn more about classes and events, check out the website.
Poudre River Whitewater Park is part of the bright future of the River District. Constructed between summer 2018 and summer 2019, this park will offer year-round recreational fun on the waters of the Cache la Poudre River. Providing safe access to the water and a revitalized waterfront, the park will invite kayakers, tubers and kids of all ages to play. For full construction info and plans, click here.
Old Town Athletic Club has been a part of Fort Collins culture since 2003. In addition to personal training opportunities, you will find classes in yoga, pilates, spinning, sculpting, boot camp, toning, Nia, step and more. Check the full class schedule here. After spending some time in the weight room or on the treadmill, try out the CrossFit and Barre Fitness programs as well!
Located on the northwest end of Willow Street, the Northside Aztlan Community Center is a fitness and events facility maintained by The City of Fort Collins. The facility is also home to a variety of activities, classes, programs, sports and special events, including basketball, playground equipment, venue spaces and more.
Buckingham Park is a quiet neighborhood park consisting of just over five acres. The open area includes barbeque grills, baseball fields, basketball courts, playgrounds, restrooms, a turf area and more.
Bordering the north shore of the Poudre, Gustav Swanson offers wheelchair accessible trails, a quiet, natural atmosphere, benches to rest on, and more than 45 species of birds.
The Larimer County section of the Poudre River Trail covers about 15 miles through Fort Collins along the beautiful Cache la Poudre River — and that trail cuts right through the River District! From the neighborhood, the trail leads northwest to the attractions of Lee Martinez Park and southeast to some of Fort Collins’ largest natural areas.
Image courtesy of Confluence
Available in the fall of 2019, Confluence elevates life, work and play in the River District. Located at the very heart of the neighborhood, the collection of buildings will provide the area with a new public plaza at Linden and Willow Streets, unique loft condos available to own as well as creative office and ground floor retail spaces. So, if you’ve fallen in love with the developing River District, check out Confluence or contact Mary Ann Michels and James Welch Mitchell today! Whether you want to live here or start your business here, it provides the perfect Downtown headquarters.