March 27  |  Our Communities, Real Estate

A Newcomer’s Guide to Fort Collins

Whether you’re thinking about moving to Fort Collins, you’re unpacking moving boxes, or you’re already settled in, getting to know a new city can be an intimidating endeavor. Where do you go to eat? How do you meet new people? Which grocery store is the best?

Well, we’re here to answer all of those questions and more. And because moving to Northern Colorado shouldn’t be a frightening prospect for anyone, we also offer several more resources on our website, There, you can find things like relocation resources, current housing market information, several different home searches and our event calendar NoCo Happenings.

But here, we’re answering the basics, including what to expect from the weather, how to get around, where to take your dog and the best ways to explore our great outdoors.

For even more newcomer facts, check out 11 Things You Need to Know Before Moving to Fort Collins.


Click each category to jump ahead and learn about:

Trivia | Housing | Employment | Weather | Travel | Socialization | Groceries | Dining Out | Outdoor Recreation | Indoor Attractions | Craft Beer | Fitness | Kid-friendly Activities | Dog-friendly Activities

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A Newcomer's Guide to Fort Collins Colorado

First of all, Choice City is Fort Collins, Aggies is a reference to Colorado State University, and Poudre is pronounced “poo-dur”. Now that we got those out of the way, let’s explore some statistics.

At the time of the 2010 census, the population in Fort Collins was 143,986. According to the US Census Bureau, that number was estimated at 165,080 in 2017. And get ready for a lot of conversations about population growth once you arrive, because our town has certainly welcomed even more new residents in recent years.

The largest percentage of the population is between the ages of 19 and 64, and the breakdown of females and males is almost dead even at 49.9% female at the 2017 census. With an average persons per household of 2.46 people, you’ll find a lot of families and residents of working age. And a whopping 96.4% of the population have a high school diploma or higher degree.



A Newcomer's Guide to Fort Collins Colorado

Housing is a hot button topic in Fort Collins thanks in large part to the population growth we mentioned above and our thriving housing market. For the most up-to-date resources on that market, we recommend checking out our Market Info and Statistics page here. There, we provide detailed quarterly and yearly market data on the Northern Colorado region as a whole and on specific communities, including Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley and Windsor.

For more insight on the years 2018 and 2019, check out our recap article, What to Expect in the Northern Colorado Real Estate Market for 2019.

And if entertainment and attractions are your primary concern, you certainly have a diverse lineup of options to choose from. Ranging from quiet, residential neighborhoods to charming homes just minutes from the heart of Old Town, each neighborhood offers its own lineup of amenities, attractions and bonuses. Want to get to know the most entertaining of those neighborhoods? Check out our guides The Neighborhoods in Fort Collins with the Best Walk Scores and The 10 Neighborhoods in Fort Collins with the Highest Bike Scores.

Of course, the best way to get to know your new Fort Collins neighborhoods is to speak with one of us directly. With several decades of experience in town, we know this place better than we know the backs of our hands. You can contact us directly here.



A Newcomer's Guide to Fort Collins Colorado

From high-tech business campuses to thriving locally owned businesses, Fort Collins boasts an impressive diversity when it comes to employment opportunities. According to the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce, the city’s largest employers include Colorado State University, Anheuser Busch, Banner Health, Hewlett-Packard, Noosa and The Group, Inc. (that’s us!). Altogether, this list represents our booming craft beer industry, the tech industry, real estate, health and food. Which industry will you choose?

If entrepreneurship is more your speed, then Fort Collins is certainly a good place to start. In fact, ValuePenguin ranks Fort Collins second on their national list, Best Cities for Small Business.

Need more entrepreneurial inspiration? Read our article, Meet the Team Behind The Welsh Rabbit in Fort Collins, an in-depth look at one of Old Town’s most beloved businesses.



