24 Things to Do in Colorado Springs: Mountains, Meals, and More!
FROM HIKES TO HISTORIC PLACES, THERE'S NO SHORTAGE OF THINGS TO DO IN COLORADO SPRINGS.
There are plenty of things to do in Colorado Springs, from big-name national parks to nightlife options, and much more. Also named one of the healthiest cities in the United States, you'll find no shortage of outdoor activities and opportunities to take in that fresh mountain air.
Those who have studied the region's history might have also noted its ties across the pond. In the early 20th century, Colorado Springs was nicknamed "Little London," thanks to its dense population of English immigrants. Back then, one in five residents was from Great Britain.
Though things have certainly changed in the time since, there are still traces of that early English heritage, including streets named for old polo grounds and high tea traditions at the Glen Eyrie Castle. Below, we'll discuss other legacy hotspots throughout the city. We'll also introduce some of the most popular places to visit when in town.
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Here Are the Best Things to Do in Colorado Springs, CO
From mountain excursions to candlelight cave tours, there are tons of things to do in Colorado Springs. Check out the list below for more information on our favorite activities.
Explore Downtown Colorado Springs
Shutterstock / Neil Podoll
Taking some time to explore the city is a great way to kick off your visit. Downtown Colorado Springs offers the best of both worlds, situated between amazing mountain peaks and dotted by a range of diverse, cultural activities. It's also just a short drive away from the Colorado Springs Airport.
You also have options in terms of how you want to get around. While Colorado Springs maintains a high walkability score, there is a free shuttle that can take you from one area to the next. Bike shares are another popular choice.
Get a sense of the local culture by stopping by one of the cafes, headshops, or art galleries. You should also keep an eye out for some of the outdoor installations, murals, and sculptures scattered around the city.
The "We Are In This Together" and the "Take Back The Power" murals, located at the Cottonwood Center for the Arts and between Pikes Peak Ave and Tejon Street, respectively, remain two of the most photographed areas in Colorado Springs.
Visit The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
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Don't overlook the name! The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is—quite literally—a mountain zoo, located 6,714 feet above sea level and operating as the only one of its kind in the nation. Not only that, but it provides unique and hands-on experiences with the animals, including feeding giraffes by hand, canoodling with baby "joey" wallabies, and more.
There's also an open-chair lift to help you navigate the zoo and sneak in a few more mountain views. Another one of the zoo's most celebrated features is a kids' carousel, originally built back in 1925.
Address: 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Rd, Colorado Springs, CO
Take a Day Trip to Manitou Springs
Shutterstock / Kit Leong
Nestled between Pikes Peak and Gardens of the Gods Park, the town of Manitou Springs offers art galleries, street performances, and lots of local eateries for visitors to enjoy.
The town also contains a total of eight springs, each boasting its own, unique mineral properties. Years ago, they had helped attract the Cheyenne, Arapahoe, and other Plains tribes to the area, though they were later displaced after the arrival of British colonists.
In the years that followed, the area actually became a popular destination for tuberculosis sufferers, who believed the mineral springs could heal them.
Today, tours are available to give those interested a taste of what each spring has to offer. Spas located around town also provide exclusive access to the springs, complete with soaking pools and cedar mineral tubs.
Before you head back to Colorado Springs, be sure to stop by the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, a series of ancestral Puebloan ruins anywhere from 800 to 1,000 years old.
The area has also been expanded to include a museum, which features Native-Made pottery, jewelry, and other artifacts.
Rocky Mountain Food Tours
Twitter / @RMFoodTours
If you consider yourself a culinary traveler, then this next activity is definitely something to entertain when visiting Colorado Springs.
Rocky Mountain Food Tours provides three different tours to choose from. One revolves around food, the others around signature cocktails and craft beer.
Each option provides four or five different tastings during the tour (all within walking distance). You can expect to visit speakeasies, TV-featured eateries, celebrity-owned establishments, artisan food shops, and more.
With Pikes Peak as your backdrop, you'll also have the opportunity to take in some amazing mountain views. Their knowledgeable tour guides will even sprinkle in a few historical notes and other fun facts about the city.
