Looking for something to do in northern Colorado this summer? If you rent a house in northern Colorado, there’s a lot of fun you can have with your entire family. While some of it may require a little bit of money, some of these activities are actually completely free.
Whether you want to stay in or go out, relax or be active, you’ll find fun things to do in the area. Here are a few of the things in northern Colorado you might want to put on your list to do this summer.
Attend a Festival
Some of the most popular summer activities in northern Colorado are the festivals and other events held during the warmer months. Fort Collins in particular has a lot of great events that include live entertainment, food, and vendors selling unique merchandise.
The Taste of Fort Collins, for example, is a great event that features food from around the area. You can try some amazing local dishes while listening to live music.
Do you love movies? You’ll want to check out the Horsetooth International Film Festival. This event is five days of music, movies, and more. For those who are simply looking for a movie to watch with the family, the Holiday Twin Drive-In is still one of the handful of drive-ins in operation. In addition to movies, they also host concerts and other events.
Theater performances are also a fun way to enjoy the summer. OpenStage Theater puts on several shows during the summer months. The Lagoon Summer Concert Series is another fun event. In fact, there are a good number of plays and concerts held during the summer in northern Colorado including Bohemian Nights at New West Fest.
These are just a few of the events going on this summer in Fort Collins and the northern part of the state. There are so many things going on that you can easily fill every weekend on your calendar with fun activities.
Head Out on a Hike
Love the outdoors but don’t necessarily want to be around people? Taking a hike is a great option, then. There are over a million acres of parks and other public lands in the northern part of the state. You can roam the Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forest, check out the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, visit Pawnee National Grassland, or head out to any of the other green spaces.
Hike for hours, take a picnic, or simply take one of the less challenging paths so you can really focus on taking in the breathtaking sights. Just be sure to pick up your garbage.
One area that certainly stands on its own is the Rocky Mountain National Park. It draws thousands of visitors every year. The entire 415 square miles of the park are gorgeous.
There are more than 300 miles of dedicated hiking trails here, so you can visit the area all summer and never hike the same paths twice. If you head up Longs Peak for a fourteener, you will be treated to a great view of the trees, wildflowers, and even the snow that dots the higher peaks of the Rockies.
Go Bike Riding
Bike riding is also very popular in Colorado. Many of the cities have bike lanes, and there are trails throughout the area designed for bikes. For example, you could bike along Spring Creek or the Cache la Poudre River. Bikes are available for rent in many places, but if you’re renting in northern Colorado, you may want to invest in a bike of your own.
During June, Colorado celebrates Bike Month. People are encouraged to ditch their cars for the month (or more) and bike to work or to school. June 28th, in fact, is the official Bike to Work Day. You can stop at a number of stations around the area as you bike in to get a free breakfast.
Even if you’re not going to bike for the whole summer, you might want to join in just for this one day.
Visit a Local Farmers Market
Eating fresh foods is very good for your diet, so you may want to visit one of the many local farmer’s markets that pop up in northern Colorado during the summer.
In addition to eating clean foods that haven’t been exposed to pesticides and other chemicals, you may find that you also save money since you’re not paying for the packaging shipping or processing you’d expect at a regular grocery store.
Even if you don’t buy anything, spending a morning wandering around one of these markets can be a lot of fun. There are often other vendors there, and some markets even have live music and activities.
Have a Swim
While you’re in the area, City Park in Fort Collins has one of the best swimming pools in the area. It’s very affordable to visit, and the pool is large enough to swim laps or splash around even when there are a lot of other people.
There are also some community pools in the area, but they require memberships. If you plan on taking the kids to the pool often or want to swim daily for exercise, you may want to look into these options. Getting a summer membership may be more affordable.
Spend a Day in Old Town
If you’re living in one of the many house rentals in northern Colorado that are near Fort Collins, you may want to take a day or two to enjoy Old Town. This part of the city features some great restaurants, boutiques, venues, and more.
There are a lot of events that take place in Old Town during the summer, so you may find yourself here fairly often. You can easily walk or ride your bike through the Old Town area, too, so you don’t need to worry about the struggle of finding parking spaces. In fact, the area has one of the highest walkability scores in the region.
The trolly that runs through the city stops at Old Town, so it’s a great way of getting around. This trolly is based on the ones that operated in the area in the early 1900s, so it’s a unique experience that also provides an easy way of traveling from Old Town to City Park.
Participate in a Run
While this may not be on everyone’s “things to do in northern Colorado this summer” bucket list, there are a lot of races and 5K events in the area. Some of the largest are held in the summer, including the Estes Park Marathon and the Fort Collins Father’s Day 5K.
The Rocky Mountain Half Marathon is particularly popular. For a real challenge, try the Never Summer 100km. It has participants running through a track that changes elevation, including several sections that are classified as difficult vertical ascents and descents.
If you can make it through the 100km/64.2 mile course in the 24 hour time limit, you can proudly say you’ve accomplished something many others haven’t.
Head Out on the Water
Well, it’s not so much a lake as it is a reservoir, but still, you can have a lot of fun at Horsetooth Reservoir. The Inlet Bay Marina offers boats, kayaks, paddleboards, canoes, and more for rent.
Since it’s a man-made reservoir, the water tends to be very calm and peaceful. Spending the day having fun out on the water is a good alternative to the pool, too. Just don’t forget to bring sunscreen.
Try New Craft Beers
While this one isn’t exactly a family event, it may be a nice activity for you and your adult friends. There are a lot of small craft breweries in the area that offer very unique beers.
With over 20 different breweries to choose from, you have plenty of options including large breweries such as New Belgium and Odell. Odds are you will find your new favorite drink of choice at one of these establishments. There’s even a Beer and Bike pub craw that you might enjoy. It’s definitely one of the more unique summer events in northern Colorado.
Go to the Museum
The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is a good way to spend the day indoors with the family. There are many unique exhibits here, plus some amazing seasonal events to check out.
You and your family can learn about the science behind music, check out the Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and much more. There are also various programs and even theater performances at the museum.
There’s enough here to more than justify an ASTC (Association of Science and Technology Centers) membership, which gets you entry to the Fort Collins museum plus free entry to partner museums across the country.
There’s Much More to Do
This is only the tip of the iceberg as far as things to do in northern Colorado goes. While you can certainly start with this list, be sure to look out for other events, too. There are a lot of small local festivals and other activities you can do with your family.
Whether you’re indoors or out, watching a concert or hiking through the mountains, there are so many things to do in Colorado that you’re sure to find the perfect way to spend your summer.