A Newcomer's Guide to Fort Collins Colorado

You’re going to need an ice scraper in your car, and you’ll want sunglasses year-round, too. Famously, the state of Colorado claims 300 days of sunshine per year, which means it could snow in the morning and be sunny that afternoon. During the spring, all that snow may even be melted before the sun goes down. And during the summer, the Colorado sunshine will make you want to be outside every day.

According to US Climate Data, our warmest month is July when we can get temperatures in the 80s and 90s, and our coldest months are January and February when the temperature can range from below 10 degrees all the way up to 50 degrees. But your best bet is checking your weather app frequently because the weather can change by the hour, and dressing in layers is always a good idea.



A Newcomer's Guide to Fort Collins Colorado

There are attractions, amenities and things to do in every neighborhood and area of Fort Collins, so having access to a car is a good idea, but driving isn’t your only option in our bike-friendly city.

Our hometown is consistently ranked in research on the most bike-friendly cities in the country. PeopleForBikes ranks Fort Collins the best place for riding; you can see that list here. And Bicycling ranked Fort Collins third in their 2018 Best Bike Cities in America which you can see here.

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. This 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 and ends near Kingfisher Point Natural Area.

Additionally, Fort Collins Bike Share provides more than 40 stations throughout Fort Collins where you can rent bikes via the Pace app—so you don’t even need your own bike! At each location, you’ll find bikes available for just $1 per half hour, and all you have to do to ride is download the app.



A Newcomer's Guide to Fort Collins Colorado

Did you know our city is famous for hosting free, community events? And these happenings are great places to meet people! That annual lineup includes Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest every summer, Fortoberfest every fall, and the Old Town Irish Party every spring. During the summer, Fort Collins organizations also host several seasonal series like Bohemian Nights Presents Thursday Night Live, Lagoon Summer Concert Series and Outdoor Movie Night in Old Town Square. For events year-round, check out NoCo Happenings.

But you don’t have to wait for events and summer series to meet new people. Whether you’re a book lover, a music lover or a beer lover, there’s a niche community in Fort Collins just for you. We recommend frequenting the places you love whether it’s a Dungeons & Drafts, our local tavern for geeks and gamers, stand-up comedy night at Hodi’s Half Note, a book club at Old Firehouse Books or live music at New Belgium Brewing Company. Many local businesses, venues and organizations offer clubs, memberships or special events where you can meet people who love the same things you do.



A Newcomer's Guide to Fort Collins Colorado

As one of Colorado’s most bustling communities, Fort Collins offers some of the best options in chain grocery stores, including Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, Sprouts, Safeway and King Soopers.

But in addition to these grocery giants, our community is home to several local and specialty markets. Some of these include Beavers Market, Explorado Market, Turmeric Indian Groceries and Mountain Avenue Market, also known as Fort Collins Food Co-op.

You can also find farmers markets year-round. The Fort Collins Farmers Market is typically available May through November and the Larimer County Farmers Market operates May through October. Then, swing by the Fort Collins Winter Farmers Market available on select dates from November through April.


Dining Out

A Newcomer's Guide to Fort Collins Colorado

Along with the recent population growth in Fort Collins, we’ve welcomed several new foodie destinations in town. The Exchange, a stylish open-air market, has brought us FoCo DoCo, Old Town Churn, Vatos Tacos + Tequila, and Denver-based favorites The Infinite Monkey Theorem and Crooked Stave. For more information, check out Your Guide to The Exchange in Fort Collins.

The River District has also seen tremendous growth with the openings of Ginger and Baker and Union Bar & Soda Fountain. For more information on this downtown neighborhood, read Your Ultimate Guide to Fort Collins’ River District.

And even before these openings, Fort Collins celebrated the development of Jessup Farm Artisan Village on the east end of town. Here, you’ll find a small, tight-knit community of businesses directly adjacent to a residential neighborhood. These include The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm, Bindle Coffee and Jessup Farm Barrel House.

