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The college crowd does much of its drinking and partying at Washington's, a large, bustling, multilevel dance and drink emporium at 132 Laporte Ave. (tel. 970/484-3989), with a variety of recorded music and drink specials. You might try the somewhat bohemian Avogadro's Number, 605 S. Mason St. (tel. 970/493-5555), which attracts a mixed crowd for live bluegrass and acoustic music. Hodi's Half Note, 167 N. College Ave. (tel. 970/472-2034), is a small rock-oriented club. Country-and-western fans head to the big dance floor at the Sundance Steak House and Country Club, 2716 E. Mulberry St. (tel. 970/484-1600), for live country music and free dance lessons. Sports freaks like the SportsCaster Bar & Grill, 165 E. Boardwalk (tel. 970/223-3553), which has 50 TV screens and 20 beers on tap. When you just want to quaff a cool beer at the end of the day, CooperSmith's Pub & Brewing Co., 5 Old Town Sq. (tel. 970/498-0483), may be the best place in town. Many Fort Collins folk drive 14 miles up the Poudre River to the Mishawaka Amphitheatre & Restaurant, 13714 Poudre Canyon (tel. 970/482-4420; www.mishawakaconcerts.com), where top regional bands -- and occasional national acts -- perform during the summer in an outdoor amphitheater on the banks of the Poudre River.

The principal venue for the performing arts in Fort Collins is Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., at Meldrum Street (tel. 970/221-6730 box office, or 970/221-6735 administration; www.fcgov.com/lctix). Built in 1978, the center includes the 1,180-seat Performance Hall and the 220-seat Mini Theatre, as well as three art galleries and an outdoor sculpture and performance garden. It's home to the Fort Collins Symphony, Opera Fort Collins, Canyon Concert Ballet, Larimer Chorale, OpenStage Theatre, and the Children's Theater. Concert, dance, children's, and travel film series are presented annually. Ticket prices vary considerably, but children's programs are often free or less than $10 and big-name acts and Broadway shows are $30 to $50.

The Fort Collins Symphony (tel. 970/482-4823; www.fcsymphony.org), established in 1948, performs both classical and pops music plus special events with guest performers. There are numerous concerts annually, with July 4 and the December holiday season being two of the big ones.

The OpenStage Theatre Company, 400 N. College Ave. (tel. 970/484-5237; www.openstage.com), is the area's leading professional stage group. It offers six productions annually, as well as various popular, classical, and operatic performances. Recent productions have included Little Shop of Horrors, Sam Shepard's True West, and Shakespeare's As You Like It.

Those who enjoy an intimate theater experience should head to the Bas Bleu Theatre Company, 401 Pine St. (tel. 970/498-8949; www.basbleu.org), which presents a variety of plays, concerts, poetry readings, and other events.

Broadway musicals are presented year-round at Carousel Dinner Theatre, 3509 S. Mason St. (tel. 970/225-2555; www.adinnertheatre.com), Thursday through Saturday at 6pm and Sunday at noon. A choice of three entrees is offered, and prices are $34 to $38, which includes dinner, the show, and tax, but not beverages or dessert. Recent productions have included The Producers, The Full Monty, Irving Berlin's White Christmas, and Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.

The Colorado State University School of the Arts (tel. 970/491-5529; http://sota.colostate.edu) presents a variety of dramas and musicals, plus concerts by music faculty ranging from jazz to classical during the school year. Many of these events are free or very inexpensive.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.