14 Cheap And Fun Date Ideas Near Colorado State University


Finding fun things to do in Fort Collins is easy. From Old Town to Horsetooth, Foco is packed with activities great for couples of all ages. Whether you’re looking to do something adventurous, see live music, appreciate the arts, or head downtown, this guide has you covered.

1. Catch A Show

You won’t find massive music venues in Fort Collins, but there are a few smaller theaters I love seeing shows at. Especially because the tickets tend to be much more affordable than larger events in northern Colorado. Choose from the Aggie, the Lincoln Center, Hodi’s Half Note, the university’s world-class performing arts center, or one of Foco’s many live music bars.

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2. Grab Dinner And A Movie

Dinner and a movie, the classic date. With so dozens of restaurants lining the streets of Fort Collins, the real challenge is choosing where to go. Here are a few of my favorites broken down by style.

  • Italian: Panino’s
  • Mexican: Cafe Mexicali
  • Chinese: East Moon
  • Steakhouse: Austin’s
  • Sandwich: Cheeba Hut

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3. Holiday Twin Drive-In

Since the first drive-in opened in 1933, the drive-in theater date has been a classic. I get it, why not enjoy a more intimate setting at around half the cost of a normal movie theatre — especially in the city. Sadly drive-in theaters aren’t as common as they used to be, but in Fort Collins, four films are featured at the drive-in every summer night.

4. See A Museum

Anyone hoping to appreciate the fine arts should check out the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and the Museum of Art. Admission is less than $20 for both so try each one out, or choose between art and history if you only have time for one.

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5. Old Town

Rent bikes from the new public bike stations or take a walk around Old Town (historic Fort Collins). There are tons of locally owned shops to explore and cool art everywhere. After you walk up an appetite choose from dozens of reputable restaurants to enjoy a fine meal with your significant other.

6. Free Brewery Tours

Believe it or not, you can get pretty tipsy in Fort Collins for free. New Belgium, Fort Collins Brewery, Anheuser-Busch and Odell Brewery all offer free tours with free samples. Scheduled an organized tour of the four breweries with an included shuttle, or make a day of it on your own.

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7. Explore Historic Locations

The history of Fort Collins is intriguing. The tunnels under Old Town were previously used to bootleg alcohol during prohibition. In fact, the old Miller factory still stands today as a beach bar. Old Town is filled with cool, historic points with backstories you wouldn’t believe. Some even claim certain businesses are haunted. Research a bit and build a tour of your own, or take a date on the ghost tour.

8. Try An Escape Room

Gamers and puzzle lovers, if you haven’t heard of escape rooms yet, you’ll love this. Inspired by escape-the-room video games, entrepreneurs are creating life-like games of their own. Use strategy, hints and clues to decipher the room’s secret. There are thousands across the globe, these five are in Fort Collins. I recommend Somewhere Secret.

9. Go Horseback Riding

There are several locations near Fort Collins where you can rent and ride horses but the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch is the most affordable. Explore over 3,000 acres of gorgeous scenery as you horseback ride, hike, fish, try the challenge course or play other games. One hour rides are $37 per rider.

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10. Take A Cooking Class

The Cupboard is northern Colorado’s largest locally-owned kitchen retailer. Employees also teach cooking classes and host other events after hours that make for a fun date night. This may sound like a better fit for a ladies night out, but trust me, everyone wants their significant other to be able to cook.

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11. Rent Paddleboats

The pool at City Park is fun to visit. You can rent paddleboats to ride around in and it’s only five bucks per couple. Fort Fun, an amusement park, rents out paddleboats too. They are a bit pricier, but the space you paddle on is bigger.

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12. Catch A Game

With the new stadium complete, now you can bring your date to a game. Join CSU Class Facebook pages to find discounted student tickets and use shuttles to and from free parking.

12. Horsetooth

Horsetooth is Fort Collins’ iconic outdoor recreational area. Different areas have hiking or biking trails, rock walls to climb and a big lake in the middle for water activities. Most parking you’ll be required to buy a $5 permit but a scenic drive around the lake can be just as romantic.

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13. Lory State Park

Lory State Park sits at the northwest corner of Horsetooth Reservoir. View Horsetooth and the skylines of Fort Collins from the opposite side. Pack a picnic, bring a few fishing poles and spend a relaxing afternoon by the lake.

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14. Poudre Canyon

If you’re willing to go for a bit of a drive, I highly recommend checking out the Poudre Canyon. You’ll pass one of Fort Collins’ best-kept secrets, The Mishawaka theater, a beautiful outdoor music venue. Plan a picnic, or try something more adventurous like a guided raft trip down the Cache la Poudre River.

If you’ve tried all of the above and still find yourself stumped to come up with interesting date ideas, check out other affordable things to do in Fort Collins.

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Let us know what you think about these fun date ideas near Colorado State University in the comments below!
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Veronica Baas

Veronica Baas is a senior at Colorado State University studying media and technical communication and business administration. She has spent her life traveling as a pilot's daughter and lived in the UK as part of a study abroad program.

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