15 Best Things to Do in Colorado Springs, CO

Colorado Springs, CO
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You’d be surprised to see the wondrous sights and places to be in Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs is the largest city and the county seat of El Paso County in Colorado, with an estimated population of 491,467 in 2022.

Colorado Springs is surrounded by soaring mountains and known for its gorgeous landscapes, amazing views, wildlife, and outdoor activities.

It is also known as the “Olympic City” for being the city where elite athletes train, housing all 25 Olympic committees as well as the premier Olympic training center.

Colorado Springs also has many features of a big city with a small-town charm, with relaxing urban areas such as parks, trails, and open spaces.

With good weather and breathtaking views, Colorado Springs is the best place to unwind with nature, and with that, here are the 15 best things to do in Colorado Springs:

Take a Hike at the Breathtaking Garden of the Gods

Welcome sign of the Garden of the Gods
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Start your trip with the most popular attraction and landmark in Colorado Springs—the Garden of the Gods.

The Garden of the Gods is a majestic area just northwest of Old Colorado City; it's visited for its huge red rocks that seemingly stick straight up and out of the ground.

It was named back in 1859, when Rufus Cable, a surveyor, discovered the massive fin-like rocks and exclaimed that it was "a fit place for the gods to assemble!"—hence, the name.

Admission is free.

You can even drive through the whole thing, but the best experience is on foot, where you can wander the trails and appreciate the beauty of nature and wildlife.

Scenic view of Garden of the Gods
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Even better is to join in on the jeep tours, where you can enjoy the area while learning about its history.

Be sure to visit the Visitor and Nature Center to learn about the park, see maps of the trails, and have friendly staff to guide you.

For kids, visit the Geo Trekker Theater to watch an immersive show that covers millions of years of history and a view of the Garden of the Gods from the sky.

Count on staying at least two hours to experience everything here in the Garden of the Gods fully—from its diverse and beautiful views and stunning landscapes, to rock climbing and picture-taking, you’ll love your visit here at the Garden of the Gods.

Rock formation window at Garden of the Gods
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Climb a Historic Mountain at Pikes Peak

Daytime view of Pikes Peak
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Pikes Peak is one of those unforgettable experiences you can have here in Colorado Springs.

Being one of the 14'ers mountains and accessible for visitors, Pikes Peak is just minutes west of Colorado Springs, following Highway 24.

Visit the all-new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center, which offers amazing viewing and learning opportunities about the history of the mountain with exhibits, gift shops, and dining options.

Train ride at the summit of Pikes Peak
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Once you reach the summit, you can see a once-in-a-lifetime view at such high altitudes—you can even see five other states during excellent weather.

Also, try out the special high-altitude doughnuts, which sag and melt when brought down the mountain!

Binoculars at Pikes Peak summit
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See Colorado City from Afar at Pulpit Rock Park

View from the base of Pulpit Rock Park
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Pulpit Rock Park is a popular park and unique attraction in Colorado Springs.

The name was derived from the area’s geological features that look similar to a pulpit.

All the trails here lead to the same area, and each one gives terrific opportunities to see the charming Colorado Springs vegetation and wildlife.

View of the city from Pulpit Rock Park
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You can enjoy hiking and climbing the rocks to the summit, where you can get a breathtaking panoramic view of the city and the surrounding mountains.

The Pulpit Rock Park is found at 5547 Nevada Frontage Road and is the perfect place to be if you want to get out of the bustling and loud city.

Take the Kids to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Tall giraffes at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
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The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is filled with fun activities, offering stunning city views and interactions with its 705 animals.

As one of the top zoos in the country, you’ll make lasting memories with the many experiences you will get.

Explore various country-themed areas of the zoos to find the varieties of animals you can interact with.

An animal drinking water at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
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Hand-feed greens to huge giraffes or colorful budgies while overlooking the beautiful cityscape, interact with and touch tiny animals at the Loft, feed chickens and goats, and many more.

Once done with your fun trip, drop by the Grizzly Grill and eat a delicious and hearty meal, and end it with a ride on the Mountaineer Sky Ride toward the zoo summit and take in the picturesque view of the city.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is on Cheyenne Mountain Road, southeast of Colorado Springs.

