Editor’s Note: This is a new feature in the Collegian that will appear weekly. The Collegian is republishing this content with the permission of the original producer.
Any old tour guidebook can tip you off about Fort Collins’ more notable places to visit. If you’re like most people, you probably gave most of those a try within a few months of moving to the Choice City. That doesn’t mean your bucket list is complete — not by a long shot. Tackle these less hyped favorites to become a true local.
Hike Up to the A and Make Out
That 450-foot tall A (for Colorado State’s old-school mascot, the Aggies), isn’t just a reminder of the school’s land-grant college roots. It’s a heck of a place to get a view of Fort Collins. It’s not the easiest hike up to it, but make it with a special somebody, and it offers some uber-romantic views that should wow anyone.
Go to FoCoMX
There are a surprising number of musicians honing their craft for a city the size of Fort Collins, and each year the Fort Collins Music Association spotlights local talent with its Fort Collins Music Experiment (or FoCoMX for those in the know). The two-day festival rounds up more than 200 local acts, from indie rock to blues, and takes over 20 local stages to celebrate Northern Colorado’s vibrant music scene.
Take the Beau Jo’s Challenge
Straight up, you’re setting yourself up for failure when you and a friend attempt to polish off a 14-pound pizza in under an hour. If you’re the sort of world-class competitive eater up to the task, you’ll get the pizza free of charge and an extra $100 for your troubles. If you’re like everyone else, you’ll emerge with a tummy ache and a great tale about how you took on a challenge featured on Man V. Food.
Join the CSU Underwear Run
It’s not exactly scandalous or decadent but it’s probably not good, clean fun either. Each spring, thousands of Colorado State students strip down to their unmentionables and celebrate the end of the semester by running amok around campus and the surrounding areas. It’s the most fun you’re likely to have with your (legally required minimum of) clothes on.
Drink a Town Pump Pail
Sipping a Town Pump Pail Ale is about as local as it gets. The ale’s a small batch brewed only for drafts at the Pump, so you’ll need to make a trip to Fort Collins’ oldest (and probably tiniest) bar to get a taste of this rare English Pale Ale.
Watch the Society for Creative Anachronism
Even by the most forgiving of standards, dressing up like medieval knights and practicing sword fighting is pretty nerdy. On the other hand, people are practicing sword fighting! Fort Collins’ branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism, the Barony of Unser Hafen, is committed to preserving those old-school ways last seen inMonty Python and the Holy Grail, including practicing swordsmanship, often in costume. It’s like a front-row seat to a teeny, tiny Renaissance festival when they practice or compete in a park.
Ride in Tour de Fat
Bikes and beer. That sums up Fort Collins pretty well, and New Belgium’s Tour de Fat celebrates both with wild abandon. The festival, which started in town before becoming a nationwide promotional event, lets riders deck themselves out in zany costumes, pile on their bike and parade through the Fort before arriving at the brewery for drinks. It’s kind of a big deal — more than 20 thousand bikers in fancy dress attended the past couple years.
Somehow End Up in a Small Riot
You can’t really plan to make this happen; it just does. Nonetheless, it’s a Fort Collins rite of passage for anyone who isn’t a stay-at-home type, with out-of-control parties and street celebrations drawing heavy (some may say heavy-handed) responses from police ready to give their tear gas and pepper spray balls a target. Large college parties are a favorite target of the riot squads, but they’ve also been known to turn up at celebrations for football victories and even at New West Fest.
Collegian Guest Columnist Matt Schild can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This list was compiled by staff writer Amber Johnson.