August 23  |  Our Communities

The List to Send Your Friends When They Ask What to Do in Fort Collins

So, your friends are coming into town and you’ve suddenly forgotten all there is to do in Fort Collins. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there and you’ve definitely come to the right place. To avoid sending a list that’s impossibly long or one that’s only filled with food and drink, we put together this curated selection of the essential activities and businesses in Fort Collins. 

It covers shopping, eating, drinking, live music and even movies in several different areas of town, so your visitors can truly explore our lovable home. Enjoy! 


1. Eat a cinnamon roll at Silver Grill Cafe.

This breakfast paradise has been a Fort Collins favorite since it opened in 1933. As the oldest restaurant in Northern Colorado, Silver Grill has had plenty of time to learn the ropes and perfect the art of breakfast. The cafe is famous for enormous, gooey cinnamon rolls, but the huge menu also features seasonal specials, delectable Eggs Benedicts, egg scrambles, breakfast tacos, trout, tamales, French toast and much, much more. To see the full menus for breakfast and lunch, click here


2. Tour New Belgium Brewing Company

These days, New Belgium is famous everywhere and they have locations in Fort Collins, Asheville and Denver, but they started brewing craft beer right here in 1991. When you sign up for a free tour of the facility, you get to step inside the production areas and learn all about the history, the barrel program, environmental sustainability, employee ownership and more. We mentioned these are free tours, right? You can sign up in advance here, and be ready to get plenty of samples!


3. Go shopping in Downtown Fort Collins

Traveling the sidewalks and alleys of Old Town, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to stop and shop in every category from home goods to cheese to books and everything in between. Some of the must-see storefronts include The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Bistro and Nuance Chocolate located right next door to each other, Old Firehouse Books around the corner, Wagz Pet Market & Grooming for pet goods, Old Town Spice Shop and The Cupboard for all your kitchen needs, White Balcony for fashion, Ku Cha House of Tea for tea, and Bean Cycle Roasters for freshly roasted coffee and artisan goods through their shared space with Half Crown Creative Space and Singularity. 


4. Eat at Ginger and Baker

Ginger and Baker what to do in Fort Collins Colorado

Photo courtesy of Ginger and Baker

The Ginger and Baker experience is centered around food, but this River District destination is much more than just a restaurant. Inside the renovated Northern Colorado Feeders Supply building, they offer a charming shop of home goods, a market for coffee, pies and pastries, a teaching kitchen for culinary classes, and three different places to eat: The Cafe, The Cache and The Rooftop. From the food menu to the cocktail list to the slices of fresh baked pie, everything here is worth a taste. 

For more things to do while you’re in the area, check out Your Ultimate Guide to Fort Collins’ River District


5. Get a donut and ice cream at The Exchange

Fort Collins Donut Company things to do in Fort Collins

Sure, we came for the FoCo DoCo donuts and the Old Town Churn ice cream, but you’ll find so much more to do at The Exchange. This year-round, open-air market brings together some of Colorado’s best businesses inside the newest and coolest block in Downtown Fort Collins. Other highlights include handheld chicken and waffles at Chick’nCone, mini golf at Old Town Putt, sour craft beer at Crooked Stave, urban wine at The Infinite Monkey Theorem, craft distilled beverages at CopperMuse, mouth-watering burritos at Vatos Tacos + Tequila, and even more! For all the details, check out Your Guide to The Exchange in Fort Collins


6. Say hello to The Mayor of Old Town

The Mayor of Old Town what to do in Fort Collins Colorado

Photo courtesy of The Mayor of Old Town

The Mayor of Old Town is the first name that comes to mind when we think beer bar. Their picturesque lineup of 100 taps represents one of the finest tap lists in Northern Colorado, and their stylish, semi-circle bar is one of the best places in town to talk beer and meet friends. Stop by for Pretzel Day on Fridays, check the event calendar for special celebrations, or swing by any day for craft beer and shareable snacks. To see the current tap list, click here.  


7. Go to Jessup Farm Artisan Village

At this historic spot in Fort Collins, you’ll find a small, tight-knit community of businesses with its own convenient parking lot. While you’re spending time in the village, you can enjoy coffee and pastries at Bindle Coffee, stop for a farm-to-table meal (and donuts) at The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm, eat fresh Italian cuisine at Cacciatore at Heller’s Kitchen, grab a craft beer at Jessup Farm Barrel House, and shop fashion and lifestyle products at KNAPSACK and HEYDAY


8. Enjoy cocktails at Social

A vintage street clock and a well-lit stairwell welcome you to this locally owned, underground cocktail bar in Old Town where you’ll find some of the city’s best beverages. Their drink menu covers everything from the classic Old Fashioned to creative bottled cocktails that can serve a group of four. You’ll even find an impressive selection of non-alcoholic cocktails as well as dessert cocktails, wines, beers and ciders. And if you’re not already impressed, wait until you see the food! You can see the full menu here, and be sure to check out the owner’s other local spot, Union Bar & Soda Fountain, too! 


9. Tour the Gardens on Spring Creek

As the community botanic garden for Fort Collins, the Gardens on Spring Creek is one of the most beloved outdoor areas in the city, and it’s located just south of the picturesque Spring Creek and Spring Creek Trail. Originally opened in 2004, the 18-acre site has celebrated many additions and improvements, including five sprawling acres of new gardens completed in April 2019. To find out which gardens are open and when you can visit, click here.


10. Get kombucha at Turtle Mountain Fermentery

The cozy, art-filled taphouse at Turtle Mountain is a 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 isn’t messing around. Using a base of crisp Yerba Mate, Kombucha Brewer Natalie adds things like Earl Grey tea, chai, fruits and more. To learn more about this kombucha brewery, check out our exclusive interview Get to Know the Sisters Behind Turtle Mountain Fermentery in Fort Collins.  


11. See a show at Magic Rat

Magic Rat Live Music what to do in Fort Collins Colorado

Photo courtesy of Magic Rat Live Music

Part of the beautiful Elizabeth Hotel in Downtown Fort Collins, Magic Rat is as eclectic as it is refined and as unexpected as it is comfortable. The lineup includes weekly big-name artists and local late-night jam sessions so everyone can find something on the calendar to enjoy—and many of those shows are free! With an atmosphere designed like a jazzy lounge, complete with velvet couches, vintage seats and a glamorous bar, it’s the perfect place to hang out with friends, drinks and live music. 

For more live music venues in Fort Collins, check out The Ultimate Guide to Fort Collins’ Most Popular Music Venues


12. See a movie at The Lyric

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


Want to add to the list?  

Tell us about your favorite Fort Collins activities in the comments below!

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