Fort Collins is a wonderful combination of both urban life and outdoor living. Travel about 65 miles north of Denver to you find yourself in downtown Fort Collins. Known as the "Choice City," Fort Collins offers rafting, year-round golf, hiking, horse riding, local brewery tours, many museums and festivals. This provides options for just about anyone, whether you are interested in outdoor activities, learning about history, or just want a comfortable town to live in.
Rated by Money magazine as the Best Place to Live in the United States in 2006, Fort Collins has attracted many new businesses, restaurants, and residents to the area.This blend of college kids, families, business professionals and small town westerners gives Fort Collins a personality hard to find anywhere else.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Fort Collins shares a blend of both commercial chain and small-town locally owned restaurants. This gives residents many options to fill their plate depending on the atmosphere and food they enjoy. Having a huge college campus nearby helps restaurants compete for the best Happy Hour pricing. Old Town Fort Collins is the central place for residents to enjoy a new restaurant or a night out with some friends.
The Colorado Room is the place to go if you enjoy American barbecue. The mini-sandwiches, what they call Sammys, are a local favorite. If you want a taste of the West, make sure to try the bison Sammys. They also have a sprawling back porch so people can take in the beautiful sights of the vast mountains.
For a taste of some delicious Thai food, stop in Cafe De' Bangkok. Some of their entrées are around $9.50, making this an ideal place for residents who want a night out without spending a lot of money. The Pad Thai is simply superb, especially with added chicken. The Curry Noodle is a must for spicy food fans.
The Welsh Rabbit is an adorable small cafe and cheese shop, perfect for date night or an intimate night out with friends. You will find multitudes of cheeses from all over the world. The staff are helpful and can walk you through all of their options. Try the various platters of cheeses from England, France and Spain.
There are also a number of brewing companies that offer tours, such as the New Belgium Brewing Company, Odell Brewing Company and the Fort Collins Brewery.
With Colorado State University so close to Old Town Fort Collins, the nightlife is lively and young. A walk in Old Town will give you a number of choices for your nightly experience.
Anyone looking to fill both their bellies and have a drink should stop by Social . The atmosphere is classy and warm, but the food prices won't break your budget. The bartenders are friendly and always come up with a creative drink based on your preference. If you enjoy fruity drinks, make sure to order the strawberry basil cocktail.
Live music options are abundant in Fort Collins, with many of the locals stopping at Aggie Theatre, Hodi's Half Note or Avogadro's Number.
History & Culture
Fort Collins was founded in 1864 as a military outpost of the U.S. Army, but the first real population boom didn't come until 1872 when agricultural colonies were built.
By the 1880s, elegant homes and commercial buildings were on the rise all throughout the downtown area. The population continued to rise, even as the Great Depression took hold of the town. With World War II, the local economy had a sharp upturn, making this an appealing city to people across the country. The population continued to boom, and Colorado State University saw its enrollment double during the 1960s.
Fort Collins has had many notable people live within the city, including politicians, authors, actors, NFL players and musicians. Rick Dennison, Jeff Donaldson and Pete Monty are some of the NFL players to have lived in this neighborhood. Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Academy award, lived here too.
While Fort Collins proudly boasts many museums, two of the most popular include the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, primarily aimed at children, and the Fort Collins Museum, a museum that hosts the history of the area, including 30,000 artifacts and multiple educational programs.
On the first Friday of every month, all the local galleries open their doors for a celebration. The Colorado Brewer's Festival is one of the biggest events held annually in Fort Collins. The New Belgium Brewery also hosts an annual bike riding festival where over 20,000 people dress in costumes and ride their bikes through the city.
The most common way people get around Fort Collins is by foot or bike. Fort Collins also provides a streetcar from City Park to Old Town. The Fort Collins Bus System, safe rides, and taxi services are all available for residents as well. You can catch any of the taxis at their stands near Old Town Square.
All on-street parking in downtown Fort Collins is free, while in the heart of downtown there is a time limit, so make note of that while you explore the area.
Just a few minutes' drive from downtown are I-25 and Highway 287, giving you easy access to the mountains and other areas of Colorado.
The cost of living in Fort Collins is on the low side compared to the other major Colorado cities such as Boulder and Denver. The average one-bedroom apartment is $900.
Given the vast amount of outdoor activities in and around Fort Collins, Jax Outdoor Gear is where you need to shop for all your gear. From camping gear, dog leashes, fishing equipment, hunting gear, cookbooks, or anything else you need to play in the great mountains, Jax has it. They also allow dogs in the buildings so you can make sure your furry friend gets the right size.
White Balcony is a wonderful little boutique for anyone looking for women's clothing, gifts or other small items. All the clothing is arranged by color so you can find that little red dress for a night out almost immediately.
Foothills Mall has almost any kind of store you're looking for, and also every major grocery store chain is within Fort Collins city.
For fresh food options, there are a few farmers markets available to residents. The biggest one in the city is the Fort Collins Farmers' Market, located at the southwest corner of the Harmony Parking Lot at Harmony and Lemay. It runs through until the end of October.
Fort Collins is an outdoor wonderland with 50 parks and 280+ miles of trails. These trails include both paved and unpaved walking and biking trails.
Colorado State Park lands surround the Fort Collins area with more than 40,000 open acres. Do note that all of the state parks have entrance fees. However, most of the smaller parks throughout the Fort Collins city limits are free to anyone.