30 Best Things to Do in Manitou Springs, CO

Manitou Springs, CO

Manitou Springs, a charming and eclectic town, is beautifully tucked at the foothills of Pikes Peak in Colorado.

Steeped in history, its streets are adorned with Victorian-era architecture, and the mountain air is always fresh and invigorating.

The town's allure is undeniable, consistently drawing visitors back to its unique blend of charm and adventure.

Catering to a diverse range of interests, Manitou Springs offers a rich array of experiences for outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, art lovers, and food aficionados.

This article provides a guide to some of the best things to do in Manitou Springs, Colorado, showcasing the town's beauty and charm from a well-informed perspective.

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We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Sharon Kammerer, Kathleen Tesch, Connie Jewett, Walter Keefe, David Patrick, James Hallum and Arron Oneal.

Hit the Top of Pikes Peak

Thick clouds over Pikes Peak
Overland Photo Co / Shutterstock.com

Trust me, there's no better way to spend a day than driving up to the summit of the iconic Pikes Peak.

Every trip up the mountain is as magical for me as the first time I ventured up this magnificent wonder.

Once you're past the entrance gate, the real fun begins.

It's a surreal experience driving through clouds as the temperature drops, and your anticipation builds.

Make sure to pack warm clothing because when you reach the top, it's a whole different world.

The air is crisp, and the wind whips around you, but the chill is a small price to pay for the breathtaking views that await.

Don't forget to stay hydrated, the dry air and altitude can be quite a surprise to first-timers.

Did you know there's a legend of Bigfoot sightings around here?

Keep your eyes peeled, you might just spot the creature amidst the stunning alpine scenery.

Cars driving up to Pikes Peak
Overland Photo Co / Shutterstock.com

And speaking of scenery, every mile you ascend offers a new awe-inspiring view of reservoirs, trees, rocks, or the surrounding mountains and valleys.

So, make frequent stops and soak in the beauty of it all.

Remember, safety is paramount.

The descent is tricky with tight switchbacks and a mandatory brake check area.

The last thing you want is overheating brakes on this mountainous road.

There's much more than just the drive.

The visitor center at Pikes Peak offers a wealth of information, delicious snacks, and a spectacular 360° view.

For me, walking around the summit, from one information station to another, taking in the splendor of it all, is the best part of the adventure.

Scenic views from Pikes Peak
Overland Photo Co / Shutterstock.com

Meet Local Artists at Commonwheel Artists Co-op

Walking into Commonwheel Artists Co-op, is like stepping into a vibrant world of colors, textures, and creativity.

The walls are lined with a stunning variety of art pieces made with love and passion by local artists, each with their individual style and signature.

It's as if the entire place is a canvas that's brought to life with woodwork, paintings, ceramics, sculptures, and sparkling jewelry.

What I love about this place is that it's not just a store but a co-op run by the artists.

There's a sense of community in every corner.

It's always amazing to interact with the artists, learn about the inspiration behind their work, and even leave with a few original art pieces to display at home.

Every visit feels like a new discovery.

Sometimes, I find myself getting lost in a sea of colors while gazing at the paintings or feeling the intricate texture of the woodwork.

And at other times, I am surprised by the reasonable prices.

Indeed, the value of these high-quality products is much more than the price tag.

The staff members are always friendly and helpful, guiding visitors through their journey of exploring this creative haven.

There's a certain charm in the warm smiles and welcoming attitudes that make you want to return.

The next time you're in town, make sure to visit Commonwheel Artists Co-op – a place that not only celebrates art but also the artists and their craft.

A visit here is more than just shopping; it's an experience that leaves you inspired, with a bag full of beautiful, original art pieces and a heart full of appreciation for our local artists.

Join the Festivities at the Emma Crawford Festival

There's something thrilling about being part of a crowd of 10,000 people, all gathered to watch the infamous Emma Crawford Coffin races.

You're right there, in the thick of it, the energy buzzing around you as you watch the participants gear up for one of the most unique events in the country.

The excitement is palpable, and it's something you'll find at Emma Crawford Festival.

It's the kind of event that draws people from far and wide, but for us who live in the area, it's a yearly tradition we wouldn't miss for the world.

The anticipation starts to build weeks before, and when the day finally arrives, it's a whirlwind of activity.

