We’ve all heard the traditional ABCs; we’ve written them, read them and sang them. But can you say the same for the ABCs of Fort Collins? Today, we’re swapping eagle for Everyday Joe’s, nickel for New Belgium Brewing and xylophone for FoCoMX.
We rounded up the essential businesses, characteristics, attractions and events here in Fort Collins for a new, hyper-local version of the ABCs. Enjoy!
Colorado State University is home to more than 30,000 students, more than 2,000 faculty across eight colleges, and future Pulitzer Prize winners, astronauts, CEOs and leaders. The nickname “Aggies” comes from the university’s original name, Colorado Agricultural College which opened for its first term in fall 1879.
As you explore Fort Collins, keep an eye out for green and gold, for Cam the Ram and for CSU pride in every local business, on every t-shirt and in every FoCo local.
This one was selected for us by the unofficial city motto of Fort Collins: Bikes, beers and bands. A very basic summary of what our city is famous for, this motto characterizes our hometown as a place where local music and art, outdoor adventure, entrepreneurs, creators and fun can thrive. If you take your bike down the Spring Creek Trail, there’s a good chance you’ll run into some live music and local craft beer along the way! Or, swing by a local spot like The Mayor of Old Town to get a taste for the local culture; they have 100 craft beers on tap!
Located just west of Downtown Fort Collins, City Park is one of many open spaces maintained by the City of Fort Collins. This particular park consists of more than 85 acres and is home to the City Park Pool which is the locals’ destination for outdoor swimming during the summer months.
In addition to baseball fields, basketball courts, horseshoe pits, playgrounds, tennis courts and other outdoor play amenities, City Park is the headquarters of many local events, including Fort Collins Food Truck Rally. This summer series brings live music and regional food trucks to the park every week!
Photo courtesy of Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
Offering thought-provoking fun for all ages, the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is a hands-on history and science museum. The 16,000-square-foot main gallery combines hands-on and artifact-based exhibits that cover everything from music to fossils to bicycles. Exploring the Northern Colorado region via its history, science and technology has never been so fun!
In 2016, Mental Floss named Everyday Joe’s the best coffee shop in Colorado and the volunteer team behind this little neighborhood spot keeps that reputation strong day after day. The nonprofit coffee house is run by about 30 volunteers and operates as FoCo’s living room. Stop by to catch live music, peruse local art and taste some outstanding coffee.
For more information on Fort Collins’ best, check out The 14 Best Local Coffee Shops in Fort Collins.
What began as a project by Foothills Rotary of Fort Collins, this app and organization offers both a free app and a $20 Trail Pass which provides you with discounts and information on local breweries. The proceeds benefit charities such as Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity, Partners Mentoring Youth, The Matthews House, The Rotary Foundation and The World Service Committee of the Foothills Rotary Club of Fort Collins.
Instead of a simple seasonal menu, the team at The Gold Leaf offers a unique menu that allows for daily changes. Because they source every ingredient within about 400 miles of the restaurant, their ingredients change every week and sometimes every day. Stop in to taste plant-based eats in true hyper-local fashion!
For more information on the humble beginnings of this Fort Collins original, check out An Inside Look at The Gold Leaf Collective.
The local destination for swimming, boating, rock climbing, hiking, biking and all other outdoor adventures, Horsetooth Reservoir and Horsetooth Mountain Open Space are just minutes from Downtown Fort Collins.
For more information on the adventures available here, check out The Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in Northern Colorado, The 13 Best Northern Colorado Biking Trails for Beginners, The Best Places to Go Rock Climbing in Northern Colorado and 12 Places to Go Boating in Northern Colorado.
Walrus Ice Cream is the perfect destination to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings any time of the year. This award-winning ice cream shop is locally owned and produces 20 homemade, gluten-free, natural ice cream flavors that rotate on a daily basis.
The headquarters of local business and fun in Fort Collins’ Bucking Horse neighborhood, Jessup Farm Artisan Village popped up in 2015 and has been charming visitors and locals ever since. The intimate collection of businesses includes Jessup Farm Barrel House, Bindle Coffee, The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm, Heyday and Knapsack, Cacciatore at Heller’s Kitchen and Lucky 27.
This traditional Chinese tea house is located in the heart of Old Town. They offer more than 150 different tea varieties and a Blend-Your-Own-Tea bar. Thanks to the expert employees and tea enthusiasts, you can find your new favorite tea and pair it with a homemade treat!
The Lincoln Center is Fort Collins’ largest event venue and, as such, it hosts some of the biggest shows in town. From nationwide comedy tours to concerts and Broadway plays, their lineup includes a little something for everyone.
