Colorado Springs, CO
It’s easy to see why Katharine Lee Bates was inspired to write the lyrics to the famous patriotic ballad “America the Beautiful” from Colorado Springs. Look in one direction and you’ll see the majestic “purple mountains:” the Colorado Rockies. Shift your eyes in the other direction to find yourself gazing out at “amber waves of grain:” the Great Plains. The beautiful scenery isn’t the only reason to head to this charming town. Colorado Springs offers more than 55 area attractions, endless outdoor adventures and a vibrant culture filled with arts, entertainment and rich history. Whether you’re looking for outdoor thrills or educational and cultural activities, the number of things to do in Colorado Springs are limitless. The only challenge will be finding the activities that are just right for you.
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Located within the city limits, the Garden of the Gods is one of Colorado Springs’ most spectacular landmarks, and admission is free. The unusual park boasts natural red rock formations that reach up to 300 feet in height. Among the best ways to explore it are through a Jeep or Segway tour, hiking trails, or by visiting the nature center’s dinosaur exhibit.
The Olympic Training Center is a must for sports fans. The facility, which is capable of housing up to 500 athletes and coaches at any one time, is the headquarters of the USA swimming and shooting teams. The 45-minute walking tours offer a fun, behind-the-scenes glimpse at Team USA hopefuls, who will likely compete in the upcoming games.
If you feel a need for speed, then plan a visit to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Not only is the academy a must for any lover of the movie “Top Gun” who’d like to see the impressive plane maneuvers first-hand, it’s also a functioning educational institution for future pilots.
Located on the side of the mountain, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is the only zoo of its kind in the United States. The zoo sits at an elevation of 6,800 feet and is the largest private zoo in the country. The exhibits are educational and the zoo has plenty of exhibits and play areas for children.
Things To Do
Pikes Peak, which famously inspired the lyrics to ‘America the Beautiful,’ is a practical getaway for families or solo hikers, regardless of your fitness level. The possibilities for adventure here are seemingly endless, from daredevil itineraries that include zip-lining and river rafting to a mellow day spent fishing on the lake. Explore towering red rock formations with numerous hiking trails and viewpoint pull-offs. Start your adventure at Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center where you can learn all about the park, it’s critter inhabitants and how those red rocks got there.
Get your adrenaline pumping with a thrilling ride down the whitewater of the Arkansas River. Climb aboard a raft with one of our many professional rafting outfitters and choose your adventure – from mild, family floats to heart-pumping advanced trips, Colorado Springs has the perfect trip for you.
Strap in and soar across the Royal Gorge on the countries highest zipline. Hold on tight as you take in 360-degree views of the Arkansas River, 1000 feet below you. Don’t look down doesn’t apply here.
Stop by the Manitou Springs Penny Arcade. Located in the heart of town, this arcade has roughly 400 old-fashioned gaming machines – all still priced by the penny as they originally were.
Downtown Colorado Springs offers a variety of independent boutiques, shops, and restaurants that are all within walking distance. Places like Terra Verde and Halo Boutique offer tasteful women’s apparel, and there are also jewelry shops, bookstores, and even a coin gallery to be found.
Food & Culture
Colorado might not be known for its food, but that hasn’t stopped the local dining scene from blossoming, in a way that satisfies all tastes and traveler types. When you’re looking for a decent place to eat in Colorado Springs, you won’t have to veer far from your hotel, as the downtown area contains dozens of options, from fine dining to pizza parlors and more.
Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region may be known for its amazing natural beauty and outdoor amenities, but its vibrant arts and cultural scene is a not-so-hidden gem of the community, as well. Foodies, artists, music aficionados and theatre-lovers will find plenty to explore as the region’s diverse culture continues to thrive and grow.
The area is home to a wide array of performing arts venues, restaurants, museums, farmers’ markets, art walks and unique events happening year-round. From concerts at the Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts to art classes at the Cottonwood Center for the Arts, to original drama and comedy at the Millibo Art Theatre, visitors and residents alike are bound to find their niche.