Northern Colorado Day Trip Ideas

Even with so much to do in and around Fort Collins you might be running low on ideas. If you are ready to venture out for the day we have put together a short list of Northern Colorado day trip Ideas to inspire your next journey.

Day Trip to Estes Park

Estes Park is a can’t miss destination if you are thinking about a day trip near Northern Colorado. The charming town is filled with small shops and great restaurants. Additionally, you can even combine your trip with a stop off at the well known Rocky Mountain National Park that is just outside of town. Parking can be a little hard to come by on weekends during the warmer seasons. So come prepared to drive around a little bit before getting to embark on your adventure. If you don’t want to mess with crowds just plan to visit on a weekday or in the off season.

An Image of Estes Park demonstrating Northern Colorado Day Trip Ideas

Northern Colorado Day Trip Ideas: Across the Peak to Peak Highway

If you have already done Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park you might have overlooked the Peak to Peak highway. This recognized Scenic Byway connects the points between Estes Park and Blackhawk. The drive alone takes about three hours. In addition, there are multiple pull offs and scenic overlooks along the way. To truly see and enjoy all the Peak to Peak has to offer would take the better part of a day. This means that you could connect it with the Estes Park and Blackhawk day trip suggestions in this post to make a long weekend of adventure.

Enjoy an Afternoon Drive up the Poudre Canyon

If you have lived in Northern Colorado for any length of time you have probably heard of the Poudre Canyon. However, how far up the canyon have you driven? Have you made it all the way to Cameron Pass? If not a trip up the Poudre Canyon should be on your list of day trips. Simply gas up the car in Fort Collins and wind your way up Highway 14. You can pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic at one of the scenic overlooks. Additionally, you can always stop off for a bite to eat in Rustic which is about an hour up the Canyon. If you can’t wait that long there is also the restaurant at Mishawaka. Either way make sure to take in the sites and sounds of our own Wild and Scenic River.

An image of the Poudre Canyon demonstrating Northern Colorado Day Trip Ideas

Northern Colorado Day Trip Ideas: Black Hawk Casinos

Black Hawk is only about an hour and a half drive away from Fort Collins. At that distance it is a simple proposition to head up in the morning spend the afternoon at the casinos and drive home in time for a late dinner. Having too much fun? Not to worry, many of the casinos have affordable hotel rooms if you have to spend the night.

We hope this brief article helps you pick your adventure with a few Northern Colorado day trip ideas. Contact us if you need more local recommendations.

Best Coffee Shops in Fort Collins

With our readers in mind we have compiled a list of the best coffee shops in Fort Collins. With any town there are a variety of coffee shops to choose from. For instance you can go with a tried and true chain like Starbucks. Doing so allows you to know that you will receive roughly the same quality product and experience regardless of location. However, the small one offs or mom and pop shops with a couple of locations are often where the heart of a community exists. We have a number of coffee shops that are close to our hearts here in Fort Collins. Whether you are looking for a quick drive through or somewhere to work on your newest novel there should be something on this list for you.

The Human Bean

A picture of the human bean demonstrating Best Coffee Shops in Fort Collins

One of our favorites. The Human Bean has a variety of Northern Colorado locations to choose from. They offer a fast drive through experience. The Human Bean also carries a vast array of to go breakfast food options for anyone in a rush in the morning. These include several gluten free choices for the gluten sensitive among us. With friendly staff and amazing coffee The Human Bean is a can’t miss coffee shop in Fort Collins.

Best Coffee Shops in Fort Collins: Alley Cat

Located on Laurel just across the street from Colorado State University, Alley Cat is a coffee shop well known and loved by our local students. The free wifi is something that really appeals to the student population. However, this isn’t to say that you have to be a student to enjoy its lively atmosphere. This is because everyone is welcome to grab a coffee at Alley Cat. While you are there make sure to try one of their famous sandwiches.

The Cart

An image of the cart coffee shop illustrating Best Coffee Shops in Fort Collins

With a local presence of 27 years The Cart is definitely a can’t miss coffee shop in Fort Collins. It is located inside of Spouts grocery store at the intersection of Lemay and Drake. The Cart offers a small coffee shop feel that is great for a meeting or writing the next chapter of your novel. Once you are done you can grab some pastries from Great Harvest Bread a few doors down, or hit up Island Grill next door for dinner.

