How To Do Colorado Springs Like A Local

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Thinking of extending your stay in Colorado Springs? You’ll find so many things to do right in the city or within driving distance of Colorado Springs. This beautiful stretch of the Rocky Mountains offers dozens of area attractions, including trains, museums, parks, a zoo, nearby skiing and more. Whether you’re looking to extend your stay with your spouse, friends or your whole family, you will find so many adventures awaiting you!

Places To Stay

Top Picks From The COSMB Team

The Mining Exchange

This downtown boutique hotel is a superb fusion of historic architecture and contemporary accommodation. Built in 1902 as a stock exchange for local mining companies, the Wyndham Grand Hotel & Spa offers a one-of-a-kind experience. Enjoy the delicious cuisine of Springs Orleans Restaurant, relax with a signature cocktail at one of two bars, or relax in at the luxurious MX Spa. 

8 S. Nevada Ave.

The Garden of the Gods Collection

The Garden of the Gods Resort and Club is a hidden gem of Colorado Springs, offering a variety of luxury accommodations. The wide variety of accommodations at Garden of the Gods Resort and Club share a spacious residential feel. Choose from spacious guest rooms and suites with unparalleled views in the main resort building, or experience the breadth of resort and club amenities near the cottages and casitas.

3320 Mesa Road

Cheyenne Mountain Resort

Surrounded by stunning views of the Rocky Mountains, this 217-acre resort is the ideal destination for a family vacation, romantic retreat, or corporate gathering. Comfortable accommodations, modern amenities and charming rustic décor. Resort features include an 18-hole championship-caliber golf course, 17 tennis courts, a 35-acre private lake, an Olympic-size pool and aquatic park. Or visit Alluvia Spa, 3 restaurants and the convenient General Store. 

3225 Broadmoor Valley Road

Great Wolf Lodge

This resort offers both indoor waterpark fun and dry-land adventures for the entire family. With features like kid-friendly indoor activities, a range of dining options, an adult-friendly wine down service, and more all under one roof, there’s something for everyone. The waterpark on the north end of Colorado Springs is kept at 84 degrees year-round. Access is included with a hotel stay and exclusive to guests. 

9494 Federal Drive

The Broadmoor

This century-old resort offers guests an incredible way to experience the unique beauty of Colorado Springs. Hike through scenic trails and lush valleys. Try your hand at horseback riding, mountain biking, archery or canoeing on Cheyenne Lake. Stop by Broadmoor Outfitters for expert instruction in fly fishing, rock climbing, falconry and more. Guests seeking a more tranquil retreat can enjoy resort pools and  treatments at the Broadmoor Spa or visit one of several celebrated restaurants. 

1 Lake Avenue

The Cliff House

Nestled at the foot of America’s Mountain, the 150-year-old Cliff House at Pikes Peak offers 54 hotel guest rooms and luxury suites. Each room is individual and may include special features such as gas fireplaces, two person spa tubs, steam showers and towel warmers. Hungry from a day of exploring? Head downstairs to the cozy Red Mountain Bar and Grill or the timeless Dining Room. 

306 Canon Avenue, Manitou Springs

Colorado Springs Marriott

Located near the Rocky Mountains, this hotel makes a perfect home base for outdoor enthusiasts. After a day of exploration at Cave of the Winds or Pikes Peak, take time to unwind in the renovated, pet-friendly rooms and suites or the pools. When it’s time to enjoy the great indoors, the hotel offers easy access to all the shops and art galleries in downtown Colorado Springs. Hungry? Fuel up at the full-service restaurant featuring a stylish outdoor patio with fire pits and breathtaking views.

5580 Tech Center Drive

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Top Picks from Visit COS

Area Attractions

Top Picks From The COSMB Team

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods Park is a registered National Natural Landmark with 300-foot towering sandstone rock formations against a backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak. The world-class Visitor & Nature Center and museum is the most visited attraction in the region with lots of interactive exhibits. Learn how the red rocks got there with the Geo-Trekker theater experience, shown every 20 minutes. Or grab a bite in the café or from our terrace overlooking Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods.

