Colorado Springs is an authentic American gem with a beautiful history that tells the story of the Old West. The city is renowned for iconic attractions like the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak.
But there are tons more little-known things to do that you need to see on a trip there. But don’t worry — we’ll show you a little about each one to make your next trip memorable.
12 Best Things to Do In Colorado Springs in 2023
There’s no better city suited for the outdoors than Colorado Springs. Situated just outside Denver, this beautiful city is a magnet for outdoor lovers and people seeking to be one with nature.
With over 300 days of sunny weather, there’s so much to do and see. If you’d like to stop by this sunshine city, here are a few things worth doing in Colorado Springs.
1. The Garden of the Gods
The Garden of the Gods captures all that is beautiful and wild about Colorado Springs with jaw-dropping red rocks that jut right up to the sky. The iconic Park is a National Natural Landmark and arguably the most popular place of interest in Colorado.
In addition to the awe-inspiring rock formations, The Garden of the Gods has fantastic recreation, including hiking, rock climbing, biking, and horseback riding. You can also tour the Park with family and loved ones in your vehicle.
Some must-see rock formations include:
- Balanced Rock
- Northway Gate Rock
- Cathedral Spires
- Sleeping Giant
- Siamese Twins
- Steamboat Rock
- Three Graces
The Garden of the Gods also has a gift shop and visitor center with excellent amenities that make this area one of the best places to visit in Colorado Springs.
2. Pikes Peak
Colorado Springs is synonymous with the Rocky Mountains, and Pikes Peak is the crown jewel of the mountain range. You can see the summit from the Garden of the Gods, and visitors come from across the world to test their mettle on the mountain summit.
While Pikes Peak is a significant draw in Colorado Springs, it’s even more loved for the surrounding lakes, canyons, rivers, and forests.
Interestingly, Pikes Peak is one of the more popular “Fourteeners’‘ you can find in Colorado.
And unlike other Fourteeners in the State, Pikes Peak is easy to access with multiple waypoints and an access road that takes you up to the summit. However, this drive isn’t for the fainthearted!
What makes Pikes Peak genuinely unique is the otherworldly views and breathtaking landscape you can’t find anywhere else. Driving to the summit may be a tad expensive, but the views of the surrounding area are priceless.
3. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has the highest elevation for zoos in the United States at 6,714 feet. The zoo is known for its giraffes and provides a stunning backdrop to the Pikes Peak landscape.
You can find some of the coolest and rarest animals, including endangered species, like the Wyoming Toad, Axolotl, African Gray Parrot, and Cape Griffon Vulture. Visitors get to feed the giraffes, including exciting first-hand encounters with the animals.
The zoo also allows visitors to pack their picnic with designated spaces for lunches. You’re not allowed to feed the animals the food you bring. You can also find several exceptional restaurants to satisfy your food cravings.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo primarily aims to protect wildlife species. It is in the top 5 animal conservation in the United States. The zoo is wheelchair accessible, and you can bring yours or rent one at the Stroller Hut a few meters from the entrance.
Thrill seekers can also enjoy an open-air Sky Ride to give you unparalleled views of Cheyenne Mountain and the Eastern Plains.
4. Rocky Mountain Food Tour
Colorado Springs may be known for its wildlife, but it also has a strong food culture. The Rocky Mountain Food Tour is the number one culinary event that features mouthwatering cuisine prepared by top chefs in the area.
Each tour consists of a carefully crafted menu that utilizes the freshest to create “foodgasms” that excite the senses. Colorado Springs is all about adventure, and the Rocky Mountain Food Tour isn’t any different.
The tour takes you around five acclaimed destinations that stand out in their category. You’ll stop by some of the most renowned Colorado Springs restaurants to sample the most delicious foods while learning fascinating facts about the city and its history.
You can top it off with The Springs Signature Cocktail Tour, which showcases the best drinks, including world-class wines, spirits, and cocktails crafted by the best mixologists in the city. You can also watch live mixing demonstrations and learn how to make a mean cocktail!
