Known to the locals as “FoCo,” Fort Collins is a lovely tourist destination located about an hour north of Denver.
It’s known primarily as a college town thanks to the nearby Colorado State University, but it has plenty to offer all kinds of travelers, including couples, families, honeymooners, and solo adventurers.
Tourist attractions range from malls and museums to waterfalls tucked away in alpine forests.
If you like the outdoors, you’ll have plenty to do in the mountains, including swimming, skiing, kayaking, paddle boating, and horseback riding.
If you prefer air-conditioned activities, you can explore arcades, art galleries, performance theaters, and live music venues.
Another fun thing about Fort Collins is its quirkiness and old-town charm.
You’ll find many unique destinations in its vintage downtown district, including a haunted ice cream parlor and an ’80s-themed museum and pizzeria!
Are you ready for the vacation of a lifetime?
Do you hear the Rocky Mountain region calling your name?
Here are just a few of the best things to do in Fort Collins, Colorado.
1. Downtown Fort Collins
Also called “Old Town Fort Collins,” downtown is a major point of interest for folks headed to Fort Collins.
It retains much of its original architecture from the pioneer era, and it has such a charming, old-fashioned feeling that it actually served as the inspiration for Disneyland’s Main Street!
Many Fort Collins attractions can be found downtown, including the Old Town Square that serves as a centralized location for shops, cafes, museums, galleries, and boutiques.
You can explore by yourself or sign up for a guided tour.
Tours are often themed, so if you have a particular interest in something, you can take food tours, historic tours, ghost tours, or brewery tours.
Scavenger hunts are also popular with tour companies as a way to have fun and see the sights while also doing something unique.
Downtown Fort Collins has been a watering hole for generations of people.
In the old days, it was settlers in covered wagons; today, it’s tourists with smartphones and bucket lists.
Don’t miss out on this great destination that has welcomed countless visitors over the years!
Address: 19 Old Town Square Suite #230, Fort Collins, CO 80524, United States
2. Fort Collins Trolley
Originally running from 1919 to 1951, the Fort Collins Trolley was restored a few decades ago to its full vintage glory.
Today, it winds through the city with an old-fashioned paint job and a signature double chime, and it can be a great way to explore various neighborhoods while also having a fun and unique tourist experience.
There are multiple stops along the trolley route, and you can hop on and off at any designated point.
You’ll pass by parks, restaurants, shops, and other points of interest that might catch your eye.
You’ll even receive an ice cream coupon at the end!
Another great thing about the trolley is that it’s entirely staffed by volunteers, so in addition to scoping out the neighborhood, you’ll be supporting a good cause with every ticket purchase.
If you’re wondering what to do in the city of Fort Collins, start with a trip on the Fort Collins Trolley.
You’ll get to see the sights, mark off fun places in your guidebook, and decide for yourself how you’d like to spend the rest of your time in the Centennial State.
Address: 1501 W Oak St, Fort Collins, CO 80521, United States
3. Fort Fun
Go-karts. Mini golf. Escape rooms.
These are just a few of the attractions at Fort Fun, one of the top entertainment destinations of Fort Collins.
Sprawling across a massive, indoor/outdoor complex, Fort Fun offers a wide range of activities for thrillseekers of all ages.
There are rides, slides, and games; there are bumper boats and laser tag; there’s even an arcade where you can shoot at aliens or toss basketballs and skee-balls.
When you’ve worn yourself out, swing by the restaurant for everything from pizza and burgers to funnel cakes and mac-and-cheese wedges.
You can refuel for the next round of golf or the next ride on a paddle boat!
There are so many things to see and experience at Fort Fun that you won’t even know what to do with yourself.
It’s an amusement park taken to the next level of awesome.
Whether you’re a family with kids or just a solo traveler looking to indulge your inner child, and you’re sure to have a blast.
Address: 1513 E Mulberry St, Fort Collins, CO 80524, United States
4. Walrus Ice Cream
You’ve never enjoyed triple-decker scoops like these!
At first glance, Walrus Ice Cream looks like a regular, old-fashioned ice cream shop.
