Channel your inner Yogi Bear and grab the picnic basket, fixings, and your favorite Boo Boo, too. Summertime means dining al fresco and Fort Collins is a picnicking paradise that is flush with fabulous foodstuffs and idyllic spots to lay out your spread.
Opt for the Whole Shebang
Save time and effort à la Yogi and book your perfect picnic with NoCo Picnics (pictured here), Foothills Picnics, or Mod Picnic Co.. They do the work, you have the fun. Choose your location, date, time, and extras, these companies take care of everything else: full setup and cleanup (!), with luxuries including table settings with full décor, plus unexpected touches like lawn games (giant Jenga or Connect 4 anyone?), floral arrangements, music and more. Locations vary from City Park to the Poudre River, to Horsetooth Reservoir, to your own backyard. Food and beverage options run the gamut.
… Or Go À La Carte
Perfect Picnic Settings: Popular for Good Reason
- Picnic Rock Natural Area is a given for this category with its scenic setting along the Cache La Poudre River.
- City Park is the oldest community park in Fort Collins and is beloved for its lake, swimming pool, and recreational areas.
- CSU’s Annual Flower Trial Gardens showcase over 1,000 different cultivated varieties of annuals; they open daily and are free for visitors.
- Horsetooth Mountain Open Space is a veritable outdoor wonderland with day use options, hiking, and biking trails, lake access, and more.
- Gateway Natural Area is a true respite where the North Fork of the Poudre river joins the main Poudre river.
- Old Town Square, the heart of Old Town Fort Collins, is a national and local historic district chock full of boutiques, cafes, and specialty shops. It’s also the perfect spot for an urban picnic.
- Fort Collins is home to more than 20 craft breweries, many offering tasting rooms, tours, and a regular food truck rotation. Who doesn’t love a draft beer with their picnic?
Perfect Picnic Settings: Off the Beaten Path
- Take advantage of the late closing on Wednesdays at the Gardens on Spring Creek and BYO picnic dinner.
- Drive up Rist Canyon Road to Watson Lake for peace, picnic tables, and river access (check flows for safety).
- Opt for Bingham Hill Park at Lions Open Space if you’re looking for a meal with a view (and a little exercise).
- Seek out Sherwood Forest or the Arboretum at Plant Environmental Research Center (PERC) on the CSU campus for a picnic + education.
- Explore the thicket at Indian Hills Park.
- Get a twofer at Water’s Way Park and adjacent Pelican Marsh Natural Area.
- Catch a movie with your meal at the Holiday Twin Drive-In.
Perfect Picnic Provisions: Traditional
Get Plattered - These made-to-order fresh, seasonally selected platters feature delicious combinations of picnic classics like cheeses, cured meat, crackers, fresh produce, cashews, honey, apple jelly, strawberry lemonade macaroons, and more!
Snack Attack – Made to order and to-go picnic favorites, including specialty sammies, a full “Dilla” (aka quesadilla) menu, salads, and house-made cookies.
The Welsh Rabbit – Part cheese shop, part bistro boasting a cheese-based menu with charcuterie served sushi-style.
Perfect Picnic Provisions: Go Wild
Swing by Me Oh My Coffee and Pie in Laporte for The Fisherman’s Lunch (includes a bonus hand-tied fishing fly); the daily sandwiches, pastries, and pies are also OMGood.
Raid the bevy of FoCo food trucks – a thriving nod to the area’s craft culture – and nosh on a smorgasbord. You’ll find 70+ food trucks roaming the streets, with popular stops at the local breweries and the area Mecca: the summer Food Truck Rally.
Pick up a gourmet meal-to-go from a Fort Collins favorite: FoCo DoCo for gourmet donuts; The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm for rustic-inspired modern farm fare; Silver Grill Café for the famous cinnamon rolls; Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market for, well, everything…find picnic fare that strikes your mood right here.