This tour is ideal for people looking to celebrate, and it’s excellent for couples looking to spice up their dating routine. You can also enjoy the cocktail tour as an adult group or as a solo connoisseur.
5. Glen Eyrie Castle
You might as well stay at home if you’re visiting Colorado Springs without stopping by Glen Eyrie Castle. This Tudoresque castle was built by Colorado Springs founder William Jackson Palmer.
The 700-acre castle is run by the Navigators, a Christian evangelical group that oversees the property. Glen Eyrie Castle hosts events all year round. Besides, you can enjoy a guided tour to explore the castle and learn about its history.
Tea lovers will enjoy the various tea selections, including samosa rolls, canapes, and other dessert offerings. The castle rooms are bookable, and you can extend your stay by retiring for the night in this beautiful historic property.
While you won’t find any TV entertainment here, you can enjoy free wifi while soaking in the beautiful landscape from your window. It’s also worth pointing out that some rooms do not have air conditioning.
Still, the expansive windows and fantastic ventilation render this feature unnecessary. Glen Eyrie Castle may not be the most imposing, but it stands out because of its majestic size in a beautiful, well-kept landscape.
Keep in mind; that you can only stay overnight when there’s a free room, and groups get more priority than other visitors. Interestingly, Glen Eyrie Castle is close to the Garden of the Gods. It wouldn’t hurt to kill two birds with one stone by visiting both together.
6. Royal Gorge
Colorado Springs has many outdoor attractions to occupy your time. Still, if you want something to get the blood pumping and adrenaline flowing, you can’t do better than the Royal Gorge.
The bridge is the most famous suspension bridge in the United States and, at 956 feet, also the highest.
New attractions like the Royal Gorge Via Ferrata allow you to scale the Royal Gorge granite rock surface with experienced mountain guides for an exhilarating and controlled mountaineering challenge.
You will enjoy the most spectacular views of this Suspension bridge above the Arkansas River many won’t experience in their lifetime. At the southern rim of the gorge is the Royal Rush Skycoaster.
The zip line provides the most intense rush as you free fall at 50 mph, taking in spectacular views of the Arkansas River 1200 feet below. This activity is the closest thing to skydiving and provides the most incredible views of the bridge and river.
Another adrenaline-inspired activity worth trying is the Cloudscraper Zip Line, which allows you to zoom 1200 feet in the air. It is the highest zipline in the United States.
The harnesses utilize cutting-edge technology to keep passengers secure, providing an experience that’s the closest to flying. The ride is weather dependent and not available during inclement conditions.
7. Colorado Springs Fine Art Center
The Fine Art Center Museum holds over 20,000 collections featuring curated pieces by American maestros like Georgia O’Keeffe, John Singer Sargent, Walt Kuhn, and Dale Chihuly.
The FAC also has one of the most authentic permanent collections of American Indian and Latin American art. The Center was established in 1936 and had a theater with live performances that would give Broadway a run for its money.
The arts center was renovated in 2007, and in addition to the world-class galleries, the Center also looks the part. The art school caters to all age groups and has a restaurant with a spectacular view of the majestic Pikes Peak.
FAC has various events for families, couples, and solo travelers. It is one of the best places to satisfy your artistic cravings in Colorado Springs. There’s music and film, galas, and wine tastings to elevate your experience at the Center.
Within its 1.6 acres of grounds, you’ll find the art school, art studios and galleries, a library, music room, museum shop, and a small-sized theater.
The building architecture is a masterpiece featuring a Pueblo structure with Classic, Art Deco, and Southwestern architectural elements that bring to bear the history and culture of the Pikes Peak Region.
The FAC also supports community programs, student guide projects, and engagement sessions as an initiative toward its education efforts. The entry cost to the museum is cheap, and there are discounts for seniors and military members.
8. Broadmoor Seven Falls
The Broadmoor Seven Falls in Colorado Springs is arguably the most captivating waterfall in the city. The falls feature 181 feet of incredible waterfalls. They are the only falls in Colorado to make National Geographic’s International Waterfalls List.
As the name implies, Seven Falls consists of seven waterfalls cascading on top of the other. The waterfalls are lit up at night in summer to provide a surreal experience.
