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A top destination in Colorado, Colorado Springs offers a long list of things to do and see. Not only will you be able to enjoy the conveniences of an urban area, but in just minutes you can be surrounded by magnificent mountain scenery, where a host of outdoor adventures and much more abound. There is so much to see and do in this city, you might just find yourself returning again and again.
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What Is It? Colorado Springs sits at the base of one of America’s most famous peaks – while it isn’t the highest, at just over 14,100 feet high, it is the most popular, with more than a half-million visitors arriving at the summit of the mountain every year.
Why Do It? Visitors have a myriad of options for exploring it, including the recently opened Southern Slope which features hiking trails, single-track treks and the opportunity to view bighorn sheep. But heading to the top is really a must to get the most out of the experience. It can be reached by car via Pikes Peak Highway, on foot by the challenging Barr Trail, or by taking the highest cog railroad in the world: Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
Good to Know: The train trip is especially unforgettable, offering some of the most impressive views around during the three-hour journey.
What Is It? The Garden of the Gods is a National Natural Landmark that features a spectacular blend of more than 300 sandstone formations set against a stunning backdrop of snow-capped peaks.
Why Do It? You can hike, ride horses, picnic or just relax and watch the rock climbers.” While you’re here, you definitely don’t want to miss out on the chance to see it, and the best way to do that is by hiking some of the 15 miles of trails that wind through its nearly 1,400 acres.
Good to Know: It also hosts a world-class Visitor & Nature Center, where you can learn how the unique red rock formations got there, as well as a cafe and terrace which features amazing views that overlook the park and Pikes Peak beyond.
What Is It? Colorado Springs hosts a number of museums that provide an in-depth look at the city’s history.
Why Do It? You’ll want to visit the especially interesting Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, located downtown in the restored 1903 El Paso County Courthouse, which preserves the history and culture of the Pikes Peak region through both permanent and changing exhibits.
Good to Know: The McAllister House is one of the oldest and most charming landmarks in the city, and showcases the home of one of Colorado Springs most influential pioneers, while the Spencer Penrose Heritage Museum contains a collection of 31 horse-drawn carriages and 13 motorized vehicles, including two presidential carriages like the 1841 Williamsburg Brougham used for the inauguration ceremony of President William Henry Harrison.
What Is It? Founded in 1937, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center offers an excellent collection of Latin American art, Mexican clay and folk art and abstract prints from the region’s local artists.
Why Do It? It includes more than 20,000 works created by masters like Georgia O’Keeffe, Walt Kuhn, and John Singer Sargent, as well as artists connected to the historic Broadmoor Art Academy.
Good to Know: Outside the center is a sculpture extensive green lawn that frequently hosts outdoor concerts and is often used for picnics too.
What Is It? Seven Falls, just like it sounds, is a series of waterfalls -and the only waterfall in the entire state to make National Geographic’s list of international waterfalls.
Why Do It? The popular waterfall in Colorado reaches a total height of 181 feet and visitors can view them up close by taking the 224 steps from the base of the falls to the peak or from the Eagle’s Nest viewing platform which can be accessed via elevator. The approach to the falls is called the “Grandest Mile of Scenery” in Colorado Springs and includes crystal clear streams, jagged rocks, and rare flowers.
Good to Know: The park, located near the Broadmoor Hotel, also features a fine dining restaurant, Restaurant 1858, open for lunch and dinner with patio seating.
What Is It? Cave of the Winds is a historic natural landmark filled with impressive formations, and it’s one of the region’s original tourist attractions, open to the public since 1881.
Why Do It? Here you can explore the magnificent geological formations by taking one of two tours, both of which include a lesson on the cave’s historical significance. The Discovery Tour is a family-friendly 45-minute tour, while the more adventurous Lantern Tour is offered to guests aged 6 and over and lasts 90 minutes.
Good to Know: There’s also a Wind Walker Challenge Course set on the rim of a 600-foot drop into a canyon where thrill-seekers can navigate the challenging maze of steel beams, swinging ropes and ladders. It’s safe and open to all ages.
What Is It? If you’re a fan of the Olympics, a visit to the Olympic Training Center is a must.
Why Do It? This is one of just three training centers in the U.S. for Olympic athletes who are trained in the disciplines of volleyball, swimming judo and gymnastics. Visitors can take a guided tour of the facilities, which also houses the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, the U.S. Olympic Spirit Store and a cafe.
Good to Know: The tour begins with a short inspirational film, shown just before participants embark on a 45-minute outdoor walking tour of the complex, including the weight-lifting and wrestling facilities, the Aquatics Center and the Sports Center Gymnasiums.
What Is It? Located west of downtown Colorado Springs, Old Colorado City was the original capital of the Colorado Territory, founded back in 1859.
Why Do It? At the time, the area was a hotbed of activity, filled with miners, farmers, ranchers and other early settlers. In 1917, it was annexed by the faster-growing Colorado Springs. Today, while it isn’t its own town, the Old Colorado City Historic District still maintains its Old West, 19th-century feel, though many of the old buildings now host independent shops, boutiques, jewelry stores, locally-owned art galleries, and an array of mom-and-pop type restaurants.
Good to Know: The Old Colorado History Center, located at 24th Street and Pikes Peak Avenue, houses an impressive collection of artifacts and photographs, as well as a written, oral and electronic history of Old Colorado City.
What Is It? Set on the shores of Cheyenne Lake at the edge of town, The Broadmoor Hotel was built in the late 19th-century and offers the ultimate in luxury and Southwestern style.
Why Do It? This massive resort includes just about everything you could ever want in a getaway, including eight onsite restaurants, a spa, three championship golf courses and all sorts of other outdoor activities like paddle boating and fly fishing. There’s also an outdoor infinity pool, where adults enjoy refreshing cocktails poolside while taking in magnificent views of the lake and the jagged peaks of the Rockies.
Good to Know: Kids have plenty to do too, with special activities offered through the children’s program as well as the chance to burn off energy on the water slides. Rooms are extra spacious too, providing the perfect retreat after a day of exploring.