Even people who don’t live in Colorado know Fort Collins is a craft beer city. Our brewers and distillers and entrepreneurs have built amazing venues for us to enjoy all those things, but when you’re not drinking it can sometimes feel like that’s all there is to do. We’re here to tell you that isn’t the case.
To prove it, we rounded up some of our favorite Fort Collins activities that can be enjoyed without the booze. Highlights include locally brewed kombucha, artisan mocktails, pinball games, art exhibitions, live music and more!
In this guide, we didn’t include outdoor adventures, but Fort Collins offers plenty of that, too! For ideas in that category, check out The Best Northern Colorado Biking Trails for Beginners, The Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in Northern Colorado and The Best Outdoor and Indoor Places to Go Rock Climbing in Northern Colorado. Then, check out our Outdoor Recreation tag here for even more.
The Lyric is a local, independent movie theater that also boasts a full bar and restaurant, Geeks Who Drink trivia nights, weekend cartoons, special events, and a seasonal, bike-in, outdoor screen on the big back lawn. Ticket prices for regular showings are under $10 and while you’re enjoying an indie flick, a throwback or a Hollywood blockbuster, you can also enjoy coffee and tea, kombucha on tap, sandwiches, gourmet bites, salads and more. To see what’s showing now, click here.
Social may be a famous destination for cocktails and sultry, lounge vibes, but alcohol isn’t the only thing on their menu. In the Dry Drinks section, you’ll find non-alcoholic cocktails made with the same craft and attention to detail as the boozy beverages that have made them famous. For a classic, choose the Stubborn Mule made with pineapple juice, fresh lime and ginger beer. For a creative concoction, choose the Drop Zone made with passionfruit, fresh lemon, ginger beer, hot sauce and housemade grenadine. You won’t be short on options, though, because they have seven different non-alcoholic cocktails as well as desserts, charcuterie and shareable plates.
Museum of Art Fort Collins is located directly adjacent to Oak Street Plaza in one of the prettiest historic buildings in downtown Fort Collins. Inside, you’ll find rotating exhibitions exploring everything from masks and funny family portraits to fine art photography and cartoons. Admission is just $5 for adults with discounts for students, seniors and young kids, and children ages 6 and under are admitted for free!
The Exchange is an open-air market located on the north end of Old Town. Inside the gates and under the string lights, you’ll find handheld meals from Chick’nCone, robot-made donuts from Fort Collins Donut Company, handmade ice cream from Old Town Churn, mini-golf with Old Town Putt and several local businesses serving up cocktails, wine and craft beer for anyone who is drinking in your group. These year-round treats come with a side of lawn games, public art, outdoor seating and heat lamps during the cold season.
For details on everything you can do and eat in The Exchange, check out Your Guide to The Exchange in Fort Collins.
The taphouse at Turtle Mountain is a fully non-alcoholic bar serving up fermented beverages alongside fermented snacks. The atmosphere merges coffee house with craft brewery, and the innovative and delicious kombucha flavors prove this family team is here to stay. To learn more about that team, check out our exclusive interview Get to Know the Sisters Behind Turtle Mountain Fermentery in Fort Collins.
The Lincoln Center is Fort Collins’ largest event venue and, as such, it hosts some of the biggest shows in town. These include nationwide comedy tours, huge concerts, Broadway productions, local acts and more. In short, their lineup includes a little something for everyone. See what’s coming up on their calendar here and buy your tickets online.
Photo courtesy of Christa Tippmann via The Fox & The Crow
This Midtown cheese shop and bistro is a favorite in Fort Collins for farmstead and artisan cheeses and meats sourced from between five and 5,000 miles away. Their team includes three full-time Certified Cheese Professionals who have helped to create a cheese-inspired menu alongside a cozy atmosphere and an impressive beverage list. Though you will find beers, ciders and wines on that list, you’ll also find Turtle Mountain Kombucha, organic lemonade, house-brewed tea and even B. Stiff & Sons’ old fashioned craft sodas made by Oskar Blues. To see the full menu of boards, meals, desserts and beverages, click here.
One of the most popular spots in Jessup Farm Artisan Village happens to be one of Fort Collins’ favorite coffee houses: Bindle Coffee. Husband and wife owners Andrew and Jenn Webb care deeply about where their coffee beans come from and how both the farmers and consumers are treated. Their global worldview is displayed clearly in the shop where they have a large world map that shows where their current beans are sourced. And they roast those beans inside their beautifully transformed 19th-century mechanic’s shop complete with a garage door that can open on warm, sunny days.
After you enjoy your coffee, be sure to head outside to explore Jessup Farm Artisan Village which is also home to HEYDAY, KNAPSACK, The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm and more. And for more local coffee shops, check out The Best Local Coffee Shops in Fort Collins and The Best Coffee Roasters Based in Northern Colorado.
Owner Trish O’Neill took more than 300 hours of cooking classes before opening The Cooking Studio so she could share her experiences with Fort Collins. Now, she and her team teach teams, private parties, kid-friendly camps, professionals and public classes in a huge range of culinary topics. The adult class calendar includes topics like tacos, vegan food, cooking with cast iron, tapas and sangrias, Thai cooking, knife skills and so much more.
Photo courtesy of The Armory
For an intimate, all ages experience, head to The Armory in Downtown Fort Collins. With a 225-person capacity and a sit-down environment, The Armory is everything we want in an intimate music venue. By pairing a Colorado artist with a nationally known artist for nearly every show, they’ve created an opportunity both for artists and the audience to expand their experiences. And because they bring in acts like Langhorne Slim & The Law, Joe Pug and Gregory Alan Isakov, the folksy atmosphere is built right in. To see the upcoming shows and buy tickets online, click here.
Pinball Jones, a Fort Collins institution since 2011, offers rows and rows of classic pinball and arcade games at two Fort Collins locations. Though they do have a full bar, you can just come to hang out and play games! Be sure to bring plenty of quarters.
A beloved, local business since 2009, The Haunted Game Cafe celebrates tabletop gaming and community in equal measure. When you visit, you can purchase games, play games, attend special events, and enjoy outstanding espresso drinks made with locally roasted beans. Regular events include weekly RPG Meetup Night, Casual Magic Meetup, Board Game Night and Friday Night Magic. For more, check out the website here.
The Aggie has brought huge names to Fort Collins, including Atmosphere, Matisyahu, Josh Hoyer & The Soul Colossal, Zion I and New Found Glory alongside locally famous groups like Head for the Hills, Project 432 and Trout Steak Revival. Aside from being an impressively diverse lineup, this list is the reason The Aggie is a favorite amongst locals and it has been for more than 100 years. They merge local and national artists in a setting that makes every show feel larger than life.
The Fort Collins Foodie Walk comes to the streets and businesses of downtown Fort Collins on the third Friday of every month. Featuring more than 10 of Old Town’s finest culinary and food-themed shops, you can travel to each one and enjoy free samples along the way. Pick up a brochure at your first stop and be sure to get it punched at each business because if you make it to all the participating businesses, you can enter to win prizes. Free samples and treats often include cheese from The Welsh Rabbit, chocolate from Nuance Chocolate, tea from Ku Cha House of Tea, and fudge from Kilwins Chocolate & Ice Cream!
Fort Collins Escape Room is home to three of Northern Colorado’s best escape room experiences. Each one is fully immersive, uniquely themed and expertly designed to test your team’s skills. To check out those themes and book your room, click here, and good luck escaping in 60 minutes!
If you have a go-to activity in Fort Collins outside of craft breweries, bars and distilleries, tell us about it in the comments below!