It has a big red awning outside of its colorfully painted walls, and inside, there are dozens and dozens of tubs with flavors that change daily.
They’re often quite creative, too.
You can order everything from “horchata” to “banana cream pie” to “Jack Daniels chocolate chip.”
There’s more to this shop, however, than what meets the eye.
The ghost of a prominent businessman from the early 20th century is said to haunt the premises.
There are also rumors of underground tunnels below the store; folks have speculated that they’re everything from cold weather shortcuts to abandoned speakeasy passageways.
One thing is for sure, however: Walrus Ice Cream is a staple of the neighborhood.
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Fort Collins, grab yourself a cone at this local haunt.
Address: 125 W Mountain Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80524, United States
5. Horsetooth Mountain Open Space
The Horsetooth Mountain Open Space is one of the most breathtaking places to go in all of Colorado.
Covering almost 3,000 acres, it’s filled with cliffs, valleys, forests, boulders, and waterfalls as far as the eye can see.
It’s the kind of destination where you take selfies at the summit of a mountain with your arms outstretched against stunning heights and clear blue skies.
Activities at the park include hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
There are numerous trails to follow, and their elevations reach as high as 7,200 feet.
Notable landmarks include Horsetooth Rock and Horsetooth Falls.
One thing to note about the park is that it has a maximum capacity, so it’s a good idea to arrive early, especially in the summertime when visitors from all across the country descend on Colorado’s mountains.
Ultimately, however, if you’re looking for cool places to visit in and near Fort Collins, you’ll want to make time for the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space.
It’s a beautiful destination with a lot to offer nature enthusiasts.
Address: 6550 W County Rd 38 E, Fort Collins, CO 80526, United States
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6. Annual Flower Trial Garden
Another beautiful outdoor destination, the Annual Flower Trial Garden has been a staple of Fort Collins since 2000.
It’s open daily from May to October, and it’s completely free.
You can find it on the Colorado State University campus.
What is the garden?
Simply put, it’s a collection of more than 1,000 annuals.
From sunflowers to snapdragons, you can walk among a dazzling assortment of flowers that range every color of the rainbow and emit all kinds of scents.
They’ll be gone by the fall, but their ephemeral nature only adds to their beauty.
If you’re looking for free things to do while on vacation, visit the Annual Flower Trial Garden.
Not only will you be amazed at the sights, sounds, and fragrances of such a large garden, but you’ll also get to keep money in your wallet for future tourist attractions!
Address: 1401 Remington St, Fort Collins, CO 80524, United States
7. Majestic Mountains Scenic Rides
Many of the best things to do in Colorado take place outdoors.
There are just so many mountains, waterfalls, and mossy forests that it’s a downright crime to visit the state without exploring its stunning natural scenery.
The good news is that tour companies like Majestic Mountains Scenic Rides can help you see it all.
You don’t have to choose between majestic canyons and sparkling waterfalls!
Operating five days per week, this tour company will take you around the most gorgeous destinations of northern Colorado, and you won’t have to lift a finger in terms of transport.
They’ll handle everything.
As they drive, you’ll be free to take pictures of everything from rugged cliffs towering over the water to curious foxes darting across the roads.
Let someone else do the hard work for you.
When you schedule a tour with Majestic Mountains Scenic Rides, your only responsibility will be having a good time while in Fort Collins.
Address: 408 Skyway Dr, Fort Collins, CO 80525, United States
8. OpenStage Theatre and Company
As the oldest theater in the city, the OpenStage Theatre and Company is one of those Fort Collins attractions that you won’t want to miss.
It brings everything from comedies to cutting-edge dramas to its stage, and it often works with theater artists from all over northern Colorado to expand its retinue and keep its shows exciting and fresh.
What can you watch at the theater?
A better question might be, “What can’t you watch?”
There are plays, musicals, and even puppet shows.
The venue is small, so you’ll always have a good view, and since it’s located right in the heart of downtown, you’ll also be surrounded by eating and shopping options for your post-show high.
Do you love the theater?
Have you always wanted to enjoy dinner and a show?
