There are SO many incredible things to do in Colorado Springs. You’ll find endless outdoor adventures, plus plenty of cultural attractions, events, restaurants, and watering holes. Even as a local, I never get bored here.
Whether you live in Colorado or are visiting from out of state, here are some of the best things to do in Colorado Springs.
The Garden of the Gods is one of those rare places that maintains being a local favorite despite being a major tourist attraction. Not only is it the top-rate attraction in Colorado Springs, but it’s also the top-rated attraction in Colorado (according to Trip Advisor).
The Garden of the Gods is known for its tall + unique red rock formations. It’s situated in a stunning natural park at the base of the foothills. Pikes Peak serves as the perfect backdrop to the park. If you’re lucky, you might even see the Big Horn Sheep!
The hiking trails are my favorite way to explore the park. It’s one of the best ways to get immersed in its natural beauty. Other ways to explore the park include driving, horseback, or guided tour.
Learn more about visiting the Garden of the Gods with our post: 10 Things You Can’t Miss at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs
Pikes Peak is known as America’s Mountain. It’s one of Colorado’s coveted 14ers (or mountains with peaks above 14,000 feet). Plus, it’s the most accessible.
When you visit Colorado Springs, you’ll know when you see Pikes Peak. It’s the massive mountain that towers above all the others in the area.
There are several ways to see Pikes Peak, such as riding the train to the top or hiking it. However, the most popular way is to drive to the top via the Pikes Peak Highway.
The views from the top and on the way are incredible. It’s a bucket list item, for sure. To add to the experience, a nature center and cafe were added to the peak. The doughnuts are a must-try!
3. Go on a Hike
The best thing about Colorado Springs is the beautiful scenery. Why not get immersed in it (while getting a workout in) by going on a hike!
There are so many incredible places to hike in and near Colorado Springs. Some of my favorite places include North Cheyenne Cañon, the Crags Trail, and Bear Creek Cañon. You can also find many incredible trails using the AllTrails app. Simply download and use the filtering features to narrow the list down to the kind of hike you’re looking for. You can filter by ratings, length, difficulty, views, etc.
Check out my favorite hikes in Colorado Springs with the post: The 12 Best Colorado Springs Hikes Ranked
Manitou Springs is my favorite downtown district around the Colorado Springs area. Situated at the base of Pikes Peak, this charming mountain town is lined with cute shops, restaurants, and old Victorian-style homes.
The downtown area is very walkable. Even if you’re not looking to buy anything, it’s worth going for the views and scenery. There’s a cute river that flows through the town, and several fountains are scattered through the town so visitors can try the natural spring water.
Additionally, Manitou Springs has live entertainment, unique spas, and resorts and is the base for several epic adventures. The Cog Railway, Barr Trail (to Pikes Peak), and Manitou Incline are all situated here. You’ll also find the Salt Water Spa, Miramont Castle, and Cliff House Hotel.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is an award-winning zoo situated on the side of Cheyenne Mountain. Visitors can see hippos, giraffes, elephants, and more at this top-rated zoo. Exhibits include Encounter Africa, Asian Highlands, Primate World, Rocky Mountain Wild, and more.
One unique way to see the zoo is by taking the Mountaineer Skyride. It’s an open-air, chairlift-style ride that takes you to the highest point of the zoo. You’ll get an aerial view of the zoo and various exhibits on the way.
North Cheyenne Cañon is an incredible natural park in west Colorado Springs. The canyon serves as a gateway into the Rocky Mountains — it’s easy to access by providing beautiful mountain views and stunning scenery.
North Cheyenne Cañon has many beautiful hiking trails, a breathtaking scenic drive, and several scenic pull-off points. I actually live pretty close by and visit all the time for after-work hikes. Some of my favorite trails are in North Cheyenne Cañon; you can check them out here!
The scenic drive starts from the bottom of the canyon and then winds its way to a much higher elevation. Keep in mind, after a certain point, it becomes a narrow dirt road filled with potholes on the side of the canyon. And yes, it is alongside a steep drop-off. However, if you can stomach it, it’s SOOO beautiful and totally worth doing! It’ll also take you through a series of man-made tunnels blasted into the side of the canyon.
The dirt road half is called Gold Camp Road, and the lower, paved portion is North Cheyenne Cañon Road. As you drive along either, keep an eye out for beautiful scenic pull-off points. My personal favorite is Helen Hunt Falls, along North Cheyenne Cañon Road.
7. Eat, Drink, & Shop at one of Colorado Springs’ Incredible Downtown Districts
Colorado Springs has two fun downtown districts — downtown Colorado Springs and Old Colorado City (Although, to be honest, downtown Manitou Springs is so close it could be considered an honorary third!).
Each downtown district is walkable and lined with charming + unique shops, restaurants, breweries, and bars. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a day exploring the mountains. In all honesty, it’s so relaxed here that you can go out in your comfy exploring clothes, and no one will bat an eye. In doing so, you’ll likely fit in more with the locals.
Downtown Colorado Springs is the largest. The main strip is along North Tejon Street between East Moreno Avenue and East Boulder Street. However, there are also some great places to visit along neighboring streets, so take advantage of it! Here, you’ll find all sorts of incredible restaurants and watering holes, from upscale restaurants, chill food halls, funky bars, and brunch with the biggest biscuits you’ve ever seen.
Cañon City is an incredible adventure hub only an hour from Colorado Springs. There’s so much to do there for all sorts of travelers. Families with kids will love the Royal Gorge Mountain Park and nearby activities. There’s the Tommyknocker Playground, Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience, and a KOA with a waterslide, to name a few.
Adults looking for a more wild adventure will undoubtedly find it here too! The Royal Gorge Mountain Park has several adrenaline-pumping rides like the Royal Rush Skycoaster and Cloudscaper Zip Line. Additionally, there’s a whitewater rafting route at the bottom of the gorge. It’s considered one of the best in Colorado!
Check out the Royal Gorge Route Railroad for a more relaxed experience. It’s a train that travels through the bottom of the Royal Gorge alongside the Arkansas River. Several experiences are available to suit a variety of tastes. The First Class Dinner Train provides a fine dining experience as you enjoy the scenery. The Coach Class is the most affordable and has access to the open-air train, where you can sip on a local beer while enjoying unobstructed canyon views.
Visiting a local brewery is the perfect way to unwind after an action-packed day of exploring the mountains. Colorado is known for its craft beer scene, and Colorado Springs is no different! Whether you like IPAs, sours, or classic wheat beer, you can find it here in many variations.
With so many different breweries to choose from, you know there are various styles to choose from. Here are some of my favorites:
Cerberus Brewing: Best brewery food. The patio also has views of Pikes Peak.
Red Leg Brewing Company: Has a HUGE green lawn and multiple food vendors. It’s veteran owned and a favorite of local service people.
Bristol Brewing Company in Ivywild School: Delicious craft beers in an old school building that was converted into a food hall. Very unique, with lots of food options.
Phantom Canyon Brewing CO.: Incredible multi-story brewery in Colorado Springs. The first floor is a restaurant-style room. The upper floor is more pub-like, with pool tables, exposed brick, and a patio with views of downtown and the mountains.
Pikes Peak Brewing Co.: Tucked inside the COATI food hall. Events and live music are hosted regularly, and there’s a semi-secret top floor with an outdoor patio facing the mountains.
Additional Things to Do in Colorado Springs:
20. Go camping