A picture of a coffee cup illustrating Best Coffee Shops in Fort Collins

Did we miss one of your favorite Best Coffee Shops in Fort Collins? Contact Us and we will add it to the list. As area experts we can also provide any other recommendations you may need, or even an area tour if you are looking to relocate. We are always happy to shed some light on what makes Fort Collins a great place to call home!

Best of Fort Collins 2022

Best of Fort Collins 2023

Exciting news! One of my favorite things, out of so many, about Fort Collins is that we do the “Best of Fort Collins 2022” Every year it is so fun to see who won “best of” in the different categories. The big news is that the results are in for 2022. So…who won in the different categories? Here is a list of some of the results.

  • Best all around restaurant: Austin American Grill
  • Best Breakfast: Silver Grill
  • Best Dessert: Walrus Ice Cream
  • Best Romantic Restaurant: Jay’s Bistro
  • Best Salad Bar: Spoons, Soups, Salads and Sandwiches
  • Best Meal For the Money: Krazy Karl’s Pixie and Sports Bar
  • Best Mexican: Blue Agave Grill
  • Best Tourist Attraction: Old Town
  • Best Gift Shop: The Cupboard
  • Best Grocery Store: King Supers
  • Best Florist Shop: Palmer Flowers
  • Best Family Amusement: The Gardens at Spring Creek
  • Best Birthday Party Venue: Fort Fun
  • Best Barber Shop: Floyd’s 99 Barbershop

What makes Fort Collins Great

Fort Collins is a great place to call home because of these Best of Fort Collins 2023 winners.

That is a long list and the list in the “best of” section of the Coloradoan is even longer. It covers “best of” for service providers, doctors, hospitals, beauty and health, entertainment, shopping and so much more. I am always available for recommendations, but this list is fun to refer to also.

Remember to enjoy all that Fort Collins has to offer and the unique places that are special to just Fort Collins, not just those on the Best of Fort Collins 2022 list. Nothing turns you into a local faster than knowing where all the great spots are. So, if you are looking for a special place, we can help. Whether it is a new home or just a community recommendation. Just reach out and contact us we provide special recommendations to some of the communities best kept secrets. We just ask that you promise not to spoil them by making them too popular.

An Introvert’s Guide To Fort Collins

There are a number of lists out there or things to do in Fort Collins for those who enjoy getting out and being around lots of people. However, what about those of us who are more interested in individualistic pursuits? With this in mind we have put together a list of a few things that may be more appealing for the introverts among us. Here is an introvert’s guide To Fort Collins.

People Watching in Old Town

An image of street photography representing an introverts guide to Fort Collins

Sometimes the best feeling is being a fly on the wall. In Old Town Fort Collins you can blend right in. Grab a seat at one of the many patios available. While you are there grab an appetizer or beverage and take in all the sights and sounds while blending right in. There is no need to feel like the center of attention with so many other people moving in and out of shops and stores. Pro tip, Old Town is also a great place to do some street photography with dozens of interactions going on at any given spot.

An Introvert’s Guide To Fort Collins: Try A Solo Hike

There are a number of great local hiking trails around Fort Collins, Colorado. This is really a choose your own adventure as the hikes available range from easy to complex. Two local favorites are the Horsetooth Rock trail and Horsetooth Falls. They both depart from the same trailhead. However, Horsetooh Rock takes a few hours and can be steep. Horsetooth Falls trail on the other hand is fairly flat and only about a mile.

Quiet Coffee Shops

There are a number of cozy coffee shops in Fort Collins. Here you can enjoy a quiet cup of coffee and a calming atmosphere. One of the quietest is The Cart. This coffee shop is located inside of Spouts Grocery Store. The coffee is great and there are a number of little nooks and crannies. Take advantage of this little known spot to get some work done, or type away on your latest writing project.