Maybe you’re just looking for a great date night destination in Fort Collins.
Whatever your reasons for considering OpenStage Theatre and Company, it’s worth the attention.
Address: 720 E Vine Dr, Fort Collins, CO 80524, United States
9. FoCo Fondo
Held every summer, the FoCo Fondo is a cycling marathon with thousands of participants that come from all over Colorado.
It’s open to all ages, genders, and skill levels, so in addition to meeting people from every walk of life, you can also customize your experience with different tracks and terrains.
If you’re looking for family fun, for example, you can choose a simple, scenic route that will allow you to make memories with the kids as you go sightseeing on wheels.
If you’re looking to challenge yourself, on the other hand, you can go hardcore on a 100-mile route that pushes you to your physical limits.
When you’re done, there will be a FondoFest waiting for you, offering food, drink, live music, bike demonstrations, and more.
Hopping on a bike is one of the most popular things to do in Fort Collins.
You don’t even have to wait for FoCo Fondo; bike tours are a regular pastime.
If you’ll be in the area in the summer, however, you might as well pedal up with other like-minded folks in the area.
Address: Fort Collins, CO, United States
10. Holiday Twin Drive-In
Is there anything more romantic than cuddling with your sweetheart while watching a movie?
At the Holiday Twin Drive-In, you can add a bit of nostalgia to your amour.
It’s a traditional, drive-in movie theater where you stay in your car while enjoying a film projected on a big outdoor screen.
Titles range from current blockbusters to cult classics and other campy favorites.
Concessions are available if you want to munch on popcorn and candy while you watch.
You’ll need either a car radio or a portable device capable of tuning into the audio on an F/M radio system.
The Holiday Twin Drive-In is one of the most romantic things to do while on vacation in Fort Collins.
If you want to experience a fun, flirty evening with your loved one, try an old-fashioned date night idea this weekend.
Address: 2206 S Overland Trail, Fort Collins, CO 80526, United States
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11. Mountain Whitewater
If you’re wondering what to do on your Fort Collins vacation, why limit yourself to just one or two activities?
Instead, book a tour with Mountain Whitewater and enjoy them all!
Mountain Whitewater is an adventure company that can get you out of your hotel and into the great outdoors.
They’re most famous for their whitewater rafting tours; you can enjoy a number of Class II, III, and IV rapids along the Cache La Poudre River, including one named “The Plunge.”
Other cool things to do with the guides include kayaking and paddle boarding.
There’s an on-site rental shop where you can stock up on everything from wetsuits to camping tents, and a nearby pub serves food and beer.
There’s even a sand volleyball court if you want to be recreational on land rather than water.
If you love the outdoors, pick up your phone and call Mountain Whitewater.
They’ll see to it that you have a great time in Fort Collins.
Address: 1329 US-287, Fort Collins, CO 80524, United States
12. Coyote Ridge Natural Area
Beautiful all year round, the Coyote Ridge Natural Area is also free and open to the public, making it the perfect all-season destination for travelers who enjoy the outdoors.
If you’re visiting in the summer, go hiking, cycling, or horseback riding among 600-foot panoramas.
If you’re visiting in the fall, watch the leaves change color while spotting local wildlife such as deer and mountain lion.
Wintertime opens up certain fields and ponds for skiing and ice skating; spring thaws them out again, bringing fresh flowers along with activities such as nature photography.
There’s no charge for entry, so if you’re looking for free things to do while vacationing in Fort Collins, a day trip here could be a viable option.
The Coyote Ridge Natural Area is a beautiful destination for travelers of all types.
Even better, it’s always open, so it doesn’t matter when you’re headed to Fort Collins or Colorado in general.
The stunning sights will always welcome you.
Address: Spring Mesa Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80526, United States
13. The Colorado Room
The Colorado Room is one of the best places to grab a bite in Fort Collins.
Like its name suggests, it’s all about state pride, and it showcases this loyalty in everything from locally-sourced ingredients to locally-produced artwork.
Even the tables are made from recycled Colorado hardwood!
Dining options include everything from gourmet burgers and salads to finger-licking delights such as poutine.