Tour the Olympic Training Center
Twitter / @TeamUSA
Officially known as the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center and Visitor Center, this attraction serves as the flagship training center for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the Olympic & Paralympic Training Center programs.
The national headquarters for the USA Swimming and USA Shooting teams are also located within the complex.
In addition to training facilities, the center provides housing, dining, and recreational opportunities for athletes. Because it serves as a residence, tourists can't simply wander onto the premises, but scheduled tours are available for individuals interested in learning more about the Olympic training process.
Address: 1 Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs, CO
Explore the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum
Twitter / @OlympicCityUSA
Before you leave the training center, be sure to check out the U.S Olympic & Paralympic Museum. One of the most accessible, interactive museums, the USOPM tells the stories of America's greatest athletes.
It's also designed so all guests experience the museum in the same way. Universal design technologies like assisted listening, RFID-triggered customizations, audio-description tracks, and open captions help make that experience possible.
Visitors will be further impressed by the personalized technology features throughout, the ability to try different Olympic and Paralympic sports, and the flow from the beginning to the end of the exhibits.
Address: 200 S. Sierra Madre Street, Colorado Springs, CO
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Explore the Garden of the Gods Park
Shutterstock / John Hoffman
Not only is the Garden of the Gods one of the most popular parks in the country, but it's also a registered National Natural Landmark, so be sure to make it a priority the next time you visit Colorado Springs.
With over 300 million years of history, the park provides some of the most impressive geological features in the world.
During your visit, expect to find a unique combination of natural grasslands, pinyon-juniper woodlands, and mountain forests. Located in the Pikes Peak region, you'll also enjoy impressive red rock formations while exploring the area.
While there are roads leading through the park, many prefer navigating the area on horseback or by bike. There are also tons of hiking trails and places to picnic for individuals who want to brave it by foot.
Address: 1805 N 30th Street, Colorado Springs, CO
Enjoy a Meal at the Broadmoor Hotel
Twitter / @TheBroadmoor
Spending some time at the Broadmoor Hotel is another popular bucket list activity when in Colorado Springs. Guests can visit the beloved Golden Bee, a Britsh pub serving fish & chips, yards of ale, and take part in nightly sing-a-longs!
First opened back in 1918, the Broadmoor Hotel provides exclusive access to some of the area's most celebrated attractions. That list includes ranch stays in the Pike National Forest, mountaintop hideaways, and a fly-fishing camp in Colorado's famed Tarryall River.
The main resort also offers a hefty list of amenities, including two award-winning golf courses, an outdoor infinity pool, tennis and pickleball courts, and a full-service spa.
Address: 1 Lake Ave, Colorado Springs, CO
Check Out The U.S. Air Force Academy
Shutterstock / Felipe Sanchez
The U.S. Air Force Academy, located just north of Colorado Springs, offers 18,500 acres of breathtaking panoramic views.
Visitors are encouraged to embark on self-guided tours of the campus, soaking up the facility's mid-century modern architecture, state-of-the-art Division I athletic facilities, and modern academic research centers.
The academy also sits on miles of trails, providing ample fishing and hunting activities. They've even set up a campus-wide scavenger hunt for visitors to play.
Oh, and don't be too surprised if you run into a furry visitor. According to staff, mule deer, wild turkeys, falcon, and elk frequent the grounds pretty often.
Address: 2304 Cadet Drive, Suite 3100 USAF Academy, CO
Ride the Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Shutterstock / Bob Pool
Hailed as the highest rack railway in the world, the Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway brings you right to the summit of "America's Mountain."
The railway was originally established back in 1891 but has undergone extensive renovations to keep standards high. Today, travelers will enjoy new trains, new tracks, and new depots when riding the rail.
The railway provides convenient transport up the mountain for those who don't want to brave the Pikes Peak Highway by car. While it is a beautiful drive, the road climbs to a harrowing 14,115 feet and can be a bit dangerous for those who aren't comfortable navigating the area.
On the train, you can take in the amazing scenery worry-free while making your way up the mountain. Staff and train conductors will point out notable sites and share some interesting history, stories, and a few tall tales about the area.