1805 N. 30th Street

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Open 365 days of the year, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo shares the wonders of the natural world with kids of all ages. This zoo perched on a mountainside was named Fourth-Best Zoo in North America by USA Today’s Ten Best. Discover more than 30 species of endangered animals. Interact with the giraffes and don’t miss the chance to hand-feed them! Soar over the exhibits and take in breathtaking views of the city below on the Mountaineer Sky Ride. 

4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road

Pikes Peak

Known as “America’s Mountain,” Pikes Peak is listed as a national historic landmark. Once home to the Ute Indians, the 14,115-foot peak now attracts more than 500,000 visitors every year, making it the most visited peak in North America. The mountain is home to a recreation area with three lakes, hiking trails, mountain biking trails, and the Summit House, where visitors can enjoy a fresh donut. Hundreds of thousands of people travel to the peak year-round to ascend by vehicle, bike or on foot, making it one of the most accessible mountains in the world!

5089 Pikes Peak Highway, Cascade

Cave of the Winds

In 1880, two brothers found a small shelter cave near Manitou Springs. They explored further, and when they crawled through the limestone archway, they discovered a large chamber unlike anything ever seen before. Excavation started, followed by guided tours in 1881. Electricity was brought into parts of the caves in 1907. Today, it is one of Colorado’s oldest and most famous attractions. In addition to the cave tours of years past, you can also experience thrilling outdoor adventures and attractions at Cave of the Winds Mountain Park!

100 Cave of the Winds Road, Manitou Springs

Seven Falls

Crystal clear water from the Pikes Peak watershed has shaped a spectacular, steep-walled, natural box canyon. The towering Pillars of Hercules rise to over 900 feet above the canyon floor. And cutting through their pink granite, we find the only waterfall in Colorado to have earned a spot on National Geographic’s list of International Waterfalls. Above the Seven Falls, Soaring Adventure consists of 10 zip-lines that range in distance from 300 feet to 1,800 feet. 

1045 Lower Gold Camp Rd (Shuttle will take you from here) 

United States Air Force Academy

The Cadet Chapel is the most recognizable building at the United States Air Force Academy and the most visited man-made tourist attraction in Colorado. This structure features 17 spires that shoot 150 feet into the sky. The nearby Visitor Center is a 35,000-square-foot facility offering information about the Academy, including films and exhibits on cadet life and Academy history. Established in 1954, the Academy occupies 18,000 acres on the north end of Colorado Springs. It serves as an air force base and undergraduate college for about 4,000 officer candidates. 

2346 Academy Drive, United States Air Force Academy

Manitou Penny Arcade

Located on the northwest side of Manitou Springs (behind Patsy’s) is one of the oldest Penny Arcades in the country. The multi-building Arcade features games dating back to the 40’s 50’ and 60’s, many still only a penny or nickel, as well as modern day arcade favorites. It also houses a staggering collection of quarter or 50-cent child ride-on toys. You can spend anywhere from a 1/2 hour to all day in the Penny Arcade! Great for people of all ages, from kids to adults!

930 Manitou Avenue, Manitou Springs

The Manitou Incline (if you love a tough workout!)

The Manitou Incline has been hailed as the holy grail of cardio for locals and athletes, alike. The former railroad track now consists of about 2,740 steps made entirely of railroad ties! Although it’s only a mile, the ascension averages a 41% incline (68% at its highest) and a 2,000-foot climb in elevation! That’s more stairs than the Empire State Building. The Incline is considered one of the highest sets of stairs in the world and this trail is rated extreme. 

7 Hydro Street, Manitou Springs

Glen Eyrie

Book a reservation for high tea, then take a historical tour of the castle. The guide will take you on a journey filled with stories of rival turn-of-the century railroad wars and oil tycoons to what is now the property of Glen Eyrie. The tour is about 90 minutes and includes a brief video filled with history of General Palmer and The Navigators, a walking tour through the Carriage House and the castle. 

