Famous for its spectacular red rock and mountain scenery, Colorado Springs, CO, is a fun weekend destination for couples and families. Best things to do in Colorado Springs, Colorado (some completely free), include the Garden of the Gods Park, Glen Eyrie Castle and Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site. Visitors can enjoy Colorado Springs parks, wedding venues, romantic getaways, RV parks, breakfast spots, ski resorts and great restaurants on their weekend getaway or day trip.
1. Garden of the Gods Park
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Garden of the Gods is a public park known for its large and colorful rock formations and one of the top Colorado Springs CO attractions. It is located on North 30th Street and is a popular place for horseback riding, road and mountain biking, rock climbing, and hiking. Listed as a National Natural Landscape, the 1,364-acre park features pink, red, and white vertical rocks made of sandstone and limestone.
With 15 miles of gorgeous trails, it is the most visited park in Colorado Springs. The Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center has many exhibits about Native Indians, local plants and animals, minerals, and more. There are several available programs such as a Junior Ranger program, nature walks, and lectures. Garden of the Gods Park is one of the best things to do in Colorado Springs.
1805 North 30th Street., Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-634-6666
2. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
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Located on Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road southwest of downtown Colorado Springs, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is the only mountainside zoo in the U.S. and one of the top Colorado Springs attractions. Covering an area of 140 acres, the zoo is situated at an elevation of 6,800 feet on Cheyenne Mountain. If you are wondering what to do in Colorado Springs with kids, this is a great place to visit. The zoo has over 950 animals and approximately 180 species, 30 of which are endangered. Founded in 1926, the zoo is dedicated to conservation, education, and recreation.
The African Rift Valley exhibit features lions and zebras, but the giraffes are the most popular animals. Visitors can feed the giraffes that make up the largest herd of giraffes in the U.S. Other exhibits include Australia Walkabout, Bear Grottos, and many more.
4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-633-9925
3.Rocky Mountain Food Tours
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Go on the Delicious Downtown Food Tour offered by Rocky Mountain Food Tours which lets you explore some of the best eateries in the area as well as learn about the local history. Tours are limited to 14 guests and require about one-half mile of walking. During the tours, guests are entertained, and they also learn about Native Americans, early settlers, gold miners, and much more.
4. Glen Eyrie Castle, Colorado Springs
© Glen Eyrie Castle
Located on North 30th Street, Glen Eyrie is a castle built in 1871 by General William Jackson Palmer who founded the city of Colorado Springs. Sitting on 800 acres, Glen Eyrie was built in the English Tudor style with over 20 rooms and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Today, you can take guided tours of the castle, which is also used for many events such as weddings, Tea at the Castle, and Christmas Madrigal Banquets.
The castle is also a conference center and retreat center: there are marriage retreats, men’s retreats, women’s retreats, and many more. If you are wondering what to see on a sunny day in Colorado Springs, the castle is set in an idyllic location where guests can admire delightful wildlife like bighorn sheep, deer, and wild turkeys. Keep reading for more unique Colorado Springs attractions.
3820 North 30th Street, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-634-0808
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At 14,115 feet, Pikes Peak is one of the highest in the Rocky Mountains. Located in Pike National Forest about 12 miles from downtown Colorado Springs, the peak is named after Zebulon Pike, an early explorer of the area. Visitors can reach the top by driving on the Pikes Peak Toll Road or by riding the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
Dating from 1892, the cog railway trip starts in Manitou Springs and takes about three hours. Trekking is another way to get to the top; the 13-mile Barr Trail is one of the most popular trails. If you are looking for things to do in Colorado Springs with kids, this is a great road trip. From the summit, you can appreciate amazing views of the Garden of the Gods, the Continental Divide, and much more.
6.Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
© Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is the premiere arts and entertainment facility of Colorado College, opened in its current incarnation in July of 2017. The center, which was originally opened in 1936, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its gorgeous Santa Fe-style architecture, designed by renowned New Mexico architect John Gaw Meem. A plethora of creative and performances spaces are contained within the center, including art galleries and studios, music rooms, libraries, and several theatrical performances spaces. Southwest artwork is displayed at the Taylor Museum, while musicals, dramas, film screenings, and music and dance events presented by the Fine Arts Center Theatre Company are held at the 450-seat SaGaJi Theatre. Art education classes are also offered to the local community at the Bemis School of Art, including free Family Adventure Days.
30 W Dale St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
7.Penrose Heritage Museum
© Penrose Heritage Museum
The Penrose Heritage Museum, previously called Carriage Museum, was established in 1941 by Julie Penrose, widow of Spencer Penrose, the builder of The Broadmoor, to hold the collection of carriages the Penrose’s collected during their lifetime. The collection contains 31 horse-drawn carriages plus 13 motorized vehicles, among them are three 1920s Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb race cars, Mrs. Penrose's Cadillac limousine from 1928, and a beautifully restored 1906 Renault.