Address: 515 Ruxton Ave, Manitou Springs, CO
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Visit the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
Shutterstock./ Kit Leong
So far, we've told you where to eat, where to hike, and where to spot some wildlife, but we haven't told you where to soak up some local history. For that, you can head over to the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum.
The museum has served as a collecting institution since 1896, making it one of the oldest of its kind in all of Colorado. Today, the museum houses over 70,000 artifacts, including artwork, paleontological specimens, and over 6,000 cubic feet of archival materials.
It's also home to the Starsmore Center for Local History (SCLH) which houses over 80,000 photographs from the late 19th century, along with early 20th century maps, blueprints, ephemera, and oral histories.
Address: 215 S. Tejon Street, Colorado Springs, CO
Take a Class at the Pikes Peak Alpine School
Shutterstock / John Hoffman
The Pikes Peak Alpine School first opened back in 1989 and has been providing training for mountaineers, climbers, and snow riders ever since.
The school operates year-round, preparing individuals for all kinds of conditions, including rock, snow, and ice. It's also open to skiers and snowboarders looking to get away from resorts and into the backcountry.
The courses, which stretch anywhere from one to four days long, conclude with a guided excursion related to your activity of interest.
Take note: anyone interested in activities involving snow must complete an avalanche education course before heading out into the mountains.
Address: 1819 N. Corona Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80907
Check Out the National Museum of World War II Aviation
Shutterstock / Lost_in_the_Midwest
The National Museum of World War II Aviation was established to give visitors a deeper understanding of how American aviation impacted the events of WWII and how it continues to shape the world we live in today.
Once inside, you'll see an impressive collection of 20 fully restored, flying WWII aircraft. The museum also hosts pre-war and post-war aircraft throughout the year.
Other exhibits revolve around artifacts, archival material, interpretive narratives, maps, and audio-visual systems as they relate to the aircraft on display.
The museum also provides information on the events leading up to America's involvement in WWII and how those impacts helped influence the modern aviation industry.
Address: 775 Aviation Way, Colorado Springs, CO
Hike Around the Pike National Forest
Shutterstock / John Hoffman
The Pike National Forest stretches over 1,106,600 acres, filled with pine trees, reservoirs, and hiking trails. Just a short trip from downtown Colorado Springs, the area also provides tons of opportunities for fishing, camping, mountain biking, boating, and cross-country skiing.
Different attractions will appeal to individuals of varying abilities. Manitou Park, for instance, is a great place to travel with kids, with miles of easy trails and picnic areas. Meanwhile, the Pikes Peak Mountain Trail is long and strenuous, and should only be completed by those who are up for the trek.
Other area attractions include Gold Camp Road, Rampart Range Road, Devil's Head Lookout, and Elevenmile Canyon.
Stroll Around the Penrose Heritage Museum
Shutterstock / Rosemarie Mosteller
The Penrose Heritage Museum showcases the complete history of the Pikes Peak region through the personal artifact collection of Spencer Penrose and his wife, Julie.
The celebrated philanthropist first arrived in Colorado Springs back in 1892, when he was involved in prominent real estate and mining activities. He was also responsible for building major area attractions including the Pikes Peak Auto Highway, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, and the Broadmoor Hotel.
Formally known as the El Pomar Carriage Museum, it now houses 30 carriages and 15 race cars, along with artifacts, historic photographs, archival records, and film footage belonging to the couple.
Address: 11 Lake Circle, Colorado Springs, CO
Go Whitewater Rafting Down the Arkansas River
Shutterstock / Traveller70
The Arkansas River starts high in the Rocky Mountains near Leadville, Colorado, where it passes through Colorado Springs and travels down to the city of Pueblo.
It also serves as the most popular whitewater rafting destination in America, with 152 rafting miles and more than 80 Class II to Class V rapids to enjoy.
Each year, more than 175,000 people flock to the area for the excursion. The most popular sections of the river for rafting include Bighorn Sheep Canyon, Browns Canyon, and the Royal Gorge. Different routes will cater to rafters of different abilities, so be sure to check in with your company of choice before booking. Paddleboarding, kayaking, and float trips are also available.
The river also flows through a state park, which offers even more adventures to enjoy on land, from hiking to horseback riding, four-wheeling, and more. Oh, and gold panning activities are also available for anyone looking to get in touch with their inner miner.
