Colorado Springs has a lot to brag about. Nestled in the eastern foot of the Rocky Mountains, the city is home to some of the most celebrated natural scenery across the nation. It's also home to a booming metropolis, which means visitors get to pick from the best of both worlds when putting together the perfect itinerary of things to do in Colorado Springs. Of course, making lists and researching where you want to go doesn't exactly align with the idea of being on vacation. That's why we decided to take on the work for you. Listed below is everything you'll need to know about places to go and things to do in Colorado Springs.
Quick view of the best Colorado Springs things to do:
1. Garden of the Gods Park
Well, it's certainly hard to ignore any attraction with a name like that. The Garden of the Gods Park is located at the base of Pikes Peak (another attraction we'll get to later in this list). Visitors can explore its towering red rock formations via hiking trails, horseback riding routes, bike paths, Segway tours and more. Every month, the park hosts a series of presentations, classes, demonstration walks and hikes featuring top naturalists, interpreters, historians, and other special guests. There's also an annual Earth Day celebration, so plan accordingly! The park most certainly belongs on the list of best things to do in Colorado Springs. We promise, you won't want to miss out on this mountain experience.
2. Phantom Canyon Brewing Company
Source: Phantom Canyon
Colorado is home to more than 400 established beer breweries. 26 of those breweries are located in Colorado Springs, which makes it a pretty easy stop to incorporate into the itinerary. Phantom Canyon Brewing Company is the oldest brewery in Colorado Springs. Today, it functions as a community marketplace and local gathering spot. The place offers an impressive list of hand-brewed beers to enjoy. Of course, there's also an extensive food menu to explore. When on vacation, it never hurts to do as the locals do. Head into downtown Colorado Springs and have a drink!
3. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Source: CM Zoo
Head on down to America's only mountain zoo! Located 6,714 feet above sea level, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo offers guests the ability to experience and explore over 30 species of endangered animals. It's important to note that this isn't your average zoo. At Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, you can feed giraffes by hand and even explore the area in an open-air chairlift ride. There's also a carousel for the kids to enjoy! Originally built back in 1925, the structure serves as one of the zoo's most cherished features. Pack up the kids and head over for an experience you won't soon forget.
4. Manitou Springs
Source: via Pikes Peak
Located just outside of Colorado Springs, this resort town packs in a lot for visitors to enjoy. The area is known for its mineral springs and incredible mountain views. The historic downtown area offers tons of art galleries, street performances, restaurants, and boutique stores. Known as a true resort town, Manitou Springs offers no shortage of things to do. If you're already planning a visit to Colorado Springs, you'll want to carve out time to check out the town. It's one of Colorado's true gems.
5. Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak refers to the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The Pikes Peak Region Attractions provides a way for tourists to enjoy this immense terrain. The park offers visitors several different ways to explore the incredible rock formations that populate the region, with hiking trails, jeep tours, and even hot air balloon rides! There's also horseback riding, river expeditions, and waterfalls to explore.
6. Royal Gorge
If heights are your thing, then you're going to love the next stop on our list. The Royal Gorge is a canyon of the Arkansas River. It's also home to the highest zip line in America. Of course, we can't forget about the suspension bridge that rests 956 feet above the water, either. There are also aerial gondolas, sky coasters and tons of other things to do while visiting this special corner of Colorado Springs.
7. United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs
Source: Academy Admissions
If you're looking for things to do just north of Colorado Springs, head over to the United States Air Force Academy. This military staple is open daily to tourists. There, you can enjoy self-guided tours along with exhibits designed to teach viewers about the military academy and how it works to prepare the men and women of the United States Air Force. The center ranks as one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Colorado.
8. Old Colorado City
Source: Shop Old Colorado City
No list of things to do in Colorado Springs would be complete with mentioning Old Colorado City. Perfect for a family day trip, here you'll find history and modernity collide to form a quaint destination, lined with 19th-century buildings and filled with art galleries, jewelry stores, and even tattoo parlors. Experience the best of old and new in this classic Colorado town.
9. Evergreen Cemetery
Source: Oakland North
Colorado is home to a lot of history. And if you fall into the superstitious crowd, you'll know that where there's history, there's haunting. If you want to check out some of the most notorious haunted spots in town, head over to the Evergreen Cemetery. It's known as one of the spookiest things to do in Colorado Springs. The area dates back to even before the town was formally founded in 1871. Cemetery workers and tour guides alike have reported sightings of "dark figures" and mysterious forces moving through their bodies. The place has even been featured on Biography Channel's My Ghost Story.
10. Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum
History buffs, look no further. Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum is here to help you appreciate the past. The destination houses over 60,000 artifacts, including, pottery, paintings quilts and more. Its exhibits explore Native American history, the founding of Colorado Springs and the area's rich history as a mining town and center for military operations. The institution is housed in the beautifully restored 1903 El Paso Country Courthouse.
11. ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy
Source: Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame
Well, it doesn't get more American than that. Head over to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy to get a sense of Colorado's history as part of the Wild West. The Museum features one of the most comprehensive collections on the subject in the United States, with over 120 photographic prints taken between 1919 and 1957, otherwise known as "the golden years of rodeo." The idea is to educate the public about the history of rodeo in Colorado and its contribution to Western culture.
12. Barr Trail
It's impossible to visit Colorado and not take in its exquisite landscape. Though we will warn you, Barr Trail is one of the most difficult hikes located within the Pikes Peak region. If you're looking for a challenge, head over to this part of Colorado Springs and start in on a 12+ mile hike to the Pikes Peak Summit. The average time it takes to complete the trek falls somewhere between 6 and 10 hours. Advanced hikers only.
13. Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
Source: Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
If you're looking for more things to do in Colorado Springs with regards to the natural world, think about checking out the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center. The center is located about an hour outside of Colorado Springs. The peace and quiet of this mountain setting make for a perfect home for the wolves, coyotes, and foxes that reside in the large wooded sanctuaries the center provides. Visitors can meet all the residents and learn about their history and how they came to be part of the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center Family.
14. Glen Eyrie Castle
Source: Glen Eyrie
Located just minutes from downtown Colorado Springs is Glen Eyrie Castle, the original estate of the city's founder, General William Jackson Palmer. The 800-acre property is adorned with towering rock formations, lush lawns, gardens, and wildlife. Guests can choose to stay in any one of the 17 rooms located within the property. If you can't spend the night, you can at least enjoy an afternoon tea in the castle's music room, or library. Take in one of Colorado's most beautiful attractions and one of it's most impressive estates. This former residence easily tops the list of most sophisticated things to do in Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs is known for a lot of suns and a lot of snow. If you're looking for something to do irrespective of the weather though, look no further than Great Wolf Lodge. This weather-proof destination provides tons of activities that visitors of all ages can enjoy. Of course, the standout attraction revolves around the indoor water park. Here, families can splash around the leisure pools, soak up some of the thrill rides or hang out in one of the private cabana areas. There's also an entire adventure park to explore, too. We're talking a ropes course, arcade, mini-golf and more! The lodge also offers on-site sleeping amenities in case you're too tired to trek anywhere after all the action. The standard, themed and premium suites can sleep anywhere from 4 to 9 guests. You can also check out the Colorado Springs water park page to get all the details.