To get a better idea of the food scene in Fort Collins, check out our guides The Top 10 Places to Get Lunch in Fort Collins for $10 or Less and The 16 Best Weekday Brunch Spots in Fort Collins.

And we encourage you to attend the next Fort Collins Foodie Walk, too! This food-centered event is a self-guided tour of Old Town’s best culinary businesses and it occurs once a month throughout the year.


Outdoor Recreation

A Newcomer's Guide to Fort Collins Colorado

We’ve heard it time and time again: the reason many people move to Fort Collins is due to our area’s proximity and love for the outdoors. So needless to say, you’ll find plenty of ways to opt outside throughout the year.

Two of the most popular places to opt outside are Horsetooth Mountain Open Space and Lory State Park on the west border of town; during the summer, you’ll find plenty of fellow adventurers on the water at Horsetooth Reservoir. And this is also one of the best places in the state for rock climbing and bouldering!

To kick off your local outdoor adventures, check out our guides The Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in Northern Colorado, 8 Colorado Backpacking Experiences that Should Be on Your Bucket List, The Best Outdoor and Indoor Places to Go Rock Climbing in Northern Colorado, The 12 Best Snowshoe Trails in Northern Colorado, and 10 Ways to Stay Active During the Northern Colorado Winter.


Indoor Attractions

A Newcomer's Guide to Fort Collins Colorado

When you want to stay inside, you’ll find plenty of entertaining options in Fort Collins. Some of our best guides for these activities are The Ultimate Guide to Fort Collins’ Most Popular Music Venues, The Ultimate Guide to Fort Collins Craft Breweries, and 15 Winter Date Ideas in Fort Collins.

And some of our most recommended indoor activities include exploring Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, getting active at Ascent Studio Climbing & Fitness, taking a cooking class at Ginger and Baker or The Cooking Studio, embarking on a free tour or chilling in the dog-friendly taproom at New Belgium Brewing Company, and grabbing a pint at The Mayor of Old Town.


Craft Beer

A Newcomer's Guide to Fort Collins Colorado

Okay, so we’ve already mentioned craft beer quite a lot. If you’re new to Colorado or Fort Collins, you may be wondering why it’s such a big deal, and it definitely is. Here in the Choice City, we have more than 25 craft breweries as well as Anheuser-Busch.

The largest craft breweries are Odell Brewing Co. and New Belgium Brewing Company 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 and they’re also 100% employee-owned.

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.



A Newcomer's Guide to Fort Collins Colorado

Fort Collins is an active city year-round, so whether you’re looking for a fitness community, a simple way to stay in shape, or a place to train for your outdoor adventures, you’ll find it here. Check out our guides 24 of the Best Gyms in Fort Collins, The Top 10 Yoga Studios in Fort Collins, The Best Outdoor and Indoor Places to Go Rock Climbing in Northern Colorado, and The Best Gyms with Childcare in Fort Collins, Loveland and Windsor.



A Newcomer's Guide to Fort Collins Colorado

If you have kids to entertain in Fort Collins, you’ll find several special events and businesses that help to do just that. For starters, check out our guides 20 Things to Do with Kids in Fort Collins and The Best Gyms with Childcare in Fort Collins, Loveland and Windsor.

For quick picks, we recommend Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, Walrus Ice Cream and The Farm at Lee Martinez Park.  



A Newcomer's Guide to Fort Collins Colorado

If your kids are four-legged and furry, you’ll find plenty of local resources, dog-friendly businesses and exercise areas, too. Check out The Dog Owner’s Guide to Fort Collins for a run-down on every category from food and supply stores to trainers.



Have more questions?

The best way to learn about Fort Collins is to chat with someone who lives here, and we’ve been in the Choice City for decades! If you want to speak with one of our agents or someone on our team, please contact us directly here.

We also recommend following this blog, Northern Colorado Speaks, and following our Instagram, @thegrouprealestate, for insight on things to do, local businesses and upcoming events.

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