20 Best Things to Do in Manitou Springs, CO

Manitou Springs, CO
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Manitou Springs is a small town in Colorado Springs.

Founded in 1871, Manitou Springs was also known as a hippie haven back in the 1960s, which gained it the nickname "Hippie Mayberry."

Apart from its historic attractions, the town is also quite famous for its small quirky shops, pubs, eateries, and parks and is overall a great place to visit.

Here are the best things to do in Manitou Springs, Colorado:

Get Some Much-Needed Cardio at the Manitou Springs Incline

A female hiker climbing the Manitou Springs Incline
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Famous as the "holy grail of cardio," Manitou Springs Incline is a place that is extremely famous among health-conscious locals and athletes visiting the town.

The Manitou Springs Incline was initially established as a railway track.

Numerous steps at Manitou Springs Incline
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Later, it was converted into an elevated set of 2,744 steps, which are incredibly great and refreshing.

This place has an inclination of 41% on average.

Hikers climbing the Manitou Springs Incline during snow
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In addition to its remarkable landscape, the incline is also considered one of the highest sets of stairs in the entire world.

The Manitou Springs Incline is a great place if you are looking to go on a casual jog, a run, or a challenging stroll around the town.

Join the Lantern Tour at Cave of the Winds Mountain Park

Landscape of Cave of the Winds Mountain Park
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Presenting an exciting way to explore the town's caves and other natural boundaries, Cave of the Winds Mountain Park is an adventurous option for all visitors.

The place offers great packages that allow visitors to explore the nearby caves in different ways.

This tour lasts anywhere between 45 minutes to one hour.

The walking tour involves climbing almost 200 stairs, walking half a mile, and visiting 15 rooms.

Another tour, the Lantern Tour, is led by candlelight and is almost a mile long.

The various tours are offered with learned guides and help you explore the town's mysterious and undeveloped caves.

These tours are definitely worth checking out and are extremely enjoyable as well.

Have Tea at the Queen's Parlour Tea Room at Miramont Castle Museum

Miramont Castle Museum
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A museum designed in the form of a castle, Miramont Castle Museum is dedicated entirely to restoring, preserving, and promoting the town's architectural wonder and integrity.

In addition to its primary purposes, the museum is also used as a major source of providing educational experiences and resources in order to understand Manitou Springs' history and developmental processes.

The museum has various art pieces and exhibitions that describe the life of the people of the town in the past.

With 30 beautifully decorated rooms, Miramont Castle Museum is loaded with original furnishings from the Victorian era.

It also has grounds like the Castle Gardens, which are well-maintained and filled with lush greens.

Located inside the castle, the Queen's Parlour Tea Room adds a modern-day touch while depicting the fancy lifestyle of the past at the same time.

The items served in the tea room are made fresh on a daily basis.

Open to all visitors, Miramonte Castle Museum is a beautiful architectural wonder you should add to your Manitou Springs itinerary.

Take a Walking Tour of the Manitou Springs Heritage Center

Established in the year 1997, the Manitou Springs Heritage Center is a beautiful place situated at the foothills of Pikes Peak.

This is a non-profit awareness and educational center with the major objective of collecting, preserving, researching, and interpreting the town's history and culture.

The Manitou Springs Heritage Center organizes various events around the year.

It also hosts various exhibitions and educational programs, including the famous Ghost Stories of Old Manitou.

The walking tour is led by a "spirit guide," and ghosts of actual Manitou Springs residents come back to tell their tales.

A very insightful and refreshing place in itself, the Manitou Springs Heritage Center is one of the town's must-visit attractions.

The Green Horse Gallery is a paradise for art and craft lovers.

This beautiful gallery is a place where you can grab some handmade pieces of crafts and art.

The gallery maintains a very balanced collection of various featured items as well as local products by small artists.

In addition to the items for sale, the gallery has open exhibitions and showcases beautiful sculptures, paintings, and other works of art.

The Green Horse Gallery is open all throughout the week and is a great place to admire and even shop for paintings, jewelry, sculptures, pottery, and more.

