Windsor, CO

Overview

Tucked away in the heart of northern Colorado, Windsor houses approximately 21,000 locals in its sprawling residential areas characterized by quiet cul-de-sacs and grassy parks. The city lies just southeast of Fort Collins and 59 miles from downtown Denver, but you have bike trails, festivals and the recreation-focused Windsor Lake just outside your front door. Once a popular destination of Russian and German immigrants, the historic city now presents a diverse population as well as some modern flair sprouting from its rapidly growing residential developments. Retirees choose this quiet suburb for its small-town feel and unbeatable Windsor Lake fishing, and families flock here for its welcoming community and kid-friendly events held throughout the year.

Restaurants & Nightlife

Combining the home-town bars and grills of the Colorado plains with the exquisite cuisine of the Rockies, Windsor delivers a unique dining experience that appeals to both families and casual diners. You find the usual spread of cheap eats along Weld County Road, but all-American grills and pizza shops invite you in for a taste of Windsor's small-town charm and hearty appetite. When you want to load up on some game-day favorites, order up the buttery Golden Hot wings at the Wing Shack. If you can't decide what kind of wings you want, the staff are more than happy to offer you some samples of their homemade sauce collection. Don't forget to ask about the sauce of the month for some extra variety. If you're really feeling adventurous, try the Bear Hot Challenge to see if you can eat six of the restaurant's spiciest wings in 6 minutes or less and make it onto the wall of fame. Locals know that the best pizza in town awaits at Pelican Jo's Pizzaria, an unassuming restaurant connected to a gas station and convenience store. Get a large Italian sausage pizza loaded high with extra cheese while watching other customers fill their tanks outside for a true small-town pizza joint experience. For a date night or self-indulgent treat after a long day at work, stop into Chimney Park to view the lake from the patio while sipping on a martini. If you're not sure where to start, order the chef's tasting menu for several courses of the evening's fine dining specials. Stop in whenever you can since the ever-changing menu makes every visit a new dining experience. Nightlife may not be too exciting in Windsor with just a few dive bars and sports grills, but plenty of excitement awaits just a short drive away in Fort Collins. For some in-town entertainment, stop by Ricky B's, formerly Dukes of Windsor, and dance to live music or play a game of pool with your buddies.

History & Culture

First settled in 1873, Windsor was a small farming community before the sugar beet industry arrived in the early 1900s, bringing with it a lucrative economy that forever changed the face of the town. This growth period attracted numerous immigrant families and led to the development of general stores, jewelry shops and schools. The Great Western Sugar Company closed its doors in 1966, but the following decades brought other types of industrial growth. Today Windsor stands as a hub of green technology and energy. Windsor maintains a low profile, but it has been home to several notable residents over the years, like Colorado governor Benjamin Harrison Eaton and retired NFL player Greg Myers. For a walk back in time through the town's history, take your family to see the living history exhibits at Windsor Museum at Boardwalk Park. The town's rich history has also led to cultural growth, and residents can now enjoy several crafts stores and performing arts theaters like the Windsor Community Playhouse. Be sure to check out the Windsor Fine Arts Festival in August for world-class art shows, and partake in the annual Pelicanfest to run in a triathlon or the popular family run. Another annual favorite is the Harvest Festival on Labor Day weekend, a big event featuring a parade, live concerts and an air balloon festival.

Transportation

Whether you're commuting to Fort Collins or Denver, easy access to the Interstate 25 makes for a smooth ride. You don't find much for public transportation in Windsor, but car drivers enjoy consistently low traffic and free street parking throughout the city. If you need a quick ride into town, you can always call up the local taxi service. Windsor's expansive sidewalk system and low crime rate provide a safe environment for pedestrians, but the scattered layout makes running errands without a car a bit of a hassle. Bicycle owners who want to get a workout in while cruising around town can enjoy dedicated bike lanes throughout the central neighborhoods. For a more leisurely ride, hop on the Poudre River Trail in the more remote southern part of town to cruise along the lakes and river.

Cost

New housing developments are abound in Windsor, and most of the apartment complexes offer a newer, upscale atmosphere as well. You don't find many cheap apartments here with a median rent of about $1,300 for a one-bedroom apartment, and the selection remains limited. In general, look forward to lower than average living costs for the Fort Collins area.

Shopping

Windsor maintains its rural Colorado atmosphere with a sparse selection of fashion retailers and other big-city staples. However, you find most of your basic amenities spread out along Weld County Road in spacious new buildings and strip malls. Most of your high-end retailers, boutiques and antique shops await in nearby Fort Collins, but Windsor itself supplies a few jewelry boutiques and specialty stores for a casual shopping experience. A true hidden gem, CaLex Beads & Jewelry provides one of the biggest selections of beads and jewelry crafting supplies in northern Colorado. Browse a sparkling assortment of Swarovski crystal and Czech glass beads, or check out the store's fire-polished beads. Even if you're not into beading, you may just take up the craft after visiting CaLex. Businessmen living in Windsor may never again buy suit jackets off the rack after visiting The Bespoke Edge, a family-owned shop for high-quality men's clothing tailored to your tastes. The shirts, jackets and trousers come at a higher price than most ready-made clothing stores, but considering the tailors hand-craft every piece with your chosen fabric and style, the extra cost is more than worth it. You find plenty of major grocery stores closer to Fort Collins, but Windsor itself only provides a few staples like Safeway and 7-Eleven for your weekly groceries. You can also pick up some local fruits and veggies at the Windsor Farmers' Market during the summer months.

Parks

More than 15 public parks lie scattered throughout Windsor, offering sheltered picnic areas, playgrounds and plenty of green grass for a lazy afternoon game of Frisbee. Stop by Boardwalk Park to walk along Windsor Lake Trail for a scenic view of Windsor Lake, or stop by the natural amphitheater in the summer for the free Concert in the Park series. If you want to bike or walk along the Poudre River Trail, park your car at Eastman Park to take a stroll through Treasure Island Garden or have picnic before starting your journey. If you're looking for a place to walk your canine companion, take a walk just west of Eastman to let your dog run through an acre of fenced grass at Poudre Pooch Park.