Visit Glen Eyrie
Shutterstock / Mary-Elizabeth Hain
In addition to its rock formations and forests, Colorado Springs is also home to a few castles, most notably Glen Eyrie. The 95-room building is situated over 700 breathtaking acres.
The castle was built by General William Jackson Palmer, the "founder of Colorado Springs," after the passing of his wife, who is reported to have always wanted to live in such an estate. Today, it serves as a historic-style hotel and event venue.
The castle is also committed to keeping the area's British legacy alive, serving afternoon tea every Wednesday through Sunday. Daily castle tours are available to the public.
Address: 3820 North 30th Street, Colorado Springs, CO
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Visit the Peterson Air and Space Museum
Facebook / Peterson Air and Space Museum
The Peterson Air and Space Museum ranks as Colorado's oldest aviation museum and one of the nation's 12 Air Force Field museums.
It's located in the center of the historic district at Peterson Air Force Base, which also happens to be where the first municipal airfield in Colorado Springs was stationed.
The museum is anchored by four original airfield structures, built between 1928 and 1941. Inside, visitors will find an airpark, old city hangar, and Medal of Honor park. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the museum has a large collection of heritage items related to our civilian aviation history.
Address: 150 E. Ent Avenue Peterson SFB, CO
Walk Around Bear Creek Regional Park
Twitter / @didi_mack
Bear Creek Regional Park provides 545 acres of green space, picnic pavilions, tennis courts, and playgrounds, along with an archery range, horseshoe pit, and basketball courts.
There are also 10 miles of multi-purpose, non-motorized trails which can be enjoyed for walking, biking, and horseback riding.
Located just a short drive away from downtown, the area remains one of the most frequently used parks among residents. There is a nature center on the grounds, as well as a series of educational programs that kids can enjoy throughout the year.
Address: 21st Street & West Rio Grande Ave., Colorado Springs, CO
Have a Drink at the Phantom Canyon Brewing Company
Facebook / Phantom Canyon Brewing Company
After so much sightseeing, you're probably ready for a drink. At the Phantom Canyon Brewing Company, you'll find a sprawling selection of malted barley, quality hops, select ales, as well as cocktails, wine, and spirits.
You can also expect to find anywhere from 14 to 19 brews on tap at any given time, including seasonal specialties.
Don't worry, there's food too. Their award-winning menu features lunch and dinner options, ranging from soups and sandwiches to burgers and more.
There's also tons of historical charm to enjoy once inside. The brewery is located in the Cheyenne Building, a 100-year-old brick structure that stands three stories tall.
Other standout features include its wooden floors, 12-foot ceilings, and arched windows. The building has secured a place on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Address: 2 East Pikes Peak Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO
Do a Cave Tour at the Cave of the Winds Mountain Park
Shutterstock / Jon Marc Lyttle
History books will say that the Cave of the Winds was discovered in 1881, but the area is actually millions of years old. Early legends from the Jicarilla Apaches even speak of a cave near Manitou Springs where the Great Spirit of the Wind could be found.
Today, Cave of the Winds remain one of the premiere show caves in the United States, and standing at 7,000 feet, they also account for one of the highest. Visitors can enjoy guided tours of the cavern, where they'll see stalactites, stalagmites, and underground geological features, learn a lot of cool facts, and hear even more about the area's history.
If you're traveling with kids, stick to the Discovery Tour. This 45-60 minute excursion includes 15 rooms, a 1/2 mile of concrete walkways, and 196 stairs.
If you're into something a little spookier, sign up for the Haunted Lantern Tour. This option allows you to explore the Manitou Grand Caverns by candlelight. During your 90 minutes inside the caves, you'll hear scary ghost stories and learn about some eerie and unexplained phenomena surrounding the area.
Address: 100 Cave of the Winds Rd, Manitou Springs, CO
Visit the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy
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Don't let the headshops and hiking distract you—Colorado Springs was once part of the Wild West, a legacy that still endures today. If you don't know what we mean, just head over to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
There, you'll find an impressive collection of artifacts from past cowboys, like saddles, chaps, ropes, boots, clothing, and more. Rotating galleries are also on display to showcase Western art collections and other pieces about the sport of rodeo.