The atmosphere is warm and casual; there’s a small fireplace with a central table, and outdoor patio seating is available during the warmer months.
If you enjoy good food with an even better ambiance, consider The Colorado Room.
You’ll make memories with your loved ones in a unique setting that’s perfect for your Rocky Mountain getaway.
Address: 642 S College Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80524, United States
14. Avery House
Built in 1879, the Avery House is one of the oldest homes in the area; it’s actually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
It was established as the homestead of a rich banker and his wife.
During their years of residence, they continually expanded on the property, transforming it from a simple two-story home into a grand piece of architecture and a talking point of Fort Collins.
Today, the house has been converted into a museum.
You can look at the rooms, halls, parlors, and Queen Anne towers to see how the elite lived back in the 19th century.
You can also venture outdoors and take in the sights of gardens, fountains, gazebos, and carriage houses.
The Averys had a lot of money, and they knew how to spend it!
Some of the coolest things to do in Fort Collins are also the oldest.
If you’re at all interested in history, make sure to check out the Avery House.
It’s a standing testament to the lives and legacies of those who knew Fort Collins before you.
Address: 328 W Mountain Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80521, United States
15. Totally 80’s Pizza & Museum
One of the more unique things to do in the city, the Totally 80’s Pizza & Museum is exactly what it sounds like: a museum dedicated to the culture of the 1980s, one that also serves pizza, chicken wings, cheese curds, and other guilty pleasure delights.
Nostalgia is the name of the game at this museum.
Exhibits range from toys to magazines to vintage cereal boxes, and there’s an endless assortment of ’80s pop culture memorabilia, including a Han Solo in carbonite and the real bike used in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.
You can play old-school arcade games; you can marvel at props and posters from classic movies and television shows.
Everything pops with color and an unabashed joy for older, simpler times.
Are you wondering what to do in Fort Collins this weekend?
Are you looking for an experience that you’ve never had before?
Take a walk down memory lane with the Totally 80’s Pizza and Museum.
As the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to this decade, it’ll be a one-of-a-kind visit.
Address: 2567 S Shields St Unit 4C, Fort Collins, CO 80526, United States
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16. Ginger and Baker
Originally built in the early 1900s, Ginger and Baker started as a feed and grain supply store that served both local residents and pioneers passing through Colorado.
Today, it’s been converted to a multipurpose dining space, but it still retains its turn-of-the-century architecture and country charm.
Places to see at Ginger Baker include a cafe, market, bakery, and rooftop bar.
You can enjoy “farm to fork” cuisine with locally sourced ingredients; you can sip cocktails in front of a fireplace or with the backdrop of a live band; you can watch bread being kneaded and cupcakes being topped with frosting.
Ginger and Baker is also a place for many community events, so if you’ve ever wanted to take a cooking class or play “pie bingo,” this is the spot for it!
Consider a trip to Ginger and Baker if you’re looking for yummy fun that will also support the local economy.
Just like the pioneers of the past, you can pull up, fill your belly, and restock on supplies before heading out for further adventures.
Address: 359 Linden St, Fort Collins, CO 80524, United States
17. Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures
With the goal of cultural understanding, the Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures showcases artwork from all over the world.
From Chinese woodblocks to Hungarian paintings to Indian dolls, it has a little something for everyone.
You can explore entire societies without ever leaving Colorado!
Admission to the museum ranges from $1 – $5, so if you’re looking for cheap things to do, it can also be a good choice for travelers on a budget.
Don’t be afraid to take advantage of half-priced Fridays, either.
Ultimately, a trip to the Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures can be one of the most interesting things to do in Fort Collins, and it won’t even break the bank.
It’s entirely possible to experience art and culture while on the budget.
Just visit Global Village!
Address: 200 W Mountain Ave # C, Fort Collins, CO 80521, United States
18. Magic Rat Live Music
While Fort Collins has a number of music venues, there’s something special about Magic Rat Live Music.
Calling itself “off-beat and uniquely comfortable,” it offers a cozy and intimate space to appreciate live music, and it’s frequented by eclectic crowds that are often just as interesting as the performers.