Spot the Famous Graffiti at the Base of the Rainbow Falls

Graffitis on the base of the Rainbow Falls
Ahodges7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A truly majestic waterfall, the Rainbow Falls is a waterfall hidden under a bridge.

This waterfall is also famous for its beautiful graffiti, which is visible at its base.

The Rainbow Falls boasts a perfect collection of beautiful colors and illegal graffiti art.

Frozen Rainbow Falls with graffitis on the rock around it
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Due to its beautiful artistic base, the Rainbow Falls is also known as Graffiti Waterfalls.

This place is perfect if you are looking for a secluded yet beautiful place, as it is not as explored and well-known among visitors as other attractions.

Graffiti around Rainbow Falls
Ahodges7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

However, the Rainbow Falls is famous among locals and is a great place to visit if you are looking forward to meeting them and hearing firsthand accounts about the town and its culture.

Enjoy an Evening of Entertainment at the Iron Springs Chateau Melodrama Dinner Theater

A perfect place to plan your evening and spend it while watching entertaining shows, the Iron Springs Chateau Melodrama Dinner Theater is a very famous place among locals and tourists.

This theater is famous for providing top-quality entertainment content in the town.

From hilarious comedies to serious plays, evenings at the theater are always worthwhile.

The theater is designed in a manner that gives a very old-fashioned vibe.

Suitable for visitors of all ages, the place is great for spending some time with the entire family and having a great meal.

The events start with a meal that comprises three courses and is immediately followed up by a show, drama, or stand-up.

The Iron Springs Chateau Melodrama Dinner Theater is always very lively, as audience participation is always sought by the artist.

You can also join in some musical intermissions or singalong events.

Treat Your Taste Buds to Middle Eastern Delights at the Sahara Cafe

Serving freshly prepared Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, the Sahara Cafe is a beautiful restaurant in Manitou Springs.

Open on all days of the week, the place is great for grabbing lunch and dinner.

The menu items include various salads, dips, non-veg kebabs, shawarmas, and other high-quality dishes.

The dishes are extremely delicious as the ingredients are freshly procured and prepared using traditional recipes.

What makes dining at the Sahara Cafe rather special is that their dinners are cooked using Middle Eastern techniques, which result in unforgettable taste.

You can also plan various events in the restaurant.

Have a Classy Night Out at the Cliff House Dining Room

Entrance of Cliff House Hotel Dining Room
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The Cliff House Dining Room is one of the most famous and exquisite culinary locations in Manitou Springs.

Completely inspired by a romanticized version of history, this restaurant is definitely a beautiful place in the town.

Along with its unbelievable decor, the restaurant is loved for its different approaches to cooking their food.

The place has also won a number of awards for its delicious menu.

One of the premier locations in Manitou Springs, the Cliff House Dining Room is a place filled with great art and timeless food.

Try the Vegan Dishes at Adam's Mountain Cafe

Adam's Mountain Cafe is a beautiful, independent, and uniquely crafted cafe in Manitou Springs.

It has a very antique interior, which is reflected in its furniture as well.

In addition to its beautiful decor, the place also serves global cuisines that mostly follow the belief of slow food.

As a result, most of the dishes produced in the cafe are made using locally produced organic items.

This cafe is different from others as its specialties are mainly vegan and vegetarian items.

However, you can also enjoy non-vegetarian food here.

The cafe's wines and other crafted drinks are also great and go perfectly with the food.

A really beautiful place serving delicious, Adam's Mountain Cafe will definitely be one of your favorite places to eat in Manitou Springs.

Relax with Craft Beers from Manitou Brewing Company

Manitou Brewing Company is located near Pikes Peak.

This small brewing company is one of the best brewpubs in the historic town of Manitou Springs.

The brewery uses the natural waters from Pikes Peak's summit to produce all its beers.

In addition to beer, Manitou Brewing Company also offers other crafted drinks and sides to all diners.

With its local touch, the place and its beer are definitely worth trying.

Take a Scenic Train Ride along the Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway in Manitou Springs
Milan Suvajac, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway is famous as the highest cog railway in the entire world.

