Fort Collins Guide for Residents and Visitors

May 28, 2019

Updated September 25, 2020 Each year, countless tenants come to Northern Colorado to find a home rental in Fort Collins. Fort Collins consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in the U.S., touting big city amenities with a small-town atmosphere. Here you’ll find state-of-the-art corporations co-mingling with locally-owned businesses, plenty of parks and green spaces for dogs, cutting-edge restaurants, amazing events, and even an award-winning university.   From visitors to residents, no matter what your age, relationship status, or lifestyle preference, you’ll find plenty to do, see, and enjoy in Fort Collins. This Fort Collins guide will take a look at some of the great events, dog-friendly activities, and ways you can quickly get to any of these activities.

annual events in fort collins

Fort Collins Events You Shouldn’t Miss

Fort Collins is a lively community with events happening throughout the year. Many of these events are so popular, people across Northern Colorado look forward to attending each year. If you’re looking for things to do in Fort Collins to get you out of your apartment and into the community, here are five annual Fort Collins events you may enjoy.


Taste of Fort Collins

Taste of Fort Collins is a yearly family-friendly tradition offering food, music, and artwork. The Taste of Fort Collins festival lasts for three days every June. It's a great way to kick off summer in a great way. The streets of historic Old Town Fort Collins come alive with food from local restaurants, entertainment from acclaimed musicians, and a unique exhibition of work from local artisans and crafters.   Food is typically available at more than 30 booths and food trucks offering everything from tacos and green chili to Dole Whip and Waffle Lab. Beer has also been available in events past from New Belgium Brewing, Odell Brewing Co., and Bud Light with Mystic Mountain Distillery offering cocktails. In addition to local bands and artists, Taste Of Fort Collins often hosts a few amazing headliners.


Bohemian Nights NewWestFest

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a Fort Collins summer classic offering three days of live music from new, emerging Colorado artists. It is one of the most popular and long-awaited events bringing in large crowds of people each year. Downtown Fort Collins will offer live music and numerous booths featuring food, art, and activities for the whole family.   In addition to the August festival, Bohemian Nights also presents Thursday Night Live, a series of free concerts taking place in Old Town Fort Collins every Thursday night.


Tour De Fat

What started as a local event at New Belgium Brewery in 2000, has grown to become a highly anticipated annual event in six cities across the United States. Tour de Fat is a philanthropic festival of bikes, beer, and fun (or bemusement as the festival slogan calls it) featuring a bike parade through downtown Fort Collins. While the event itself is used to raise awareness of cycling as a mode of transportation, funds raised from ticket sales are donated to local bike non-profit organizations. Tour de Fat might be hosted by a brewery, but it is still very much a family-friendly event so everyone can put together their craziest costume and mark their calendars for this epic event.



Fortoberfest is an award-winning Colorado Brewers’ Festival held as an end of the season celebration with a full day of live music, German-themed cuisine, and seasonal microbrews. Fortoberfest is a free fall festival taking place at Old Town Square in downtown Fort Collins.

Great Plates Fort Collins

Fort Collins is home to a variety of great restaurants from locally-owned to national chains and the annual Great Plates event showcases cuisines from over 35 participating eateries. Great Plates takes place every year around the beginning of March, highlighting various restaurants while raising funds to benefit the Food Bank for Larimer County.   During this two-week event, participating restaurants offer a $25 dinner special. The Great Plates special varies by restaurant, but it often includes a two or three-course dinner and provides you options within the special. Several breweries and distilleries also participate, offering drink specials rather than a dinner. Likewise, several locally owned ice cream shops also participate. In 2019, participating restaurants included Fort Collins local popular favorites such as Austin’s American Grill, Blue Agave Grill, The Emporium, Fish, The Melting Pot, Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant and much more.   This event is designed with a two-part purpose: encouraging the community to discover the cuisines of various downtown Fort Collins restaurants, while taking donations for the Food Bank. Diners are encouraged to donate to the Food Bank. In 2018, Great Plates raised over $106,000 in donations, 100{ec1d25302c0c3e829886c092caa623e779a888dbf9e1057900a08c9ab9a85bb1} of which went directly to benefit the Food Bank for Larimer County. Learn more about Great Plates here.