Every genre of music is welcome at Magic Rat, including pop, rock, funk, and folk.
The acts range from local talent to big-name artists dropping by Colorado.
While you enjoy the band on stage, you can also eat and drink from a full menu provided by the Emporium, an American brasserie located near the venue.
Magic Rat Live Music is one of the best places to go for music lovers in Fort Collins.
If you enjoy the thumping of a good bass while you sip on a cocktail, swing by at night and see who’s playing!
Address: 111 Chestnut St, Fort Collins, CO 80524, United States
19. The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show
The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show is a worldwide phenomenon, and as luck would have it, you can experience it right in Fort Collins.
It’s one of the best ways to experience a fun, dynamic evening filled with laughs, twists, and a few good old-fashioned murders!
The idea is simple.
As you dine, you’ll enjoy a show from costumed actors playing out a murder mystery in real time.
At this show, however, the detectives and suspects also interact with the audience, some of whom are hidden actors themselves.
The end result is a wild ride that’ll provide tons of entertainment value with your meal.
You may or may not be called upon to answer questions or defend your motives.
Do you have what it takes to protect your good name?
Buy tickets for the Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show and find out!
Address: 425 W Prospect Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80526, United States
20. The Lincoln Center
Hailed as one of the best Fort Collins attractions, The Lincoln Center is among the largest performance arts venues in the entire state of Colorado.
It’s certainly one of the busiest: New events are scheduled every single week!
Shows range from plays and musicals to children’s programs and band performances.
There are two performance halls; one is a small, intimate 220-seater while the other is a grand and impressive 1,180-seater.
Other points of interest in the facility include ballrooms, outdoor terraces, and rooftop patios.
It’s a popular site for big events such as weddings and business expos.
If you’re looking to enjoy a night on the town in Fort Collins, consider swinging by The Lincoln Center.
There’s always something new on the schedule, and you’ll be able to have a fun, memorable experience for your vacation.
Address: 417 W Magnolia St, Fort Collins, CO 80521, United States
21. Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
What do fossils, bicycles, and music records have in common?
They’re just a few of the 30,000 objects showcased at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery!
Fun for both children and children at heart, this interactive, hands-on museum can offer a great time for everyone in the family.
The little ones will love playing and exploring while mom and dad will appreciate the fact that they’re learning even as they’re running around and having a blast.
Notable exhibits include fossil walls, moving trains, music and sound labs, insect hotels, and model spacecraft.
There’s an animal encounter zone and a playground zone.
You can even forage for food like your ancestors did!
All things considered, the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is one of the top places to go in the city.
It’s a must-see destination if you want to combine education and entertainment.
Address: 408 Mason Ct, Fort Collins, CO 80524, United States
22. Gardens on Spring Creek
Stretching for more than 12 miles as a tributary of the Cache La Poudre River, Spring Creek is already beautiful, but it reaches even new heights thanks to the Gardens on Spring Creek.
This botanical garden is filled with gorgeous and fragrant flowers from all around Colorado, but they’re conveniently grown together for the sake of Fort Collins visitors.
You’ll start by passing through the entryway garden.
Once inside, you can choose to wander through rock gardens, rose gardens, hummingbird gardens, and prairie gardens.
There’s a glass-walled butterfly house; there’s a great lawn and pavilion.
You can explore at your leisure while surrounding yourself with natural elegance on all sides.
Are you headed to Fort Collins near a major holiday?
You can also check out special events hosted in the gardens.
These include summer camps, fall cooking classes, Halloween and Christmas parties, and more.
A trip to the Gardens on Spring Creek is one of the top things to do in Fort Collins.
Even if you aren’t usually the type to go gaga over gardenias, the sights here will change your mind.
Address: 2145 Centre Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80526, United States
23. FoCo Cafe
FoCo Cafe is an utterly unique restaurant in Fort Collins.
Rather than charging set prices for its dishes, it employs a “pay what you can” system.
Generous patrons can pay more; those struggling financially can pay less, but they’ll still receive a nutritious and high-quality meal.
There’s also an option of working off your bill through volunteer labor.