3820 N. 30th Street

US Olympic Training Center

More than 130,000 guests visit this sprawling training center for Olympic athletes annually. On the west side of the building is an interactive rotunda featuring video highlights and rotating exhibits showcasing Team USA athletes who live and train at the facility. Guided tours of the OTC facilities are available throughout the year. Each one-hour tour begins with a video presentation, followed by a walking tour of the complex. All ages are welcome, however information provided on the tours is most appropriate for ages 8 and older. 

1 Olympic Plaza

North Pole/Santa’s Workshop

This Christmas-themed family amusement park on the slopes of Pikes Peak has been around since 1956. At the center of Santa’s Workshop is the North Pole, an ice-covered pole that never melts. Nearby, guests can visit Santa’s House to greet the jolly old elf himself. More than 25 rides and attractions are scattered throughout the 25-acre park. Visitors can listen to a variety of tunes from the 1919 Band Organ, shop in a variety of quaint stores and even have Christmas cards and letters postmarked “North Pole” at the local post office. 

5050 Pikes Peak Highway, Cascade

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Best Eats

Top Picks From The COSMB Team

Four by Brother Luck

Brother Luck has been working in professional kitchens since the age of 14. Originally from San Francisco, Luck has worked in many fine dining kitchens around the world. Luck was the winner of Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay where he won the judges over with his love of pork. He also was a finalist on Food Network’s Chopped where Alex Guarnaschelli called him “a wizard in the plating department.” Four’s cuisine is influenced by the Four main ingredient providers: the hunter, the gatherer, the fisherman and the farmer.

321 N. Tejon

Jack Quinn’s Irish Pub

Established in 1875, this historic building was remodeled to expose the original wood and brick. Then craftsmen from Ireland, Scotland and Wales used imported Irish woodwork, stained glass, and décor to finish the look.  The menu features Irish classics like fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage and Irish stew, along with American favorites like burgers, wings, and crab cakes. Grab a pint from the bar to wash it all down.

21 S. Tejon Street

Ivywild School & Bristol Brewery & Pub

Originally an elementary school built in 1916, Ivywild School was closed in 2009. Shortly thereafter, a new concept started to take shape: move Bristol Brewery over to the space, along with a bakery, espresso/cocktail bar, delicatessen and office space. Bristol Brewing has been a part of the Colorado Springs fabric since 1994 when the owners started hand-brewing fresh ales. With five flagship beers plus seasonals and specialty beers, quality and flavor drive everything at Bristol. 

1604 S. Cascade

Oskar Blues

Craft beer, fresh ingredients and live music? Yes, please. The first Oskar Blues restaurant opened in Colorado in 1997. Dale’s Pale Ale helped start the craft-beer-in-a-can craze that would make Oskar Blues famous. The Colorado Springs location occupies 15,000 square feet on two levels. The restaurant features southern-inspired specialties like low-smoked meats, grilled oysters and seafood. On tap are 43 craft beers. The lower level entertainment grotto offers 2 bocce courts, a slightly mic-ed singer/song writer stage and a lounge.

118 N. Tejon

Phantom Canyon Brewing Company

Since opening in 1993, this three-level spot has dedicated itself to giving Colorado Springs the great beer, food and hospitality. At Phantom, anticipate the standard brewpub classics. But it’s the creative spins with interesting quality ingredients that make theirs memorable. Every item on the menu boasts a new twist on a familiar favorite. Start with Sweet Potato Tots and the Lamb Belly Tacos, then wrap up with Mexican Chocolate Cake.

2 E. Pikes Peak Avenue

Colorado Craft

Colorado Craft is a modern restaurant concept designed to showcase the best of Colorado’s breweries, distilleries, farms and purveyors. Its chef has taken his seasonal and diverse cuisine and combined it with what Colorado has to offer. Things like Tejon Street Corn and the Corner Post Cubano. They support small to medium local companies in representing their individual crafts. 