Fort Collins Activities for Dog Owners

Now that you have a list of things to do in Fort Collins for you, it’s time to find activities for your dog. Fort Collins is a great place for dogs and offers a variety of options to let your dog run and enjoy time outside. Here are four places to give your dog exercise in Fort Collins.

dogs playing at dog park

Dog Parks

Dog parks are specifically designed for pups to run around, explore, and meet other dogs. As a bonus, you’ll likely also be able to meet other local dog owners.   Fort Collins maintains four dog parks throughout the city. Soft Gold Park features a one-acre fenced area for dogs to run off-leash. Spring Canyon Park features more than 2 acres of fenced area for dogs, including a separate area for smaller or shy dogs and a water fountain for pets. Fossil Creek Park is the smallest dog park in the city but features a separate area just for smaller dogs. Twin Silo Park is about an acre and also has a water fountain for both humans and dogs.   In the future, Fort Collins plans to develop even more dog parks to meet the needs of its residents. Dog parks are specifically designed for energetic dogs and feature a variety of terrain and a large area. There isn’t a charge to enter the parks, but owners must pick up after their dogs. Puppies must be at least four months old, and aggressive dogs aren’t allowed. If your dog is social and wants to play with other dogs, dog parks offer a safe space to socialize and run free.


Walking Trails

Walking trails provide not only great exercise for your dog, but for you as well as you enjoy the natural beauty of Fort Collins. There are numerous walking trails throughout the city, ranging from flatter paved trails through the downtown area to rockier dirt trails around the outskirts of town. Dogs need to be on a leash on walking trails, especially in busy areas where there are lots of people around. Owners are also responsible for cleaning up after their pets, but most of the trails feature dog waste stations with plastic bags and trash cans.   Popular walking trails for dogs in Fort Collins include the Poudre River Trail and the Maxwell Natural Area.



Aside from dog parks, there are also great parks throughout Fort Collins that offer trails, grassy areas, and play structures for humans. Fort Collins information shows that the city has more than 925 acres of parks throughout the city, including the popular Twin Silos Park and Fossil Creek Park. Unless they are in the designated dog park areas or in a grassy area, dogs need to stay on their leashes at city and neighborhood parks, especially on trails and around playgrounds. However, these areas offer great places to walk a dog and throw the ball around. With something for everyone, the entire family can take the dog to the park and enjoy time outside.


If your dog loves water, Fort Collins has a number of lakes and reservoirs that can be great places for exercise. Warren Lake and Sheldon Lake are smaller lakes within the city, and the larger Horsetooth Reservoir and Fossil Creek Reservoir are just a short drive away. These water features include trails and places to walk and run with your dog. On warm summer days, dogs can even swim in many areas of these lakes, offering a refreshing alternative to their normal exercise. Dog owners need to be courteous at these lakes, but the water features can still provide great exercise and entertainment for dogs.   Fort Collins is a great place to have a dog, even if you don’t have your own outdoor space at your apartment rental. With plenty of outdoor recreation options and a welcoming community, there are plenty of places to give your dog exercise.


Getting Around Fort Collins

Of course, it’s hard to enjoy the many different activities and events in this Fort Collins Guide if you can’t get to them. Even if you live within walking distance of some of these locations, the Colorado winters don’t always make walking pleasant. Fortunately, the city has a great public transportation system. Here’s everything you need to know about Fort Collins public transport.


MAX Bus Rapid Transit

Looking to explore Midtown, CSU, or Fort Collins’ downtown? The MAX Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) offers transport throughout the high traffic areas and commercial districts of the region. MAX runs along its own roadway, offering passengers a dedicated route through twelve stations and stops. Some tips for riding MAX include:   Determine Fare MAX accepts all Transport bus passes. Fort Collins local riders can purchase their MAX tickets in advance using cash or credit cards.   Bikers Welcome MAX vehicles can hold up to four bicycles. Cyclists should enter through the rear of the bus to secure your bike to a floor rack or vertical rack.   Plan Your Route Use Google Transit to plan your route or go online for up-to-date bus information.

FLEX Regional Service

FLEX provides regional bus service that runs between the cities of Fort Collins, Berthoud, Loveland, Boulder, and Longmont, offering optimized accessibility for students, families, and commuters throughout Northern Colorado. FLEX service offers five trips each weekday that are spread out throughout the day.   Each one-way trip takes riders an estimated 90 minutes to complete. Drivers carry no change, so riders must pay for transit using the exact fare amount. Seniors over 60 can purchase tickets at a reduced price, and CSU students, faculty, and staff with a valid ID can ride for free.


