From its awe-inspiring natural wonders to its rich cultural attractions, Colorado Springs provides an ideal setting for a Colorado Springs weekend getaway, catering to travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, and unforgettable experiences. With its unique blend of stunning natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture, this dynamic city promises an unforgettable experience for all. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, indulging in the local culinary scene, or exploring the area’s fascinating history, there’s something for everyone in Colorado Springs. This blog post will guide you through a comprehensive weekend itinerary in Colorado Springs, highlighting popular attractions and hidden gems, along with recommendations for dining, lodging, and unique experiences. Follow this guide to make the most of your visit to this picturesque city.
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Day One: Exploring Colorado Springs’ Natural Wonders
Start your day with a visit to the iconic Garden of the Gods, a registered National Natural Landmark featuring towering red rock formations set against the backdrop of Pikes Peak. The park offers miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding suitable for all skill levels. Popular trails include the Perkins Central Garden Trail, a paved 1.5-mile loop that meanders through the heart of the park, and the Siamese Twins Trail, a 1-mile round-trip hike leading to a unique rock formation offering stunning views of Pikes Peak.
If you’re looking for a more adventurous experience, consider trying your hand at rock climbing. Garden of the Gods offers numerous climbing routes for beginners and experts alike. Several local outfitters provide guided climbs and equipment rentals for those interested in exploring the park’s sandstone cliffs.
Don’t forget to stop by the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center, where you can learn more about the park’s fascinating geology, ecology, and history through interactive exhibits and displays. The center also offers guided nature walks, educational programs, and a café with panoramic views of the park.
Next, head to Pikes Peak, one of Colorado’s most famous 14,000-foot mountains. You can either take the Pikes Peak Cog Railway or drive up the Pikes Peak Highway to the summit. The Cog Railway, a popular and historic attraction, takes you on a scenic 3-hour round-trip journey to the summit, allowing you to relax and take in the spectacular views. Meanwhile, the Pikes Peak Highway offers a more independent experience, with several pullouts and overlooks where you can stop and enjoy the scenery along the 19-mile drive.
Once you reach the top of Pikes Peak, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Take some time to explore the newly renovated Summit Complex, which features interactive exhibits, an observation deck, and a café. Be sure to grab a famous Pikes Peak donut at the Summit House before heading back down.
After an exhilarating day outdoors, treat yourself to a farm-to-table dining experience at a local restaurant like The Margarita at PineCreek or The Warehouse. Both establishments take pride in showcasing the best of Colorado’s homegrown ingredients in creative and delicious ways. The Margarita at PineCreek, a long-standing favorite among locals, offers a seasonal menu featuring Southwestern and Mediterranean-inspired dishes, while The Warehouse serves contemporary American cuisine in a stylish, industrial setting. Other great farm-to-table dining options include Garden of the Gods Market and Café, which focuses on locally-sourced, organic ingredients, and Till Kitchen, which offers a modern, farm-forward menu.
Day Two: Delving into Colorado Springs’ History and Culture
Kick off your second day in Colorado Springs by immersing yourself in Olympic history at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum. This state-of-the-art facility offers an interactive exploration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games’ history, culture, and spirit. Learn about Team USA’s greatest athletes and moments and the science behind their remarkable achievements. The museum’s exhibits span the entire history of the Olympic and Paralympic movements, from their ancient origins to present. Test your skills in interactive sports simulations, and don’t miss the chance to snap a photo with Olympic torches and medals from past Games.
Step back in time with a visit to the historic Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs. These charming districts are filled with unique shops, art galleries, and restaurants that reflect the city’s rich past. Stroll along the picturesque streets and take in the beautiful architecture, ranging from quaint Victorian homes to rustic log cabins.
In Old Colorado City, be sure to visit the Simpich Showcase, a museum and art gallery dedicated to the art of marionette puppetry, and the Michael Garman Museum & Gallery, which features the artist’s enchanting, handcrafted miniature sculptures. For a taste of local history, stop by the Old Colorado City History Center, which offers exhibits and artifacts detailing the area’s colorful past.
Manitou Springs, just a short drive from Old Colorado City, is known for its vibrant arts scene, historic arcade, and natural mineral springs. Enjoy a leisurely walk along Manitou Avenue, the town’s main thoroughfare, lined with art galleries, boutiques, and quirky shops. Be sure to sample the mineral water from the town’s eight public springs, each with its own unique taste and purported health benefits.
