CSU Game Day Weekend
With the new Sonny Lubick Field at Canvas Stadium, this fall is the perfect time to head to Fort Collins to watch the Rammies in all their glory. Rather than just coming for the game, consider extending your stay for a nostalgic Fort Collins weekend packed with stops at all of your favorite haunts from your college days. And even if you’re not alum, experiencing these iconic Fort Collins locales and restaurants is something you’re sure to remember. Pick and choose from our See, Eat, Cheers and Stay categories to make your own perfect CSU-centric FoCo Weekend itinerary, sure to trigger all the feels.
(Photo courtesy Holiday Twin Drive In)
WHAT TO SEE
• The new on-campus stadium at Colorado State University, which debuted for the fall 2017 football season. The stadium serves as the cornerstone for CSU Athletics, and houses the new Alumni Center. The Rams will play their first home game against Western Illinois on Sept. 7 at 2 p.m. Additional home games include homecoming against San Diego State on Oct. 5 (time TBD); University of Nevada-Las Vegas on Nov. 2 at 1:30 p.m.; Air Force on Nov. 16 (time TBD); and the family game against Boise State on Nov. 29 at 1:30 p.m.
And, if you missed it, mark your calendar for Sept. 2, 2019 when the stadium hosts the return of the Fortitude 10K.
• A movie! Head to Overland Trail to catch a double feature at the Holiday Twin Drive-In. Moviegoers have been enjoying flicks at this iconic spot for more than 50 years. WHEN DOES THIS DRIVE IN CLOSE FOR SEASON?Horsetooth Reservoir:
• Head to Horsetooth Reservoir to play and cool off if you’re in town for a late-summer game. You can rent a boat, canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboard or hydrobike from the Inlet Bay Marina. If it’s a little cooler, consider hiking to Horsetooth Falls, a 3.4-mile loop hike that’s one of the most family-friendly you’ll find. For a different vantage point of the reservoir, hiking to Arthur’s Rock in Lory State Park never disappoints — the views of the reservoir and the city of Fort Collins are some of the best you’ll find.
• Campus: If your significant other, friend or child has yet to really see Colorado State University, take the time to walk them around the tree-lined Oval, which is prettiest in the fall, and point out some of the historic buildings that date as far back as 1881. Not sure which ones those are? Use this self-guided tour sheet, which fills you in on some of the main campus buildings and shares some of the history.
• Live music: Chances are if you spent any time at all at CSU, you probably caught at least a few concerts at either the historic Aggie Theatre or the iconic Mishawaka Amphitheatre (called “The Mish” by locals). Did you know The Mish celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016? Check the calendar to see who might be playing the weekend you’re visiting.
While it certainly won’t look the same, take time to stop into Washington’s, the “newest” music venue in town. This Old Town Fort Collins landmark was purchased by the Bohemian Foundation and renovated with a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system. Now the 900-capacity venue is bringing local and national bands to the region. This fall, catch Gasoline Lollipops (Oct. 4); Mike Doughty Plays Soul Coughing’s “Ruby Vroom” (Oct. 5); Delta Rae (Oct. 12); Todd Snider with very special guest Ramblin’ Jack Elliott (Oct. 13); Anders Osborne (Nov. 8) and more.
WHERE TO EAT
• The Silver Grill Café (218 Walnut Street): This breakfast hotspot, known as simply Silver Grill to most, is exactly as you remember it, creaky wooden floors and enormous cinnamon rolls included.
• Lucille’s (400 S. Meldrum): Plenty a hangover was cured by a chicory coffee, Bloody Mary and face-sized biscuit at this charming yellow house on Meldrum. It’s comforting to know some things never change, namely the enormous breakfast classics like Eggs Sardou, Hank’s Eggs and the Pain Perdu.
• B&B Pickle Barrel: (122 W. Laurel St.): An institution among current and former Colorado State University students, the B&B Pickle Barrel celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2018. The East Coast deli serves truly excellent sandwiches along with homemade soups and tasty bakery items. If you’re not sure which sammie to order (34 options can be daunting – we get it) you can’t go wrong with the Funky Punky, Toonce’s Special or the Garden of Eden.
• Avogadro’s Number (605 S. Mason St.): Along with fantastic live music, this offbeat eatery near CSU’s campus serves up a robust menu with lots of stellar vegetarian (and meat) offerings, including sandwiches, salads and pizzas. Every Tuesday, you can score two-for-one tempeh burgers, a three decades-old tradition (did you know the organic tempeh is even made in-house?).
• Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant (143 W. Mountain Ave.): Simply called The Rio by many, the original Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant is located in the heart of Old Town. Start with the classic Rio Marg, which quite simply makes the world a better place. No matter your preference — rocks, frozen or fruit (mango, strawberry or manberry) — it comes with a smile. For dinner, all the usual suspects are here and ready to make your tummy happy — fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, burritos, tostados and nachos.
• Crown Pub (134 S. College Ave.): This College Ave.-mainstay serves up tasty fare you might not expect to find in a pub: like Burmese samosas, Prince Edward Island mussels, blistered Shishito peppers, and more. The signature Royales can be made with Colorado beef, buffalo or grilled chicken and the Crown Pub Classics, like King’s Curry or the Guinness Beef Stew, are still as comforting as you remember on a crisp fall day.
• Walrus Ice Cream (125 W. Mountain Ave.): At times, you’ll see a line out the door at Walrus Ice Cream, a beloved stop on Mountain Ave. The ice cream spot has been scooping your favorite flavors, from Swiss Dark Chocolate to Cookies & Cream, since 1987.
• Gyro Cart: Thank heavens, the Gyro Cart is still stationed at Mountain and College avenues ready to fill your tummy long after the sun sets. Considered the FoCo night bite, this is a must-visit.
CHEERS TO CRAFT BEERS
Tour the first breweries
Sure, with more than 20 breweries in Fort Collins, its no wonder Fort Collins is considered a beer enthusiast’s mecca. Take time to visit three of the first, CooperSmith’s, New Belgium Brewing Company and Odell Brewing Company, which were likely the scene of plenty of great memories.
• As Fort Collins’ oldest brewpub, CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewery is a must visit on a nostalgic Fort Collins adventure. Not to worry, the Punjabi still tastes the same as it did when they released it nearly 30 years ago, and it def still packs a (6.6 ABV) punch.
• Though the tasting room is largely the same (though much expanded), New Belgium Brewing Company might look a little different than it did when you were scoring free tastings back in the day. There’s now a daily food truck outside, there’s an indoor forest (the NBBC Foeder Forest where floor to ceiling barrels are slowly adding that je ne sais quoi to barrel-aged concoctions), and they offer in-depth specialty tours like the two-hour Grain to Glass tour. But the usual suspects from those long ago tastings remain: namely Fat Tire, Trippel and 1554. If you find yourself missing the Sunshine Wheat, try the Fat Tire Belgian White.
• Depending on when you graduated and/or your last visit, the tasting room at Odell Brewing Company might look different. The longtime brewery remodeled the taproom and added an awesome backyard patio in 2013. Go old school and sip on a 90 Schilling or shake it up and try a seasonal, like the Single Hop IPA that’s coming in October.
HISTORIC OLD TOWN PUB CRAWL
Hit all the classics you loved a decade (or two or three) ago: Point your feet to Lucky Joes for a Guinness, some live music and a handful of peanuts, of course. For old times sake, sidle up to the bar at Surfside 7 (238 Linden St.) for a Surfer on Acid ($3 on Fridays). And, for the literal cherry on top stop at the Town Pump, (124 N. College Ave.), a tiny dive bar that’s been operating since 1909, for a nightcap and an atomic cherry.
WHERE TO STAY
• An Old Town Fort Collins landmark, the iconic Armstrong Hotel recently reopened in the spring after a complete remodel honoring the hotel’s 95-year history. The new look features an eclectic mix of earthy, natural and jewel tones juxtaposed with industrial elements, such as vintage leather, wood, and metals throughout. Ace Gillett’s Lounge, located below the hotel, reopened earlier this summer with new menus dreamt up in partnership with Death & Co, the wildly popular and award-winning craft cocktail bar renowned for its attention to detail and craft approach.
• While it’s pretty unlikely the 164-room Elizabeth Hotel in Old Town (111 Chestnut Street) was around when you were in school, you’ll certainly appreciate the option to stay there now. The luxury hotel pays tribute to FoCo’s deep-rooted music scene and features record players in the guest rooms, a piano in the Sky Bar, jazz music at the rooftop Sunset Lounge, and rock ‘n roll at The Magic Rat live music venue. Don’t miss this hip hotel’s three over-the-top themed suites: Beer & Bike; Music; and The Green and Gold Room, the perfect spot to land for an All Things CSU weekend.
• And, if you’re looking for a smaller, more affordable option, be sure to check out the following options:
— Remington Flats is 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.
—The Fernweh Inn & Hostel, located in a Registered Historic Landmark and within walking distance of Old Town, offers both shared and private rooms at very reasonable rates.
— The Solarium International Hostel, located along the Spring Creek Trail, offers guests free waffles and coffee in a community-centered atmosphere.