An Introvert’s Guide To Fort Collins: Colorado State University Trial Garden

A picture of the CSU trial garden demonstrating things you can do in the introverts guide to Fort Collins

The CSU trial garden is a great place to get out while at the same time avoiding the crowds. In the spring, summer, and fall there is a changing landscape. This is because the plants peak at different times. It is a great place to explore with your camera. You can also bring a picnic lunch and enjoy it on the grass or at the nearby pavilion.

If you want more tailored recommendations like an introvert’s guide to Fort Collins of all that our area has to offer Contact us. We would be happy to help.

Golf Courses in Fort Collins

To start off this list let’s explore the municipal golf courses in Fort Collins, Colorado. Information on each of these courses and how to book at tee time can be found on the municipal golf website.

Collindale

An image of a sign depicting the Collindale Golf Course in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Let’s first take a look at Collindale golf course. Collindale is an 18 hole course with a par of 71. Additionally, it is characterized by a medium green length which are fast and well manicured. Collindale also features a driving range for those of us who need to shake the rust off early in the season. This course also features the C.B. & Potts restaurant and bar at the clubhouse. The clubhouse is a great place to finalize your business deals post play, or just grab a bite to eat before heading home.

Golf Courses in Fort Collins: City Park 9

Shorter greens and old growth trees characterize this 9 hole course located near Old Town Fort Collins. City Park 9 has a par of 36 and is great for a fast game when you don’t have time for a full 18 holes. This popular short course is great for those who want to walk while they play. Just make sure to lighten up your bag before hand.

Southridge

Rolling hills medium green length and spectacular views make Southridge a local favorite golf course. With 18 holes at a par of 71 this course is one that you should not miss when visiting or living in Fort Collins, Colorado. A fun fact about Southridge is that it is also a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Who knows what neat birds you might see when you play this course.

Golf Courses in Fort Collins: Fort Collins Country Club

Our area also has a number of privately run golf courses. The most notable of these is the Fort Collins Country Club. The course features 18 holes that features great mountain views and mature trees lining the fairways. In order to play here you will need to be a member. If you are interested in membership more information can be found at the Fort Collins Country Club’s website.

Mountain Vista Golf Course

Mountain Vista is another private course in our area. It is 9 hole course located just North of town. Want to get in 18? Just play the course twice. This course also features a driving range, putting range, and chipping area. The chipping area even has a practice sand pit. Find yourself getting thirsty out there? No worries there is a full service beverage cart for all your needs. Visit the Mountain Vista website for more information.

XGolf

While it is not really a golf course XGolf offers a unique golfing experience. You will be able to play digital golf using the latest technology. These golf simulators have a 98% shot prediction accuracy. This is a great way to work on your golf game when the weather is less than ideal. There is also a bar, ping pong, foosball, and shuffle board. More information about booking a session can be found at the XGolf website.

Contact Us if you have any questions about the recreation opportunities our area has to offer.

Great Fort Collins Shopping Spots

If you have come to Northern Colorado looking for great Fort Collins shopping spots then you have certainly come to the right place. Here is a collection of a few of our favorites. Of course this is not an exhaustive list because we can’t spoil all the local secrets all at once.

Jax Outdoor Store

Jax Outdoor Store Fort Collins

Jax has multiple locations throughout Northern Colorado, but none have the size or selection of their original Fort Collins location. There is honestly something here for everyone. If you enjoy outdoor pursuits, or even just the Colorado lifestyle you will feel at home here. There is a wide variety of your typical outdoor equipment, but also a vast kitchen and cooking section, and a great selection of photography equipment for the photog in your life. You can find out more at the Jax Outdoor Website.

The Cupboard

The Cupboard Fort Collins

The Cupboard is your one stop shop for all things kitchen. From specialty hot sauces to a wide array of chefs knives. If you use it in the kitchen you can find it in the Cupboard. If you love to cook or entertain you will be hard pressed to leave without walking out with something new for your home. You can find out more at the Cupboard’s Website.

Rocky Mountain Olive Oil

Rocky Mountain Olive Oil Company Fort Collins

Ever wanted to try something new in the kitchen? If the answer is yes then you need to check out Rocky Mountain Olive Oil. Their oils are infused with a variety of different flavor notes from oranges to green chilies. You can also taste test each oil to find the one that is right for you. This might help put your next dish over the top. You can find out more at the Rocky Mountain Olive Oil Website.