Walking up the 224 steps to the summit at night is an experience you’d never forget in a lifetime. Seven Falls showcases some of the most incredible scenes in the city.
After a complete makeover, the Falls include a state-of-the-art restaurant and a zip line that further enhances what’s already a fantastic experience. However, you’d have to pay extra to enjoy the Broadmoor’s Soaring Adventure, but it’s genuinely worth the additional cost.
Seven Falls is one of the best places to visit in Colorado Springs, and below are the names of each fall:
- Bridal Veil – Named for its appearance
- Ramona – Named for the book by Helen Hunt Jackson
- Hill – Named after the previous owner of the Falls
- Hull – Named for another owner in the 1800s
- Feather – Named for its appearance
- Weimer – Named for the Fall’s second owner
- Shorty – Has the shortest drop amongst all seven falls
9. Mueller State Park
The Rocky Mountain National Park is the undisputed number one park in Colorado, but the large crowd makes it less fun.
Suppose you’re not up to making the three-hour drive or jostling with the teeming number of visitors. In that case, Mueller State Park is an excellent alternative.
The Park is situated 30 miles to the west of the city and sits on roughly 5000 acres of evergreen forests, craggy mountain peaks, and over 50 miles of scenic trails for cross-country skiing, hiking, and biking.
However, you’d have to look elsewhere for water-based activities because the Park has no lake. That said, there are numerous facilities to keep you occupied.
This Park’s facilities include cabins, yurts, designated picnic sites for lunches, dump stations, bathroom stalls, a theater, and a visitor center. Mueller State Park is a fantastic mountain getaway with an endless sea of Alpine forests in all directions.
The forest is filled with wildlife such as black bears and deer. If you’d like to boat or fish, the Spinner Mountain and Eleven Mile State Park are suitable options. The Park also permits hunting within 800 acres during hunting season.
Winter brings about other activities like sledding, tubing, and snowshoeing. Mueller State Park has 17 winter campsites, including Tubing Hills on Elk Meadow, Outlook Ridge, and Preacher’s Hollow.
10. North Cheyenne Canon Park
The best time to visit the North Cheyenne Canon Park is in summer. The Park sits in a 1000 foot gorge carved out of the mountains with a sprawling 1600 acres to explore.
The contrasting elevation makes the park ideal for various wildlife in this cascading wilderness of thickly forested valleys and hills.It’s no surprise the main attraction in this Park is the diverse habitat and exotic wildlife.
Birdwatchers will enjoy the numerous avian species like the broad-tailed hummingbird, kingfisher, and American dipper. You’ll also find enormous woodland species like mule deer, elk, and mountain lion.
In addition to the diverse fauna, the Park has an extensive trail system suitable for cyclists, vehicle owners, and daytime hikers. The road networks give you access to Helen Hunt Falls, another famous landmark in Colorado Springs.
North Cheyenne Canon is one of the more popular parks in the city, with over 450,000 visitors yearly. You don’t have to pay a fee to enjoy this Park, and it’s open 24/7, 365, from dawn till dusk.
Unlike other State Parks in Colorado Springs with minimal enforcement of closing times, the gates to this Park are firmly shut by 9 pm each night to reduce criminal activity. If you plan to visit the Park, ensure you do so within its operating hours.
11. Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Utah and Arizona have rust-colored rock formations, but you can also find these rock types in Colorado. And you don’t have to drive far away from the city to enjoy these rock formations, thanks to Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
The Park consists of 789 acres that are ideal for outdoorsy individuals. In truth, there isn’t any outdoor activity you can’t enjoy at this Park, making it a mecca of sorts for athletes across the country.
The expansive nature of this Park makes it a fantastic destination to take a chill and let enjoy the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Red Rock Canyon has different hiking trails for all people, including newbies and savvy pros.
The most challenging trails have a black marking on the map and will test your knees to the limits while keeping you in tiptop condition.
Suppose you’d like something with a gentler pace. In that case, several more accessible hikes allow you to enjoy the natural surroundings at a less tasking pace.