15 S. Tejon Street

Wild Goose Meeting House

They take a simple yet innovative approach to food at The Goose. Unique breakfast options are offered until 11AM. The lunch and dinner menu is anchored by grilled sandwiches and locally made brats and is designed for an enhanced cafe dining experience that offers great options for any time of day. The meat and cheese boards and “street nachos” are local favorites, as well as their generous salads and delicious soups.

401 N. Tejon Street

Odyssey Gastropub

Hand-finished map tables tempt you to dream your way into your next journey. Original art and other unique creations adorn the brick and plaster walls. (NO neon beer signs at Odyssey!) A stunning turn-of-the-century sculpted ceiling whispers secrets long tucked away in the 110-year-old building. And the food? Have you searched for Mahi Street Tacos like the ones you first tasted on the beach in Baja, or the authentic Fish and Chips you savored outside of Heathrow? 

311 N. Tejon Street

503W

An award winning restaurant and bar specializing in uniquely handcrafted food and drinks using fresh, natural and local ingredients. Items like Firecracker Nachos, Goat Cheese Shrimp Cakes and Spicy Big Island Poke. There’s a brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. 

503 W. Colorado Avenue

Colorado Mountain Brewery

Interesting, Colorado-sourced menu and a great selection of beers brewed on site. Venison egg rolls, bison chili and other fun offerings. Lots of seating at both locations. Stop by for happy hour from 3-6 p.m. every day except Saturday for amazing deals. This place has six flagship beers — order a flight to try them all. 

600 S. 21st Street AND 1110 Interquest Parkway

Crystal Park Cantina

Homestyle Mexican in a contemporary atmosphere, featuring local artists and hand crafted margaritas. All the standards are here, along with some twists like sweet potato nachos and Portobello, spinach and cheese enchiladas. 

178 Crystal Park Road, Manitou Springs

Cerberus Brewing Co

In Greek mythology, Cerberus, often called the “hound of Hades,” is a multi-headed dog that guards the gates of the Underworld. In Colorado Springs, it’s a brewing company with fantastic outdoor seating and great food. Think beer-braised pork shank or smoked brisket grilled cheese. At the moment, they have 11 of their own brews on tap. 

702 W. Colorado Avenue

Golden Bee

You’ll feel transported right to jolly old England at the Golden Bee, The Broadmoor’s 19th century British Pub. The pub was actually transferred to The Broadmoor panel by panel, directly from the UK. While the Fish & Chips have stood the test of time, the new menu offers down-home favorites such as the Colossal Pretzel Twist and Beer Steamed Mussels. Enjoy nightly ragtime piano and yards of ale. 

1 Lake Avenue

Rabbit Hole

Late-night New American haunt crafting creative bites & cocktails in a sleek, subterranean space. Duck wings, bunny bites, cherry-braised buffalo ribs. Where else would you find those? Like martinis? Try their signature White Rabbit. This underground gem offers a full menu until 1:30 a.m. every single night! 

101 N. Tejon Street

The Mona Lisa Fondue Restaurant

One of the Pike’s Peak region’s most intimate dining experiences, Mona Lisa offers relaxed, unrushed fondue dining. The most popular selection is the signature 4-course fondue dinner, featuring salad, cheese fondue, entrée platter for tabletop Raclette grilling, and chocolate dessert fondue. A complete menu is available à la carte including vegetarian and gluten-free options. 

733 Manitou Avenue, Manitou Springs

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Top Picks from Visit COS

Coffee

Top Picks From The COSMB Team

Loyal Coffee

Loyal Coffee is a barista owned and operated coffee company. They serve really good coffee and toast, in a beautiful space, that was designed to celebrate the local community. Before you enjoy a cup of Loyal Coffee at the cafe, it’s roasted at a location they affectionately call “The Clubhouse,” located inside the Ivywild School on the south side of downtown Colorado Springs. This is where the team works to choose coffees that are exciting and approachable for all coffee drinkers. 

