Fort Collins was selected as the new location for a military camp when the original location along the Cache La Poudre River was flooded. Although a fort was never built, the city developed around the area after it was abandoned three years later by the military. The Old Town area is the original center of town. There are many great places to visit in Fort Collins, Colorado.
10. Gardens of Spring Creek
The Gardens of Spring Creek are a collection of several different gardens. It began in 2004 after waiting several years to receive city funding. This is a fun place to spend with the entire family. Stroll along the pathways and visit all the different style gardens. Kids love the children’s garden. It is an interactive area for them to have fun while learning about plants and flowers. Beyond the children’s garden they have: an area that features edible plant life, a rock garden, Dahlia, Daylily, wetlands, and many more. They are open every day of the week except on Sundays from October to April.
9. Fort Collins Municipal Railway
This is a fun and inexpensive experience within the city. Visitors of all ages love to ride the restored streetcar through the city. These electric streetcars began running here in 1907 to transport people to the fairgrounds. Originally they charged five cents per ride. Today visitors can ride a restored streetcar for only $2 for adults and $1 for seniors and children. The car takes you from City Park to the Old Town district. It is a three mile round trip ride. They only run during the summer from May through September.
8. Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
The Museum of Discovery is a fun experience for kids. They are closed on Mondays and major holidays. A favorite exhibit for the kids is the Music and Sound Lab, where they can create their own music and learn about the physics of sound. Within the Wildlands and Wildlife exhibit you can explore creatures and plants that used to live around the region by exploring the fossil wall. The Natural Areas exhibit highlights natural land features found across the region. Within the First Peoples and People on the Move exhibits you can learn about the first people to arrive to the area and the developments of modern day Fort Collins. The Food, Forage, and Farm exhibit explains the effect we have had on the land and its effect on us. The Exploration Zone is a wonderful introduction to science.
7. Swetsville Zoo
This “zoo” is not a typical zoo filled with live animals in exhibits. This is a sculpture garden, and the animals are created using scrap metal and machinery. Some of the favorite and more humorous pieces are a giant spider made with the body of a Volkswagen, Snoopy on his dog house, a flowerpot created with hubcaps, and many more. Swetsville Zoo has over 150 different sculptures all created by the owner, Bill Swets. This is a completely free activity; however, donations for this privately run exhibit are appreciated. The Swetsville Zoo is right along a river and it is well shaded by large trees to keep you cool during your visit.
6. Spring Canyon Community Park
This beautiful park is a wonderful place to meet friends and family. Pack a lunch and spend a sunny day enjoying the grounds. Large picnic pavilions are available. This park has two separate playgrounds, one for younger kids and another that will be more enjoyable for the older kids. Wide pathways throughout the grounds are perfect for biking, walking, and jogging. Clean restrooms are available onsite. There is also a dog park and a skate park. Even if you didn’t bring your furry friend with you, kids love to go and watch the dogs running around and having a great time.
5. Annual Flower Trial Garden
The Annual Flower Trial Garden is run by researchers at Colorado State University. In 2006 they moved locations to expand their garden research. Now they have 20,000 square feet of flower bed space for their research. The garden is open to visitors every day of the year, and entry is free. Come and explore the colorful flowerbeds and learn about the research being done. The researchers test different varieties of flowers every year to see how the regions climate affects them. The beautiful quiet path through the flowers is an excellent spot for a romantic date.
4. Odell Brewing Company
Odell Brewing Company was the second microbrewery to open in Colorado, during a time when the general public didn’t yet fully understand what micro brewing meant. Starting at a time when people don’t fully understand your product is a challenge, but they persevered and are now an award winning brewing company. After spending ten years in Seattle perfecting his recipe, Doug Odell moved to Fort Collins and began producing Odell Beer for the public in 1989. They offer free tours four times a day at 1, 2, 3, and 4 P.M. When the weather is nice, take advantage of their spectacular outdoor tasting area.
3. Horsetooth Mountain Open Space
This is among the best tourist attractions in Fort Collins, Colorado. The park covers almost 2,800 acres. This huge park has something to offer all its visitors. There are many trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, and you can select your trail based off your level of experience or how long you want to explore Horsetooth Mountain. During the spring you can view Horsetooth Falls. Boating is allowed in the reservoir during the summer. If you don’t want to climb just take a scenic drive through the area. The entrance fee is per vehicle.
2. Cache La Poudre River
This scenic river is the only one in Colorado to receive the designation of a National Wild and Scenic River System. You won’t want to miss a visit to this river. Popular activities on the river include: fly fishing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, and tubing. There are several companies around town where visitors can rent gear for any of these activities. There are plenty of different areas to park along the river and have a picnic, go camping, or hiking. Some of the more popular parking lots can fill up quickly during the summer months.
1. New Belgium Brewing
New Belgium Brewing started as a dream by a man in Belgium riding a bicycle in 1989. He moved to Fort Collins a couple of years later, and began New Belgium Brewing with his wife in 1991. The first two batches were brewed in their basement. Their most well-known and popular brew, Fat Tire, came out of those batches and is still popular today. Tours are offered daily and last approximately 90 minutes. You must reserve a tour time in advance. They fill up quickly especially during weekends. Today they are a completely employee owned company that strives to create world class beer.
This city is a wonderful place for a weekend getaway. There are so many things to do in Fort Collins, Colorado. Located near the base of the Rocky Mountain foothills in northern Colorado, it is the home to the University of Colorado. This scenic town is known for its many breweries and art scene. This will be the vacation to remember for years to come.