Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Colorado Springs, CO

  • Published 2022/12/14

Colorado Springs is a scenic city nestled on a mesa along the eastern portion of the base of Pikes Peak.

Located in the “Texas of the Rockies,” El Paso County, Colorado Springs, is the second most populous city in the state of Colorado.

It was established in 1871 and was even called “Little London” when it was just a resort town.

Although it is a relatively big city, Colorado Springs offers locals and visitors a comfortable small-town atmosphere, which is why it has been hailed as one of the nation’s best places to live.

With its location beside the country’s most recognizable mountains, Colorado Springs features many natural attractions, making it a favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Downtown, guests can also enjoy all types of historic and entertaining amenities when they visit the city.

This city has so much to offer, from breathtaking sceneries and daring activities to creative facilities and historic sites.

You don’t need to spend all your savings to explore the city with these free things to do in Colorado Springs, Colorado:

Step Back in Time as You Explore Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum

Exterior view of Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum /

You get a glimpse of the region’s early days when you check out the artifacts and artworks at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum.

Based in the old El Paso County Courthouse downtown on Tejon Street, Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum features interesting exhibits that focus on the past of the Pikes Peak area.

Here, you’ll be able to see many types of artifacts, like quilts, pottery, and works of art that reflect the area’s history and culture.

Interior view of Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum

Kit Leong /

Dive into the region’s history and discover how Native Americans influenced the city’s heritage through the exhibits at this museum!

You’ll also discover the city’s agricultural history and the mining industry.

See how life was back when the city was considered a health resort and discover its role in military events.

Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is a must-visit for all history buffs and anyone who wants to learn more about the city.

Interior view of Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum

Kit Leong /

Snap Photos of Starr Kempf’s Metal Sculptures

Strike a pose with the striking Starr Kempf’s Metal Sculptures!

Starr Kempf’s Metal Sculptures are installed on the lawn of the old home of celebrated artist Starr Kempf.

Starr Kempf was an architect and sculptor known for his metalworks which reflected his whimsical side.

You can view these sculptures when you drop by the home on Pine Grove Avenue.

These intricate and stunning sculptures are wind-kinetic, which means they move ever so slightly as the wind blows at them.

Check out these majestic sculptures and take pictures with them.

Since these sculptures are installed within a neighborhood, be sure not to be too boisterous when you pay these iconic artworks a visit.

Take in Jaw-Dropping Views at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center

View of Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center

Paradiseluke /

Set your sights on some of the best views you’ll only be able to see when you are in Colorado Springs at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center.

The Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center is a facility along 30th Street that offers recreational activities and majestic views.

Also known as the Gateway to the Rockies, this center provides you with the best view of the soaring rock formations that stand at around 300 feet!

Trail along the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center

Susan Borsch /

Enjoy the sight of these towering formations seemingly superimposed against the stunning and snowy Pikes Peak.

With the ethereal views from this center, you’d need no explanation as to why this destination is called Garden of the Gods.

You’ll also be able to get maps that will guide you if you explore the outdoor areas and listen in on presentations about the area.

Landscape of Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center

John Hoffman /

Discover How the City Came to Be at Old Colorado City Historical Society & History Center

The Old Colorado City Historical Society & History Center is a must-visit destination if you want some insight into the early days of Colorado Springs.

At this center, you will not only get the chance to check out old photographs and historic artifacts, but they also offer many more resources that will give you the information you need.

The Old Colorado City Historical Society & History Center also has a library filled with historical references that reveal details about the significant events in the history of the city.

Read through the numerous documents in the library or inspect the artifacts on display to learn more about the city’s history.

You can also join the events and workshops here, where you can meet and greet other history buffs and talk about the heritage of Colorado Springs.

If you have some extra cash, stop by their bookstore before you leave to get a small gift for yourself or your loved ones!

See Rare Aircraft and Historic Jets at Peterson Air & Space Museum

Exterior view of Peterson Air & Space Museum

Leoparmr, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Check out planes used in significant historical events when you visit Peterson Air & Space Museum.

Peterson Air & Space Museum is the state’s oldest museum dedicated to aviation and is located along Ent Avenue.

This museum is on the site of the first-ever municipal airfield of the city, making it the perfect destination to get a glimpse of Colorado Springs’ aviation history.

You can roam around the Airpark, an open space anchored by three historic airport buildings.