Old Fire House Books

Old Fire House Books Fort Collins

Located in Old Town, Old Fire House Books is another of the great Fort Collins shopping spots. It is Northern Colorado’s largest independent bookstore. Looking for something new and interesting, or even out of print, there is a chance you might find it at Old Fire House Books. You can find out more about them at the Old Fire House Books Website.

Need More Great Fort Collins Shopping Spots?

If you need any suggestions of great places in the area to shop for something specific, contact us, we would be happy to help.

Disc Golf Course in Fort Collins

There are quite a few disc golf course in Fort Collins. Disc Golf is a popular sport in Fort Collins and Greater Northern Colorado. This is reflected by the sheer number and quality of courses that we are fortunate enough to have here. Locals often have their top courses that they continue to play over and over again. Our local courses vary from beginner friendly to expert. With that in mind we will break down the different courses beginning with the easiest and moving to the most difficult at the end. Of course, any article like this is likely to be subjective so please don’t @ us if you don’t agree with our assessment. Make sure to download Udisc to get more in depth information on each of these courses.

Boltz Junior High

First, Boltz is one of our personal favorite disc golf course in Fort Collins. This is a 9 hole course with short-medium drives and relatively easy difficulty. As this course is mostly open there isn’t a lot to get in your way. However, beware of the tennis courts which are often locked. This can make retrieving an mis-thrown disc difficult. There is also a water hazard running down the middle of the course. The ditch can vary in moisture content depending on the season. You definitely want to be more concerned with in in spring and summer. Park by the tennis courts to find hole 1 near the massive cottonwood tree on the West side.

Cache La Poudre Middle School

Second is CLP which is a really fun course. While technically not “in” Fort Collins city limits it has earned its spot on this list. CLP is a 9 hole course with short drives and easy to moderate difficulty. This course is all about control with lots of big trees and plants to eat discs. The benefit is that lots of trees also mean lots of shade in the spring and summer. When arriving, park in the school lot after hours/on the weekend. From there find hole 1 near their outdoor amphitheater.

Fort Collins High School

Third is FCHS which is a pretty wide open 9 hole course with medium drives and easy to moderate difficulty. FCHS is usually one of the least crowded courses on any given day. Unlike CLP, FCHS openness means less shade in the hotter months which is something to keep in mind. Park on the Southwest corner of the high school building to find hole 1 to the West.

Aggie Greens

Aggie Greens is an 18 hole course with long drives and a moderate difficulty. It is a newer course without a lot of older growth trees which can mean hotter play in the summer. This is a course you should make sure to play at least once while in Fort Collins. CR23 will take you directly to the proper parking area.

Edora Disc Golf Course Fort Collins

Finally, Edora is an 18 hole course with medium to long drives and a hard difficulty. With this in mind, long driving ability is a must on this course or it can quickly become a slog. It is easy to mix things up with long holes interspaced with shorter ones. With 18 holes there is a lot of opportunity to mix up your play if you don’t want to do it in order. Edora is a well known course and as such it is often crowded on weekends. Park near the pool and ice center to find hole 1 down the hill to the North.

Hopefully you were able to discover a new disc golf course in Fort Collins from this list. As always if you have any questions or need any recommendations about the Fort Collins and Greater Northern Colorado area we are here for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out and Contact Us for any of your needs.

Fort Collins Community Events

With the temperatures warming up many of us are beginning to look forward to some of the spring and summer experiences our area has to offer. There are a few Fort Collins Community Events every year that you simply should not miss. After a couple of years of question marks some of our classic events have returned. If you are new to Fort Collins Colorado or a seasoned local you should make sure to check out some or all of these events.

Fort Collins Community Events: FoCo MX

An image of public art depicting two musical animals playing a bass guitar.

Taking place on April 22 and 23, FoCo MX is a collection of distinctive local music. Event participants will be able to view live performances from a number of Colorado artists. Old Town will be transformed into an outdoor concert venue. It will feature 30 stages and over 300 performers. Visit the FoCo MX website for more information and to book your tickets today.

