Looking for all the best attractions in Olympic City USA? Our guide with all the best things to do in Colorado Springs is all you need!
The largest city in the state of Colorado by acreage, Colorado Springs is famously known as Olympic City. However, it features other magnificent attractions like the iconic Pikes Peak, geologically historic Garden of the Gods park, and more!
Outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and history buffs from around the world travel to explore the magnificence that Colorado Springs offers. There are historic places, castles, breweries and plenty of natural sights in the Colorado Rockies.
Colorado Springs also homes impressive historical museums and inspiring art galleries like the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.
In this article, we’ve saved you all the tabs on your browser by finding the top things on what to do in Colorado Springs during your Colorado Springs vacation. After that, it’s time to start your adventure, so start packing!
Table of Contents
- The Best Things to Do in Colorado Springs, CO
- 1) Explore Downtown Colorado Springs and Old Colorado City
- 2) Hand-Feed Giraffes At The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
- 3) Visit Manitou Springs
- 4) Grasp The Intrigue Of The Space Foundation Headquarters and Discovery Center
- 5) Drive The Scenic Pikes Peak Highway
- 6) Learn More About The Area’s History At The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
- 7) Witness The Athletic Glory Of The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center
- 8) Take A Trip Over To Cripple Creek Colorado
- 9) Hop Off Your Flight To Explore The National Museum Of World War II Aviation
- 10) Unveil The Legacy Of Colorado Springs At The Penrose Heritage Museum
- 11) Get Ready For A Rush Of Outdoor Fun At The Arkansas River
- 12) Take A Ride On The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway
- 13) Quench Your Thirst At The Phantom Canyon Brewing Company
- 14) Stroll Through The Trails At Bear Creek Regional Park
- 15) Discover The History Of Mining At The Western Museum of Mining & Industry
- 16) Visit The ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy
- 17) Hike Red Rock Canyon Or Drive The Red Rock Scenic Drive
- 18) Soak In The Captivating Views Of The Broadmoor Seven Falls
- 19) Drink In The Creativity Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
- 20) Bask In The Breathtaking Beauty Of Glen Eyrie Castle
- 21) Hike To The Garden Of The Gods
- Where to Stay in Colorado Springs
The Best Things to Do in Colorado Springs, CO
Don’t worry about scouring the internet. Colorado Springs boasts plenty of tourist attractions waiting to be explored.
We’ve slimmed down the list to the top 21 things to do in Colorado Springs, including hand-feeding giraffes at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, unveiling the legacy of Colorado Springs at the Penrose Heritage Museum, and the hiking and biking trails to the Garden of the Gods – prepare yourself for a trip of fun and excitement in Colorado Springs!
1) Explore Downtown Colorado Springs and Old Colorado City
A frequented hub spot filled with delicious eateries, serene parks, and local boutiques, downtown is a creative and stimulating space to experience Colorado Springs’s local scene.
Downtown, you can find the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and the Pikes Peak Center, where concerts and other exceptional performances are hosted.
If you want to experience the nightlife, stop by the many breweries, dance clubs, and local bars for a fun night out in Colorado Springs!
For more sightseeing, head over to Old Colorado City for more art galleries, local events, shopping, and dining.
Those who want to take their walking tour to the next level can book a ghost story walking tour of downtown. Learn about the city’s haunting history while exploring at night with a local guide.
Or you could book one of the famous Rocky Mountain food tours that run throughout the city. Click here to see the full range of Rocky Mountain food tours on offer in downtown.
2) Hand-Feed Giraffes At The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Settling at an elevation of 6,714 feet above sea level, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is the highest zoo in America.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo boasts mountainside views that overlook Colorado Springs’s awe-inspiring scenery in the top three zoos in North America by USA Today. The zoo homes over 30 species of endangered animals.
At this fantastic zoo, guests can hand-feed giraffes and elephants for significant interaction with some of the largest mammals in the world.
Then, for a more adrenaline-inducing experience, step over to the Mountaineer Sky Ride to witness one-of-a-kind perspectives of Colorado Springs below as you soar over the many different animal exhibits.
- Address: 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
- Hours: 9am – 5pm daily
- Cost: Adult prices range between $15 and $35 depending on the day and time. Check the website for more details.
3) Visit Manitou Springs
A resort city in Colorado, Manitou Springs is right outside Colorado Springs and a must-visit while you’re in town.
Manitou Springs features peaks of the Rocky Mountains as well as mineral springs and scenic mountain landscapes. The mountain town hosts family-friendly events that are well-known for their quirky and unique values.
This historic town was built in 1876 when the healing waters the Ute Indians drank were discovered and attracted those that suffered from tuberculosis.
However, the town didn’t prosper until the railroad spur was established in 1881. Nevertheless, the many mineral springs have continued to function in the present day and are one of the top things to do in Colorado Springs for travelers and locals.
