By Caramie Petrowsky
Fort Collins deserves a spot at the top of the list for your next solo adventure. Solo travel is on the rise around the world, and for good reason. From boosting your independence and confidence, to giving you a fresh perspective on life, traveling alone gives you the chance to have meaningful experiences with like-minded adventurers. Fort Collins is filled with a warm, welcoming vibe, tons of craft options and a slew of hip, fun classes and tours to kick off your solo adventure.
Rest Your Head
Located in a Registered Historic Landmark and within walking distance of Old Town, The Fernweh Inn & Hostel offers both shared and private rooms at very reasonable rates and within walking distance to Old Town. Likewise, the Solarium International Hostel located along the Spring Creek Trail is equally unique and caters to those seeking socially inspired travel and a connection to the international community. Along with a tropical atrium, this hostel even offers guests free waffles and coffee in a community-centered atmosphere. Check out a historic Fort Collins ‘hood by staying at Remington Flats, a boutique studio hotel that also offers extended stay options, locally made snacks and a fleet of New Belgium cruiser bikes perfect for exploring nearby Old Town.
Speaking of bikes, the city is seriously bike friendly – it’s just one of five Platinum Level Bicycle Friendly communities in the country. The Pace bike share program lets you use the Pace app to find one of 250 Pace smart bikes locked to public racks. Ride for just $1/15 minutes or sign up for the PacePlan for unlimited 30-minute rides starting at just $4.99/month.
Additionally, if it’s a summer weekend afternoon, you can hop on the Fort Collins Municipal Railway on Birney Car 21, also known as “Car 21” or just “Birney.” Birney, the Mascot of Mountain Avenue, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Only around a dozen Birneys around the world still operate as rail lines today and Fort Collins has one of them. The trolley runs on Mountain Avenue from Old Town to City Park and Grandview Cemetery.
Farm Fusion, a popular Fort Collins food truck, recently expanded and now offers fun classes in its teaching kitchen. The classes are taught in a beautiful red barn nestled between two lakes on a working ranch. Learn how to make three types of homemade cheese at the “Oh La La, Cheese Please” class, or come for “Yoga and Yakitori,” which starts with a rejuvenating lakeside yoga class followed by a class where you’ll learn how to make a four-course meal including yakitori, dipping sauces, and even dessert.
Ginger & Baker, a historic mill churning out delectable pie, market items and more, hosts fun cooking classes each month like French Macarons, Vintage Recipes and Cooking with Whiskey (with a guided tasting).
Local Table Tours offers a food and history tour providing an in-depth look at the history of the area while giving guests a taste of what makes the city a unique culinary destination. Tour stops include: Ginger & Baker (formerly the Old Mill); Northern Colorado Feeders Supply, established in 1905; the first Flour Building; The Elizabeth Hotel; Savory Spice Shop; popular restaurants; and local brewers and distilleries such as Coppermuse. Food and history tours are $69 per person and take place on Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. Fort Collins Distillery and Cocktail Tasting Tours are $39 per person and are scheduled on Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m. View the schedule for upcoming Fort Collins tours here.
Washington’s, the newest music venue in town, anchors an ever-growing music scene and is the perfect spot to check out a show by yourself. After a full renovation, this Old Town Fort Collins landmark is now a 900-capacity venue that hosts local and national bands. Highlights this summer include Reckless Kelly, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Robert Earl Keen and Son Volt.
A handful of other longtime local venues, including the Downtown Artery, Hodi’s Half Note, Avogadro’s Number and the historic Aggie Theatre, round out the area’s live music venues, along with local bars and breweries. The new mixology bar Blue Door hosts live music, as does Ace Gillett’s Lounge where sultry jazz music tempts people to this underground speakeasy each week. Concerts at The Armory pair a local artist with a nationally-known musician in an intimate 200-capacity (seated) listening room. Take note, many of the more than 20 local breweries host live music on the reg, including New Belgium Brewing, Equinox Brewing, Odell Brewing Company and Maxline Brewing.
The iconic Mishawaka Amphitheatre (called “The Mish” by locals) is a bucket-list, 100-plus year old venue in Poudre Canyon. Summer highlights include Ziggy Marley, Trout Steak Revival, Band of Horses, Built to Spill, Lake Street Drive and The California Honeydrops. The Mish also hosts free Movies at The Mish with nine movies taking place from June 6-Oct. 24.
Live music can be heard any night of the week in Fort Collins:
Music lovers gather at Oak Street Plaza for the intimate Noontime Notes Concert Series, live concerts that take place on Tuesdays from June through August. Also on Tuesdays this summer (through Sept. 24), listen to live music at the FoCo Food Truck Rally on Sheldon Drive in City Park. The event goes from 5:30 to dusk and music begins at 6.
And over at Colorado State University (CSU), The Lagoon Series is a free summer concert series slated for Wednesday evenings mid June through early August. Catch well-known (mostly) Colorado bands.
And the first of the Thursday Night Live free weekly Thursday night summer concerts in Old Town takes place May 30. Lineup highlights include The Patti Fiasco (June 13), Gasoline Lollipops (June 20), and Railbenders (June 27).
On Fridays, catch the free Downtown Sessions concert series in Old Town
The Music District continues to help drive the city’s thriving music landscape. The district’s campus boasts gathering spaces, apartments for artists-in-residence, a radio station, state-of-the-art rehearsal studios and performance spaces, making it a creative playground for the local music community as well as visitors. Take lessons, rent equipment, write or compose in the treehouse or another space, learn production skills; you can do all of this and more at the District, which aims to attract both music lovers and novice-to-pro musicians with a plethora of workshops and events this year.
Craft beer and spirits along with makers’ creations flow in Fort Collins. The city is home to 20+ breweries and 7 distilleries, some of which offer tours.
If you want to see the inner workings of the brewing process while meeting like-minded beer lovers, you can sign up to take free brewery tours at Odell Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing Company and Anheuser-Busch Brewery. And, don't forget you can also buy a ticket with Magic Bus Tours for a more unique brewery tour experience. Or you can hop on a bike and ride from brewery to brewery with Beer and Bike Tours. Bottling and canning lines, sustainable practices, water and green energy initiatives and tasting insights are all part of what you learn on the tours.
Meet fellow makers at a Wolverine Farm Letterpress & Publick House event. The literary and arts organization hosts everything from open craft nights to writing workshops. At the monthly FoCo Drink & Draw you can “drink a few beers and draw a few pictures,” and the Craft Sunday events let participants do everything from learn how to make a wrap bracelet to discover how to make a masterpiece using acrylic pouring.