The museum also features two presidential carriages: An 1841 Williamsburg Brougham that drove the ninth President of the United States William Henry Harrison to his inauguration ceremony and the 21st President Chester A. Arthur’s 1862 C-Spring Victoria. The museum is managed by the El Pomar Foundation in Colorado Springs as a historic resource that promotes and preserves regional history and heritage. More Colorado destinations
11 Lake Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906, Phone: 719-577-7065
8.First Ascent Mountain School
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Located at the base of Pikes Peak, First Ascent Mountain School offers adventure trips for various activities, including hiking, ice climbing, mountain biking, rock climbing, and snowshoeing. The school’s mission is to educate climbers, maintain its excellent safety record, and preserve the environment for future generations. No experience is necessary for rock climbing, and the classes are open to everyone regardless of age, fitness level, or skill.
For the climb, the company supplies climbing shoes, harnesses, helmets, and other necessary equipment. For the Garden of the Gods climb, the group size is limited to five people, but larger groups are permitted to climb Red Rock Canyon.
9.United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs
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The United States Air Force Academy is located north of Colorado Springs in El Paso County, and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state of Colorado. This military academy is dedicated to the education and training of men and women for the United States Air Force. The Barry Goldwater Air Force Academy Visitor Center provides information to visitors and is open every day.
Inside the 31,600 square foot center, you will find various exhibits and a 250-seat theater where a film about the academy is shown. Highlights of the self-guided tour include Arnold Hall, the Cadet Chapel, the Falcon Athletic Center, and the Field House. The Falcon Hiking Trail is open to visitors.
North Gate, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-333-2025
10.Phantom Canyon Brewing Co
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The Phantom Canyon Brewing Company is a three-story brewery housed in the historic one-hundred-year-old Cheyenne Building on East Pikes Peak Avenue, which is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historical Places. Established in 1993, the brewery produces between 10 and 12 brews. On the second floor, you will find ten tournament-style billiard tables as well as a bar, jukebox, televisions, and a great view of Colorado Springs.
The third floor serves as a banquet hall with a kitchen and bar. The brewery serves American food, and its menu includes items such as Chicken Drummies, Summery Squash Salad, Colorado Beef Ribs, and many burgers and sandwiches.
2 East Pikes Peak Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-635-2800
11.Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site
© Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site
Located on Gateway Road, the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, also known as the Chambers Ranch, is an open-air living history museum that depicts life in four different time periods in the Pikes Peak area. Each period features a dwelling that features the building and artifacts typical of the time: a tepee for the American Indian area in 1775, a log cabin for the 1860s Galloway Homestead, a farm house for the 1880s Chambers Home and Ranch, and a mansion for the 1907 Edwardian Country Estate.
In addition to the restored historic buildings, visitors will see museum guides dressed in costumes, and they provide explanations of the activities of daily life. If you are looking for historic attractions in Colorado Springs, this site is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
3105 Gateway Road, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-578-6777
12. Western Museum of Mining & Industry
© Western Museum of Mining & Industry
The Western Museum of Mining & Industry is a museum devoted to the mining history of the western U.S. as well as industrial technology. Founded in 1970, the museum is located on North Gate Boulevard, and its collection includes items such as steam engines, pneumatic machines, and antique mining equipment.
There are indoor exhibits like scale models of mills and mines, while outdoor exhibits showcase items such as a stamp mill for gold ore, a steam shovel, and live burros. Books related to mining are kept in the museum’s library. The museum also offers rotating exhibits, lectures, and a farmers’ market that is held twice a week.
225 North Gate Boulevard, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-488-0880
13. National Museum of World War II Aviation
© National Museum of World War II Aviation
Located on Aviation Way, the National Museum of World War II Aviation is dedicated to helping visitors understand the importance of American aviation during World War II. The museum sits on 20 acres of land next to the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport and Peterson Air Force Base, and its collection includes World War II aircraft and artifacts.
In the Restoration Hangar, visitors can see aircrafts undergoing restorations by WestPac Restorations. The museum also offers a free K-12 STEM program, while the gift shop sells historical World War II related items. Docent guided tours are available three times per day on days when the museum is open.
755 Aviation Way, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-637-7559
14.Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs
© Olympic Training Center
The Olympic Training Center is a 35-acre complex located on East Boulder Street near downtown Colorado Springs. It is a state-of-the-art athletic complex for sports like gymnastics, swimming, weightlifting, and wrestling, and it is also the home of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Other facilities include dining halls, residence halls, a sports medicine and sport science center, and two swimming pools. The center offers guided tours throughout the year including tours for preschoolers. The one-hour tour begins with a video followed by a walking tour. The Team USA Shop is located in the Visitor Center; it sells items related to sports and the Olympics.