The Mish is nestled against the Cache la Poudre River just 30 minutes outside of Fort Collins. Here, the sounds of the river and the sounds of live music reverberate in the canyon to produce some of the best outdoor live shows in the region. They also offer a restaurant, an indoor venue for concerts during the winter, and plenty of parking and spaces to sit.
New Belgium Brewing is Fort Collins’ landmark brewery and the largest craft brewery in town. They’re one of many reasons our community has been celebrated for its environmentally-friendly efforts and they’ve created a perfect place to celebrate local, craft beer culture in town. Stop in the dog-friendly taproom any time to enjoy special releases, flagship favorites, food trucks and lawn games. And if you want to tour the whole facility, register for your free tour here.
Downtown Fort Collins is one of the best places to hang out in all of Northern Colorado. It’s the home of free, annual events like Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest, FORToberfest, Downtown Sessions Concert Series, Bohemian Nights Presents Thursday Night Live, Outdoor Movie Night in Old Town Square.
When you’re not attending an event, you’ll find some of our community’s best local restaurants, patios, bars and shops right in Old Town. A short list of favorites includes CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing for eats, Equinox Brewing for brews, Mary’s Mountain Cookies for sweet treats and Akinz for handcrafted clothing.
Affectionately called The Poudre, this river runs through Northern Colorado and has become one of the best destinations for whitewater adventure. It’s also the only Colorado river to be designated “wild and scenic” meaning it’s free-flowing and jaw-dropping.
Each summer, the family-friendly event Poudre RiverFest celebrates Fort Collins’ river, educates locals and raises funds to restore both the land and waters.
Poudre River Whitewater Park is a project of the City of Fort Collins which will open in 2019 and turn a portion of the river that flows through the River District into a year-round destination for kayakers, tubers and kids of all ages to play.
To get a real feel for Fort Collins culture, character, craft beer and local business, we recommend swinging through a local trivia event or pub quiz. Happening weekly at local spots like Dungeons and Drafts, Gilded Goat Brewing Company, Intersect Brewing and Snowbank Brewing, you can sip local beer, taste local eats and have fun with the local community all at once.
For more info on weekly events, check out The Ultimate Guide to Fort Collins Trivia Nights.
Blossoming on the northeast end of Downtown Fort Collins, the River District is one of Fort Collins’ newest and most exciting neighborhoods. As the city’s meeting point between the river, industry, art and history, it’s the ideal place to set forth on all foodie, outdoorsy and artistic adventures.
Start at Ginger and Baker to get an idea of this neighborhoods’ foodie cred, then check out Your Ultimate Guide to Fort Collins’ River District.
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.
Named one of the country’s coolest playgrounds of 2018, Twin Silo Park pays homage to our city’s rich farming heritage through the largest community garden in the city and orchards with various fruit trees. For play, the park boasts accessible trails, a zip line, natural water features and the tallest slide in Fort Collins!
Union features some of the most mouthwatering comfort foods, most innovative cocktails, one of the best patios, and some of the most stunning design in Fort Collins. 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.
A destination for date night, for wine lovers and for local foodies, Cafe Vino is a quaint wine bar near the Colorado State University campus. Their food menu is made up of local and organic ingredients for an outstanding tapas selection. And the beverage list boasts more than 200 wines alongside craft beer and cocktails.
The Welsh Rabbit began here in Fort Collins as a cozy cheese shop in Old Town. Today, they still operate The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop and also run The Welsh Rabbit Bistro right around the corner. That means you can get local and international cheeses to take home and dine out with hand-crafted small bites and one of Fort Collins’ best wine lists. Order a flight and enjoy the stylish, intimate dining room!
Presented each spring at venues all over Fort Collins, FoCoMX is a full weekend celebration of the Northern Colorado music scene. In 2018, the lineup consisted of two nights at more than 30 local venues with performances from more than 300 Colorado bands!
Old Town Yoga was Fort Collins’ first yoga studio and is still operating today as a headquarters for fitness, holistic health and community fun. In addition to offering a schedule of varied and frequent classes, they are a certified yoga school, a healing center and a community hub for engagement, health and sustainability.
This brewery is run by two brothers who are passionate about brewing and possess some serious talent for making small-batch, German-style craft beer. Visit their comfortable and casual taproom — either inside at the bar or on their spacious outdoor patio. If it’s your first time, we suggest starting with Zwei’s classic Dunkel or Helles beers, but you can’t go wrong with any of their award-winning options.
If you want to nominate a local attraction, characteristic, organization or business for any letter of the alphabet, tell us in the comments below!