Explore Fort Collins Nightlife: Bars and Music


Fort Collins has earned a reputation as one of Colorado’s top destinations for nightlife and entertainment. This vibrant college town offers visitors a wide array of drinking, dining, music, events, and late-night adventures to fill their evenings with delight.

The pedestrian-friendly downtown area known as Old Town is the beating heart of the city’s nightlife scene. Live music and DJs amp up the energy at venues hosting local bands and touring acts.

Theatrical performances, cultural events, foodie tours, and festivals round out Fort Collins’ eclectic mix of nighttime entertainment. And the city’s proximity to the Cache la Poudre River and foothills forests opens up options for stargazing, moonlit hikes, and riverside concerts.


  • Old Town is the hub of Fort Collins nightlife with bars, breweries, music venues, events, etc.
  • Over 20 craft breweries contribute to the city's reputation as a beer haven.
  • Varied entertainment like live music, theater, festivals, and cultural events.
  • Nearby natural areas offer nighttime adventures under the stars.

Immersing in Local Culture

While taking in Fort Collins’ nightlife, visitors can also immerse themselves in local culture. The city celebrates its artistic community through monthly Gallery Walks exhibiting works from local artists. Foodie Walks highlight the city’s farm-to-table culinary scene.

Many venues and events spotlight local musicians, comedians, theater groups, and other performers. For instance, the festival FoCoMX showcases Fort Collins musicians every April.

Fort Collins’ agricultural roots and beer brewing heritage infuse an array of festivals happening throughout the year. From local beer-tasting extravaganzas to harvest celebrations, these lively events offer visitors a taste of authentic Northern Colorado culture.

Key Cultural Highlights

  • Monthly Gallery Walks and Foodie Walks
  • FoCoMX festival in April
  • Beer and harvest festivals year-round

Old Town: The Life of the Party

As mentioned, Old Town Fort Collins is the first stop for most nightlife seekers. Historic buildings now house modern bars, eateries, cocktail lounges, and plenty of entertainment venues. The pedestrian-only district makes barhopping a breeze.

When the weather’s nice, Old Town Square hosts free live music and movie screenings. Nearby Oak Street Plaza comes alive with dancing at its summer concert series. And the whole district participates in major events like the Bohemian Nights music festival.

But every weekend delivers its share of action. A vibrant mix of college students, locals, and visitors fill Old Town’s patios, pack its late-night eateries, and keep the party going into the wee hours.

Nightlife Highlights

  • Bars, pubs, breweries, distilleries
  • Live music and entertainment venues
  • Seasonal events and festivals
  • Oak Street Plaza summer concerts
  • Late-night dining options

Breweries and the Craft Beer Culture

As a pioneer city of craft brewing, it’s no wonder Fort Collins boasts one of America’s most robust beer cultures. Home to beer giant New Belgium Brewing Company along with small-batch brewhouses, cideries, and distilleries, Fort Collins has earned the nickname “Napa Valley of Beer.”

Beer aficionados could spend weeks exploring over 20 different breweries and tasting rooms. Many provide behind-the-scenes tours explaining the brewing process. Some even host yoga classes, live music nights, trivia games, and outdoor movie screenings.

Visitors should save room on their itinerary for popular events like Fort Collins Beer Week. This citywide celebration honors the city’s hoppy heritage with tastings, special releases, and brewery parties.

Craft Beer Attractions

  • New Belgium Brewing Company and Odell Brewing Company
  • Over 20 small craft breweries
  • Brewery tours and special events
  • Fort Collins Beer Week (June)

Live Music and Entertainment

Fort Collins delivers no shortage of live music at venues of all shapes and sizes. Intimate clubs are a great place to see local bands and touring indie groups. Meanwhile, larger music halls attract big-name artists and DJs spinning electronic dance beats.

One beloved spot is the Mishawaka Amphitheatre located along the Poudre River. Its outdoor stage against a backdrop of stars and pine trees creates an unforgettable concert-going experience.

And music lovers visiting in April can sample various venues during FoCoMX. This DIY music festival organized by Fort Collins musicians spotlights the city’s homegrown talent.

Top Music and Entertainment Picks

  • Smaller clubs like Hodi's Half Note and the Aggie Theatre
  • Large music halls like Washington's and Lincoln Center
  • Outdoor amphitheater The Mishawaka
  • FoCoMX band showcase in April

Nightlife for Social Butterflies

Beyond drinking and music, Fort Collins nightlife also satisfies social butterflies looking to meet new people. The vibrant singles scene congregates at speed dating events, dance clubs catering to 30-somethings, and other hot spots.

For those seeking structured social activities, companies offer guided Fort Collins pub crawls and nightlife tours. These small group adventures hit popular bars and clubs while ensuring everyone stays safe and has proper transportation.

And the friendly college-town vibe means striking up conversations with fellow bar patrons comes naturally. Visitors might easily find themselves in an animated discussion with Fort Collins residents about the best local brews or live music acts.

Meeting People and Being Social

  • Singles bars and dance clubs
  • Speed dating events and mixers
  • Organized pub crawls and nightlife tours
  • Strike up conversations on brewery patios

Cocktail Lounges

Several upscale cocktail bars provide a swanky scene for a nightcap featuring craft concoctions. The popular Social and Ace Gillett’s serve handcrafted drinks into the wee hours on weekends in prohibition-style basement settings.

Nightlife Safety and Transportation

While immersing in Fort Collins nightlife, visitors should take some basic precautions. Use the buddy system when barhopping, arrange a safe ride home like a taxi or designated driver, and avoid wandering empty streets at night.

Handy services like Lyft and Uber operate in Fort Collins, and the city runs the public bus system Transfort into the night. Many Old Town establishments also offer party bus transportation to events and brewery tours.

By planning ahead with rides, sticking to populated areas, and exercising common sense, visitors can party responsibly and safely experience everything Fort Collins nightlife has to offer.


What is there to do at night besides just drinking at bars?

Beyond bars and breweries, Fort Collins offers live music and comedy shows, escape rooms, ax throwing, theater performances, stargazing, night hikes, and festivals.

What is the best area for enjoying nightlife in Fort Collins?

The pedestrian-friendly Old Town district is the main hub for nightlife. Its concentration of bars, music venues, restaurants, and events makes barhopping easy.

What is the public transportation situation at night?

The Transfort bus system operates select routes until 10-11 pm on weeknights and 1 am on weekends. And many bars/companies offer party bus transportation.

Is Fort Collins safe at night?

Generally, yes. However, visitors should take normal nightlife precautions like using the buddy system, arranging safe transportation, and avoiding empty streets.

What is there to do for early risers after a late night out?

Morning activities like hiking, yoga classes, boating/paddleboarding, biking, and breakfast at diners or brewery brunch spots can help you rally after a late night.

Avatar photo

About the author

Simone Weisman

My deep appreciation for nature and active living strongly aligns with the vibrant outdoor culture of Colorado. My enjoyment of yoga, hiking, and exploring scenic trails provides me with a unique perspective that I bring to ReadyColorado.com. This personal passion enriches my ability to connect with and inspire our audience, whether they’re local residents or visitors seeking to explore all that Colorado has to offer.