Dec 1, 2012

5 things to do at Fort Collins

Fort Collins is a college city. At the heart of the city lies the Colorado State University. The city itself has less to serve when it comes to sightseeing, or so I thought until recently. The following are five things I did to explore and experience the city.

1) Friday Afternoon Club (FAC):

A cake ordered by Fine Arts for a Friday Afternoon Club at I.House

Jointly organized by the CSU Apartment Life, Fort Collins International Center and CSU's Office of International Progams, Friday Afternoon Club (FAC) is a weekly activity held at the International House. The event is organized to help people meet, socialize and make new friends with others of all ages from all over the world who had come to Fort Collins for study/work. An evening at FAC typically starts with food that highlights the theme for that particular week, followed by playing some games, while some prefer to sit on couch and have a chat. If you are new to Fort Collins, joining FAC would help you to get some help in settling down. As is common with some of the best things, FAC's are free and is open to Fort Collins community.

2) Take Transfort/Flex:
If you are a new international student/scholar/faculty at Fort Collins, perhaps you might not be owning a car. Unlike the situation in your home country where owning a car is more of a luxury than a requirement, life without a car in Fort Collins is hell. But all is not lost if you do not own a car or have a driving license! Supported by the Associated Students of CSU, Transfort offers free rides for full time student of CSU and provides discount passes for employers of CSU. A simpler way to go around the city is by trying different routes to reach your destination. Let us say we want to go to Walmart at Mulberry for shopping. Since I stay at West Propsect, I would take route number 2 to reach CSU transit center, route 15 to reach Downtown transit center and finally take route 5 to reach my destination. However, I can also take route 7 to reach Mall transfer point and take route 5 North bound to reach Walmart. By taking this alternate route, I have an option of spending some time for shopping at the Foothills Mall shops.

3) Picnic to city park (or any other park near your apartment/residence):

Myself standing near the bank of Sheldon lake at city park with Rocky Mountains in the background

Feeding bread crumbs to a goose at Sheldon lake

There are differnt ways to spend one's time at leisure in Fort Collins. A drive to city park and the Sheldon lake is one such way. Pack your bags with some food and head to the city park. If you do not have a car, you can take route 6 from CSU transit center. Once there, there are ample things that you can do to spend your time. Sit under a shady tree, grab a bite and read a book. Walk along Sheldon lake. Try feeding bread crumbs to the ducks and geese in the lake. The ducks here simply love bread crumbs and most of them are bold enough to snatch it from your hand. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the lake with Rocky Mountains at the background from a swing. If you have a fishing kit, you can even try to catch some fish as well!

4) Visit Poudre River Public Library and museum:
What is more better way to know about the history of a place than visiting the museum/library? Fort Collins public library is located at three convenient places that are at a reachable distance from any part of the city. What more? If you have an address proof, you get a free membership at the library which will allow you to checkout 100 items at a time! The Fort Collins museum was recently renovated and moved to a better location. I have not been to the new museum yet, but I had good experience visiting the old museum which was located behind the old town library. The museum displays lot of items, some of which are more than a century old. What I liked most in their displays was the model of a dinosaur egg. Unlike the displays at the museum in my home country, the Fort Collins museum allows visitors to touch and feel most of the displays.

5) Shopping at Old Town:
Shopping had become one of the most important activity wherever you go. Fort Collins is not an exception to this. Some of the best restaurants and shops are located at the Old Town, east of College Avenue. My favourite shops are the Old Town spice shop where you can buy spices from all over the world at a cheaper price and the Tea House from where you can buy a huge varieties of tea with different flavours.

Note: There are even more possible ways to explore the city. Watching a show at Carmike cinemas or other cinema theatres, spending time shopping at Walmart or King Soopers are some of the ways which I have not included here. I believe these are common ways to spend time anywhere in the US. If you own a car, you can drive to some of the popular places around Fort Collins that includes Estes Park and Colorado Springs among other places.

Photo courtesy: Western Easty.