Living in Fort Collins

Fort Collins is located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, about an hour drive from Denver — Colorado's largest city. The population of Fort Collins is about 155,000, perfect for a mid-size town. Nature plays a big part in the city and things to do around the area. The area boasts more than 300 days of sunshine a year, 90 parks and natural areas and 450 kilometers of trails. It's also less than an hour drive to two major ski resorts. There are more than 600 restaurants in the Fort Collins area and more than 300 local events each year.

In Fort Collins, you'll have access to a wide assortment of restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. If you're watching a concert in Old Town or enjoying a cultural event at the city’s International Center, you'll feel the connection between Colorado State University and the Fort Collins community. While exploring the city’s many cycling and walking trails or swimming in Horsetooth Reservoir, you will appreciate the beauty of our natural surroundings. Fort Collins has many great attributes that you will enjoy as a student. For more exciting tips about living in Fort Collins, visit our City Guide.

What makes Fort Collins unique?

Fort Collins has everything to be your next home away from home.

  • The city was ranked #6 on Money magazine's 'Best Places to Live' list in 2010.
  • Wired magazine noted Fort Collins as an 'Emerging Epicenter' for innovation and high-tech job growth in green technology.
  • Fort Collins is the top place to live and work for young professionals, according to Next Generation Consulting.

Popular attractions in Fort Collins

Fort Collins is a nature lover’s playground. There are plenty of year-round activities to enjoy outdoors, whether it be hiking Horsetooth Mountain, touring the New Belgium Brewing Co. or visiting a local museum to learn more about the city’s history. Here are some of the best attractions:

  • Annual Flower Trial Garden
  • Mountain Whitewater Descents
  • Cache La Poudre River
  • Horsetooth Mountain Open Space
  • Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures
  • Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
  • Spring Canyon Community Park
  • The Farm at Lee Martinez Park
  • Horse and Dragon Brewing Company
  • Fort Collins Municipal Railway
  • Center for Fine Art Photography More Info
  • Vern’s Toffee House
  • New Belgium Brewing
  • Odell Brewing Company
  • Coyote Ridge Natural Area
  • Totally 80's Pizza & Museum
  • Avery House

Colorado: a sport lover's paradise

Colorado is a great place for sports lovers. Whether in Fort Collins or in the surrounding areas, there are a variety of activities and events to attend to cheer on your favorite teams. In the city you can attend a Colorado Eagles hockey game or watch the Fort Collins Foxes baseball team at City Park Field. Although Denver is the smallest city in the country, they take their sports teams seriously. There are five professional sports teams to watch: Denver Broncos football, Denver Nuggets basketball, Colorado Rockies baseball, Colorado Avalanche hockey and Colorado Rapids soccer. And since the city is only about an hour's drive away from Fort Collins, you can easily catch a professional sports game during the week.

A full range of restaurants

Fort Collins has more restaurants per capita in all of the United States so there are many options for you to choose from! You will have access to food from all over the world and never run out of options. Places like Avogadro's Number offer up vegetarian options while the Pickel Barrel serves up sandwiches you can't resist.

For every shopping need

No matter what kind of shopping you want to do, Fort Collins has the store you’re looking for. From malls to boutique shops and your one-stop shop stores like Target, you’re never too far from your next great purchase. Check out these stores located close to CSU’s campus:

  • Old Town boutique shops
  • Foothills Mall
  • H&M
  • Nordstrom Rack
  • The Promenade Shops at Centerra
  • Lululemon
  • Walgreens
  • Maurices
  • Costco
  • REI
  • J.Crew
  • Target
  • Victoria's Secret

Festivals and events in Fort Collins

Fort Collins is a lively city offering a variety of festivals, events, art shows, concerts, plays and other performances just about every night of the week. A few annual events include:

  • Old Town Car Show
  • Colorado Brewer’s Fest and the Summit
  • Taste of Fort Collins
  • Bohemian Nights at New West Fest
  • New West Fest
  • July 4th Celebration
  • USA Pro Challenge
  • Breathe Yoga Festival
  • Live Music Concert Series
  • Tour de Fat
  • FORToberfest

Getting around Fort Collins

You don’t need a car to enjoy all Fort Collins has to offer. Explore the city by bus, Zipcar or bicycle. Biking is a very popular and efficient option for locals. At the Fort Collins Bike Library, anyone can rent bikes for an hour, or up to seven days, for free. As a student at CSU, you can also ride the public bus system (Transfort) at no charge. The hours vary but the buses usually run Monday through Saturday from 6:30 am to 10:30 pm. City Zipcars are also available if you need to get somewhere quick, and they're parked right on campus.

Explore Colorado

You'll find many exciting destinations around Colorado. In less than an hour from Fort Collins, you could be rafting the Cache la Poudre River or hiking at 4,250 meters. Within an hour you could be watching wildlife at Rocky Mountain National Park. Denver is about an hour's drive away, which is great to visit to watch a Denver Nuggets NBA basketball game or go shopping. You can watch your favorite band perform at Red Rocks Amphitheatre or relax in a hot spring carved out of a mountainside. At Aspen and Vail you can ski and snowboard on some of the best snow on earth.

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