Taste of Fort Collins

Occurring on the weekend of June 11th and 12, the Taste of Fort Collins offers something for the foodie. Participants will have access to a large number of vendors throughout the sectioned off area that will be located in Washington park in Old Town. There are currently 29 food vendors and counting that will be at Taste of Fort Collins. This means there will be something for everyone. As part of the event be prepared for performances from Collective Soul and T.I. You can pick up a weekend pass for $20 to the event making this a very affordable way to have a great time. Visit the Taste of Fort Collins website for more information.

Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks

An image of an exploding firework depicting the Fort Collins Community Events for the Fourth of July

Coming to City Park July 4. Every year the City of Fort Collins hosts a Fourth of July celebration. Details for this years event are still being finalized so we aren’t quite sure what to expect. It usually includes a public parade during the day. The celebration often features an evening concert from the Fort Collins Symphony. At the conclusion of the event is always the public fireworks display at City Park. Make sure to get there early to ensure finding a parking place. Or bring the bikes down along with a camping chair. Just make sure to bring bike lights for the ride home. Visit the City of Fort Collins website for more information as it becomes available.

Fort Collins Community Events: FOCO Fondo

Taking place one day only, July 24. This is a newer Fort Collins event that helps solidify Fort Collins as a cycling mecca. FOCO Fondo is a gravel bike race with a variety of lengths for every competitor. All the way from 12 to 145 miles riders can select the level of suffering they care to endure. The longest 2 options have a prize purse that you can compete for if you’re feeling ambitious. Just remember you will be competing against some amazing local cyclists. Additionally, you may need to be an early riser as the longest route departs from New Belgium Brewery at 6:00 AM on race day. After the ride enjoy the Fondo Festivities at New Belgium Brewery. Additionally, you will have a chance to win some great giveaways from event sponsors. Visit the FOCO Fondo Website for more information.

Fort Collins Peach Festival

Headed your way August 27. This year the Fort Collins Peach festival will be taking place at the Holiday Twin Drive In on the West side of town. Unfortunately, details are still being ironed out for this event but you can expect live music, food, and beer. Remember that everything will probably have a peach spin. So you can expect to be inundated by all things peach. Visit the Fort Collins Peach Festival website for more information as it becomes available.

Tour de Fat

An image of a bike at sunset depicting the Fort Collins Community Events for Tour de Fat

Occurring one day only, September 3. Tour de Fat is a classic event put on by New Belgium Brewing. The event begins with a bicycle ride down Mountain avenue. Ride might be a strong word as the crowd and slow pace often leave you duck walking your bike as you wait for space to open up. Most people dress in funky costumes and decorate their bikes. Moreover, seeing the different costumes is often one of the best parts of the event.

For this reason, folks often gather on the side of the road in lawn chairs to watch the unofficial parade pass by their homes. Additionally, after the conclusion of the ride New Belgium hosts a fair of sorts in Old Town. You can expect drinking throughout the day, and if you need to cool off there are many bars in Old Town to pop into. Just make sure to bring a bike lock. Visit the Tour de Fat website for more information.

Contact Us for more information about other events that happen in our special community. We would be happy to point you in the right direction.

Culture Makes Fort Collins Special

Fort Collins is a great place.  As we discussed earlier the trail system is a major contributor to our sense of place.  However there is so much more about Fort Collins that makes it a great place to live.  Our local culture makes Fort Collins special. With that in mind here are some pieces of our local culture that set Fort Collins apart from other communities in the area, and nationwide. 

Art in Public Places

First, Fort Collins enjoys the beauty of art in public places. Art helps to form the culture that makes Fort Collins special This program was started in 1995 to bring art to outdoor spaces for all to enjoy.  This includes painting on transformer boxes around town, pavers in sidewalks and pianos around town.  This program showcases local artists work and even children are able to get involved with the sidewalk pavers. You can learn more about this program here.