The whole family loves it, from the kids to the grandparents.

It's a wonderful way to spend a few hours outdoors, surrounded by stunning scenery and an enthusiastic crowd.

The first time I attended the Emma Crawford Festival, I was blown away by how much fun it was.

We laughed, we cheered, we got caught up in the spirit of friendly competition.

It's a memory that will forever be etched in my mind, and now it's a yearly tradition for us to go and have a blast.

But here's a little insider's tip: if you're planning to use the shuttle service after the event, be prepared for a bit of a wait.

That's the only downside to an otherwise fantastic event.

Last time, we ended up grabbing an Uber to get back to our car.

Get Inspired at Rockey Art Museum

There's a certain magic that lingers in the Rockey Art Museum that continues to fascinate me every time I step inside.

Charles Rickey’s humble art studio, now a fully-fledged museum, is a treasure nestled in our neighborhood, a place where art and soul intertwine to create a profound connection for each visitor.

Every painting, every sketched portrait, and every sculpture seem to pulse with Rockey’s passion.

The air within the museum vibrates with an enigmatic energy, almost as though Rockey himself is present, guiding you through his legacy.

While I never had the privilege to meet Rockey in person, his unique spirit and artistry are imprinted all over his former home, a testament to the wonderful man he was.

Admittedly, it was a sorrowful day for our community when we learned of Rockey's passing.

Yet, his essence lives on in the museum and continues to inspire us all.

Even in his absence, his art speaks volumes, resonating with the deepest depths of my soul.

One of my personal favorite experiences in Rockey Art Museum is reading Rockey’s book, “Love Songs of Middle Time,” to my daughter as she grows up.

Every word, every tale, seems to have a magical charm that leaves us in awe.

Hop on Spooky Adventures at the Cave of the Winds Lantern Tour

Interior of Cave of the Winds
Jon Marc Lyttle / Shutterstock.com

There's no shortage of adrenaline-pumping activities in Colorado Springs.

One of my favorites, though, has to be the Lantern Tour at Cave of the Winds.

I still remember the day I decided to take the tour.

There was a chill in the air, an eerie anticipation of the adventure that lay ahead.

I arrived 30 minutes early, just enough time for a quick browse through the gift shop before the tour commenced.

As someone who knows the area, finding parking can be quite a challenge, so I'd recommend getting there early.

My guide for the day was a lively character named Hippie.

His passion for the caves and the history behind them, coupled with his goofy personality, made the entire experience worth it.

Lantern Tour at Cave of the Winds was fascinating.

Though it wasn't very long, the narrow passages and the frequent stops to hear Hippie's spooky tales kept me on my toes.

The way he detailed the caves, with specific attention to their eerie history, sent shivers down my spine.

Though I was a bit disappointed that we couldn't explore more because of safety concerns, it was still a memorable experience.

On one such tour, my guide was Maddie, another unforgettable character.

She had us running on our tippy toes, scaring us to death and making us look like scared little children.

I have to say, I loved it!

The thrill, the adrenaline rush, it was an experience unlike any other.

Zip through the Pikes Peak Wilderness

You won't believe the fun I had with Adventures Out West Pikes Peak Ziplines.

I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie, so I thought I'd try out their ziplines.

It's hard to describe the thrill of zipping through the Colorado wilderness with the wind in your hair and an unspoiled panorama spreading out below.

Five zip lines are set up across the park, each offering a unique view of the stunning Pikes Peak landscape.

Between the zips, some hiking is involved, which only adds to the adventure.

It's not too strenuous, but it's enough to get your heart pumping and your legs moving.

And with each step, the anticipation builds for the next exhilarating zip.

The guides at Adventures Out West Pikes Peak Ziplines are what really make the experience special.

They're lively, funny, and full of stories about the area.

They even taught us some cool zipline tricks, which made the experience even more thrilling.

One evening, they organized a family night complete with s'mores and yard games.

What a fantastic way to wind down after a day of ziplining.

It was the cherry on top of an already perfect day.

If you're looking for a day of fun, exhilaration, and a bit of challenge, I highly recommend Pikes Peak Ziplines.

It's an adventure you won't soon forget.

Step back in Time at Manitou Springs Heritage Center and Museum

I remember the first time I walked into the Manitou Springs Heritage Center and Museum.

