If you’ve been enraptured by the college town just northwest of Denver — Boulder, home of the University of Colorado — the rival asks you please to turn your attention farther north.

Fort Collins doesn’t have those iconic Flatirons. But it has plenty more to gain your admiration. That includes some natural wonders of its own, including recognizable promontories and the Cache la Poudre River that flows through town. Adventurous locals know how to work up an appetite all right — and they know how to refuel on some of the best eats and drinks the whole Front Range has to offer.


Fly fishing guide Josh Henriksen points up river while describing where to fish to Brion Cimino on Friday, August 6, 2021 in Poudre Canyon, just outside Fort Collins, Colorado. (Katie Klann/The Gazette)

And at the end of the day, they like to think of their home as having a small-town feel, a down-to-earth feel that isn’t quite felt on Boulder’s extravagant Pearl Street. It’s a feeling defined by the humble, local heritage. It’s only fitting that agricultural studies are a specialty of Colorado State University.

Other specialties around town? All for you to discover:

Choose your adventure

Happy Trails: Horsetooth Rock, Fort Collins

Seth Boster The view from atop Horsetooth Rock outside Fort Collins.

One of those recognizable promontories is Horsetooth Mountain, a go-to destination for hikers and bikers. Another is Arthur’s Rock, the centerpiece of Lory State Park, with plenty more trails to explore.

The top of Arthur’s Rock overlooks Horsetooth Reservoir. The 7-mile-long oasis has room for jet skiers, kayakers, paddleboarders and anglers. Rafting and tubing on the river is similarly popular; stretches through Poudre Canyon pump the adrenaline.

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Seth Boster, The Gazette Shannon Coleman steps to the top of Arthur’s Rock at Lory State Park near Fort Collins.

The college town also markets itself as a gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Hop for suds

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Chancey Bush New Belgium Brewing Co. in Fort Collins.

Fort Collins is hailed as the craft beer capital of Colorado. That’s for the sheer numbers: more than two dozen breweries have been counted in recent years. One study ranked the town third in the nation for most breweries per capita.

New Belgium and Odell are the grandfathers of the scene. The two offer tours of their sweeping facilities — and, yes, free sips along the way.

But the fun is in finding the smaller shops. A fairly new one is Purpose Brewing & Cellars, an exotic tour of tastes hiding in a strip mall. It’s a passion project of Peter Bouckaert, the industry legend who brought New Belgium to prominence. Jessup Farm pairs brews with farm-to-table fare.

Hunt for deals

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Fort Collins’ Old Town is the center for shopping and dining. Photo by Justin Koroneos 

Historic Old Town is a shopper’s paradise. You’re sure to find treasures around every corner.

Maybe it’s your next wardrobe addition, or the next addition to your spice drawer. Maybe it’s your next antique, or your next art piece. Maybe it’s the jewelry you’ve been seeking, or the outdoor gear you’ve been missing. It’s boutiques and galleries galore around Old Town, which also has no shortage of restaurants.

Silver Grill Cafe is the breakfast staple. Find cheese, charcuterie and chocolate at Welsh Rabbit Bistro. Social is the underground hangout at night, with an array of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.


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