You can also check out the Manitou cliff dwellings, which are replicas of ancient dwellings situated next to two museums.
Exploring more of Colorado? Here is our list of the 21 Best Things To Do In Denver!
4) Grasp The Intrigue Of The Space Foundation Headquarters and Discovery Center
Founded in 1983 for the global space ecosystem, the Space Foundation Headquarters and Discovery Center is the region’s first and only dedicated space, science, technology center, and museum.
At this unique space museum, guests can explore the interactive and educational resource of exciting content developed for space exploration using art, mathematics, engineering, technology, and science.
One of many exceptional things to do in Colorado Springs, the space museum hosts numerous events at its visitor center as well. It’s a great place to come with kids!
- Address: 4425 Arrowswest Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80907
- Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 4pm
- Cost: $10 adults, $5 children
5) Drive The Scenic Pikes Peak Highway
Located in Pike National Forest, Pike Peak is a prominent 14,115-foot fourteener. As the highest summit of Rocky Mountain’s Front Range, this stunning outdoor feature is only twelve miles from Colorado Springs.
Pikes Peak Highway, stretching 19 miles, takes you up to the picturesque summit. The drive begins at an elevation of 7,400 feet and reaches up to 14,115 feet at the summit. It’s one of the most well-known highways in the United States.
As one of the most visited mountains in all of North America, and one of the top things to do in Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak is not only a memorable landmark, but it features stunning views and a bountiful habitat for elk, bighorn sheep, and yellow-bellied marmots.
During the drive, you’ll pass a few lakes on your way up and might find some fishers decorating the shoreline.
Before you go, make sure to fill up on gas because there are no gas stations on the highway!
6) Learn More About The Area’s History At The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
Featuring a domed clock tower, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is located in downtown in the restored 1903 El Paso County Courthouse.
Dedicated to preserving the area’s culture and history, the museum offers temporary and permanent exhibits to display a wide range of interests.
The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum homes the finest regional landscape art collection in all of Colorado, along with nationally significant collections of quilts.
As you stroll through the museum, guests will witness the historical collections that relate to Native American influences and the region’s mining and agricultural history. Welcome to visitors of all ages, this museum is a curious historical activity to explore while visiting Colorado Springs.
- Address: 215 S Tejon St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
- Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm
- Cost: Free
7) Witness The Athletic Glory Of The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center
Two separate campuses, the U.S. Olympic Training Center and the U.S. Paralympic Training Center, are official training centers for Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
The Colorado Springs Olympic & Paralympic Training Center features one of only a tiny handful of velodromes, a stadium that has a cycle-racing track with inclusive steep banked curves.
This is designed for the USA Roller Sports and U.S. Olympic & Paralympic track cycling teams and allows year-round training.
Welcoming over 130,000 guests a year, the US Olympic Training Center opened the nation’s only US Olympic & Paralympic Museum that tells the story of Team USA through artifacts, art, and interactive exhibits. It is also the physical home of the US Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame.
You can attend tours every Monday – Saturday from 9am – 4pm. Tours run every hour, on the hour.
- Address: 1 Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs, CO 80909
- Hours: Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm
- Cost: Tours cost $15
8) Take A Trip Over To Cripple Creek Colorado
Known for its vast mining history, Cripple Creek draws in many visitors for its history, casinos, and gambling halls.
With its history of drawing in people from all over the world for over a century seeking riches, Cripple Creek has continued its legacy with many of Colorado’s top attractions.
The ethereal mountain route to Cripple Creek is only an hour’s drive from Colorado Springs, making the drive more than worth the travel to what once was the richest gold mine in state history!
9) Hop Off Your Flight To Explore The National Museum Of World War II Aviation
Recognized by Congress as “America’s National World War II Aviation Museum,” the National Museum Of World War II Aviation is a worthwhile visit during your time in Colorado Springs.
It’s here that guests can acknowledge the historical significance aviation has played in the history of the United States. The museum was signed into law in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.
In doing so, the National Museum Of World War II Aviation’s historical significance was solidified. To this day, it now stands as one of the top museums devoted to preserving the nation’s bountiful aviation heritage.
The museum is located at the Colorado Springs Airport on a 21-acre campus making for an easy first stop after you get off your flight!
- Address: 775 Aviation Way, Colorado Springs, CO 80916
- Hours: 10am – 5pm daily
- Cost: $17 for walk-ins, $15 if you book online
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10) Unveil The Legacy Of Colorado Springs At The Penrose Heritage Museum
Boasting free entry to all its guests, the Penrose Heritage Museum homes the eccentric collection of philanthropists, including race cars, carriages, and other Western artifacts.
Philanthropists Spencer and Julie Penrose extended their passion for historically significant artifacts into a legacy that is now the Penrose Heritage Museum.