CSU Routes

Fort Collins even offers students access to public transportation around the CSU campus and the surrounding region. Some important things to know about riding on the CSU routes: The Transit Center is the Hub The CSU Transit Center serves as a hub for the public busing system. Located north of the university’s Lory Student Center, riders can either be dropped off or picked up at the Transit Center.   Timing Is Everything Sometimes the CSU bus (as well as the other buses) arrives early. Always get to your stop approximately 5-10 minutes before the scheduled pickup to reduce the risk of missing your ride.   Students and Faculty Ride Free Colorado State University students and faculty members can ride the Fort Collins bus system for free. Every student is issued a campus ID card that they simply need to swipe when boarding the bus, and their fare is waived. public transportation in colorado

Other General Tips

While the public busing system in Fort Collins makes getting around in Northern Colorado straightforward and convenient, there are a few things to know in advance. First, not all buses run every day of the week. Additionally, no buses offer services on Sundays, and some won’t run on Saturday. Always take the time to determine the bus you need runs on the day you need it in advance. You can go to the Ride Transfort website to find updated Fort Collins information concerning the bus system.

Top Local Fort Collins Restaurants to Try

No matter your flavor preferences, there’s something for everyone in Fort Collins. The city is home to a wide variety of restaurants with innovative cuisine from around the world. Below are eight top local restaurants to try in Fort Collins.

  friends eating at restaurant


Silver Grill Café

One of the most popular diners in town, Silver Grill Café is also one of the oldest restaurants in Northern Colorado. Come early for hearty pancakes, cinnamon rolls, and eggs benedict for breakfast (be prepared to wait in line), or enjoy comfort food for dinner. Silver Grill Café has a laid-back atmosphere and is perfect for meeting up with friends and family.


The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm

Perhaps the freshest dining experience in Fort Collins comes at The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm, where items are grown and harvested daily from the backyard garden and chicken coop and then served in a 135-year-old renovated barn. But this isn’t your typical farm food—the menu is full of healthy and fresh options. The menu changes daily based on what is in season, but the fresh salads and soups, green chile mac and cheese, and salmon are crowd favorites.


Welsh Rabbit Cheese Bistro

For a lighter fare, Welsh Rabbit Cheese Bistro is a popular option. The shop specializes in delicious cheese and wine pairings and features a cozy atmosphere and comfortable leather chairs. Welsh Rabbit also serves unique small bites, such as bison tongue and crickets and is a great place to meet up with friends for a glass of wine and fine cheese.


Tasty Harmony

One of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in town, Tasty Harmony harvests many of its ingredients from its large backyard garden. Its menu is diverse and features a wide variety of unique and healthy flavors. Tasty Harmony is best experienced in the summer while dining on its large, wrap-around outdoor patio.


Nick’s Italian

Get an authentic homestyle experience at Nick’s Italian. The restaurant is laid back and relaxed, and the food is delicious. Each night features a unique menu item, such as clams on Fridays and porchetta on Saturdays. Nick’s Italian serves a variety of Italian meat dishes, plus pasta and pizza with gourmet toppings like black truffle oil and brussels sprouts.


Avogadro’s Number

Part live music venue, part restaurant, Avogadro’s Number serves a wide menu, including a number of vegetarian options. Close to Colorado State University, Avogadro’s Number offers everyone a taste of college life. Favorite menu items are the tempeh burgers and massive omelets full of fresh ingredients.


Waltzing Kangaroo

If you’ve never experienced authentic Australian fare, Waltzing Kangaroo is the perfect place to get acquainted. The restaurant takes diners to the other side of the globe with handmade meat pies, dessert pies, and craft beer. Australian cuisine includes a variety of pie options, including steak and gravy and Thai curry chicken.



There’s tough competition to be considered the best burger in a college town, but CooperSmiths might just take the cake. Known as Coops to locals, it’s Fort Collin’s oldest brewpub. One side of the restaurant is full of pool tables, the other has quieter dining. But on either side, you can experience gourmet burgers with unique toppings. From jalapenos to homemade guacamole, there’s something for everyone.


Contact All Property Services Today

Looking for housing along some of the many public busing routes in Fort Collins? Want to live near a dog park? Looking for a place that’s conveniently located near all the activities you want to do or a favorite local restaurant? We can help you find the right housing solution for all of these needs and many more. All Property Services offers rental homes and apartments throughout the Fort Collins region. Contact us today to learn more about our current open inventory.

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