Fort Collins, Colorado sits just close enough to the Wyoming border to get overshadowed by its more well-known siblings—Boulder and Denver. Though less frequented, this laid back town has access to some of the best natural playgrounds in Colorado and a charming downtown so full of magic that it actually inspired the design of Disneyland’s Main Street. The weekend is coming, so read on to discover how to spend the perfect weekend in Fort Collins.
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Day 1: Town and Around
Start your weekend in Fort Collins at Lucille’s Creole Cafe for a one-of-a-kind New Orleans style breakfast served hot with sugar-rolled beignets. To work off your hearty breakfast, head to Horsetooth Mountain for the Fort Collins famous Horsetooth Rock hike where you’ll find sweeping panoramas of the Front Range and a fun summit scramble. If you’d rather play on a mountain bike, hit up Lory State Park instead.
Post morning activities, recharge and relax at City Park. Pack blankets, pillows, books, frisbees, slacklines, anything that delights, and settle in for R & R in the shade of the historic oaks. City Park sits high on the list of favorite local hangouts for a hundred reasons, but some of those include weekly Sunday LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) and Food Truck Rally Tuesdays.
As the sun starts to fade, get yourself to Duncan’s Ridge on Horsetooth Reservoir. Bring climbing gear for some casual top-roping or simply sit atop the cliffs, watch the sun sink into the reservoir, and appreciate the fact that this scene echoes sunset over a Norwegian Fjord.
The sun’s down, and it’s time to hit the town! Grab dinner at Jay’s Bistro for the best fine dining in the area or Big Al’s Burgers & Dogs if you’re on a tighter budget (don’t miss the truffle fries). Finish out the night by exploring bustling Old Town night-life. Start at Social for a speakeasy vibe, then on to Pour Brothers for the ambiance, third to the hole-in-the-wall Town Pump for Moonshine oranges, and finish at Trailhead for a guaranteed good time.
Now. Go to bed. You had a big day.
Day 2: Poudre Canyon Getaway
Day Two celebrates the great Poudre Canyon playground. Wake up, pack your things, and snag some $4 to-go burritos from Rainbow Restaurant before heading out of town. Take a chance on the meatless burritos here. Vegans and meat-lovers alike swear by the Rainbow vegan burrito.
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Make your way Northwest to the mouth of the canyon and choose one of two options for the day. In the first scenario, take the scenic drive all the way up the canyon to Cameron Pass. Stop off at the American Lakes/Lake Agnes trailhead for gorgeous high alpine hiking in one of the most secluded spots on the Front Range. In the second scenario, you ditch hiking and sport climb at one of the bomber areas in the canyon (The Palace, Triple Tier, The Crystal Wall, The Narrows).
Either way, try to match your weekend in Fort Collins up with a concert at Mishawaka so that you end your visit with a concert cap-off at one of the most bizarre venues in Colorado. Arrive to the riverside venue wielding camp chairs, snacks, and brews by 6 pm to score one of the few free parking spots. Settle in for some riverside chillin’ and watch the sunlight dance on the hillsides until show time. Save some room for the Mish french fries while at the concert, and get ready for better people watching than you’ve seen in a long time.
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