The personal artifacts collection showcases the region’s history through various artifacts, including 30 carriages and 15 race cars.
The race cars competed in one of the oldest motorsports events in the United States, the infamous Race to the Clouds. This event is only second to the Indianapolis 500.
Running for over 80 years now, the carriage museum is dedicated to sharing the legacy of the Penrose’s while simultaneously sharing the remarkable history of Colorado Springs. Stop in to see this distinguished legacy for yourself!
- Address: 11 Lake Cir, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
- Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9am – 12pm, 1pm – 4pm (Open 1pm-4pm on Sundays)
- Cost: Free
11) Get Ready For A Rush Of Outdoor Fun At The Arkansas River
One of the most popular whitewater rafting spots in America, the Arkansas River stretches 152 rafting miles and holds over 80 Class II to Class V rapids.
The river flows through Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, a Colorado State Park. This park is one of the most visited in Colorado because of the wide variety of available activities, including camping, ATVing, horseback riding, river tubing, rockhounding, birding, mountain biking, kayaking, and more.
Here you can get your fix of all the best outdoor activities. The variety of Colorado Springs attractions available at the river is undeniably exhilarating and bountiful.
The river begins high in the Rocky Mountains, and the waters can be found near Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado, for a great day or weekend of fun!
12) Take A Ride On The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Prepare yourself for unforgettable one-of-a-kind views on the Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway!
The world’s highest cog train, the Broadmoor Manitou, and Pikes Peak Cog Railway climb an iconic landmark in the United States – Pikes Peak.
The base station is located in Manitou Springs and takes guests of all ages up the 14,110-foot summit of the mountain with impeccably captivating sceneries.
This is a great, relaxing alternative for those who aren’t up for hiking or climbing. Those who are up for the challenge can hit up a hiking trail or visit Pikes Peak Alpine School to learn about trekking, mountaineering, and rock climbing.
- Address: 515 Ruxton Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829
- Hours: 8am – 5pm daily
- Cost: Check prices here
13) Quench Your Thirst At The Phantom Canyon Brewing Company
If you like beer and good company, you’ll love this brewery!
The Phantom Canyon Brewing Company is a three-story brewery in a historic building where microbrews and American fare are served. Named after the notorious landscape, Phantom Canyon, the brewery went a step further to home their company in a historic building, the Cheyenne Building.
The building was named after Cheyenne Mountain and Chief Two Moons of the Cheyenne Indian Tribe.
Since its opening in 1993, Phantom Canyon Brewing Company has shown its dedication by serving the best beer, food, and hospitality to all who visit. And through the three stories available at the brewing company, brew and food lovers can encompass themselves in the glory of one of the best restaurants in Colorado Springs.
- Address: 2 E Pikes Peak Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
- Hours: 11am – 12am daily (close at 2am on Thurs/Fri/Sat)
14) Stroll Through The Trails At Bear Creek Regional Park
A few miles from the Garden of the Gods Park, Bear Creek Regional Park is a nearby outdoor activity to consider while you’re in the area!
Spanning 845 acres, this mountain park offers more than a few recreational activities to experience during your time in Colorado Springs.
Bear Creek Regional Park homes an archery range, a dog park, and an equestrian course. There are also more than a few multi-use trails available to explore, where fun surprises like art installations and sculptures can be found along the way.
Heading west? Check out our guide to the best things to do in Portland, Oregon!
15) Discover The History Of Mining At The Western Museum of Mining & Industry
The Western Museum of Mining & Industry presents the extensive mining history and industrial technology of the western United States.
Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in 1979, the museum is the perfect place for history buffs and geology lovers to witness the impressive history obtained through mining.
This family-friendly attraction is full of educational opportunities, and when you leave the museum, you’ll know more than you did before.
At this one-of-a-kind museum, guests can experiment with gold panning like old pioneers, sport the gear of a miner, and witness actual mining equipment in action.
In addition, the Western Museum of Mining & Industry homes 27 acres of educational and interactive exhibits that allow the opportunity to learn more about the significance of mining in the past, present, and future.
- Address: 225 North Gate Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80921
- Hours: Monday – Saturday 9am – 4pm
- Cost: $12 adults, $6 kids
16) Visit The ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy
The oldest and biggest rodeo-sanctioned body in the world, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Boasting over 43 million fans, ProRodeo is the world’s largest and biggest rodeo and holds higher overall attendance than golf and tennis.
The ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy are located near the foothills of Pikes Peak. Here visitors can explore the legacy of cowboy contests and champions from the past to the present and witness the heritage of the original competitions.
- Address: 103 Pro Rodeo Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80919
- Hours: 9am – 5pm daily
- Cost: $10
17) Hike Red Rock Canyon Or Drive The Red Rock Scenic Drive
Popular with outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Red Rock Canyon offers versatile and stunning open scenery of the Pikes Peak region.