408 S. Nevada Avenue

Blank Coffee / Food

They have a passion for the simple pleasures that coffee, food, and good company can be. Why blank…? The inquisitive nature of people is one of the things we love about our fellow humans, and we ask “why” at every opportunity. We believe that question leads to growth and helps us explore better ways to do things and better ways to be. So to answer the question… We are blank because we want our passion for quality and service to be what defines us.
 
600 South 21st Street, Suite 150
 

Story Coffee

It’s a Tiny House Coffee Shop. The model is simple and elegant. They don’t do much besides coffee, so they’re really good at it.  They don’t have free wi-fi  or places to plug in, so nobody sits around with their face stuck in a screen.  They actually talk to each other.  Their simple approach also solves problems like waiting too long or paying too much. Offerings and overhead are minimal, so they can pass the savings along to you, and do so in less time than most.

120 E. Bijou Street

Urban Steam

At Urban Steam, they take great pride in sourcing, roasting and brewing the finest coffees from small farms around the world. They spend countless hours researching and working with importers and farmers that support “relationship coffees.” Those are companies that support direct trade and sustainable practices in their dealings in the coffee community. Their signature coffee drinks are made using our house espresso, crafted in a traditional  proportion, focusing on the “small cup culture” prevalent in most European countries. They also serve hot Belgian and savory waffles until 4 pm daily, with a light tapas menu until 11 pm.

1025 S. Sierra Madre Street

Good Neighbors Meeting House

Coffee at Good Neighbors is grounded in a simple approach—single origin beans, locally roasted. They partner with Colorado roasters and serve their coffee without anything added, so you can get to know the coffee in its purest form. But they want you to drink your coffee the way you like it which is why they make their own syrups using as many local ingredients as they can find.

505 E. Columbia Street 

Building 3 Coffee

Building 3 was born out of love for family. They have proudly served in the US Army for over 12 years. In the summer of 2014, God placed in their hearts that they would not make the military a career. After earnestly seeking His plan, they decided to turn a long time passion and dream for coffee into a reality by establishing Building 3 Coffee! Carefully roasting in small batches allows them to pull unique characteristics from each. 

2727 North Cascade Avenue 

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Top Picks from Visit COS

Ski Destinations

Top Picks From The COSMB Team

Keystone

With five above-tree-line bowls, night skiing and an in-bounds cat skiing program, the resort boasts over 3,000 acres of easy-to-expert ski terrain on three peaks. Kids 12 and younger ski and ride free every day, all season long, with two or more nights of lodging booked through the resort. No blackout dates, no kidding. The Kidtopia program featuring a variety of free, daily family offerings such as arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, a parade and fireworks, and the world’s largest snow fort.

Distance from Colorado Springs: 2 hours, 15 minutes

21966 Highway 6, Keystone

Breckenridge

Breckenridge Ski Resort covers five massive peaks. That’s 187 trails across 2,908 acres. It’s a lot to take in. Begin with a free 2-hour mountain tour (9:30 a.m. daily, meet at the base of Peak 8) or book a lesson with a pro who will show you the ropes, and the steeps, deeps, stashes and rollers. Locally loved chairs and terrain include the Imperial Express lift—the highest chairlift in North America. Or rent  cross-country skis or snowshoes and head to the Breckenridge Nordic Center. 

Distance from Colorado Springs: 2 hours, 10 minutes

1599 County Road 3, Breckenridge

Crested Butte

Travel Colorado

No matter the reason for coming to Crested Butte for the first time, the experience is similar for everyone. You are in a car, cruising up Highway 135. Unlike many other ski resort towns in Colorado, Crested Butte is not on a major highway. In fact it’s a four hour drive from Denver. You haven’t been through a town in about 30 minutes, and all around you are mountains, pastures, and probably a few cows. You don’t know what is coming next. You turn the corner and the incredible valley opens before you. In front is Mount Crested Butte, rising out of the valley as a single entity, as locals call it, ‘the mother rock.’ You’ll interact with locals, you’ll engage with nature. Welcome to Crested Butte.

