Established in 1864, Fort Collins is known for its access to a large outdoor recreational area and as a cultural center of Northern Colorado. With the Front Range Urban Corridor being just 45 minutes away, Fort Collins has become an ideal location for recent transplants who want easy access to the mountains and the city.
The city’s largest art venue housing five galleries, event areas, studios, a gift shop with original art pieces, studio classes, and numerous performances throughout the year. “The Cube” is inspired by modern architecture in New York City’s SoHo district and serves to provide an arts district for the city of Fort Collins.
Before becoming a national park in 1992, Colorado State University helped preserve Old Town’s historic buildings by creating a program that would allow building preservation while new construction is still allowed. Today there are over 100 historical buildings in Old Town Fort Collins, 42 of which contribute to its recognition as a National Historic District. David Eisler, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority said “We’ve tried to make it easy for people who want to live downtown and make their own history.”
The snow-capped mountains surrounding Fort Collins offer stunning vistas and endless recreational opportunities including hiking, biking, skiing, camping, and wildlife watching. Poudre Canyon has miles of trails for biking and hiking, and the Cache la Poudre River runs through the valley floor on its way to help form the city’s namesake, the Cache La Poudre Reservoir.
The four major rivers surrounding Fort Collins: Horsetooth Reservoir, Poudre River, Big Thompson River, and North Fork of Longs Peak Creek offer exceptional whitewater rafting opportunities.
When it comes to outdoor recreation, Colorado State University is a big reason why Fort Collins is such an active town. The beautiful campus grounds are used for a variety of activities including rugby matches, frisbee golf tournaments, and hundreds of student-run clubs. It has become somewhat of a tradition at CSU with students taking pictures by walking across campus crosswalks while they are red.
The area is also home to a variety of wildlife including mule deer, coyotes, and mountain lions (aka pumas), among many others. With so much natural beauty surrounding Fort Collins, it’s no surprise why so many people are choosing to call this townhome.
Although the city has worked hard to help preserve its greatest treasures that have helped build the culture and identity of Fort Collins, it seems as though another large part of Fort Collins’ backyard is being developed each year for more housing and retail shopping centers. Because there is a limited amount of land in Northern Colorado available for development, it will be interesting to see how long the city can hold onto its charm while still growing at such an exponential rate.
The city of Fort Collins is an ideal location for those who want to be close to the mountains and big cities but still enjoy the laid-back feeling of a smaller town. If you’re planning on moving from out of state, there are many different neighborhoods in which to choose from including Old Town, West Fort Collins, and East End. Each neighborhood has its own unique feel and can offer more green space or liveliness depending on your priorities.
With so much going on throughout the year if it’s not too cold outside go ahead and take a tour around the city! You don’t want to miss anything that makes this place such a great place to call home.
Places to visit in Fort Collins:
The Downtown Artery provides a pedestrian walkway through the heart of downtown. There are lots of things to see and do along the way including over 100 specialty shops, 40 restaurants, 12 art galleries and performing arts venues, a variety of buildings that have been preserved as historical landmarks, and more. The area is an exciting place to visit during the day or night and offers some great photo opportunities.
In 2016, the city of Fort Collins installed new 16′ tall LED sculptures along the Poudre Riverwalk Trail in hopes of creating a memorable experience for visitors while also celebrating their community’s history as well as their natural resources. The sculptures were removed in 2017 and are currently being refurbished by local artists at a cost of $100,000.
The “Discovery Campus” along the Poudre River is one of the most unique places to visit in Fort Collins. The area was once a gravel pit that has since been converted into an outdoor recreation haven complete with hiking trails, picnic areas, fishing spots, bike paths, volleyball courts, baseball fields, tennis courts, disc golf courses, and more. A popular destination during the spring and summer months!
Fort Collins Museum provides free admission for two adults on Wednesdays from 3-5 PM year-round! Located on Maxey Park Road near Riverside Avenue this museum offers some great information about the history of Fort Collins from the Paleo-Indians to the present day. Exhibits include art, history, natural history, wildlife of northern Colorado, archaeology, and more.
The Old Town Historic District is a great place to spend an afternoon shopping around for red bricks (the old school building material), ice cream shops/fudge parlors, bookstores with local history sections available in most stores as well as coffee shops, and other random places worth trying out while you are here! There are also plenty of unique bars and restaurants including Bru Burger Bar where you can get your very own frozen beer mug tower & Drunken Monkey which serves up Thai food along with some amazing drinks!