Located right in the heart of Manitou Springs, this attraction is housed in the famous Pikes Peak.

This railway company was founded in 1889, which happens to be the year when railroad construction started for the first time.

Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railwayhalted at a station
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Originally, the company had six engines, out of which only one is functional at present.

You can also enjoy a three-hour-long ride that goes on for approximately 8.9 miles.

During the trip, the trains pass through various beautiful areas covered with pine trees.

Outside food is not allowed, so you can also consider enjoying various food options in the Cog Wheel Market.

Visit the Awe-Inspiring Garden of the Gods

Winter at Garden of the Gods
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The Garden of the Gods is a place in the town that you can visit without incurring any costs.

This public park boasts unbelievable scenery and outstanding features.

Scenic view of the Garden of the Gods
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It is a perfect place for enjoying various walking and hiking sprees.

You can also enjoy climbing up the rocks and hills if you are looking for some adventure.

Hiking trail at Garden of the Gods
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The park has three main spots that you should definitely see: the Cathedral Spires, Kissing Camels, and Balanced Rock.

Shop for Art and Local Crafts at Commonwheel Artists Co-op

If you are looking for a place to shop for some metal art in Manitou Springs, Commonwheel Artist Co-op is the place for you.

This small shop sells metal art showcases made by some famous local artists.

All the pieces are made uniquely, so no two pieces are alike.

Commonwheel Artist Co-op is also great if you're looking for some affordable gifting options to commemorate your trip to Manitou Springs.

The co-operative gallery is definitely worth a visit.

Explore the Amazing Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum

Red brick exterior of Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum
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The Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum is a perfect place if you are looking forward to exploring cliff dwellings as authentic and realistic as the ones found in Cortez, Colorado.

Interior of Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

It is an archaeological site that was shifted to Manitous Springs in the 1900s.

A very beautiful and awe-inspiring place, this attraction is a wonder that is not to be missed.

Exhibits at Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum
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Take a Guided Tour of the Valley of the “Boiling” Water

Shoshone Spring in Manitou Springs
Milan Suvajac, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Many love to visit Manitou Springs because of its gorgeous mineral springs.

The town has eight natural springs located throughout the downtown area, and one can easily tour the entire downtown on a beautiful day.

On this tour, you'll find out about the history of the area and its unique connection with the Native Americans who first discovered these amazing springs.

7-Minute Spring in Manitou Springs
Milan Suvajac, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

These famous mineral springs had their source below in a complex network of watery tunnels.

When the ancient water naturally reacts with surrounding sediment, it becomes enriched with carbonic acid.

It's this reaction that produces the spring's defining effervescence.

Stratton spring in Manitou Springs
Milan Suvajac, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The water has such natural pressure that it's forced up from underground springs and consumes some of the distinct characteristics of its surroundings.

Limestone and other minerals like Sodium Bicarbonate (Soda) and even Lithium are dissolved.

Play Classic Arcade Games That Used to Cost Only a Penny

The Manitou Springs Penny Arcade in Colorado Springs is an especially great attraction for first-time visitors.

If you're planning to visit the area, it's worth stopping by this classic arcade with tons of vintage games from years ago.

It was called the Penny Arcade because many of the games used to cost only a penny!

Here, you'll be able to see some arcade machines and pinball machines just like they were back when they first came out.

And there are over 30 racing games and 20 pinball machines for fun as well.

The games at Manitou Springs Penny Arcade can date back over 80 years.

One can find the Arcade just off Main Street with several small buildings having their own different style and feel.

If you're looking for an arcade bursting with history yet packing the latest in retro gaming technology, then look no further than Manitou Springs Penny Arcade.

See Emma Crawford Festival

One of the most well-known Manitou Springs traditions has always been the Coffin Races and Parade.

This festival dates back to 1995, when it first began as a celebration in honor of Emma Crawford.

Emma was one of the earliest settlers who was said to have been buried on a nearby mountain and ridden in coffins pulled by groups of four mourners.

Rumor has it that Emma still haunts Red Mountain, but her grave is not there anymore.

From then till today, this October procession has been put up with great enthusiasm.

