The adventure hub of Fort Collins is located just an hour’s drive north of Boulder — far enough to feel like you’re breaking out of the bubble, but close enough to hop up for a single day or even just an afternoon. With a quaint all-American downtown, the oldest street car west of the Mississippi, spectacular Colorado mountains, and a plethora of breweries, distilleries and restaurants to choose from, a visit to this city never disappoints.
Coffee: Fort Collins’ old town is so charming it served as inspiration for Disneyland’s Main Street U.S.A. Start your day in the neighborhood at Harbinger Coffee, a modern coffee shop that blends warm family service with top-quality coffee.
505 S. Mason St., harbingercoffee.com
Breakfast: Take a leisurely five-minute walk from the coffee shop over to The Waffle Lab, a fun breakfast joint that specializes in — you guessed it — Liège waffles. Try the classic Chicken and Waffles, or the jocularly named Mild High Grilled Cheese Waffle.
130 W. Olive St., Unit D, thewafflelab.com
Morning adventure: If the weather is nice, join a bike and brewery tour to experience Fort Collins the way the locals do: from the seat of a bike. Select from several mellow three- to six-mile rides to visit the breweries of your choice, and bring home a growler or two of your favorite beer in the handy bike basket of your rental bike.
If you’re in the mood for more scenery, head north out of town to Poudre Canyon Road (Route 14) and west along the spectacular Poudre River to enjoy views of changing foliage, fly fishermen and kayakers along the canyon. Stop at Tortilleria y Panaderia before you go, located at 1669 S. College Ave., to grab a picnic lunch for the road.
Afternoon activity: If you’re dreaming of rustic farms and pumpkin patches, check out Bartell’s farm for a U-pick garden, a hand-made corn maze and a farm petting zoo. Go on a hayride through the farm and bring home a bounty of seasonal produce.
After getting your fill of cute farm animals and autumnal colors, pay a visit to the Swetsville Zoo, an eclectic sculpture garden. Made of welded metal and machinery parts, the creative figures are part animal, part mechanical and all awesome.
Brewery & dinner: Check out New Belgium Brewing for home-grown Colorado stoke, awesome beer and iconic biking culture. Stay for the sunny patio and selection of food trucks that make an appearance every night.
500 Linden St., newbelgium.com
Drinks: After dinner, walk along the quiet Poudre River and through the Gustav Swanson natural area, located just south of New Belgium Brewing. As the evening gets chillier, cross the river to the nearby Copper Muse Distillery for a warm-you-up nightcap. Sample its specialities — vodka, rum, infusions and liqueurs — or try a specialty mixed drink to end the night.
244 N. College Ave., coppermuse.com