Pianos About Town

This project started in Fort Collins in 2010.  Pianos about town is a seasonal project that combines art and music. Each spring more than one dozen pianos are painted by local artists and then the pianos are placed about town for people to play.  I recall sitting at a restaurant patio last summer.  While we ate someone walking by one of the pianos sat down at the piano and started to play.  All of us sitting on the patio enjoyed the spontaneous music of this person for the brief time that they entertained us. You can learn more about Pianos About Town from their website

Alley Beautification

In 2004 the City of Fort Collins began a strategic alley beatification project. The purpose was to improve the beauty of the alleys in Old Town and make the alleys more pedestrian friendly. Since the inception of this project, seven different alleys have been beautified.  The process includes adding pavers, planters, art, lighting and more to make the use of the space more desirable. Some local artists have added art to the alleys too! You can find out the locations of these works of art from the Downtown Development Authority’s website.

Live concerts in Old Town and at CSU

We do love our arts and music in Fort Collins.  During the summer enjoy live music in Old Town or at the Lagoon on Colorado State University’s campus.  The schedule of the concerts, location and who is preforming will vary from year to year, but how much locals enjoy this tradition does not change. Concert lists are updated annually for CSU at their website.

Culture Makes Fort Collins Special, But There Is So Much to Enjoy

It is hard not to mention our over 300 days of sunshine a year.  While the sun is shining you can enjoy outdoor recreation at Horsetooth Reservoir which is just outside of town, or enjoy a hike at Lory State Park or Horsetooth Mountain Park.  If something a bit easier is more to your liking, enjoy one of our many city parks or how about a visit to The Farm at Lee Martinez Park.  It is an actual working farm.

Additionally, there is always the Discovery Science Museum just north of Old Town.  How about a stop and a sip at one of our local brewers?  There is always the option of visiting The Gardens at Spring Creek.  They are not just to visit in the spring and summer. They are beautifully decorated for the holidays too.  I guess that is one of the other things that makes Fort Collins so special. There is always something to do here. Contact Us if you would like some personalized recommendations or for a free tour of the area. You can call this amazing area your home too.

Trails Make Fort Collins Special

One of the questions that I am frequently asked by people is what makes Fort Collins special.  Above all, it is truly the trails that make Fort Collins special. For instance, the City of Fort Collins has nearly 50 miles of trials.  These trails and are wide and beautiful.  In other words, they are perfect for biking, walking running and even dog walking.  Today, I would like to highlight several of our special trails.

Poudre River Trail (12.3 miles through Fort Collins)

This paved trail is our longest trail. Poudre River Trail starts in Laporte on the west and follows the Poudre River through Fort Collins. It ends at the Environmental Learning Center, on the east side of town.  There are bathrooms along the way and several drinking fountains that can be used in season.  This trail is planned to connect us with Windsor and Greeley when it is complete.  The trail is projected to be completed by 2023. Views along the way are wonderful and wildlife can also often be seen.

Spring Creek Trail (6.6 miles)

Spring Creek Trail is another popular trail that runs east and west along Spring Creek through Fort Collins. This trail begins at Spring Canyon Community Park on the west side of town. Spring Creek trail then ends at the confluence of the Poudre River and Spring Creek. 

Mason Trail (4 miles)

This trail runs north to south through Fort Collins extending from Prospect Road to Fossil Creek Trail.  The trail runs along the RR tracks just west of College Ave.  This trail is often used by bike riders to get across town.  It also provides easy access to Max bus system.

Fossil Creek Trail (8.5 miles)

One of the special things about this trail is that it will connect you to the Loveland Trail System.  This trail begins at Spring Canyon Community Park.  Fossil Creek Trail takes you to Fossil Creek Park in Southeast Fort Collins.  This park is the cities second largest park behind City Park.  Additionally, if the trail is taken into Loveland you can enjoy a ride along Boyd Lake. 

Trails Make Fort Collins Special

These trails are well maintained year around and that maintenance includes prompt snow removal after snow storms.  Additionally, many of the trails use tunnels under streets so that streets do not have to be crossed.  Whether you want a workout or just a short ride with the family, Fort Collins trails have something for everyone. In conclusion, the trails are one of the things that makes Fort Collins special. Pick a trial and get out and enjoy. Or, contact us for personalized recreation recommendations.