It was like stepping back in time.

The space may be small, but it's packed full of history and culture.

You can find exhibits detailing the history of Manitou Springs, its many popular attractions, and even some of the more unique local events, like the famous Hill Climb.

Visiting Manitou Springs Heritage Center and Museum is never a long affair.

I usually spend about 30 to 45 minutes there, but it always feels like a worthwhile pit stop.

I particularly enjoy the small souvenir area, where I can pick up trinkets to share a piece of Manitou Springs with friends and family who live elsewhere.

The museum is also extremely informative.

If you're someone who loves learning, you'll appreciate the wealth of knowledge available here.

You'll find exhibits about individuals who pushed peanuts up Pikes Peak with their noses and a collection of Van Briggle's pottery and art.

If you're interested in local springs, don't forget to pick up a guide.

It includes locations and mineral content, and you can even bring your container to fill at the springs.

Most of them are free and accessible to the public.

Take a Sip at Wheeler Spring

Every morning, I take a stroll down to Wheeler Spring.

There's a unique charm about this drilled mineral spring that dates back to 1920.

The trail leading to the spring adds a dash of adventure to my daily routine.

It's not too strenuous, just enough to get the heart pumping.

The view of the town from the top is worth the early rise and the slight sweat.

The moment you take a sip of its naturally carbonated waters, you know you are tasting a piece of history.

It has a slight salty tinge to it, but that's what makes it memorable.

I'm not saying it's everyone's cup of tea, but it's an experience worth trying.

I've seen folks filling up bottles to take home, and some even claim the water has healing properties.

It's fascinating to see how this spring draws in people from all walks of life.

What adds to the charm of Wheeler Spring is the welcoming community that surrounds it.

The town is filled with friendly souls always ready to share a story or lend a hand.

It's a quiet, peaceful place where everyone knows each other.

Experiencing the camaraderie in town and the uniqueness of Wheeler Spring has enriched my life in ways I could never have anticipated.

Explore the Depths at Cave of the Winds Mountain Park

Landscape of Cave of the Winds Mountain Park
magraphy / Shutterstock.com

Ah, the wonder of nature! The Cave of the Winds Mountain Park, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Colorado, is a place I often find myself drawn towards.

Tucked away near the quaint town of Manitou Springs, it's the perfect spot for a day out.

One of the things that I enjoy about this place is the multitude of tour options it offers.

From spelunking zip-lining to ropes courses, there's something for everybody.

On a sunny day, I often find myself strapping on a helmet and descending into the cool depths of the cave.

There's nothing quite like the thrill of spelunking, and the Cave of the Winds Mountain Park offers one of the best experiences.

The guides are knowledgeable, and their storytelling adds a nice touch to the historical aspect of the cave.

Trail at Cave of the Winds Mountain Park
Gennady Zakharin / Shutterstock.com

What makes the experience even more unique is the lantern tour.

It's not for the faint-hearted, but it's definitely worth it.

It’s like stepping back in time as you navigate through the cave with only the glow of the lantern to guide you.

The shadows dancing on the cave walls, the occasional drip of water from stalactites, and the crisp cave air all add to the immersive experience.

After the tour, I often unwind on the patios, taking in the beautiful views that the park offers.

And for those who enjoy mementos or are looking for gifts, the onsite gift shop offers a variety of unique items.

Hike through on the Ute Pass Trail

There's no better way to spend a sunny Saturday than hiking the historic Ute Pass Trail.

This lightly used path, nestled next to The Incline in Manitou, is steeped in rich history and offers some of the most spectacular views of the Box Canyon and my charming hometown of Manitou.

From the trail, the sights of our quaint little town and the expansive landscapes to the east are simply breath-taking.

Every time I tackle the switchbacks starting from the east trailhead, it's a challenge that's always worth it.

With an elevation gain of almost 2000 feet, it's certainly no walk in the park.

But the reward? Unparalleled panoramas that make every step worth it.

Remnants of our town's past are also scattered along this trail.

Ute Pass Trail is a testament to the native people who lived here before the major roads were built, as they used it as a route up the canyon.

As I traverse the route, I always make it a point to pause and read the informative signs that detail its rich history.

For those looking for a longer adventure, the Ute Pass Trail also connects with other trails in the Pikes Peak area.

