We get it. You read 11 Reasons You Should Consider Moving to Fort Collins and were immediately convinced that Fort Collins is the place to be. That’s because it is! And you’re probably already in love with our bustling community that boasts small-town charm and promising growth, but there are just a few things you should know before you settle in. Don’t worry, none of them are bad.
Here, we’ll cover the areas you’ll fall hopelessly in love with, the businesses you’ll obsess over, the new hobbies you’ll pick up and your future in Fort Collins.
Photo courtesy of Richard Haro Photography via Downtown Fort Collins Business Association
We hear it from our neighbors, our friends, our Groupies — Downtown Fort Collins is one of the best places to hang out in all of Northern Colorado. It’s the home of 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. Oh, and all of those concerts, music festivals and movie screenings are free!
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, Social for craft cocktails, Mary’s Mountain Cookies for sweet treats and Akinz for handcrafted clothing. In short, it’s the perfect place to kick off every adventure in town.
This is normal, so don’t worry. Fort Collins is currently home to more than 25 local, craft breweries and that number grows every year! The largest of the two are Odell Brewing Co. and New Belgium Brewing which can be found in cans and bottles across the country. In addition to brewing amazing beers, New Belgium has been a huge pioneer in making Fort Collins a green, eco-friendly city. So it’s not all hops and alcohol!
For a complete guide to all of Fort Collins’ craft breweries, check out our blog post The Ultimate Guide to Fort Collins Craft Breweries which has an interactive map so you can track them all down.
And in addition to these craft breweries, Budweiser also calls Fort Collins home and they have an awesome beer garden. Check it out next time you’re craving some time under the stars and around the fire pit!
The motto here in Fort Collins is beers, bands and bikes for a reason. Looking at data from Walk Score — a website that also calculates bike scores — 25 Fort Collins neighborhoods have Bike Scores between 90 and 100 and all but one have scores over 50. That gives our city an overall Bike Score of 80!
The major bikeways include the Spring Creek Trail, a 7-mile paved pathway that goes east to west across south Fort Collins. And in 2017, the City of Fort Collins added the Pitkin Bikeway. The five-mile route includes safer, dedicated street crossings for bikers and pedestrians. It begins just west of Avery Park and continues east on Pitkin Street through the CSU Main Campus, past Bennett Elementary, Lesher Middle School, Edora Park and Poudre Valley Hospital until it ends near Kingfisher Point Natural Area.
For more details on Fort Collins’ bikeability, check out The 10 Neighborhoods in Fort Collins with the Highest Bike Scores.
Fort Collins is growing in more ways than one which means more sprawl and more new businesses you’ll want to visit. For example, Harmony Commons is a retail district on the southeast end of town. Though it’s about a fifteen-minute drive from the heart of Downtown Fort Collins, it’s home to locally owned spots like DC Oakes Brewhouse And Eatery, MidiCi and Harbinger Coffee.
Even outside of the city, you’ll want to explore nearby places like Horsetooth Reservoir, Loveland, Estes Park, Greeley and even Denver. They may require four wheels to reach, but they’re definitely worth the easy trip from Fort Collins!
Photo courtesy of Bohemian Nights, LLC
And now we get to wrap up the motto “beers, bikes and bands” with one of our favorite Fort Collins attributes: live music! If you’re a fan of music and if you prefer free admission over buying tickets, then boy do we have news for you. Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a free, three-day music festival held each August in historic downtown Fort Collins. The family-friendly festival includes multiple stages covering all ages and genres and focuses primarily on local, Colorado bands. And we’re just getting started.
And if that’s still not enough live music for you, check out The Ultimate Guide to Fort Collins’ Most Popular Music Venues which includes 11 local venues hosting intimate shows, free concerts and big-name bands.
As one of the hottest markets in the state of Colorado and one of the most stable in the country, Fort Collins homes are expected to keep appreciating steadily in value. That means if you buy now, your home will likely be worth more when you’re ready to sell!
Thanks to the growth in job opportunities and the resultant population increase, we have plenty of people buying homes but not so many that demand can’t keep up. In fact, Realtor.com ranked Fort Collins as the number one stable, growing market in the US. SmartAsset ranked it third in 2017 and WalletHub ranked it in the top 20 best markets of 2017.
For specifics on the Northern Colorado market, check out our Annual Report for the end of year 2017.
Photo courtesy of Jimena Peck via The Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market
Though our city attracts some of the most exclusive franchises and chains — like Illegal Pete’s, Torchy’s Tacos and MidiCi — Fort Collins residents love supporting local restaurants, bars and shops too. In total, our city is home to more than 400 restaurants and more than half of those are locally owned! And that number is growing year after year. In the past few months alone, we’ve welcomed brand new favorites like The Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market, Magic Rat Live Music and Sunset Lounge as part of The Elizabeth Hotel, four different eateries and a teaching kitchen in Ginger and Baker as well as Union Bar and Soda Fountain which has brought the style and comfort foods of the past back to life.
If you want to keep up-to-date on the best eats in Fort Collins, be sure to follow along on Northern Colorado Speaks where we publish blog posts like The Top 10 Places to Get Lunch in Fort Collins for $10 or Less and The Best Seasonal Menus From Fort Collins Restaurants, Ranked.
Our love for local extends far past food. As the home of Colorado State University and one of the best business programs in the state, our city has become a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors and success. To cover just a handful, we recommend reading 30 Fort Collins Boutiques + Shops Where You Can #ShopLocal.
And when summer rolls around, you can shop hyper-local at three different farmers’ markets here in Fort Collins: Drake Road Farmers’ Market on Saturdays, Fort Collins Farmers’ Market on Sundays and Wednesdays, and Larimer County Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. For more details on these markets and others nearby, check out The Ultimate Guide to Northern Colorado Farmers Markets. Then, don’t miss the Winter Farmers’ Market throughout the cold season!
Yes, that means most of us enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, rock climbing and skiing, but we also love spending a relaxing, sunny day in the park. There are ample opportunities for both!
The City of Fort Collins maintains 46 Natural Areas, more than 35 miles of recreational trails throughout the city, and 50 parks which include four dog parks, countless playgrounds, sunny fields and picnic areas.
And with Horsetooth Reservoir right in our backyard, we can practice world-class bouldering and rock-climbing, water sports of all kinds, swimming, hiking, biking and more!
We’ve compiled quite a few guides that can help you kickstart your recreation adventures. The best starting point is 9 Things to Do in Northern Colorado For Outdoor Enthusiasts. If you’re looking for more specifics, we recommend The Best Outdoor and Indoor Places to Go Rock Climbing in Northern Colorado, The Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in Northern Colorado and A Beginner’s Guide to Backpacking in Northern Colorado.
We certainly won’t force you into it, but it’ll probably happen anyway. Colorado State University is one of the top employers in Fort Collins and they host some of our community’s favorite events, including CSU Football game days! Their new on-campus stadium has brought the fun and spirit into the city while their new race, the FORTitude 10K, has brought the challenge.
You’ll be wearing green and gold before you know it.
Last, but certainly not least, please bring your pup with you when you move here. Wagging tails and wet noses are always welcome in our dog-friendly city.
In addition to the four dog parks operated by the city, Fort Collins is home to the Front Range Village Dog Park — and Windsor Lake Dog Park and Union Reservoir Dog Beach are just down the road!
If you’re concerned about finding dog-friendly businesses, fun hiking trails and pet services, have no fear! Check out The Dog Owner’s Guide to Fort Collins to learn about some of the best vets, groomers, parks, trails, businesses, food stores, trainers and more!