Air plane exhibited at Peterson Air & Space Museum

Rosemarie Mosteller /

Another place you can go to is the Medal of Honor Park, where you can pay tribute to aircraft operators who received the Medal of Honor for their service to the country.

Perhaps the most exciting part of this museum is the Complex Display, where you can check out historic jets on display.

See fighter jets like the F-104C Starfighter and F-101B Voodoo!

Peterson Air & Space Museum is a must-visit destination for history buffs and aviation enthusiasts.

Hike at Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Landscape of Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Jeff King /

Lace up your hiking shoes and prepare to explore the beauty of nature at Red Rock Canyon Open Space.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space is another go-to destination for outdoor enthusiasts in the city and can be accessed through High Street on Highway 24.

Whether you want to run, jog, or just stroll around a beautiful, open area where you can appreciate scenic views, this is one of the best destinations.

A man hiking the rocks at Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Dawn Minkow /

Here, you can find picnic pavilions, rock climbing areas, and numerous trails that are free to explore!

The trails are ideal for all skill levels.

You can even bring your dogs along on your hike if you keep them on their leash.

Enjoy the captivating view of the Rocky Mountains as you hike Red Rock Canyon Open Space.

Bees collecting nectors from beautiful yellow flowers at Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Brian Kenney /

Explore a Scenic Area with Your Furry Best Friend at Seven Bridges Trail

Spend time outdoors with your beloved dog and discover the beauty of Seven Bridges Trail.

Seven Bridges Trail is one of the most popular pathways in the city and can be accessed through Cheyenne Canyon Road.

Although this path can be challenging at times for beginner hikers, you don’t have to worry about getting too tired since the trail is extremely cool due to the thick foliage around it.

Aside from this, the trail is dog-friendly as long as you keep your furry best friend on a leash!

Enjoy exploring the trail with your dog while admiring the stunning landscape view.

You’ll surely have a memorable experience bonding with your pet when you hike this trail!

Break a Sweat at Palmer Park

Rock formations at Palmer Park

Tracy Immordino /

Keep active and engage in sporting activities when you explore Palmer Park.

Palmer Park is a scenic preserve that can be accessed from Paseo Road.

Although it seems like a wilderness area, this park features amenities that let you and your loved ones play sports.

There are two softball or baseball fields within the park’s premises and a soccer or football field.

Hikers at Palmer Park

Tracy Immordino /

Aside from these, there are also a total of three volleyball courts at this park.

There’s also a playground where younger visitors can hang out and play.

If you want to go for a jog or run, you can also do so here since there are more than 25 miles of scenic trails.

Enjoy the view as you work out and break a sweat at Palmer Park.

Palmer Park during winter

Gary Reinwald /

Check Out Vintage Vehicles, Artworks, and Other Artifacts at Penrose Heritage Museum

Explore a building filled with historic artifacts collected by two renowned citizens when you visit Penrose Heritage Museum.

Penrose Heritage Museum is a popular tourist attraction on Lake Circle.

This museum showcases the personal collection of artifacts of Julie and Spencer Penrose, two known philanthropists from Colorado Springs.

Signage of Penrose Heritage Museum

Rosemarie Mosteller /

The artifacts you can check out here include photographs, artworks, and many types of old-timey vehicles.

Roam around the museum and see all the 30 carriages displayed here.

You can also view the 15 cars used to race in Race to the Clouds, the second oldest event related to motorsports.

There’s also an exhibit where you can take a peek into the Penroses and discover more about the intimate details of their lives.

Relax by the Tranquil Lake at Memorial Park

Scenic view of Memorial Park

ChrisMurray1724 /

Stroll around the scenic lake at Memorial Park and let the picturesque sight of the waters relax you after a busy day.

Located along Pikes Peak Avenue, Memorial Park is a massive open area with a wide range of amenities that guests of all ages can enjoy.

This park houses one of the biggest skateparks in the state, a skating rink, 12 tennis courts, and a whopping 15 fields for football!

The most eye-catching amenity at this park is Prospect Lake, a stunning lake that features a paved trail around it.

Hot air Balloons at Memorial Park

Faina Gurevich /

You can go fishing, swimming, and even paddle boarding with the proper permits.

If you prefer to just chill and hang out by the lake, you can sit on the sand and dip your toes in the water.

Whether you want a fun-filled day or a laid-back afternoon, Memorial Park is the place to be!

Sculptures at Memorial Park

Ernest L Dunbar /

Examine Antique Bikes and Restored Motorcycles at Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum

If you’re into vintage motorcycles and big bikes, you must visit Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum!

Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum is a facility on Tejon Street that has been preserving awesome motorcycles since 1992.

Here, you can check out a wide range of classic motorcycles from the 1900s until the 1970s.

These motorcycles have been restored to their pristine condition and are free to check out.

There are also motorcycle-related memorabilia and other exhibits that show how much motorcycles have developed throughout history.

Whether you’re a history buff or a motorcycle enthusiast, this museum is a must-visit destination.

Enjoy Unparalleled Views of the City at Pulpit Rock Park

View of Pulpit Rock Park

BT Images /

Let the stunning view of the city from Pulpit Rock Park take your breath away!

While you may already feel breathless when you hike toward this park on Garlock Lane, the view you’ll see from the top is definitely worth it!

Pulpit Rock Park is a historic and scenic area that’s considered one of the few destinations with a high altitude but still accessible in the city.

View from the Pulpit Rock

Eia Craun /

When you hike to the top, you’ll see absolutely magnificent views of Pikes Peak, the Rocky Mountains, and all of Colorado Springs.

Be sure to wear the appropriate hiking gear and schedule your visit when it’s sunny since the hike may be dangerous if it is raining or snowy.

Bring your loved ones so you can take pictures of the beautiful sights at this park!

Closer view of Pulpit Rock

Keith Koster /

Appreciate Artworkt at Cottonwood Center for the Arts

Gaze at captivating works of art that will help you become inspired and motivated to create at Cottonwood Center for the Arts.

Located on Colorado Avenue, Cottonwood Center for the Arts is a gallery that features stunning artworks by a diverse group of artists.

Through its exhibits, Cottonwood Center promotes the act of exploring one’s individual side.

When you explore this art center, you can find a massive collection of artworks by over 80 artists.

The exhibits also change throughout the year, so you’ll see more works from different artists if you visit the center regularly.

Get ready to pick up a brush and start working on your artistic creation after you visit this center!

Take Pictures with the Captivating Helen Hunt Falls

Mesmerizing view of Helen Hunt Falls

Hundley Photography /

Feast your eyes on a beautiful natural sight at Helen Hunt Falls.

Accessible through North Cheyenne Canyon Road, Helen Hunt Falls is a stunning waterfall you can check out when you explore the natural environment near it.

This waterfall stands at 35 feet and can be seen even if you’re still in the parking area.

Thick trees around the Helen Hunt Falls

ForestSeasons /

The waterfall is breathtaking, whether you’re experiencing it from the ground or looking down at it from above.

If you want to see it from the ground, you can head to its base and even bring a meal to picnic with your loved ones.

On the other hand, if you want to take pictures of it from above, you can walk towards the bridge on top of the waterfall and see it from a higher angle!

Stream flowing through Helen Hunt Falls

ForestSeasons /

Other Things to Do Nearby

There is so much to explore in Colorado Springs, whether you’re a history buff or an outdoor enthusiast.

If you want to check out other must-see sites, don’t be afraid to venture outside the city and visit this next nearby destination!

Challenge Yourself at the Iconic Manitou Incline

Visitors hiking at Manitou Incline

melissamn /

Test your hiking capabilities and push yourself to the limit at the Manitou Incline!

The Manitou Incline is a popular hiking trail accessible through Ruxton Avenue in Manitou Springs, just 18 minutes away from Colorado Springs.

This trail is considered iconic because it’s incredibly steep, gaining more than 2,000 feet in elevation in less than a mile.

The high increase in elevation exists here because this incline was originally meant for a railway for cable cars.

Snow covered steps at Manitou Incline

Gary Reinwald /

The Manitou Incline is extremely difficult, and many say only professional athletes and veteran hikers could complete the hike in less than 30 minutes.

Despite this, many people frequent this destination just to see if they can take the incline!

Although the hike is strenuous, the views at the top of the incline definitely make it worth it.

Make it to the top, be 8,550 feet up in the sky, and feast on awesome views of Manitou Springs, Colorado Springs, and the Garden of the Gods.

A distant view of the Manitou Incline

Gary Reinwald /

Final Thoughts

Colorado Springs is an excellent place to visit if you want an outdoor adventure, a look into history, or a chance to explore your creativity.

Keep these 15 free things to do in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in mind to make your visit to the city worthwhile.

Prepare to take numerous pictures and make unforgettable memories traveling to this captivating city!

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