From enthusiasts to athletes, many stop by Red Rock Canyon to breathe the fresh air and bask in the unique scenery as they hike the versatile and numerous hiking trails that range from steep inclines to strolling walks.
The 85 different rock climbing routes available at Red Rock Canyon range in difficulty from 4th Class to 5.3. You must register or entertain the risk of a hefty fine.
The scenic drive through Red Rock loops through the National Conservation Area and stretches 12.5 miles. Different outlooks pepper the memorable drive, so don’t hesitate to stop to admire the outstanding landscape views along the way!
Read next: 21 Best Things To Do In San Francisco, California.
18) Soak In The Captivating Views Of The Broadmoor Seven Falls
A hot spot for many who travel to Colorado Springs, the Broadmoor Seven Falls is a privately-owned tourist attraction with seven cascading waterfalls.
Less than a mile from The Broadmoor, a legendary destination resort, is one of the most breathtaking natural wonders of Colorado – the Seven Falls.
This is the only waterfall in Colorado on National Geographic’s list of International Waterfalls. The 1,250-foot wall box canyon between the towering Pillars of Hercules is the captivating Seven Falls.
Surrounded by golden prairies and significant geological rock formations, the challenging hike up the Seven Falls is worth it!
19) Drink In The Creativity Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
North of downtown Colorado Springs and located at the Colorado College, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center spreads out within 132,286 square feet with international exhibits that change regularly.
One of many art galleries in Colorado Springs, it’s here that unique world-class exhibitions are featured in 16 galleries next to well-known masterworks done by famous names like Kuh, Chihuly, and O’Keeffe. The center homes over 20,000 pieces with one of the most substantial collections of American Indian and Latin American art, along with the region’s local artists.
The sculpture garden is a relaxing feature to explore as you travel outdoors. On the large green lawn, many outdoor concerts are hosted, and many people travel with picnic baskets in hand to enjoy the refreshing weather.
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center offers free tours so guests can access these artists to inspire education, learning, and a passion for the arts.
- Address: 30 W Dale St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
- Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 4pm
- Cost: $10
20) Bask In The Breathtaking Beauty Of Glen Eyrie Castle
Built in 1871, the Glen Eyrie Castle was established by the founder of Colorado Springs, General William Jackson Palmer. The English Tudor-Esque castle features 17 guest rooms, seven meeting rooms, and two dining rooms.
Basking its glorious structure on 700 scenic acres, the castle is home to 95 lodging rooms. Now a hotel and conference hall, guests can also join in the breathtaking ambiance of the castle through historical tea times and tours.
The Glen Eyrie Castle is dedicated to ministering to all who visit by providing a sanctuary and welcoming haven for all seeking transformation and inspiration.
It’s important to note that to visit the castle, it is required to reserve a tour, tea, or overnight Stay.
- Address: 3820 N 30th St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
- Hours & Cost: Check the website to see times and costs for tours, tea, or overnight stays.
21) Hike To The Garden Of The Gods
One of the most visited attractions in the area is the Garden Of The Gods, a registered National Natural Landmark that boasts over 300 million years of geological history. Its extensive background in earth history is one of the best in all of the United States.
The picturesque views feature sandstone rock formations, refreshing blue skies, and a backdrop of the snow-capped Pikes Peak. The plethora of ecological and geological finds here transforms this outdoor activity into a unique experience.
It’s here at the Garden Of The Gods that a discovery of a new species of dinosaur and a subspecies of honey ant was found–and you get to walk this ancient path of discovery yourself!
There are various tours you can take here, including a jeep tour, a segway tour, or an e-bike tour. But most popular is probably a hiking tour, so you can get out and amongst the scenery at your own pace.
- Hours: 9am – 6pm
- Cost: Free
Where to Stay in Colorado Springs
Now that you know the best activities in Colorado Springs let’s look at the top places to stay during your stay!
Best Hostel in Colorado Springs
The newest and “raddest” hostel in town, ColoRADo Adventure Hostel, is committed to serving wanderers, explorers, and adventure enthusiasts from across the globe.
This hostel is dedicated to providing community-oriented adventurists with a communal atmosphere and clean, affordable lodging.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Colorado Springs
Only 2.6 miles from Garden of the Gods, the Mecca Motel offers a prime location spot for its guests who visit Colorado Springs. With free private parking and Wi-Fi, guests can relax as they bask in pool views underneath the sun terrace in between activities.
Best Luxury Hotel in Colorado Springs
Boasting two private 18-hole golf courses designed by Tom Weiskopf, The Lodge at Flying Horse is a stunning European resort-style golf clubhouse.
At this luxury hotel, guests can sink back and relax at the inclusive spa and swimming pools, get their workout in at the Athletic Club, and enjoy happy hour at The Steakhouse with scenic views.
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