This post was updated on June 6, 2019 to include up-to-date information and recommendations.
The Exchange is Downtown Fort Collins’ dog-friendly, open-air entertainment plaza, the first entertainment district in Fort Collins, and the only site in the city where we can enjoy alcoholic beverages, foods, desserts and more in an outdoor, common area. That’s right, thanks to The Exchange’s common consumption permit, alcoholic drinks are allowed in the plaza meaning you can enjoy your wine from Infinite Monkey while your friends sip craft beer from Crooked Stave and cocktails from CopperMuse. The space is canopied with string lights, adorned with murals and other public arts, lined with community-style picnic tables and firepits, decked out with heat lamps during the winter, and is even home to a free book library and a self-service bike repair station! During the summer, the fun gets even better with special events like The Exchange Summer Series, but events like Christmas tree shopping with Old Town Churn, special pairings, food tastings, and shows during FoCoMX continue throughout the year, too.
Basically, since opening in 2017, this little block in Old Town has become the central quarter for food, drink and entertainment.
To get you ready for your visit, we rounded up all the businesses that call The Exchange home. Keep reading to find out where you can shop floral arrangements, take a fitness class, taste a handcrafted whiskey, sip a sour beer, snack on a freshly made donut, enjoy chicken and waffles on-the-go, and more.
Photo courtesy of bloom
This boutique flower shop has everything you might need in the floral department from single stem flowers, bouquets and potted plants to complete floral arrangements and displays for events. When you step inside the upstairs shop, you’ll find beautiful fresh flowers for custom bouquets, arrangements often designed in up-cycled containers, plants, succulents and occasional vintage or antique items for your home or office.
The Board & Brush story begins with a simple girls’ night out event held in the founder’s basement. That fun gathering turned into one studio in Wisconsin and has now grown to more than 240 shops throughout the country. Now, the locally-owned studio in The Exchange is bringing DIY crafting and tons of fun to Fort Collins. Starting in the fall of 2019, you can book classes like wood sign workshops, terra cotta pot creation, canvas pillow designing and more.
Photo courtesy of Chick’nCone
Made famous on Instagram and Facebook, Chick’nCone brings together our favorite brunch meal into a handy, portable treat. The international franchise serves fork free chicken and waffles complete with crispy panko breaded chicken tossed in a signature sauce and served in a fresh waffle cone. The meal can be eaten without a fork and the entire company plans to go plastic free in 2018!
Club Pilates is a national sensation that began in San Diego in 2007. Since then, the club has expanded to bring more than 2.2 million workouts to hundreds of thousands of people across the country. In their Old Town location, the team offers low-impact, full-body workouts with a range of offerings that challenge the mind as well as the body. For more information click here, and don’t miss your chance to get a free intro class!
CopperMuse was the original business operating out of what is now The Exchange. They build upon Fort Collins’ legendary craft beer heritage and apply that love of craft to distillation. Their handcrafted spirits include vodka, whiskey, rum and unique liqueurs which can all be tasted in the Old Town tasting room. Here, they offer artisan cocktails and infusions alongside a chef-inspired food menu of tapas, salads and panini sandwiches. Home to one of our favorite local atmospheres, they have no TVs in the tasting room to foster real enjoyment and connection.
Photo courtesy of Crooked Stave
Though this sour-focused brewery took off after settling in its Denver home inside The Source, its origin story begins right here in Fort Collins. Chad Yakobson graduated from Colorado State University in 2006, went on to earn his Ph.D. in brewing science in Scotland, then returned to Fort Collins for a job at Odell Brewing. Crooked Stave was born shortly after when he began fermenting his sour and wild ales at Funkwerks then selling the beer in bottles.
Following their triumphant return to Fort Collins, the Crooked Stave team is maintaining its Denver facility and growing their beer program through their location in The Exchange. To see what’s on tap, click here.
This local gym hosts classes that can provide a full body workout in just 30 or 45 minutes! Open to all experience levels, their classes utilize The BodyBoard Program, a combination of resistance band training, high-intensity interval training, strength training, cardio and stretching. In addition to increasing muscle tone, strength and size, their team of fitness experts can help you reach the smaller muscles and ligaments, too, to create full body integrity and balance.
Better known as FoCo DoCo, this little bakery combines our love for local with everyone’s favorite food: donuts! Their Colorado-style treats use the best ingredients from around the state—like Palisade peaches and locally harvested honey—to craft donuts from scratch without adding unnecessary sweeteners or preservatives. With the help of their donut-making robot, every treat is made to order and fried in Colorado sunflower oil then served alongside coffee from Fort Collins roaster The Coffee Registry.
You may recognize this Denver winery by its now iconic cans and lovable monkey logo. Opened in 2008, the urban winery has no vineyard and no pretense; they just create great, one-of-a-kind wines. Over the years, their urban winery operation has grown to include two locations in Denver, one in Austin, and now one in Fort Collins! Opened in February 2019, you can taste their crafted wines and wine slushies right here in The Exchange.
Photo courtesy of Harry Warters via Old Town Churn
Old Town Churn is another Colorado headquarters for Little Man Ice Cream. Little Man’s original location can be found in Denver and is housed inside a 28-foot-tall cream can. In Fort Collins, the team opted for a 26-foot-tall ice cream churn to represent the city’s agricultural roots. From the window, you can order Little Man’s famous handmade flavors in addition to several exclusive to Fort Collins. This little ice cream team also hosts tons of events throughout the year—including ChurnUpGood and a Christmas tree market. You can keep up with upcoming events on Facebook here.
Old Town Putt combines a neighborhood bar with classic, indoor mini golf. Their nine-hole course offers 3,500-square-feet of greens, drinks and fun, including local brews, cider and wine as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic slushies!
The Pizza Press is a build-your-own pizza parlor inspired by 1920s Americana and the era’s newspaper history. Here, you can order a signature pie named after some of the country’s most famous papers or you can publish your own and top it with things like bourbon bacon and pepperoni, artichoke hearts and Spanish black olives, caramelized onions and more.
This Fort Collins original serves up top-shelf tacos and tequila, premium margaritas, handheld burritos for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and Mexican draft beer for dine-in, grab and go or outdoor patio dining. Their street tacos are some of the best in town and don’t miss their soft serve churro ice cream either!
Header photo courtesy of Old Town Churn.