If you have been blessed with the opportunity to stay in Colorado this spring break, fear not, there is plenty to do up and down the Front Range, no matter the type of weather.
Here is a helpful guide to some of my favorite places up and down the Front Range: ranging from as far north as Fort Collins to as far south as Colorado Springs. Take a day trip, or even a mini road trip, throughout the week and explore all the great things that Colorado has to offer.
We go to school at CSU, so the Fort Collins scene is pretty familiar to us. We know about Old Town, Horsetooth and everything in between. But fear not, if you are hopelessly stuck in the 970, here are a few fun activities you can do without leaving city limits:
Great Plates 2015
The Downtown Fort Collins Business Association and other businesses have worked to put together this event that invites over 30 restaurants to offer amazing dining specials for two weeks (March 1 – March 15).
This is a great opportunity to explore the dining culture of Fort Collins while also supporting the Food Bank of Larimer County. If you are a fan of Restaurant Week in Denver, this is right up your alley. But make sure to try it soon, for it ends on Sunday.
Lucky Joe’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Party
Lucky for us college students, St. Patrick’s Day happens to be over spring break this year. You can celebrate it early on March 14 at Lucky Joe’s, who will be hosting an Irish parade in Downtown Fort Collins. The event starts at 10 a.m. and is free for all. The Old Town Irish Party lasts until 5 p.m. with lots of good food, live music and entertainment for all ages. So make sure to get your green on!
Fire-pit Fridays at Budweiser
Do the chilly nights make you long to sit in front of a fire? Not to worry. Every Friday in March, you can sit in front of a crackling fire pit at the biergarden at the Budweiser plant. You can enjoy live music and s’mores, and even better, all proceeds going to the Larimer Country Red Cross.
I am not going to lie – Boulder is a pretty rad city. Like Fort Collins, the Flatiron Mountains provide a beautiful backdrop. So if you are willing to enter enemy territory for the day, I would highly recommend a fun day trip down to Boulder.
Pearl Street Mall
Pearl Street is equal amounts shopping, eating and entertainment. There are always street artists, performing anything from music to magic. The shopping is a nice combination of national retailers, like American Apparel and local entities like Rocketfizz.
Very similar to Old Town, it is a great place to just go and hang out for the day. Also, I recommend if you want to drive around Boulder a little bit, check out The Sink. The restaurant was featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” and is a true college dive serving up fantastic burgers.
Celestial Seasonings Factory Tour
For all the tea fanatics out there, if you did not know already, Boulder is home to the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory. If you are interested in seeing the inner workings of a tea factory, you can take a free tour and then spend time at the Tea Shop, where you can buy as much tea as your heart desires, and the Celestial Café.
Hiking Mount Sanitas
If you are wanting to get in a good workout, or just want to take in some beautiful views of Boulder and the wider Denver area, then this trail is for you. The trailhead is located off of Mapleton Avenue next to the hospital, and it fills up quickly, so make sure to get there early.
From the trailhead you can either take it all the way up to the summit or verge off onto the many other trails that are connected. Either way you are in for a treat.
If you want to get closer to nature this spring break, then Rocky Mountain National Park/Estes Park is the perfect place for you. About an hour away from Fort Collins on US 34, Estes Park is a great day trip, whether hiking in the National Park or exploring the quaint town.
The Stanley Hotel
This historic landmark opened its doors in 1909 and served as inspiration for Stephen King’s novel “The Shining.” Rumor has it, it is haunted, so if you are into the spooky then why not spend a night there. While if being scared is not your thing, you can also enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and explore the preserved piece of Colorado history.
Rocky Mountain National Park
If you are in the mood for a hike over spring break, Rocky Mountain National Park provides a beautiful area for you to do a variety of recreational activities, like hiking and snowshoeing. It also provides amazing scenery if you are looking to do some photography. And since it will still be March, the mountains and trees will still be covered in snow.
Some great trails to try out are Bear Lake and Emerald Lake (both at the Bear Lake Trailhead), Bierstadt Lake and Tonahutu Trailhead.
If you are willing to drive an hour, you can spend a fun day in Denver. Between shopping, sporting events and museums, Denver can provide a day of entertainment for those who want to get out of Fort Collins and experience the big city.
Denver Art Museum
The Denver Art Museum always has awesome exhibits to check out! If you have not seen Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century yet, you can catch it in its final week (it ends March 17). They also have an exhibit on quilts and Cubism.
The rest of the museum is great to check out if you are an art fanatic, but have not yet had a chance to explore the entire museum and its 16 collections. Often times, ticket admission will also include admission to the Clyfford Still Museum right next door.
16th Street Mall and Larimer Square
In the mood to get your spring shopping on? There is no better place than 16th Street Mall. With its various selection of stores and restaurants, it is the perfect place to go and hang out for the day, assuming the weather is nice.
Not too far away is Larimer Square, a Colorado institution. If you are wanting explore the heart of the city, then 16th Street Mall is the place to go.
What better thing to do in Denver than support your hometown teams? The Nuggets, Avalanche and Rapids all have games during spring break, so if you have been itching to go to a game, now is your chance.
Nuggets: Friday, March 13 vs. Golden State Warriors, 7 p.m.
Avalanche: Saturday, March 14 vs. Calgary Flames, 8 p.m.
Rapids: Saturday, March 21 vs. New York City FC, 2 p.m.
The most southern location on this list, this would be an ideal place for a mini road trip. Many people do not know about all the amazing things you can do in the Springs, but I promise, it is definitely worth the trip.
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods is a breathtaking natural landmark. It features a mix of sandstone and limestone rock formations, with beautiful Pikes Peak as the backdrop.
The park provides many mild hikes on trails around the different formations and lookout points. This national park is definitely a must-see outdoor attraction!
U.S. Olympic Training Center
One of three centers, the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center is the flagship training complex for the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Olympic Training Center Programs. Visitors can get a first-hand look at the various training centers that are used by some of our favorite Olympic athletes.
Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel
This non-denominational chapel is one of the most visited attractions in Colorado. Made from steel, aluminum and glass, this structure contains 17 spires that reach a height of 150 feet. It is a popular destination for church services and weddings and is free for visitors.
Pikes Peak reaches a height of 14,115 feet, one of the highest in the U.S. You can take the Pikes Peak Cog Railway to the summit of the mountain. The trip is about three hours long but is a great way to see the beautiful mountain scenery that is exclusive to Colorado.
While if you are feeling adventurous, why not lace up your hiking boots and take a fun springtime trek (weather permitting of course).
As you can see, there is plenty to do in Colorado, especially if you are willing to take a drive.
I hope you make good use of the time off and maybe even use it to see all the wonderful places that Colorado has to offer. So go ahead, grab some friends and take an adventure!