When people ask me about Fort Collins, their first question is “is there skiing?” and the second question is usually, “where is it again?” Truth be told, when people think of Colorado, they either think of the Western slopes for skiing, maybe Garden of the Gods and Pike’s Peak near Colorado Springs, and, with some luck, Steamboat Springs. As I tell them, there is more to Colorado than Denver and skiing. And if you are a non-skier like myself, there is a lot that non-Western slope Colorado offers for either vacations, or in our case, to live.
10 Reasons to Visit the Front Range
- Mountains. You can enjoy the mountains without being in the mountains all the time. I love the mountains, but coming from the flatlands of Houston, you do have to initially combat elevation and inclines. Depending on which elevation sign you use and what Google pulls up in a search, Fort Collins elevation is 5003. We have a long view of Horsetooth Mountain from our house but we can ride our bikes or drive less than a 1/2 mile and get the mountain view we drool over and hope never becomes the mundane. There are charming towns to visit with a 40-mile radius – all with wonderful mountain views.
- People. Honestly, the people here are the friendliest people ever. Not just hospitable but almost creepy friendly. I say this in jest, but they are so nice at times, I feel out of place, and I think I am a pretty nice person! They make a vacation or living here most pleasant and make me want to be a better person.And so, raising children here must be a blessing!
- Activities. You can be outdoors 75% of the time, even in the winter. As I write this
blog, we have just survived our first winter here. Per the locals, it was unusually snowy and had snow on the ground from Thanksgiving until mid-February. I suppose we could have partaken in traditional winter activities like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, but we opted just to bundle up and ride bikes on the sunny days. And speaking of cycling….
- Cycling – Trails, trails and more trails. You can do anything from a refreshment ride (around the neighborhoods on Real bike road paths for a few miles) to longer rides on a number of comfort trails (six feet wide concrete trails – two lanes) that meander along rivers, through wetlands and prairies. For the enthusiasts on road bikes, you can ride 40+ miles on the Greeley Windsor trail, and for the tough, ride across the edge of Horsetooth Reservoir (this road was part of the USA Cycling Challenge Stage 6) in 2015), or over the mountains to Masonville. We aren’t there yet….
- Food – Fort Collins is coming into its own in regards to developing a food culture. Beer pairings, wine pairings, tapas and supper clubs galore! The downtown cafe culture is definitely something to take advantage of between April and November, and the sunny days in winter. In addition, there is a downtown “underground” culture of Social, Ace Gillet’s and I’m sure more to come. We are discovering restaurants out on our own and if you want more information, here’s Feasting Fort Collins!
- Libations – I know. I did not put this as the first of the top 10 things to know about Fort Collins, because who doesn’t, at a minimum, know about New Belgium and O’Dell? I can’t keep up with the number of cideries, breweries and meaderies opening every month it seems! Here’s our ongoing taproom listt that we have experienced and recommend. For our wine friends and visitors, the only winery in this area that grows some of their own grapes is Blue Mountain Winery in Berthoud.
- Anything else outdoors – Fishing, hiking, rock climbing, white water rafting, picnicking – all within a few minutes to less than an hour!
- Weather – Nope, I don’t miss the humidity at all. The average temperature in the summer is 80 to 85 degrees and the average low is 58. There is a lot to be said for cooling down in the evening! Having four seasons lends itself to nature’s majesty, so come and enjoy our flowers and foliage!
- Festivals – Summer calls for festivals but it’s April, and the music scene is revving up! Depending on whether you enjoy beer, music, peaches or a world-class piano competition at CSU, you can festival your way from April through October.
- Let’s face it, it’s cute! – Fort Collins is picturesque, Walt Disney used our downtown as a model for Main Street Disneyland. Come see the real Disney!