The restaurant works primarily because of donors, volunteers, and other good-hearted folks in the Fort Collins community.
They wanted to ensure that everyone had access to healthy eating options, so they created a space to make it happen.
Do you want to make a difference while on vacation?
Pay it forward with a soup or salad at the FoCo Cafe.
Not only will you be helping the less fortunate, but you’ll also be treating yourself to a meal that’s delicious and healthy.
It’s a virtue with every bite!
Address: 225 Maple St, Fort Collins, CO 80521, United States
24. Cache La Poudre River National Heritage Area
Some of the best places to visit in Colorado are the ones untouched by modern civilization.
One of these beautiful and rugged destinations is the Cache La Poudre River National Heritage Area.
A federally designated National Heritage Area, this nature and wilderness preserve offers miles and miles of pure, undeveloped landscapes.
While there are still things like trailheads and campgrounds, you won’t find any big buildings polluting the air or outshining the stars.
It’s a great place to connect and commune with nature.
You don’t have to just sit on the ground and meditate, however.
There are plenty of fun outdoor activities that you can enjoy while exploring the scenic spots of the preserve.
You can go hiking, biking, tubing, fishing, kayaking, and more!
Open year round, the Cache La Poudre River National Heritage Area is definitely worth a visit if you’re a fan of the outdoors.
Whether you’re visiting tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, or next summer, you’ll enjoy your time in one of Fort Collins’s most beautiful destinations.
Address: 3745 E Prospect Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80525, United States
25. City Park
Are you looking for free things to do while exploring Fort Collins?
Consider a trip to City Park.
As its name suggests, it’s owned and maintained by the city council, so there’s no charge for using its many amenities.
Things to do at the park include walking around the trails, picnicking on the grass, fishing in the lake, swimming in the community pool, and hitting some balls on the tennis court.
Pets are welcome; there are even days when the pool is designated for dogs only.
Bring your pooch or just watch them splashing and shaking their fur everywhere!
Another great thing about the park is that it’s open year-round, and activities change depending on the season.
When it’s chilly, for example, you can swap your tennis racket for ice skates or ice fishing equipment.
All in all, City Park is one of the top places to visit in Fort Collins.
There’s a reason why it’s a beloved destination of residents and tourists alike.
Address: 1500 W Mulberry St, Fort Collins, CO 80521, United States
26. Magic Bus Tours
If you’re having trouble choosing between Fort Collins attractions, one solution is to choose them all!
Magic Bus Tours will take you on adventures to bars, restaurants, horse ranches, whitewater rapids, and more.
You’ll get to see the best places in the city on single day trips.
Here are just few of the tour options for Magic Bus Tours:
– Ghost tours or “haunted history” tours of Old Town Fort Collins
– Brewery tours available by foot, bike, or limo bus
– “Farm to table” tours of local farms and ranches
– Outdoor tours that include things like kayaking and trout fishing
Essentially, you can choose your own adventure with Magic Bus Tours.
You can even go back for seconds if you enjoy your first tour!
Address: Fort Collins, CO, United States
27. Horse and Dragon Brewing Company
While not the largest brewery in Fort Collins, the Horse and Dragon Brewing Company is known for its good beer, country charm, and casual and friendly atmosphere.
It’s the kind of place where you can kick your feet up and crack open a cold one while chatting with the locals and getting recommendations about cool stuff to do in the area.
As for the building itself, you can’t miss it.
It has a red, barnyard-style exterior complete with a metal logo emblazoned with the titular horse and dragon.
Inside, there’s a bar and tasting room; outside, there’s a kestrel nest, and it’s even outfitted with a streaming #kestrelcam to watch them at all hours of the day.
The best vacation spots come with beer.
To get your buzz on in Fort Collins, park your stallion outside the Horse and Dragon Brewing Company.
Address: 124 Racquette Dr, Fort Collins, CO 80524, United States
Start Planning Your Trip To Fort Collins
The Centennial State is waiting for you.
Using these fun things to do in Fort Collins, you can plan an exciting and exhilarating trip that’ll create lifelong memories of your time spent in Colorado!