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 #2 Best College Town to Live in for International Students by GoAbroad.com in 2018.
  • Our population of 165, 080 gives you the opportunity of a city and safety of a college town.
  • Fort Collins was named $3 Happiest Places to live in the US by National Geographic in 2017.
  • Looking to get your career started here? Colorado was ranked as the #1 in best states for economy by USA Today in 2018.

Popular attractions in Fort Collins

You are surrounded by 360 degrees of nature in Fort Collins. With the backdrop of mountains and blue sky everywhere you look, you can enjoy nonstop adventures outdoors like hiking Horsetooth Mountain or take your exploring indoors with a tour of a brewery or museum. Some favorite activities and attractions include:

Outdoor adventures:

  • Mountain Whitewater Descents
  • Cache La Poudre River
  • Horsetooth Mountain Open Space
  • Spring Canyon Community Park
  • The Farm at Lee Martinez Park
  • Coyote Ridge Natural Area
  • Totally 80's Pizza & Museum
  • Avery House

Indoor discoveries:

  • Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures
  • Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
    • Horse and Dragon Brewing Company
  • Fort Collins Municipal Railway
  • Center for Fine Art Photography
  • Vern’s Toffee House
  • New Belgium Brewing
  • Odell Brewing Company

Sports in Fort Collins and Denver

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.

Whether you consider yourself a spectator, beginner or advanced athlete, the state of Colorado is designed for sports. Choose from five professional teams to cheer on locally and in nearby Denver, just one hour from CSU—Denver Broncos football, Denver Nuggets basketball, Colorado Rapids scoccer, Avalanche hockey and Rockies baseball. Or stay closer to home with a sport of your own. CSU's athletic facilities are a great place to start, and you can easily take it a step farther with the countless trails and outdoor options in your backyard.

A full range of restaurants

The Fort Collins food scene is incredibly diverse—and equally delicious. With multicultural options and dishes for every appetite, you'll be sure to find exactly what you're looking for in the city that has more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the United States. Vegeterian or halal? No problem. Craving something different? We've got it. Head over to Rainbow Restaurant for great breakfast and lunch options or Raska International Cuisine and Sauce for a taste of home. You'll find both comfort food and unique tastes around every corner.

For every shopping need

With a range of shops to choose from, you can find all of your university necessities, and more, at stores nearby campus. Stock up on dorm room essentials at Costco, Target and Walgreens. You can fill a prescription and purchase snacks for late nights at the same time. Looking for something more unique? The Promenade Shops at Centerra and Old Town Boutique shops have specialty finds, while the Foothills Mall and name brands such as Nordstrom Rack and Lululemon have everything on your back-to-school shopping list.

Festivals and events in Fort Collins

Festivals and events in Fort Collins are as frequent as the number of sunny days to enjoy them. Nearly every night of the week, art shows, concerts, plays and other performances take up center stage, where you'll find plenty of entertainment all year round. Enjoy great eats at the Taste of Fort Collins, Colorado Brewer’s Fest and the Summit, Tour de Fat and FORToberfest. Flex your muscles at Breathe Yoga Festival and USA Pro Challenge, or simply enjoy the scenery of annual events like Bohemian Nights at New West Fest, July 4th Celebration, Live Music Concert Series and the Old Town Car Show.

Getting around Fort Collins

Transportation around campus and Fort Collins is easy for students, with many modes of transit on offer. Take to the road with handlebar and wheels when you rent a bike for free from the Fort Collins Bike Library. Explore Fort Collins at your pace, and you'll quickly come to love the bike-friendly accessibly of the city. Also free of charge, the public bus system (Transfort) can get you where you need to go around town, from early in the morning to about 10:30 pm each night. Not only are the services free and convenient for students, they allow you to explore more of Fort Collins and make getting to and from extracurricular activities such as an internship stress-free.

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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