Colorado Springs is an interesting beast. The town has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, but still retains some of its small-town charms. It's absolutely gorgeous, with Pikes Peak hanging over the city, the vertical sandstone towers of the Garden of the Gods, and cute little neighborhoods that make it feel like a cozy mountain town. It's also home to a big military presence and ultra-right wing evangelicals. Beyond the politics, taking a day or two to explore everything the town and its environs have to offer, should make it onto any Colorado Top Five list.
On the West Side of town, you'll find cute shops and bistros in Manitou Springs and Old Colorado City. As you head into the foothills, there is amazing hiking, mountain biking, outdoor adventures, cliff dwellings, cave tours, and a trip by car to the top of Pikes Peak.
Discover some of the most unique and fulfilling experiences your next destination has to offer.
Tips & Travel trends to help you pick the perfect time to visit this destination.
Plan a day trip full of local flavor and get back in time with these same-day options.
Browse the various transportation options to make your trip that much easier when you arrive.
Ways to maximize the fun without spending a dime on your next great adventure.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Colorado Springs.
This gorgeous vein of red sandstone (about 290 million years old) appears elsewhere along Colorado's Front Range, but the exquisitely thin cathedral spires and mountain backdrop of the Garden of the Gods are particularly striking. Explore the network of paved and unpaved trails, enjoy a picnic and watch climbers test their nerve on the sometimes flaky rock.
This expansive museum and 400-seat theater originally opened in 1936. The museum’s collection is surprisingly sophisticated, with some terrific Latin American art and photography, and great rotating exhibits that draw from the 20,000 pieces in its permanent collection. There is a strong focus on Native American, Hispanic and Spanish Colonial art. Check the calendar for live performances in the theater space.
A former quarry and part of the sandstone vein that runs through the Garden of the Gods, this 787-acre park was nearly developed into a golf course and townhouses. Thanks to committed residents who fought the good fight, however, it's now a fabulous local park, where you can hike, mountain bike and rock climb, without all the tourist hoopla.
Colorado Springs’ municipal museum is set in the old El Paso County Courthouse, built in 1903. The collection and exhibition of some 60,000 pieces sums up the region’s history. Particularly good is the Native American collection, which features hundreds of items from the Ute, Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations.
This beautiful reserve overlooking Colorado Springs and the Rockies beyond is strewn with distinctive rock formations dating to the Eocene period. Walking and hiking trails crisscross the park and adjacent Pulpit Rock Park.
Set behind the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and those massive crenelated stone gates, on a cliff about two-thirds of the way up Cheyenne Mountain, is this tower named for Spencer Penrose's good friend Will Rogers, who died in a plane crash coincidentally around the time of its construction. There are busts of both men out front and the best Colorado Springs views in town.
Colorado College’s striking, $30-million LEED–certified arts complex sits across the street from the Fine Arts Center. You’ll see sculpture on the front lawn, and there’s a free gallery inside and frequent guest lecturers and film screenings. Past guests have included filmmakers, prominent feminists, Buddhist masters and big-time video-game producers.
Set just off downtown, with Prospect Lake surrounded by wide green lawns and ball fields, and Pikes Peak and the rest of the southern front range looming to the west, this is the city's biggest public park and the site of the Labor Day Lift Off, one of America's biggest and best hot-air-balloon festivals.
There's a small historical display in leafy Bancroft Park, which is set smack in the middle of Old Colorado City. The centerpiece is the Old Pioneer County Bank. Built in 1859, it became, 10 years later, the first county office building, then became a Chinese laundry and antiques shop.