A girl brushing a goat at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
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Unravel Colorado’s History at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum

Exterior of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
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The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is displays the history and accomplishments of the people of Pikes Peak.

Situated on South Tejon Street, the building was a courthouse for El Paso County until 1973.

Visit the museum to see the region’s rich history through its 60,000 objects and artifacts displayed through innovative exhibits.

Interior of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
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With the number of exhibits on display, more than two hours may be needed, as the information for each piece is voluminous.

Admission is free as well.

Exhibit in the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
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Take a Tour of the United States Air Force Academy

Exterior of the United States Air Force Academy
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The United States Air Force Academy is a military service academy founded north of Colorado Springs.

It’s famous for training the most elite airforce cadets and officers with its world-class education and training that covers all areas of an individual's development—body, leadership, character, and military equipment training.

This military base is open for visitors to roam around the various attractions and admire the landscape.

Unique chapel at the United States Air Force Academy
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Drop by their visitor center, the Falcon Stadium for the occasional football game, the Arnold Hall, and their museum made to honor Airforce personnel.

The United States Air Force Academy also features stunning modern architecture paired with overlooks highlighting Colorado Spring’s marvelous natural views.

Falcon stadium at the United States Air Force Academy
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Stay and Hike at Glen Eyrie Castle

Exterior of the Glen Eyrie Castle
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The Glen Eyrie Castle is a one-of-a-kind historical hotel experience in Colorado Springs.

Established in 1871, the castle is located on 30th street.

It offers a day (or night) experience in a medieval castle, among other activities.

You can get a guided tour of the historical place, learning more about the family, the estate, and Colorado Springs.

Front view of Glen Eyrie Castle
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Hiking trails on the property allow visitors to admire the pristine views, with the castle in the distance.

After the hike, visit their cafe for a sweet snack or read a book at their quiet library.

If you’re looking for a unique lodging and hiking experience, the Glen Eyrie Castle is the place to be.

Tea room in Glen Eyrie Castle
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Learn More about the Cheyenne Canyon at Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center

The Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center is an iconic local landmark in the Cheyenne Canyon Park.

The building made from stone was purchased from the Starmore family and relocated in 1992, where it now serves as the starting point when you visit the Cheyenne Canyon Park.

The visitor center not only provides information about the park but it also contains many activities for visitors of all ages.

Look at their bird-watching windows or the exhibits, dioramas, and information about the park.

Don't forget to take the free canyon maps before you go!

The Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center is found in North Cheyenne Canyon Park, on S Cheyenne Canyon Road.

See How the Best Athletes Train at The US Olympic and Paralympic Training Center

Exterior of the US Olympic and Paralympic Training Center
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The US Olympic and Paralympic Training Center is one of two premier campuses where the country’s best athletes train.

The campus offers tours for the public to see the countries’ best at work and the facilities made for them.

Visit the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum to learn more about the US Olympian’s lives expressed through videos, art, and artifacts.

It also contains one of the few velodromes in the country, being the official venue for track cycling and roller sports.

Sculpture in front of the US Olympic and Paralympic Training Center
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Or stop by Broadmoor World Arena Ice Hall, the country's premier ice rink, dubbed by the national ice-skating athletes "home ice.”

Finish your trip at the World Figure Skating Museum—the only one of its kind, where you can learn the history of figure skating internationally.

To see where champions are made, visit the US Olympic and Paralympic Training Center at 1 Olympic Plaza in Colorado Springs.

Take a Relaxing Stroll at the North Cheyenne Canyon Park

Daytime view of North Cheyenne Canyon Park
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The North Cheyenne Canyon Park is a popular regional park, home of the best trails in Colorado Springs.

It is visited by more than 450,000 people annually for its beautiful trails, perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding or a nice, relaxing, scenic drive.

The 56-mile trails are considered “best” for how friendly and easy it is to traverse while providing a beautiful view of nature.

Helen hunt falls at North Cheyenne Canyon Park
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The North Cheyenne Canyon Park also has two visitor centers: the Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center and the Helen Hunt Falls Visitor Center, so there’s something to do beyond hiking and picnicking.

The Park is found on the West side of Colorado Springs if you follow the West Colorado Springs Road.

