11 Reasons to Visit Fort Collins This Winter

The winter season in Fort Collins is absolutely beautiful and truly is one of the best times of the year to plan a trip. Fort Collins offers a multitude of things to do during the winter season. From Fat Biking to the ultimate foodie escape and everything in-between, there are so many reasons to visit Fort Collins this winter! Which of the 11 reasons listed below is your favorite?

Holiday Lights

Magical Lights in Old Town Fort Collins 

All of Downtown Fort Collins during the winter is lit up with warm string lights that create a magical ambiance as you stroll around exploring the restaurants, shops, music venues, and bars that are all to be found within walking distance of each other. Bring your family and friends to sip on some warm hot cocoa from one of the many downtown coffee shops and ice skate underneath the magical lights in Old Town Square at the Old Town Skate Rink

Aggie Theatre Concert

Live Music & Theatre

During the winter months in Fort Collins, music and theatre are booming throughout the community. Enjoy live shows from our multiple music and theatre venues including Washington’sAggie Theater, the Mishawaka AmphitheaterBas Bleu Theatre Co.The Lincoln Center, Magic Rat, Surfside 7, The Fort Collins Symphony, and the University Center for the Arts.

Fat Biking at Horsetooth Reservoir credit Josiah Roe

Fat Biking & Snowshoeing

If you’re yearning for the incredible scenery of the backcountry, look no further than nearby Cameron Pass or Lory State Park. Both offer amazing opportunities to experience snowshoeing or riding Fat Bikes. Have a blast spending the day riding or snowshoeing on snow-packed trails along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. These are some of the most unique ways to enjoy the famous Colorado snow. You get to experience the beauty of the Rockies while taking it all in atop two gigantic wheels or snowshoes. Fort Collins has amazing outfitters and guides, like Front Range Ride Guides, for both activities that can be found here. Some of the best hiking and biking trails during the winter can be found around Horsetooth Reservoir and in the Poudre Canyon as well.

*Lory State Park: Located just west of Fort Collins, Lory State Park offers tons of trails with beautiful views and ranging difficulty levels. Trails are open year round and are open to Hiking, Snowshoeing, and Cross Country Skiing. 

*Horsetooth Mountain Open Space: Located west of Fort Collins, Horsetooth Mountain Open Space is one of Fort Collin’s greatest outdoor playgrounds and it is open year round. Choose from multiple different trails ranging in difficulty level and enjoy the snowy vistas.

Cache la Poudre River Canyon: The Poudre Canyon offers excellent winter recreation just outside Fort Collins. Enjoy beautiful views of the backcountry blanketed by snow.

Popular Poudre Canyon Trails

Beer Tasting New Belgium

Craft Beer Seasonal Tastings

Currently, Fort Collins is home to more than 20 craft breweries, the most microbreweries in the state of Colorado. We must say the winter season is one of the best times to taste award-winning seasonal craft beer from each of the distinctive breweries in Fort Collins. Beers such as Accumulation from New Belgium Brewing, Mountain Standard from Odell Brewing Co., or H&D Snug Vanilla Caramel Double Cream Ale from Horse and Dragon Brewing just to name a few. Feel free to take part in some brewery tours and sample an eclectic array of taster trays, just remember to spend a few days to taste them all! Check out our Brewery Tours page for a full list of Fort Collins breweries.

Summit at Block One Beer

Winter Events You Don't Want To Miss

  • Garden of Lights - Dec. 10-26, 2021
    • Stroll through a whimsical, twinkling winter wonderland illuminated by hundreds of thousands of LED lights at the Gardens on Spring Creek! This event features a half-mile loop of perennial flower beds, huge sculptural flowers, grapevines, butterflies, a holiday village, and other favorite garden creatures - all constructed entirely from holiday lights.
  • Handmade Market NoCo
    • Handmade Market NoCo hosts two holiday markets in December with local artisans and makers. Stop into Ginger and Baker on Dec. 5 sip and shop from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. And on Dec. 12, the market will be set up at Maxline Brewing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ginger and Baker Chache

Dining for the Ultimate Foodie

When you’re in Fort Collins winter doesn’t mean you have to leave dinner feeling like you’re 10 pounds heavier. Fort Collins takes pride in its fresh dining scene and local sourcing, which means meals that make you feel good, and not only because they remind you of Mom’s back-home cooking. Some of the local favorites during the winter are Austin’s American Grill, RARE ItalianJax Fish House, and Nick’s Italian due to their fresh meals that are indicative of the season. And, don’t forget dessert or an after-dinner drink! Nuance Chocolate and Kilwins make sweets that are to die for and Ace Gillett's and Social are the ultimate mixologists.

Wander Coffee brewing

Unique Coffee Shops to Warm You Up

Fort Collins is known for its local craft coffee scene and each coffee shop offers a unique drink that is sure to warm you from the inside out. Check out one of the craft coffee roasters and brewers like the Bean CycleHarbingerWander CoffeeMugsLittle Bird Bakery or Lima. Check out Happy Lucky’s Tea House or Ku Cha House of Tea for that perfect tea to match your craving.

Winter Farmers' Market

Winter Farmers’ Market

Fort Collins offers the only Winter Farmers Market in Northern Colorado, featuring rows of beautiful winter produce like fresh greens, root vegetables, local mushrooms and soft cheeses from the Fort Collins-based MouCo Cheese Co. among other things. This winter market truly brings to light the craft culture in Fort Collins with tables of local homemade artisan crafts. The market is open all winter long on Saturdays November 6th through April 23rd winter and is located at Foothills Mall (215 E Foothills Pkwy).

Gallery Walk

Monthly Art Walks & Foodie Walks

Downtown Fort Collins hosts an Art walk on the first Friday of each month, and there’s no better time to explore the art museums and local galleries than during the winter under the holiday lights. Walk from venue to venue and enjoy the local art scene that illuminates with life under the soft-lit glow of the Old Town storefronts.

Downtown Fort Collins also hosts the Fort Collins Foodie Walk where some of the best culinary shops in town stay open late every third Friday of each month. Let yourself indulge in great seasonal flavors as you walk through Historic Old Town. This is a great way to let your inner foodie out while partaking on this self-guided tour where you’ll get to try new and exciting tastes and flavors.


Museums to Explore

What better way to spend a chilly day in Fort Collins than staying warm while exploring our numerous museums around town? Start the day off at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery where you can enjoy hands on exhibits exploring science and the history of Fort Collins. Plus, the museum is home to an incredible digital dome theater that offers a movie viewing experience like no other. If you haven’t had your fill of arts and culture after that, head down the street to the Fort Collins Museum of Art featuring national exhibitions of beautiful artwork. Global Village Museum and Avenir Museum of Design are also great options to explore.


Winter Holiday Shopping

Fort Collins has unique offerings when it comes to locally, hand-made products that you can find all across downtown in the multiple, one-of-a-kind boutique shops. You can also shop the online Fort Collins Marketplace for unique Fort Collins crafted gifts! If you're looking for large-scale, nationally known stores, we have that as well. Look no further than the Shops at Foothills Mall and Front Range Village. Both shopping centers offer brands such as DSW Shoes, World Market, Lowe’s, Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret, Nordstrom Rack, and H&M. As you can see, Fort Collins offers a wide variety of women’s and men’s clothing, fashionable and functional shoe wear, and accessories via department store or locally made.