It's an absolute delight to hike or even plan a backpacking trip here.

I usually prefer to take this trail for a run or a bike ride, even though the lower portion of the hike runs along dirt roads and isn't single-track.

It's a different experience but equally enjoyable.

And, of course, the option to continue from the top of the Incline is always there for those days when I'm brimming with extra energy.

Catch the Coffin Races at Wheeler Town Clock Park

Every day, I find myself drawn to the comforting rhythms of the Wheeler Town Clock Park, which is nestled right in the heart of Manitou Springs.

The park may be small, but its charm is far from insignificant.

Despite being situated at the center of a bustling intersection, the clock park serves as a tranquil oasis amidst the everyday hustle and bustle.

As I stroll through Wheeler Town Clock Park, the vibrant splashes of green grass underfoot and the quaint charm of the clock tower never fail to lift my spirits.

Its soothing ticks and tocks punctuate the air, putting a neat rhythm to my thoughts.

The park is always alive, with visitors milling about, the local shops brimming with an eclectic mix of curiosities, and the town itself exuding an irresistible charm that's hard to ignore.

One of the joys of living here is the annual Emma Crawford coffin races, a unique event that draws crowds from all corners of the state.

The weather is just perfect, and as the parade kicks off, the entire town comes alive.

The sight of folks lined up in their cool costumes, eager for the races to begin, is a spectacle that makes the whole town feel like one big happy family.

The only thing that can be a bit of a damper is the parking.

It can be quite challenging to find a spot, especially during peak hours.

But even that seems like a small price to pay for the joy of being part of such a vibrant and eclectic town.

After all, inconvenience is often a small trade-off for charm, and Manitou Springs, with its Wheeler Town Clock Park at its heart, has charm in abundance.

Enjoy a Night of Laughs at Iron Springs Chateau Dinner Theater

After a long week, sometimes all you need is a good laugh.

That's exactly what you'll get at the Iron Springs Chateau Dinner Theater.

Nestled in the heart of my hometown, this cheery dinner theater is a real treasure, offering old-fashioned comedic melodramas and hearty American eats.

The first time I visited the Chateau, I was hooked.

The cast's energy is infectious; each plays a veritable rollercoaster of chuckles and guffaws.

Their excellent crowd interaction gives every performance a personal touch - a dash of spontaneity that makes every visit a unique experience.

If you're lucky, you might even find yourself a part of the show!

On my latest visit, I decided to try the food as well.

The salmon was a pleasant surprise - perfectly cooked and deliciously seasoned.

But the real star of the evening was the melodrama.

The campy humor, the over-the-top characters, the cleverly hidden topical jokes - it was all just delightful.

And let's not forget the amazing piano player who added the perfect soundtrack to our laughter-filled evening.

Six visits later, my love for this place hasn't waned.

It's just one of those places where good times are guaranteed.

Whether you're after a night of rib-tickling comedy or a place to enjoy a hearty meal, the Iron Springs Chateau Dinner Theater has you covered.

Feel the Breeze on Your Skin at the Pikes Peak Summit Complex

People at Pikes Peak Summit Complex
Rosemarie Mosteller / Shutterstock.com

There's something magical about being 14,000 feet high in the sky, and nothing captures this grandeur better than the Pikes Peak Summit Complex.

You haven't truly experienced Colorado until you've visited this place.

The unpredictable weather and chilling winds are a part of the thrill when you're on top of Pikes Peak, but having a space to retreat and warm up is a gift.

The moment you step inside the complex, it's a world unto itself.

Spacious and accommodating, it presents a comforting contrast against the rugged outdoors.

Among the conveniences it offers, I found the restrooms, café, gift shop, and museum to be particular standouts.

This might sound a bit cliché, but do yourself a favor and try the cinnamon sugar donuts from the café.

Trust me; there's nothing quite like biting into a warm, fresh donut while taking in the sweeping views of the mountains.

And that's not all there is to the café - the food, albeit a bit overpriced, is worth the experience.

The Pikes Peak Summit Complex isn't just a haven from the cold, though.

It's also home to a fascinating museum filled with photographs and intriguing facts about the peak.

It’s a treasure trove for anyone interested in the history and geography of this place.

