The Old Town is the original downtown area of Fort Collins. It's a really interesting area to walk around, because there's some really nice architecture on the late 1800s buildings there, some quirky modern sculptures, tons of restaurants and bars, lots of artisan, foreign import, and fair trade shops, and, even on a Tuesday, when we were there, a lot going on--a bluegrass band was playing, some Green Peace volunteers were on a mission to save the rainforest on one of the street corners, and plenty of people were in the Old Town area shopping or eating. We were told it's even livelier on the weekends.
What to buy: We stopped in a Nepali import store, Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade store, Santa Fe Craftsman, a southwestern art, jewelry, and decor store, as well as a store selling typical tourist items (but even that one had plenty of locally-made and handmade crafts for sale). There were some other stores that looked fascinating, but unfortunately weren't open on Tuesday and/or in the evening, like Science Toy Magic or a Lost in Found Emporium selling crazy sculptures made out of even crazier items.
What to pay: Everything seemed pretty reasonably priced to me. Handmade and locally made items can sometimes cost quite a bit but nothing we saw was unreasonable.
The downtown area of Fort Collins has a terrific collection of places to explore. In addition to the restaurants, of which you can find many, there is also a wide variety of shopping options. Many locally-owned stores, covering things from toys to bikes to used clothing. Mostly small places, the bigger stores are further out on the fringe of town. But delightful stores. Check out Nature's Own, a store filled of wonderful nature objects and toys, Science Toy Magic ((970) 484-2377), the most unique toy shop in town, The Mountain Shop, for all your outdoor needs, and Curiosities, full of all manners of curious and unique gifts and jewelry.
Take your time to wander across the downtown, shop and eat and enjoy the promenade area.
With a lot of toys these days seemingly dumbing down kids, it is always refreshing to see a toy store that has innovative, engaging things for kids. Science toy Magic is one of these. In a store about the size of a walk-in closet, in the downtown area, Matt Hannifin shows you science magic. These toys use science principles, such as electricity and magnetism, to seemingly defy physics and amaze you. Matt is tireless and enthusiastic, making sure you are both intrigued and impressed. Some of these toys are only sold in his shop, or else he was the first to market them in the country. Stop by, chat with him; you won't be disappointed.
What to buy: Science toys... go in and investigate.
What to pay: They vary from $4 to $50, and everything in between.
THIS LONG AND NARROW SHOP HAS BEEN HERE FOREVER, IT SEEMS. Sure, you can go to Barnes & Noble or Borders for a magazine, but for something different, try Al's News Stand. They have a huge selection.
What to buy: Any kind of magazine you can think of.
What to pay: standard prices
JAX USED TO BE CALLED "JAX SURPLUS" - AN ARMY SURPLUS STORE. It had acres of tables set up with government "stuff" for sale cheap. But Jax has evolved. Now its more of an upscale outdoor sports emporium.
Four photos of Jax attached.
What to buy: Wanna buy a kayak? A CANOE? they've got 'em. Hiking gear, camping stuff, an extensive collection of specialty maps, sweatshirts, etc. etc.
What to pay: Its a tad bit on the high side, but not out of bounds.
A SMALL BUT NICE LOOKING MALL WITH SEVERAL SHOPS, INCLUDING A PLACE TO EAT, ACCORDING TO THE INTERIOR PHOTO HERE.
What to buy: DON'T KNOW, DIDN'T REALLY STOP IN ANY OF THE SHOPS.
What to pay: DONT KNOW
A GROCERY STORE FEATURING ORGANICALLY GROWN PRODUCE.
What to buy: Any grocery items, also a great deli.
What to pay: higher than the average grocery store
A HUGE SUPERMARKET OF WINES AND BEERS, ALL WELL ORGANIZED.
What to buy: A GREAT SELECTION OF MICROBREWERY BEERS
What to pay: reasonable prices