The Park has a wheelchair-accessible picnic area if you’d like to take a break for lunch. You’d have to pay close attention to the color codes to explore trail systems suited to your athletic abilities.
12. Phantom Canyon Brewing Company
The Phantom Canyon Brewing Company Colorado Springs is unique because there’s something for everyone, including beer lovers. The Phantom Canyon Brewing Company specializes in Craft beer and is a place for all occasions.
Whether happy school reunions or wedding celebrations, the microbrewing company is your ideal destination for the best craft beer from Colorado Springs.
If you’re into local brews and looking for a weekend getaway to party, look no further than the Phantom Canyon.
The company location is one reason it’s on the National Register of Historic Places and the first downtown Colorado Springs restaurant to make that list. It’s housed in a building over 100 years old, steeped in the history and tradition of the Cheyenne people.
More than a place to have craft beer, the Phantom Canyon is the place to be for live weekend entertainment. The billiard table on the second floor is arguably the largest you can find in the entire city.
The restaurant also has ten pool tables, including several big screens, dartboards, and a jukebox that plays old-school hits that remind you of the 80s.
However, you’d need to arrive early because the billiard room gets filled during the weekends and happy hour.
Meanwhile, there’s a rooftop patio big enough to seat 70 guests and is an excellent place to take in the view while sipping some cold brew.
The Phantom Canyon is a blend of history, great beer, and exceptional culinary delights, all working together to give you the experience of a lifetime.
Things to Consider When Visiting Colorado Springs
There’s no doubt a vacation in Colorado Springs will get your blood pumping like no other city in the country. It’s the home of the Rocky Mountains, with geologic wonders that will make your jaws drop. Here are a few things to consider to make the most out of your trip:
Adjust to the High Altitude
Colorado Springs has so much to offer, but you better get used to the high elevation before thinking about the attractions.
The air is notoriously thin in this city, and it’s easy to tire quickly. Altitude sickness is real in the Pikes Peak area, but you can avoid getting sick if you take things at a slower pace.
Colorado Springs receives lots of sunshine compared to most cities, and it’s easy to get a sunburn while exploring the trails.
In addition to wearing a hat, you’d be doing yourself a favor by packing lots of sunscreen on this trip. You can also wear clothing with an SPF rating if you detest sunscreen and cover exposed body parts like your neck and face.
On the flip side, bring multiple layers because the mountains bring a chill that can make you freeze up at night. In sum, get protection from and for the sun, and bring multiple layers for the freezing temperatures at night.
Drinking lots of water is an excellent tip for holidaying in all climate types. However, hydrating in Colorado Springs is essential because most of the activities on offer are physical and tasking on your body.
Carry a water bottle and fill it up wherever you can. Don’t forget to bring purification tablets, as these items can make the difference if you get lost and need to drink water from a lake or river.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you need further clarity, here are the answers to some FAQs:
Is there anything fun to do in Colorado Springs?
It’s an underestimation to say Colorado Springs is a city of fun. The city is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts with hiking, biking, snowboarding, and other physical-based activities.
What is Colorado Springs famous for?
Colorado Springs is famous for the Garden of the Gods.
Is Downtown Colorado Springs worth visiting?
Downtown Colorado Springs is a fantastic place for a family vacation, romantic getaways, or hiking adventure. Downtown Colorado Springs also has the best restaurants in the city for an incredible culinary experience.
How long does it take to drive up Pikes Peak?
The trip to and from Pikes Peak takes around 2-3 hours. It can take a long time if you stop for pictures and spend time at the summit.
What is the coldest month in Colorado Springs?
December is the chilliest month in Colorado Springs, with a median temperature of 21F.
So What’s the Best Thing to Do in Colorado Springs?
Colorado Springs has so much to offer. It’d be unfair to mention one place that’s best to see because there’s an activity for everyone. The city has over 50 official attractions and places of interest.
It’s the home of the US Air Force Academy and the brand new US Olympic & Paralympic Museum, where you can watch world-class athletes compete live. You’re sure to have the time of your life at any of the places we listed above.