Colorado Springs’ red rocks and mountain-framed plains are spread out across a plateau that’s more than 6,000 feet (1828 m) high. As the home of the US Olympic Committee and the infamous Pikes Peak Hill Climb race, the city is used to a little competition and doesn’t shy away from opportunities to impress its visitors. From its gold rush-era architecture to its pioneer spirit, and from its sprawling parks to its vibrant arts, there are plenty of things to do in Colorado Springs that are more than worthy of a gold medal.
Filled with the city’s oldest architecture and imbued with Colorado Springs’ earliest pioneer vibes, Old Colorado City is the place to go for a small town feel without sacrificing great places to explore.
Urban parks, fascinating museums, and a world-class arts scene await those who center their stay in Colorado Springs’ downtown. Catch a concert by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, explore artifacts at the Pioneers Museum, or check out local galleries scattered between hip cafes and historic bars.
Just a few miles outside of Colorado Springs proper, this charming mountain town is a great base camp for those wanting to check out the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, mineral springs, and haunted houses. It’s also a good option for alternative Colorado Springs accommodation for those who want a quiet stay out of town.
If you’re feeling lucky, make your way to Cripple Creek, where gold miners once sought their sparkling fortunes in cliffside mines. While you’re unlikely to strike it rich panning for treasure, you can always hit the town’s casinos for a chance to find your fortune.
Colorado Springs’ historic architecture, fascinating museums, and vibrant cultural institutions will keep visitors entertained downtown, but you won’t want to miss the natural beauty that lies beyond the pavement. In the Garden of the Gods, roam rolling hills dotted with pine trees and navigate mazes of ochre-red rocks jutting out from grassy meadows. Just south of this magical landscape is the towering top of Pikes Peak, home to the famous Pikes Peak Hill Climb, which challenges drivers of all types of vehicles to test man and machine’s ability to race to the top of the “hill’s” 14,115-foot (4,302-m) summit. Make your own trek to the summit on foot or take a load off and grab a ride on the rails of the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
Military buffs will want to swing in for a tour of the United States Air Force Academy, and then brush up on their history with a stop at the National Museum of World War II Aviation. Nature lovers can hop in a jeep for a guided ride through the Garden of the Gods or peek in at the animals at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and adrenaline junkies can tackle the slopes of Pikes Peak on foot, by bike, or maybe even by high-flying zipline.
Explore the pioneer past at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, lace up your hiking boots for a leg-pumping adventure on the Seven Bridges Trail, Seven Falls, or in Palmer Park, or just while away the hours looking for haunted buildings, trendy cafes, and live music among the timeless brick buildings that line the streets of the Old Colorado City Historic District.