Things to Do in Colorado Springs
(and near by)
With Pikes Peak in the background and the plains out to the east we’re grateful that we live in one of the often voted “most fit” cities in this country. There’s an abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy year ’round due to our often mild winters and comfortable summers (really comfortable outdoors compared to Phoenix)! Because Colorado Springs is considered a high desert it’s dry and even in the summer you can plan many of your activities around our later afternoon showers. Colorado Springs is easy to get around in. Signs are really pretty good and folks are friendly if you need to ask for directions.
We’ve called Colorado Springs home for over 13 years when we moved here from Phoenix. We love the clean air and considerably less traffic of bigger cities. Don’t get me wrong – this town is growing and offering more and more all the time.
Join us on these pages as we tell you and show you about our adopted home town.
Garden of the Gods and the Visitor and Nature Center – 1805 N. 30th St., 719-634-6666
A must see in Colorado Springs.
The Trading Post has typical tourist stuff as well as nicer artwork in the back room. The restaurant has decent buffalo burgers.
There are lots of easy walking and hiking trails. Parking always seems to be sufficient, although it does get a bit crowded in the summer. There are a limited number of picnic tables and restroom facilities.
The visitor center has a short HD show and there are lots of exhibits, gift shop and indoor/outdoor café.
Fun, Fun, Fun: Guests love to have their pictures taken at Balancing Rock. At the very least, drive by it as it is an anomaly.
Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site 30th Street & Gateway Road 719-578-6777
This Ranch is right next to Garden of the Gods main entrance. It’s a Living History Museum depicting four historical periods of Pikes Peak Region development.
Air Force Academy
Another must see (in my opinion)
After 9/11 there has been some restricted areas that cars can no longer drive through. Access through the gates is easy. They are strict about the speed limits so don’t push your luck.
Visitors Center – Exit 156-B off I-25 – 719-333-2025. This building has a very nice gift shop, historical pictures and exhibits. Open daily 9-5. Closed New Years Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Air Force Chapel – this is one place I always take out of town guests to see. It is beautiful and so different that once you are inside it is just something you don’t forget. (don’t forget to go downstairs – as there are chapels and rooms for other faiths. Each is unique and serene.
If you are lucky enough to hit the chapel at the right time you might just get to see the cadets practicing marching drills in the grounds next to the chapel. It is something I have always enjoyed seeing.
Fun, Fun, Fun: The grounds have a variety of retired air craft that kids and adults love to have their pictures taken with.
Pikes Peak Highway – US 24 West to Cascade – 719-385-7325 (seasonal)
The road is closed and open depending on the road conditions so I would recommend you call ahead if your trip is in the Spring or Fall. The road is well kept and is really wide enough for two cars. If you are a bit squeamish of heights just take it slow and you should be fine. The road does get a little close at times to the edge of steep embankments and there are not always guardrails.
The drive up and the cost to see it from the top is worth in our opinion.
Fun, Fun, Fun: While there is not an official ski area, every Spring our son and a bunch of his friends ski down certain parts of the mountain. They are never alone. For several weeks in the Spring kids (and adults) like to make a decent a few times. It’s always fun to say you’ve done it. I think it’s fun to watch.
Pikes Peak Cog Railroad – 515 Ruxton Ave, Manitou Springs 719-685-5401 Open Year Round
If the drive up isn’t your thing, you can enjoy the ride in the train. It’s slow enough to be able to take pictures, there’s plenty to see that’s you won’t see from your car and you get an experienced guide to give you the history and interesting facts. Either way get’s you to the top of the 14,110′ peak. Don’t forget that this is the inspiration for ‘America the Beautiful’.
Yum, Yum, Yum: Once you get to the top try the donuts – they’re really pretty good.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo- 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road – 719-633-9925
This is a nice zoo for a “small” town. Be prepared to hike as some of the pathways are steep. Staff is always helpful and informative. From time to time they have guest animals that make the visit special. Great views of Colorado Springs from this mountain zoo.
Awe, Awe, Awe: Whenever baby animals are born and they are on display it is the biggest attraction. The Giraffes are always entertaining.
Pikes Peak Ghost Town Museum – US 24 and 21st St. 719-634-0696
A replication of a circa 1800′s town of the old west that offers lots of old artifacts, gold panning and shopping. Typical tourist fare!
Seven Falls – 2850 S. Cheyenne Canyon Road, 719-632-0752
There’s a 224 step stairway to the top for a hearty or an in-mountain elevator to the Eagle’s Nest observation deck. The Falls are very pretty, especially at Christmas time.
McAlister House Museum – 423 N. Cascade Ave. 719-635-7925
Bear Creek Nature Center – 245 Bear Creek Road , 719-520-6387
American Numismatic Association Money Museum – 818 N. Cascade Ave. 719-632-2645
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Museum - 30 W. Dale Sr. 719-634-5881
Mr. Biggs Family Fun Center- 5825 Mark Dabling Blvd.
ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the America Cowboy – 101 Pro Rodeo Drive – 719-528-4764
Multi-media presentations, historical cowboy gear and clothing. Hall of Champions honorees, memorabilia, trophies, sculpture garden, western art and retired rodeo animals.
Olympic Center Complex 1 Olympic Plaza (Boulder Street and Union Blvd. 719-632-5554 – Free Tours
Starsmore Discovery Center – 2120 S. Cheyenne Canyon Road. 719-385-6086 – Free. Self guided hikes, rock-wall climbing, biking, children’s programs
Western Museum of Mining – 225 North Gate Blvd. I-25 Exit 156A 719-488-0880
Pioneer Museum – downtown 215 S. Tejon St 719-385-5990
Golf Courses (Public)
Patty Jewett 900 E. Espanola 719-385-6950 18 holes
Valley Hi 610 S. Chelton 709-385-696
Manitou Cliff Dwellings – 5miles west of I-25 on Hwy 24 719-685-5242
These are Indian ruins from the 1100-1300 AD. Open year round except Thanksgiving and Christmas days.
Miramont Castle 9 Capital Hill Ave. 719-685-1011
This huge building containing 46 rooms is a National Historic Landmark. There are self guided tours and lots of different kinds of furniture and architecture.
Arcade Amusements 900 Block of Manitou Ave. 685-9815
Pinball, video, skee-ball, kiddie rides
Cave of the Winds – Six miles west of Colorado Springs off US 24 – 719-685-5444
Guided Tours of a unique geo/venture
Helen Hunt Falls & Cheyenne Canyon
Out of Town, But Still Close By
Dinosaur Resource Center - 201 S. Fairview St. in Woodland Park 719-686-1820
A nice display of dinosaurs and ancient reptiles from pre-historic North America.