The coffin decorating contest and awards for the most creative coffins and best overall entourage make this an exciting festival.

Build Your Own Rock Cairn at the Ute Indian Trail

The Ute Pass Regional Trail connects Colorado Springs to Cripple Creek, passing by Manitou Springs all the way.

The Ute Indian Trail section of the massive trail system passes by the city from the Manitou Incline.

It follows the route of a Native American pathway decades in the past.

But it's not just your ordinary recreational trail.

This one introduces you to Ute history and unique geologic formations within the site through nine interpretive panels.

The trail is also less frequented and less crowded.

It spans 7.5 miles and is an easy route for even newbie hikers to follow!

Everyone traversing the trail is highly encouraged to build their own rock cairns to make the visit more interesting.

The Ute Indian Trail starts at the right corner of the Incline trailhead.

Pass Breathtaking Nature Areas at Adventures Out West Pikes Peak Ziplines

Adventures Out West Pikes Peak Ziplines has your back covered when it comes to all things daring and extreme.

This zipline tour company takes pride in its all-natural setting.

Since 1973, it has been serving the community with adrenaline-fueling adventures—one of the best in the West.

Family-owned and affordable, it takes on group departures for up to 70 people.

Make your zipline trek down the astounding beauty of Manitou Springs by going for an unusual flying position, such as sideways or even upside-down.

You can get to Adventures Out West Pikes Peak Ziplines on Manitou Avenue.

Enjoy a Wine Tasting Session at Manitou Winery

Manitou Winery is your best bet for a distinctive wine-tasting experience in Manitou Springs.

This micro-winery has been around for more than ten years.

It boasts its handpicked grapes and handcrafted blends and fermentation techniques.

It features wine-tasting sessions with no appointment necessary.

And the best part about the winery is its make-your-own-wine services!

You can choose from the wine varietals offered at the site and add your own unique flavor to it.

And while you savor the taste of high-class wine, admire the view of the outdoors with live music accompanying you.

Manitou Winery is at the core of the municipality on Manitou Avenue.

Gather the Whole Family for an Outing at Memorial Park

If you've got time to spare for outdoor fun with the whole family, Memorial Park is the place for you.

This public park shines with wide open spaces for sports and other forms of play.

There's also a covered picnic area and a gazebo for your most intimate gatherings.

Its most charming point is its striking sculptures scattered all over the site.

This park is also available for rent.

You can find Memorial Park on Manitou Avenue.

View the Art Exhibitions at Rockey Art Museum

If your Manitou Springs itinerary lacks some art exploration, be sure to add Rockey Art Museum.

This museum highlights the works and creativity of Charles Rockey.

The building served as his studio for about 35 years.

Now, you can see even some of his earliest works—from double imageries to landscapes and townscapes.

Take a look at Rockey's Magic Mirror and browse through the gallery's custom-made furniture.

When you visit this museum, art is not only exclusive to the ones displayed on the site's walls.

You can even find art in the interior and furnishings of the place, so keep your eyes open.

Rockey Art Museum is on Canon Avenue.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Take a Side Trip to the Pikes Peak Summit House

Rock architecture of Pikes Peak Summit House
BigDaveBo / Shutterstock.com

Located an hour away from Manitou Springs, the Pikes Peak Summit House is a very famous spot in Cascade.

It is popular not only for its remarkable views at the top but also for its surrounding areas.

The place has a nice souvenir shop with an excellent selection of gifts.

In addition, the place also has a small restaurant that is famous for serving some of the best donuts around the world.

The recipes of the donuts are exclusive and suitable only for the terrain in which this town is located.

The great elevation also makes it an ideal place for climbing rocks and enjoying a refreshing breeze.

Final Thoughts

Manitou Springs is known for its small, rustic cottages and shops, making it a great place for anyone looking to enjoy the company of others in a more intimate setting.

This quirky mountain town offers plenty of restaurants and pubs, as well as parks and other great attractions to keep travelers busy.

During the summer months, the town gets quite touristy due to its scenery and the nearby attractions.

If you are planning a trip here, use this list of Manitou Springs's best attractions to create the perfect itinerary.

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