Distance from Colorado Springs: 3 hours, 45 minutes

12 Snowmass Rd, Crested Butte

Monarch Mountain

Travel Colorado

Looking for something smaller? Less commercial? Less expensive? Try Monarch. It’s called “the biggest little mountain in Colorado.” Located along Colorado’s Continental Divide, Monarch Mountain is an independent, family-friendly ski area. Operating on 100 percent all-natural snow, Monarch offers 1,162 vertical feet of diverse, skiable terrain. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing, low-key place to bring your little ones or you prefer to push the boundaries and huck over cliffs, Monarch is your place.

Distance from Colorado Springs: 2 hours, 20 minutes

123 N F St, Salida

Vail

Vail’s wide variety of terrain, back bowls, and 5,289 skiable acres are one-of-a-kind. The resort averages more than 300+ days of sunshine and 370+ inches of snow each year and offers views of the surrounding Gore and Sawatch mountain ranges. In the village, explore the European vibe and explore the alpine-inspired architecture as you stroll the heated, cobblestone streets. And Vail provides entertainment and events year-round. They host festivals, orchestras, concerts and ballets in the summer, and slope-side concerts in the winter.

Distance from Colorado Springs: 2 hours, 45 min

 1000 S Frontage Rd W, Vail

Dillon

On the way your skiing destination, set aside some time to check out the Ice Castles in Dillon. There’s also plenty of outdoor winter fun right here. Enjoy skating, sleigh rides, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snow kite boarding or ice fishing. Relax with a quiet stroll through downtown Dillon’s winter wonderland to craft breweries and authentic eateries after enjoying the Ice Castles.  

Distance from Colorado Springs: 2 hours, 10 min

355 LaBonte St, Dillon

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Ski

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Tips for traveling to High Altitude

Top Tips From The COSMB Team

(The altitude in Colorado Springs is 6035’)

  • Drink LOTS of water before and after you arrive. (Start the night before and on the plane, drink twice as much as you think you need.)
  • If you feel sick, you likely have altitude sickness, not the flu. Drink more water.
  • Pack your toiletries in Ziplock baggies — the change in altitude could make them “explode.”
  • Eating complex carbohydrates DOES help combat headaches at high altitudes.
  • Lotion, chapstick, lotion, chapstick, repeat (not necessarily due to high altitude, just traveling to dry CO)
  • SUNSCREEN! Even though you are traveling to CO in January, it will likely be very sunny every single day. Our altitude puts us closer to the sun, which means sunburns can happen much quicker than you may be used to.
  • Our high altitude also has an impact when consuming alcohol. Drinks may feel stronger here, so take it slow and be sure to eat before enjoying a glass of wine or beer. And back to tip #1-drink lots of water!

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Featured image on this page has been provided by VisitCOS.com

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Tara is the younger sister! She is a stay-at-home mommy to four incredible kiddos: 1 adventurous boy, Ryker (Nov 2008) & 3 spunky girls: Priya (March 2011) and twin girls Harper & Haven (Dec 2013). She is originally an Iowa girl that grew up in the small town of Manning. She attended Iowa Lakes Community College, where she majored in Associates Degree of Nursing. After graduating in 2006, she relocated to Des Moines, Iowa & married her handsome and charming hubby, Steve. In June 2014, with a leap of faith and decided heart, they relocated their family to Colorado Springs. A love for all things outdoors, you can find them spending quality time together camping, hiking, fishing & boating. Although finding balance is a challenge with 4 littles, Tara has learned to embrace the chaos and be grateful for a blessed & busy home. Tara has a love for fitness, healthy lifestyle, country music, Target, spending time with family/friends, frozen yogurt & all things Mom.