1750 East Boulder Street, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-866-4618
15. Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
© Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
Located on South Tejon Street, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum contains arts and artifacts that celebrate the Pikes Peak region. The museum is housed in the former El Paso County Courthouse. This granite building with a clock tower was used as a courthouse from 1903 to 1973 and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The museum’s collection is made up of more than 60,000 captivating cultural and historic objects.
The Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute cultures are represented in the Native American collection. Other items include things related to the founding of Colorado Springs, the health resort industry, and the mining industry. The museum also hosts temporary exhibits, lectures, programs, special events, and tours.
215 South Tejon Street, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-385-5990
16.ProRodeo Hall of Fame
© ProRodeo Hall of Fame
The ProRodeo Hall of Fame is a museum devoted to educating the public about the history of rodeo, preserving rodeo artifacts, and promoting ongoing interest in the sport. Opened in 1979, the museum is located on Pro Rodeo Drive and is run by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. The museum also recognizes important rodeo figures of the past and present. Permanent exhibits include the Hall of Champions, the National Finals Rodeo Gallery, the Outdoor Garden Exhibit, and more.
The museum also presents temporary rotating exhibits, and it hosts events like the Team Roping Series, the Mini Bareback Riding World Championship Semi Finals, the Annual ProRodeo Hall of Fame Golf Tournament, and others.
101 Pro Rodeo Drive, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-528-4764
17.ANA Money Museum, Colorado Springs, CO
© ANA Money Museum
Located on North Cascade Avenue on the campus of Colorado College, the ANA (American Numismatic Association) Money Museum contains more than 250,000 objects related to the history of money, from its invention to the present day. The Harry W. Bass Collection consists of paper money, American gold coins, and rare U.S. coins.
Guests can take a self-guided tour or join one of the guided tours for groups from Tuesday to Friday; the museum also welcomes school groups for guided tours. The Kids Zone is a program with interactive exhibits and engaging activities that teach children about money, history, geography, trade, and more.
818 N Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-632-2646
© Bean Sprouts
Bean Sprouts is a chain of imaginative and original cafes serving healthy food that is so attractive and fun that even kids love it. With 12 cafes cropping all over the country, Bean Sprouts are changing the image of health food restaurants. They are all located in unusual locations and one of the latest, the first in Colorado, is located in the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center in Colorado Springs. As in all their cafes, Colorado Bean Sprouts offers health-centric food with vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, organic, totally natural food. Their Imaginibbles children's menu is award-winning, and its aim is to encourage kids to make healthy choices.
Inside Garden of the Gods Visitor Center, 1805 N. 30th St., Colorado Springs, CO 80904, Phone: 719-634-6666
19. Peterson Air & Space Museum
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Located on Ent Avenue on Peterson Air Force Base, the Peterson Air and Space Museum is the oldest aviation museum in Colorado. Founded in 1982 as the NORAD Visitor Center (North American Aerospace Defense Command), the museum displays a variety of aircrafts and preserves the history of aviation in Colorado Springs and at Peterson Air Force Base.
Sitting on a historic district of 8.3 acres, the museum is housed in airfield buildings that date from between 1928 and 1941; these buildings are listed on the U.S. National Register of History Places. Some of the aircraft makers include Convair, Curtiss, Lockheed, Martin, and many more.
150 Ent Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-556-4915
Next read: Fine Arts Center of Colorado Springs
20.Pikes Peak Alpine School
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Pikes Peak Alpine School is a guide service and mountain school that teaches alpine hiking, avalanche education, backcountry skiing, guided rock climbing, and ice climbing. Established in 1989, the school holds the only year-round permit to guide climbers on Pikes Peak. The school focuses on educating and guiding climbers, mountaineers, and snowriders; this includes all age groups and skill levels.
Rock climbing lessons are offered during warmer months while ice-climbing lessons take place during the winter. Visitors to Pikes Peak Alpine School have the opportunity to get away from resorts and explore the joys of skiing in the backcountry. Classes cover topics such as Avalanche Education and Rock Rescue.
1819 North Corona Street, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-368-9524
21.Over Easy, Colorado Springs, CO
© Over Easy
Over Easy, a Colorado Springs daytime eatery, wants to convince you to change your bad habits and start the day with a delicious, healthy, gourmet meal. However, you should also consider treating yourself to one of their fabulous mimosas, Bloody Mary’s, or margaritas. The balance between healthy and fun is just right, and people must agree because the spacious dining room with magnificent views is always packed.
A high ceiling and a wonderful outdoor space add to the atmosphere of celebration, but the stars of this show are their stuffed French toasts, the Eggs Benedicts, and their gourmet pancakes. The ingredients are organic, local, and seasonal whenever possible.