Natural stone eagle at North Cheyenne Canyon Park
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Hike and Watch Performances at the Red Rock Canyon

A hiker carrying a dog at Red Rock Canyon
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The Red Rock Canyon is one of Colorado Spring's many ideal parks for walking, hiking, and admiring beautiful scenery.

Located just a few miles from the Garden of the Gods, on the other side of Highway 24, the Red Rock Canyon is named after the rich red rocks that give a bright and scenic contrast to the green natural surroundings.

The Canyon offers breathtaking sights, bike trails, rock climbing spots, camping, and many more.

A pond along Red Rock Canyon
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Visit their huge amphitheater to watch concerts and performances under bright stars in the evening, or check out their huge quarries where you can picture how they carefully mined the stones.

If in doubt, head to the visitor center to learn more about the Red Rock Canyon and the available recreational activities.

There is also a gift shop to cap your trip.

Amphitheatre at Red Rock Canyon
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Visit Colorado Springs’ Signature Seven Falls

Scenic view of Seven Falls
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The Seven Falls is one of Colorado Springs’ premier waterfall attractions.

Officially opened in 1883, the Seven Falls is named for the seven consecutive drops that the water from the South Cheyenne Creeks falls to, creating an incredible natural marvel.

Unfortunately, swimming is not allowed, but you can experience hiking on a fantastic trail that goes through a series of cascading falls and lets you bask in Colorado Springs' beautiful nature and wildlife.

Aerial view of Seven Falls
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Nearby is the Rockhounds at the Eagles Nest, providing a stunning panoramic view from their deck, as well as a collection of minerals and fossils around the world.

Afterward, visit the Seven Falls Shop for souvenirs and gift items to remember the experience by.

Seven Falls is on Lower Gold Camp Road, southwest of downtown Colorado Springs.

A shop at the base of Seven Falls
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Take in a Beautiful View of the Helen Hunt Falls

Scenic view of Helen Hunt Falls
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The Helen Hunt Falls is a beautiful waterfall attraction in North Cheyenne Canyon Park.

It offers a spectacular view of Helen Hunt Falls, named in honor of Helen Maria Hunt Jackson, a famous poet and writer who advocated for Native Americans.

Enjoy the view of the falls from the base or atop the bridge atop the falls after a short hike, and those who continue hiking up will enjoy a fantastic view of the North Cheyenne Canyon.

View from the top of Helen Hunt Falls
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Stop by the Helen Hunt Falls Visitor Center first to get briefed on the area’s history with its various exhibits and maps, as well as opportunities to buy gift items and drinks for the trip.

The Helen Hunt Falls is just a few miles up the canyon from the entrance of the North Cheyenne Canyon Park, where you’ll end up at the base of the falls.

Take a Walk at the Old Colorado City Historical District

Shops along Old Colorado City Historical District
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There's no better place to appreciate Colorado Springs than visiting where it all began—the Old Colorado City Historical District.

Found west of the current downtown Colorado Springs and can be found by following Colorado Avenue.

Originally named Colorado City in 1859, the area is now called Old Colorado City, a neighborhood littered with beautiful boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries.

The road of Old Colorado City Historical District
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Take a stroll admiring the old-timey look of the 19th-century brick buildings, take a look at the various jewelry stores and shops, at dine at the many lively restaurants.

If you’re looking to relax at a historic location, go to the Old Colorado City Historical District.

Travel Back in Time at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site

Welcome sign of the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site
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The Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site is a farm and living history museum in Colorado Springs, just beside the Garden of the Gods.

It offers a nice walk while seeing exhibits and depictions of what life was like in the Pikes Peak region.

The exhibits are divided by eras or timelines, which will give you a serene, mindful experience of history.

Farmers at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site
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The kids will love the scavenger hunt, the actors who teach information about their respective characters, and the farm animals used in those days.

Visit the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site to take a break from the crowded and populated areas of Colorado Springs.

A house at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site
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Final Thoughts

Colorado Springs is such a destination—blessed with multiple geological features and attractions that span for miles, a bustling city with rich history, and the home and training site of the elite Olympian athletes.

No wonder people love living here and it attracts a lot of tourist crowds.

If you love exploration, discovery, and walking, Colorado Springs is one of the best places to travel to.

We hope this list of the best things to do in Colorado Springs goes into your travel itinerary the next time you visit!

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