There's even a Hall of Fame dedicated to rodeo professionals. Since its opening in 1979, 279 people, 35 animals, and 30 rodeo committees have been inducted.
Run by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), the venue also hosts a series of professional rodeo events throughout the year, including bareback riding, barrel racing, tie-down roping, and more.
Address: 103 Pro Rodeo Drive, Colorado Springs, CO
Go See the Seven Falls
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Hailed as Colorado's "most majestic waterfall," Seven Falls stands 181 feet tall. There is a staircase that connects the base of the falls to the peak, but be warned—the 224-step trek can be challenging, so you might not want to do this one with kids.
The falls are situated within a 1,250-foot-wall box canyon between the Pillars of Hercules, which refers to two granite structures standing over 900 feet tall and 41 feet apart. The area was a popular hang-out spot among Colorado College students back in the 1800s.
The falls also contain a couple of different hiking trails. The Trail to Inspiration Point was originally opened in 1883, spanning one mile. The Trail to Midnight Falls is a slightly shorter trek, taking just a half hour to complete.
Address: 1045 Lower Gold Camp Rd, Colorado Springs, CO
Explore the National Historic District of Old Colorado City
Twitter / @OCCCS
Today, the historic district of Old Colorado City serves as a center of retail, restaurants, and commerce, though it was once a known Wild West town, teeming with saloons, brothels, and gaming parlors.
Founded in 1859, Colorado City also served as the first capital of the Territory of Colorado and the center of early settlement in the Pikes Peak region. But by 1873, Colorado Springs had taken over as the county seat of El Paso County. In 1913, Colorado Springs completely annexed it.
Though the area no longer functions independently, there is still plenty of historic architecture, sculptures, and landmarks to explore. The district is also home to a burgeoning art scene, with over 15 galleries showcasing local talent.
That's about it for our list of things to do in Colorado Springs, but be sure to check back with us soon! Travelicious, supported by Best Life, is committed to helping you find your next adventure. Sign up for our newsletter for expert-backed tips for navigating our favorite U.S. destinations!
What is Colorado Springs most known for?
While Colorado Springs has some incredible history and culture, the city is best known for its beautiful landscapes. Located within the Pikes Peak area, the city is home to the infamous Garden of the Gods Park, which contains over 300 million years of geological history. The area also provides a unique combination of natural grasslands, pinyon-juniper woodlands, and mountain forests.
What are fun things to do in Colorado Springs with kids?
Colorado Springs consistently ranks as one of the most family-friendly cities in the state. With an influx of families moving to the area, it's not surprising that there's been an increase in activities for families with little ones in tow. Check out our favorite Colorado Springs attractions for kids below.
Feed the animals at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Explore the Dinosaur Research Center
Enjoy Some Outdoor Fun at Bear Creek Regional Park
Visit the Manitou Cliff Dwellings
Stop by the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center
Take in Some Colorado Springs History at the Pioneers Museum
What are the most romantic things to do in Colorado Springs?
There are plenty of activities for couples to enjoy in the Colorado Springs area, from curated adventure tours to the more mainstream tourist attractions around the city. Check out the list below for a few of our favorites.
Hike Around the Garden of the Gods Park
Enjoy High Tea at the Broadmoor Hotel
Spend a night at Glen Eyrie Castle
Take a lantern tour at the Cave of the Winds Mountain Park
Spend some time at Seven Falls
Have a few drinks at the Phantom Canyon Brewing Company
Book a spa day in Manitou Springs
What is there to do in Colorado Springs for free?
Visiting Colorado Springs doesn't have to be costly. The city offers a range of free activities for both children and adults. Some of the most popular options include:
Stop by the Penrose Heritage Museum
Explore the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center
Spend some time at Bear Creek Regional Park
Visit the Cripple Creek Heritage Center
Enjoy the free-ride bike park at Red Rock Canyon
Go see the Pioneers Museum
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated that tourists can enjoy high tea at the Broadmoor Hotel. The activity is no longer available. The name "Pike Peak Cog Railway" has also been updated to "The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway." We regret the error.