Wrap up your day by catching a live performance at the Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts or Millibo Art Theatre. The Pikes Peak Center, a premier entertainment venue, hosts a wide array of shows, from concerts and dance performances to theater productions and comedy acts. Check their calendar for upcoming events during your visit.
Millibo Art Theatre, a smaller and more intimate venue, offers a diverse selection of original plays, comedy shows, and special events. Known for its innovative and thought-provoking productions, Millibo Art Theatre is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Day Three: Off the Beaten Path Adventures
Begin your final day in Colorado Springs with a trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, America’s only mountain zoo. With over 750 animals representing 170 species, this unique zoo offers an immersive and interactive experience. Get up close and personal with giraffes at the African Rift Valley exhibit, feed colorful lorikeets at the Australian Walkabout, or watch Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep as they roam the Rocky Mountain Wild exhibit.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the zoo’s Encounter Africa exhibit, which showcases African elephants, black rhinos, and lions in a naturalistic habitat. The zoo also offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the city of Colorado Springs and the eastern plains.
Head to Red Rock Canyon Open Space for a hike along its scenic trails or opt for a leisurely bike ride along the Legacy Loop, a 10-mile trail encircling downtown Colorado Springs. Red Rock Canyon Open Space features over 1,500 acres of unique geological formations, diverse plant and animal life, and miles of interconnected trails suitable for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Popular trails include the Red Rock Canyon Trail, a 2.5-mile loop offering stunning views of red rock formations, and the Contemplative Trail, a 1-mile loop featuring tranquil meadows and a peaceful labyrinth.
The Legacy Loop is a multi-use recreational trail that connects several of the city’s parks and open spaces, offering a unique way to explore Colorado Springs by bike. The loop passes through Monument Valley Park, America the Beautiful Park, and Shooks Run Park, providing ample opportunities for picnics, birdwatching, and enjoying the city’s natural beauty.
Sample local craft beers at a brewery like Bristol Brewing Company or Phantom Canyon Brewing Company. Both establishments offer tastings, tours, and special events, providing an immersive and educational experience. Bristol Brewing Company, housed in a historic former school building, offers a range of flagship, seasonal, and specialty beers and a cozy taproom and outdoor patio. Phantom Canyon Brewing Company, Colorado Springs’ oldest brewpub, features a diverse beer menu and an expansive, two-story space complete with billiards tables and a rooftop patio.
Choose from a range of lodging options during your stay in Colorado Springs, from historic bed and breakfasts to modern hotels and cozy vacation rentals. Catering to various budgets and preferences, you’ll find the perfect accommodations to complete your weekend getaway.
Consider booking a room at Holden House 1902 Bed & Breakfast Inn or the St. Mary’s Inn for a charming and intimate stay. Both properties offer beautifully appointed guest rooms, warm hospitality, and gourmet breakfasts. Holden House, a Victorian-style B&B, features romantic rooms with fireplaces and private baths, while St. Mary’s Inn, located in a restored 1895 home, boasts elegant rooms with modern amenities.
If you prefer a more contemporary lodging experience, consider staying at The Mining Exchange, A Wyndham Grand Hotel, or SCP Hotel Colorado Springs. The Mining Exchange is a luxury boutique hotel situated in a beautifully renovated historic building, offering modern amenities and a convenient downtown location. SCP Hotel Colorado Springs, an eco-friendly and wellness-focused property, features minimalist rooms with reclaimed wood furnishings, a rooftop deck, and a state-of-the-art fitness center.
For those seeking the comforts of home, numerous vacation rentals are available throughout Colorado Springs, ranging from modern downtown lofts to rustic mountain cabins. Websites like Airbnb and VRBO offer a wide variety of options to suit your needs and budget.
Colorado Springs offers a perfect weekend getaway for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, and unforgettable experiences, from its awe-inspiring natural wonders to its rich cultural attractions. With our comprehensive itinerary, you’ll be able to experience the best of what this diverse city has to offer. So pack your bags, hit the road, and discover your own favorite spots and experiences in Colorado Springs. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, the beauty and charm of this city will leave a lasting impression, beckoning you to return again and again.