Normally on my blog I share ideas for managing conflict, making the most of time in meetings, and ways that I see groups excelling at bringing out the best of one another in hard circumstances. This week I have the opportunity to with with a team whose members are coming to Fort Collins from all over the country to begin a long process of exploring and (eventually) implementing change. I’ll be joining this group on Thursday but they have two nights to enjoy Fort Collins, this town I now call home before then.
Knowing that this group will do their best work on Thursday if they have had great time in their evenings tonight and Wednesday, I feel compelled to go back to my tour guide roots. As some of you know, my first “career” was working as a whitewater rafting guide in Western Colorado. Although my primary job was safely rowing folks down the Colorado River, most visitors were eager to get suggestions for what else to do, where to eat and drink, and more “like a local” while they visited our small town.
To that end, I’m excited to offer up the following tips to support Fort Collins visitors making the most of their trip here. Welcome and enjoy!
Fort Collins is blessed with miles of trails for hiking and biking, all close to town. Our favorite hikes that are quick enough to enjoy after work are below:
- Reservoir Ridge Interesting mix of scrub oak, views, and late afternoon sunshine.
- Pineridge Take the upper (west) trail into the pine trees. Great spot for bird and prairie dog watching.
- Maxwell Natural Area Get a fast cardo work-out above CSU’s old stadium. When you top out, you’ll be treated with views of Horsetooth Reservoir at sunset.
- Paved Trails around town: Fort Collins has a wonderful mix of paved trails. Close to the federal buildings where you’re meeting you’ll find the Spring Creek trail from which you can connect with miles and miles of of other trails. Enjoy!
- Poudre Canyon– If you get out of a meeting early or are staying extra days, drive up the Poudre Canyon for a little more wild view of our region. We love the Grey Rock Trail but you can have a good time simply driving up the canyon and enjoying the scenery.
Fort Collins isn’t necessarily a gastronomic hub but there are still plenty of places to get a good meal. A few of our favorites are listed here.
- Choice City Butcher and Deli– Our hands-down favorite dinner (or breakfast!) option. It’s a butcher so meat is plentiful but there are good non-meat options too.
- The Colorado Room– At first look this place looks like a grungy college-town hole in the wall. Funky art on the walls and tattooed staff will greet you with a chalkboard menu. I tell you though, the food, is delicious!! Three sliders and a side will leave you feeling more than stuffed full. A good tap list rounds out the deal. There’s a back patio and sometimes they have live music.
- Illegal Petes– Think Chipolte or Qudoba (big burritos!) but better. My favorite is the Baja fish burrito. Margaritas are also good and the rooftop patio is a great place to spend an afternoon.
- Maza Kabab– Fort Collins also has an Afghan restaurant! It’s delicious and the family who owns it is wonderful. Food is fast and relatively inexpensive. It’s on the south end of the same parking lot as Whole Foods.
- Nyala– If Afghan food wasn’t enough, we have Ethiopian too! You can sit at a regular table or sit traditional Ethopian style at low tables. Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce the menu items. Staff is super friendly and will explain dishes and help you choose.
Fort Collins is a beer town! We have 20+ breweries but pace yourself. Craft beers should be savored, not guzzled so there just isn’t time to try them all. While everyone has heard of New Belgium (maker of Fat Tire, the gateway beer for craft beer drinking), we love a lot of the other local options. Be safe! Take advantage of the bike paths or Uber if you’re going to really explore the beer scene in depth. NOTE- Some of these places close around 6 or 7, check ahead to make sure the place you’re going is open.
- Black Bottle Brewery– Walking distance from the federal buildings and open late, Black Bottle has good options to satisfy many needs. They’re open later than most, serve food, and the beer is tasty. They have standard offerings as well as funky experimental brews.
- Maxline Brewing– Also walking distance from the federal buildings, Maxline offers good beer, a sunny patio, and a relaxed ambiance.
- Funkwerks– If you’re a little more adventurous than the average beer drinker, try the sour beers that are Funkwerks’ specialty. There’s a patio for when the weather is nice.
- Horse and Dragon– Mid sized brewery that distributes locally. The Sad Panda is my favorite but all their beers are deliciously complex.
- Zwei Brewing– If you’re staying on the south end of town or just like German style beers, check out Zwei. They have games in the taproom, food trucks with rotating menu options, and a relaxed ambiance.
- O’Dells– The second largest craft brewery in town. Their beer is great, the patio is delightful, and tours happen regularly. Try the rotating taps that are more experimental and not widely distributed. You might appreciate the wood in their taproom!