Aug 222007
Authors: Brian Park

CSU students, welcome to the used-to-be-number-one place to live in America.

Don’t worry, though, it’s a good thing – now everyone will migrate toward Louisville, Parker and wherever else is not here.

If you’re new to town, some people will verbally beat you to death with certain places you must go – Horsetooth Reservoir, Old Town, the Poudre Canyon. You should take their advice; those places rock.

But I’m here to let you know a few places that probably do not make the glossy tourist guide or are suggested out of your RA’s mouth. Fair warning: these recommendations are for fresh meat to the Fort, but who knows – anyone might find something they like.

Check out live music at the Mishawaka Amphitheatre, located nearly 13 miles up the Poudre Canyon.

This outdoor venue, known as “the Mish” and run by old hippies, puts Red Rocks to shame. A river runs behind the stage, camping is allowed and the crowd is always boogie-in’-it-up, or at least interesting.

The summer concert season is passing soon, but in the next month two reggae acts, guitar mutant Warren Haynes and a Funkfest are on deck.

Laurel Street and Campus West provide ample eateries to stuff your mouth with on the cheap, but when the grease from Pizza Casbah and Blackjack finally stops tasting splendid, head south of town to Nyala Ethiopian Cuisine on Harvard Street.

Since FoCo is anything but diverse, it is nice to have a restaurant representing this East-African nation. Take a load off in the traditional seating area and savor some exquisite foods, without the need to add hot sauce or ranch.

Next, pedal out to CSU’s Environmental Learning Center, located along the Poudre Trail that follows the river through town.

Four varied ecosystems make up the ELC – riparian, grasslands, cottonwood forests and wetlands, presenting an assortment of wildlife one will not see on Harmony Road or campus: coyotes, white-tailed deer and reptiles.

The Rocky Mountain Raptor Program is housed here as well, enabling folks to view Bald Eagles, Great Horned Owls and other birds of prey being rehabilitated.

On Sept. 22 concoct a freakish costume, dress up your bicycle to resemble George Clinton’s whacko hairstyle and be prepared to traverse the city on two wheels – Tour de Fat is here.

A bike bazaar put on by New Belgium Brewing Company, this hour-long parade is followed by a carnival at the Mothership, the company’s brewing facility. Vaudeville acts, live music, the world’s slowest bike race and environmentally friendly practices will all be on hand.

Oh, and there will be beer – lots of it.

If you are under 21, you can still attend, you just can’t drink.

These are but four facets of what makes the Fort awesome. There are other highlights – biscuits and gravy at the Ever Open Cafe, the Hunt Club (the only strip joint in town), fixing up a battered bike at the Fort Collins Bike Co-op and the flea markets on South College Avenue.

So the next time you’re lying around and your roommate asks you to go to Chipotle for the third time this week followed by another piss-poor movie at Cinemark, don’t settle for the status quo.

Getting bored in this town is a tough task.

Brian Park is a senior journalism major. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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