28 S Tejon St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903, 719-471-2311
22.Bristol Brewing Company
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Established in 1994, the Bristol Brewing Company is a dynamic and inviting local brewery and pub housed in a former school. The brewery produces unique hand-brewed ales that use only natural ingredients. It produces more than 25 kinds of ale, beers, and lagers, some of which include Laughing Lab Scottish Ale, Red Baron Octoberfest Beer, Give! Black Lager, Smokehouse Porter, and many more.
Tours of the brewery are available by appointment only. The brewery hosts many events such as Bristols Freewheelin Music Fest, Breckenridge Summer Beer Festival, Tilted Kilt Pint Night, and Karma Hour - Big Brothers Big Sisters. The brewery is open every day.
1604 South Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-633-2555
23.World Figure Skating Museum & Hall of Fame
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The World Figure Skating Museum & Hall of Fame focuses on the sport of figure skating and preserving and interpreting the history of the sport. The museum contains international displays of ice-skating art, costumes, memorabilia, trophies, and more.
The Hall of Fame honors the greatest names in figure skating, including Sonja Henie, Scott Hamilton, Jayne Torvill, and Christopher Dean. The museum welcomes adult, school, and youth groups and offers tours designed for the group’s interests and needs. With over 5,000 square feet, the space can be rented for corporate events as well as private parties and receptions.
20 1st Street, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-635-5200
24.Front Range Climbing Company
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Located on Windmill Avenue, the Front Range Climbing Company offers a climbing guide service to many locations including Garden of the Gods, North Cheyenne Canon, and Red Rock Canyon Open Space, among other destinations. Established in 2001, the company provides experienced guides for their climbing tours, and in addition to rock climbing, the company also offers wintertime ice climbing. Classes and personal instruction are available for beginners and intermediate climbers, and there are clinics and seminars for advanced climbers as well.
The company provides climbing gear like harnesses, helmets, and climbing shoes. Climbing tours are available for scout groups and for team building groups. If you are looking for fun things to do in Colorado Springs during the warmer season, this company offers a unique experience. The Front Range Climbing Company is well known for its experienced guides and its excellent safety record.
1370 Windmill Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-632-5822
25.Smiling Toad Brewery
© Smiling Toad Brewery
A small brewing operation in Colorado Springs, the Smiling Toad Brewery owners spent the first 25 years as home brewers before going pro in 2012. They hand-craft small batches of high-quality beer, specializing in IPA. They like to experiment, and the customers can always expect something new at their no-frills tap room attached to the production facility. An antique motorcycle serves as decor and there is a dartboard on the wall as well as large communal tables encourage socializing and beer-talks. The place is very popular and there is a busy schedule of food trucks that regularly park in front.
1757 S 8th St #100, Colorado Springs, CO 80905, Phone: 719-418-2936
24 Best Things to Do in Colorado Springs
- Garden of the Gods Park, Photo: Courtesy of arinahabich - Fotolia.com
- Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Photo: Courtesy of Richard - Fotolia.com
- Rocky Mountain Food Tours, Photo: Courtesy of Photo Group - Fotolia.com
- Glen Eyrie Castle, Colorado Springs, Photo: Glen Eyrie Castle
- Pikes Peak, Photo: Courtesy of margaret 900 - Fotolia.com
- Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Photo: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
- Penrose Heritage Museum, Photo: Penrose Heritage Museum
- First Ascent Mountain School, Photo: Courtesy of VisitCOS.com
- United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Photo: Courtesy of Sue Smith - Fotolia.com
- Phantom Canyon Brewing Co, Photo: Courtesy of Irmelamela - Fotolia.com
- Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, Photo: Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site
- Western Museum of Mining & Industry, Photo: Western Museum of Mining & Industry
- National Museum of World War II Aviation, Photo: National Museum of World War II Aviation
- Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, Photo: Olympic Training Center
- Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, Photo: Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
- ProRodeo Hall of Fame, Photo: ProRodeo Hall of Fame
- ANA Money Museum, Colorado Springs, CO, Photo: ANA Money Museum
- Bean Sprouts, Photo: Bean Sprouts
- Peterson Air & Space Museum, Photo: Courtesy of Ogovorka - Fotolia.com
- Pikes Peak Alpine School, Photo: Courtesy of michelangeloop - Fotolia.com
- Over Easy, Colorado Springs, CO, Photo: Over Easy
- Bristol Brewing Company, Photo: Courtesy of Comugnero Silvana - Fotolia.com
- World Figure Skating Museum & Hall of Fame, Photo: Courtesy of Anna-Mari West - Fotolia.com
- Front Range Climbing Company, Photo: Courtesy of lenina11only - Fotolia.com
- Smiling Toad Brewery, Photo: Smiling Toad Brewery
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Josemaria Toscano - Fotolia.com