Fort Collins, Colorado (AKA FoCo) — home of the CSU Rams, the beautiful Horsetooth (rock and reservoir), and yes, the famous Fat Tire beer. Fort Collins is the fourth most populous city in Colorado, followed only by Denver, Colorado Springs, and Aurora. It’s the hub of many surrounding communities in Northern Colorado and a sought-after place to work and live! If you’re considering a move to FoCo, here’s my master list of 10 things you need to know about living here!
Fort Collins is Ram Country!
Fort Collins is home to one of the largest public universities in Colorado—Colorado State University. The campus covers nearly 5,000 acres just south of Old Town (aka – downtown). While there are certainly a few areas near campus that feel very “college-town,” generally, if you avoid the Qdoba on Elizabeth at 2 am, FoCo tends to feel just like a vibrant, active city! The college certainly brings in more energy for some legendary festivals—which we will get to later. Plus, alum and non-alum enjoy Rams athletics, including football games at the new Canvas Stadium.
Fort Collins Has a Vibrant Downtown
If you’ve ever been to FoCo to visit, chances are you’ve been to Old Town because that’s the heart of the city. It’s the oldest part of the city as well, with lots of rich history. It’s where you can find all of the best restaurants, the most popular bars, and nightlife. And, it’s where periodically during the summer, they’ll close down a few blocks for various festivals. Since this is a real estate blog, perhaps it’s worth noting that Old Town Square is the section of this neighborhood with the plaza, shops, restaurants, etc. But the surrounding neighborhoods, especially to the west of Downtown, are also referred to as Old Town. It’s a very popular area to live, with some jaw-dropping bungalows and impressive rebuilds on Mountain Ave.
If You Love the Outdoors, You Will Love Fort Collins!
Being outdoorsy is not a prerequisite to living in Fort Collins, but if you aren’t, you might catch the bug while living there! FoCo is close to lots of outdoor destinations, including Lory State Park and Horsetooth Reservoir. Plus, both the Poudre Canyon and Big Thompson Canyon are close by for rafting, camping, rock climbing, and more. If the wilderness is not your thing, there are miles and miles of trails in town. And, FoCo is a major biking community so bike lanes are easy to find all around town.
Fort Collins is the Home of New Belgium and Friends
Fort Collins is pretty well known as being the home of New Belgium and Fat Tire beer. New Belgium hosts the epic, yearly Tour de Fat bicycle parade and party. Each year, people gather their friends and dress up in costumes and cruise around Downtown. There’s a huge party at New Belgium at the end, and of course, plenty of beer! But New Belgium isn’t even the only popular brewery in FoCo. Other well-loved breweries include Odell, Fort Collins Brewery, and Funkworks. Basically, if you love craft beer, you’ll love living in FoCo. And even if beer isn’t your thing, many of these breweries have wonderful, spacious patios and outdoor hangout areas that are bustling with people and activity when the weather is nice.
FoCo is the Home of Otter Products
Another one of FoCo’s claims to fame is that it hosts the headquarters of Otter Products, or perhaps better known as OtterBox. Otter Products provides hundreds of jobs to the Fort Collins community and they are a vital part of the community in other ways too. Their charitable arm, OtterCares, contributes to schools, education, and children’s programs all over Northern Colorado. And while the headquarters isn’t open to consumers, you can visit the Otter Shop on Mountain Ave. in Old Town where you can get any phone case your heart desires and lots of other cool gear.
FoCo Loves Festivals!
Ever heard of the great Smash Mouth/Bread Incident of 2015? If you lived in Fort Collins, you would know! I’ll let you Google it if you need to. Flying bread aside, FoCo has some really wonderful festivals throughout the year, but mostly during the summer. The main staples (besides Tour de Fat which we already mentioned) are Taste of Fort Collins and Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest. Aside from every kind of vendor you can imagine, both of these festivals are known to bring some big names in music to the streets for free or very low cost! Some of the headliners from past years have included Cake, Steve Miller Band, Judah and the Lion, and Bonnie Raitt.
Fort Collins Has a Variety of Real Estate
Whatever you’re looking for, chances are, FoCo has it! From the coveted homes off of Mountain Ave. to investment properties as rentals for college students, there’s a wide variety of available real estate in Fort Collins. If you’re looking for more of a city vibe and an upscale apartment, you can find it here! If you’re looking for an established community with good schools that’s ideal for families with young children, Fort Collins has that too. This area has really boomed over the last few decades, so you’ll find both turn-of-the-century homes and brand new builds.
Fort Collins Offers a Variety of Schools
Of course families moving to a new area, or even folks just thinking about the future, want to know what schools are like before moving to a new community. Poudre School District has a great reputation in the region. And if public schools aren’t offering what you’re looking for, there are a number of charter schools, Montessori schools, and private schools too. These options are becoming more and more popular as they are increasing in number around the region.
Fort Collins is the Cultural Center of Northern Colorado
If you aren’t familiar yet with the Northern Colorado region, there are many surrounding towns including Loveland, Timnath, Windsor, and Wellington. Many of these have been around as long as Fort Collins, but were very small until the cost of homes pushed a lot of development to these communities. So now, Fort Collins is very much the cultural center for these surrounding communities. It has a variety of concert venues, notable museums, and all the festivals we mentioned before. Some of my favorite museums and venues in here are the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery (great for kids), the Museum of Art Fort Collins, and the Aggie Theatre.
Living in FoCo Makes It Easy to Get Around
Living in Fort Collins, it’s easy to get from town to town between the interstate (I-25) that runs north/south and many other east/west and north/south roads and highways. Plus, once you get to know the area, you can take advantage of the vast network of county roads that still exist that can get you around nearly any traffic jam on I-25 if you’re savvy enough. You can get to Denver or Boulder in just over an hour, and many people actually live in Fort Collins and commute up to Wyoming too. Laramie and Cheyenne are also just about an hour to the north.
Want to make Fort Collins your home? I’d love to help! Call me anytime, or connect with me via email at [email protected]