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Top Five Ways to Cool Off This Summer in Downtown

June 1, 2024  /  Tags: DiningShoppingFamily Fun

It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy! But what’s the best way to keep your cool this summer? Visit Downtown Fort Collins for the top 5 ways to cool off and enjoy the best of the summer season.

Ice Cream
Ice Cream is a favorite summer treat in Fort Collins

Savor a Sweet Treat

I scream you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Beat the heat with a hand-scooped cool treat from Old Town Churn, Ben & Jerry’s, Walrus Ice Cream, or the recently reopened Kilwins Chocolates & Ice Cream. Whether you prefer it in a cake cone, waffle cone, or a cup, downtown scoop shops have countless varieties of flavors to help you subdue the heat.


Splash Jets
Photo: JR Schnelzer

Another popular way to beat the heat is with a visit to one (or both!) of the downtown splash pads. During the Downtown Development Authority’s renovation of Old Town Square in 2015, a pop-jet feature was added to the plaza making it a great central place to cool off.

Perfect for families with young children (and those young-at-heart), the Old Town Square Splash Pad is open daily* for splashing. When the sun sinks low, stick around and enjoy the evening light show from 8:00 pm – midnight

*Pop jets are on daily (weather dependent) from 8:00 am – midnight

Oak Street Plaza
Photo: City of Fort Collins | Tina Chandler

In the summer of 2021, the City of Fort Collins renovated and made improvements to Oak Street Plaza, including the fountain feature. Typically open daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the dancing water jets invite you to walk through for a refreshing cool down.

The Cache la Poudre River is Colorado’s only nationally designated “Wild & Scenic” River and it just so happens to flow right through downtown! In late 2019, the City of Fort Collins embraced this natural asset with the completion of the Poudre River Whitewater Park. Designed for kayakers to test their whitewater skills, it’s a great spot to get in on the action or simply watch from shore while dipping your toes in the water. The custom-designed Art in Public Places wave shelter located along the south bank, created by artist John Davis, draws inspiration from the motion and whitewater bubbles created by the river. So hang ten and chill!


At Happy Lucky’s Teahouse, the Leafsters are serving up handcrafted boba tea daily and iced tea to go. Or grab some loose leaf tea to brew your own at home. Looking to take it on the go? Ku Cha House of Tea makes it easy to crack open a can of perfectly-brewed, ready-to-drink iced tea. These no-fuss beverages are perfect for hitting the downtown splash pads, neighborhood pool, or Horsetooth Reservoir.

Frozen Cocktails at Old Town Putt
Try Frozen Cocktails at Old Town Putt

Grab a delicious signature soda from Explorado Market or kombucha on tap at The Bean Cycle and enjoy sitting in Old Town Square.

In the mood for a milkshake? Local favorite, Big Al’s Burgers & Dogs serves up malts and hand-scooped milkshakes featuring Blue Bunny® Ice Cream. While STUFT a burger bar hand-spins every milkshake. Try adding mix-ins like Nutella and graham crackers for a customized treat. In addition to boozy milkshakes, Union Bar & Soda Fountain also serves frosé and slushy cocktails.

Looking to frosé all day? Be sure to stop by The OBC Wine Project, Northern Colorado’s Local Winery. Or, relax on the patio of Old Town Putt while sipping a frozen cocktail, which makes for a refreshing escape from the summer heat.

Or, how about a sip with a trip to the taproom? Downtown has several brewery and taproom options to choose from including:

Prefer to relax from the comfort of your own backyard, grab beverages to go from Mulberry MAX Wine & Spirits or Lucky’s Market. You can’t beat the selection of locally crafted products!


Ditch the stove and let downtown restaurants do the cooking. Downtown Fort Collins boasts over 90 Outdoor & Patio Dining options. Locals tip: check out the CopperMuse Distillery patio at The Exchange or the rooftop patio of Illegal Pete’s – both have outdoor misting systems for the ultimate cool down experience.

Mist Jets
Photo: Valerie Mosley Photography


Ride out the heat wave in air-conditioned comfort with a visit to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. While you are there, be sure to check out the immersive OtterBox Digital Dome Theater featuring state-of-the-art digital projection systems and booming surround sound that brings shows to life.

Museum of Discovery
Photo: City of Fort Collins | Rachel Wilson

A trip to the Old Town Library will expand your horizons, without even leaving the building. From children’s storytime and book clubs to free wifi and computer classes, the Library is a great place to discover, learn, and grow.

Downtown Fort Collins is the cultural hub of Northern Colorado and offers many great museums and art galleries, including Museum of Art | Fort Collins, Global Village Museum of Arts & Cultures, and Colorado State University’s Gregory Allicar Museum of Art. You’ll find it’s easy to chill out with local arts and culture.