5 fun ways to explore Fort Collins

A student hikes along the foothills near Fort Collins

Fort Collins, Colorado: a college town that won’t leave you yawning on the weekends.

A plethora of outdoor recreation options, local events, and an easygoing feel create a fun, adventurous atmosphere that’s perfect for college students. The city regularly steals the hearts of our future Rams, and it’s easy to understand why.

Here are a few of the ways you can get out and explore Fort Collins as a Ram.

#1: Spend a day on the water.

A student paddle boards on the Horsetooth Reservoir

If you’re a water enthusiast, Fort Collins won’t disappoint.

With the Cache la Poudre River and Horsetooth Reservoir in our backyard, you’ll have access to a variety of activities. Paddle board and kayak rentals allow you to hit the water with little notice. If you’re looking for more of a thrill, grab a group and go whitewater rafting along the Poudre.

Think all this is great? It’s going to get even better in the coming year. The city approved a Whitewater Park proposal which will offer safe, year-round access to the Poudre River.

#2: Head to the hills for a show.

A concert plays at the Mishawaka Amphitheatre

If you’re a fan of great music and the beauty of Colorado, you won’t be disappointed by our local outdoor amphitheatre, the Mish.

The Mishawaka Amphitheatre is a concert venue located at the base of the Poudre Canyon in the Rocky Mountain foothills. The canyon creates a natural amphitheater for sound, allowing fans to have a high-quality outdoor concert experience. It’s a much-loved spot by fans and bands alike, garnering attention from popular performers in a range of genres.

Since the venue is tucked into a canyon, parking is limited. You’ll need to ditch the car and book a ride on the Mish’s shuttle to catch a show. Shuttle pick-ups happen right here on campus.

#3: Get a sugar overload in Old Town.

Students grab a treat at Walrus Ice Cream.

Walrus Ice Cream, located in the heart of Old Town, is a locally-owned handmade ice cream shop. It’s a favorite spot for locals and students alike, and it’s not unusual to see a bit of a line leading in.

If you’re not up for ice cream, stop by one of our other locally owned sweet shops: Nuance Chocolate and Mary’s Mountain Cookies.

#4: Hop on your bike.

A biker weaves through a trail along the foothills

It’s no surprise if you’ve already heard about this one, because we get a lot of attention for it. Simply put, Fort Collins is one of the best cities in the nation for biking.

The city and surrounding area offer accessibility, safety, and varied options for bikers of all skill levels. So whether you enjoy leisurely rides on a cruiser or tough trails along the foothills, you’ll get what you need.

Take a look at some of our trails near campus to get a feel for your options. Don’t have a bike of your own? Check out the city’s bike share program.

#5: Stop by a free local event.

Downtown Fort Collins, which is only a 15-minute walk from campus, offers a number of free events throughout the year. Some of the most popular among students include:

Bohemian Nights at New West Fest

Each August, the city hosts a totally free three-day music festival. Recent headliners included Blondie and The Decemberists.

Tour de Fat

Put on your best costume and hop on your bike. The original New Belgium Brewery bike parade and concert happens annually in September. The concert isn’t free, but the parade is.

Tour de Corgi

Hundreds of happy Corgis parading through Old Town in costume. You won’t want to miss it.

Old Town Halloween Zombie Fest

Slap on some ghoulish makeup and step out for a good cause. This annual Halloween bash and fundraiser happens in Old Town Square. This year, funds will go towards the local nonprofit Kids at Heart.

Fort Collins Downtown lighting ceremony

During the winter months, Old Town is draped in beautiful winter lights. The lighting ceremony, held around the end of November, offers free entertainment and a beautiful scene.

A unique experience. A memorable visit.

Stop by for a campus visit and explore our favorite city while you’re here.

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Jill Baylis

Jill is part of the communications team in CSU's Office of Admissions. She specializes in all things student life and enjoys helping future Rams connect to their interests. As a first-generation college student, she works hard to simplify the college admissions process at CSU. In her free time you can usually find her at a local concert or rolling through town on her single speed.