Come spring and summer, many of us are in pursuit of the nearest outdoor patio, where we can sip on our drink of choice and dig into a delicious meal, all while taking in surrounding nature and observing passersby. And during the pandemic, outdoor dining became even more imperative.
One of the best places to dine al fresco is right in the heart of Old Town Fort Collins. The area is dotted with charming cafes, lively breweries and beloved restaurants, many of which have ample outdoor space with string lights, lush foliage, shade umbrellas and other amenities to enhance your experience.
The next time you’re in pursuit of an outdoor patio in Old Town, use our interactive map to find the one nearest you. There’s something to curb just about any craving — whether it be tacos, Italian food, a fresh salad, vegan fare, and even craft beer and cocktails.
Dining on the outdoor patio at Ace Café feels like you’re transcended to a quaint café in Europe. Small tables dot the sidewalk outside the historic Armstrong Hotel, alongside pots of flowers bursting with color. Here, you can enjoy a variety of shared plates and craft cocktails, all while overlooking the activity in Old Town. Don’t miss their daily happy hour and weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday!
Austin’s American Grill serves up the flavors of Colorado in its hearty and flavorful dishes, including inventive appetizers, soul-warming soups and filling entrées. The entrance to Austin’s is bordered by two spacious patio areas, one of which wraps around the corner. Both are properly shaded by red umbrellas and lush trees overhead.
Contemporary Southwestern fare made from scratch and served around a fire pit on the patio with a side of house-infused tequila — count us in! Grab a cushioned seat around the roaring fire (there are five fire pit tables available!) and cheers to warmer weather with 13 different flavors of margaritas.
Sit close to the action in Equinox Brewing’s beer garden, which is situated right next to where they brew their wonderful beers. They regularly rotate their styles and dispense them in a variety of ways — from regular taps to nitro brews. Adorned with a colorful mural, the beer garden is shaded with shade cloths and umbrellas to keep the intense Colorado sun out of your eyes.
At first glance, you may think Illegal Pete’s is void of outdoor patio space — but look a little closer! They have an exceptional rooftop patio packed with plenty of picnic tables, string lights and shade covers. It’s one of the best places in town to watch the sun go down while sipping a craft beer and eating one of the freshest burritos in town. Don’t skip the fresh sopapillas!
The Mayor of Old Town is probably already your go-to destination for craft beer — with 100 beers available on tap every day, there’s a good reason! But this summer, make it your go-to choice for patio season. Beer and crafted pub food always look (and taste) better under the sun. The patio has lots of space to spread out, plenty of shade, and seating facing outward if you want to do some people watching while you sip and snack.
Next Door is the perfect place to go for delectable shareable snacks and a round of cocktails. Plus, this eco-friendly building is situated on a lively corner in Old Town with a spectacular patio area lining both sides of the restaurant. Both areas have plenty of space and shade, providing the ideal conditions for digging into poutine, some tacos or a crispy shrimp Thai salad. Don’t miss their daily happy hour from 2:30–5:30 for majorly discounted drinks and snacks!
Are you craving a good beer or some hearty food? You don’t have to choose between the two at Penrose Taphouse & Eatery, a relatively new addition to The Exchange that serves a Colorado-inspired food menu and a wide selection of drinks, including beers they brew and some from other breweries. Their expansive outdoor patio is a particularly dreamy place to overlook surrounding activity, enhanced by a fire pit and string lights overhead.
Rainbow Restaurant has been a beloved establishment in the Old Town community for more than 40 years. This cozy family-owned eatery serves up one of the best breakfasts, brunches and lunches in town, made all the better in their garden patio. Plus, their menu specializes in vegetarian fare with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options.
On RARE Italian’s patio, you can savor handmade pasta and juicy steaks, sip craft cocktails and craft brews, soak in the sun, or lounge under the lights. It’s the ideal spot to relax on a sunny afternoon — especially if you want some of the best meals in town!
Anyone craving some of Fort Collins’ best Mexican food and a to-die-for margarita? Then the Rio is your next must-try this spring and summer. Their outdoor tables surround a grand fountain with ornate statues, creating a serene and idyllic setting for digging into tacos and sipping on margs.
Serving as the bridge between Old Town and the River District, Union Bar and Soda Fountain opened its doors in February 2018 as the first and only place to get classic soda fountain drinks and alcoholic milkshakes alongside diner-style comfort food. Their outdoor patio has also been a main attraction for hungry and thirsty patrons. It has a relaxing fire pit, beautiful landscaping, twinkling lights, umbrellas, and even a turf area in the middle for yard games.
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! Vatos recently expanded with an upstairs bar and rooftop seating, providing additional outdoor seating options.
Let us know who has your favorite outdoor patio in Old Town!