Now, as someone who's made the trip up Pikes Peak numerous times, I can attest to the unpredictable nature of the weather.

But that's what makes it an experience - and an unforgettable one at that.

And remember, no matter how capricious the weather might be outside, inside the complex, it's always comfortable.

One thing to note, though, if you're a smoker or have asthma or COPD, I recommend bringing a can of oxygen with you.

The altitude can be quite a challenge.

But in return, you'll be rewarded with some of the most stunning pictures, arguably better than those you could capture at the Grand Canyon!

Grab a Pint at Manitou Brewing Company

I've been living around Manitou for a while now, and some days, all one needs is a frosty pint and a juicy burger to cap off the day.

That’s my cue to head on over to Manitou Brewing Company.

Nestled in a woodsy building with a leafy patio, it's the perfect spot to unwind after a hike up the Manitou Incline.

And let me tell you, their beer is a dream come true for any beer enthusiast!

They offer a handful of outlandish flavors, but they also make sure to pay homage to the traditional ales and lagers.

My personal favorites? The strawberry nitro blonde and a mango variant.

Just reading the descriptions of them on the menu makes your mouth water.

And when you taste them, it's like a party in your mouth!

Now, don’t get me started on the food at Manitou Brewing Company.

The regular pretzel bites are good enough to make your taste buds dance.

But if you love garlic as much as I do, the garlic pretzel bites are just next level.

The truffle fries, lightly tossed in truffle oil, are above average.

They have this unique taste that keeps you reaching for more.

Vegetarians and vegans don’t have to worry, either.

They have a pretty solid veggie burger on offer.

But if you’re not on a plant-based diet, let me tell you, their burgers are just to die for!

A word about the staff is also in order.

They are friendly, patient, and always ready to share a joke or two.

Great people, great atmosphere, and great food - what more could a local ask for?

But here’s the thing – not every experience is perfect.

Sometimes, the beer might not be as cold as you’d like, or might even be a bit flat.

However, the ambiance, service, and fantastic truffle fries more than make up for it.

Feast Your Senses at Seven Minute Spring Park

On any given day, you'll find me unwinding at my favorite local spot, Seven Minute Spring.

I've always been drawn to its charming small park and the larger one it's nestled next to.

It's the perfect blend of tranquil nature and whimsical artistry.

I often start my visit by filling up a couple of water bottles from the mineral water spring.

There's something about the crisp, fresh taste of this water that's invigorating, and it's one of the unique features that sets this park apart.

After all, it's not every day you stumble upon a park with a drinkable spring!

Next, I make my way to the gazebo.

It might seem like just another park feature, but it's always been a special place for me.

I love how it provides a bit of shelter from the Colorado sun while still offering an amazing view of the surrounding beauty.

The sculpture garden at Seven Minute Spring Park is a sight to behold.

The playful sculptures peppered throughout the park add a touch of whimsy to the serene surroundings.

You often find me on one of the comfortable benches, book in hand, with a sculpture or two in my view.

As the day turns into evening, the park transforms into an informal amphitheater.

This is when I love to sit back and watch the world go by.

It's a great place for people-watching, and there's always something interesting happening.

However, be advised to plan your visit before twilight.

The park tends to attract some less desirable visitors after dark.

But during the day, it's nothing short of an urban oasis.

Get Refreshed at Twin Springs

Oh, the Twin Springs!

It is the place that has been quenching my thirst with its mesmerizing mineral water for over a decade.

It's my secret spot, my ultimate hydration station.

I relish every sip of its naturally carbonated water, especially during the scorching summers.

Just add a squeeze of lemon, and there you have it - the most refreshing homemade lemonade.

It's true; the magical water here has a knack for holding onto the carbonation for a surprisingly long time.

For a first-time visitor to Manitou, I would say, if you're aiming for a place to fetch water, make Twin Springs your destination.

The bronze font of this popular mineral spring, drilled back in the 1920s, doesn't just serve up a drink, it serves an experience.

Now, if you're not quite used to spring water, I suggest mixing it with 7 Minute Spring water for a smoother transition.

But I guarantee once you've tasted the water from this spring, you'll find it hard to settle for anything else.

It's not just about drinking, though.

I've been using Twin Springs water for cooking as well.

And let me tell you, it certainly adds a unique hint of freshness to the food.

In short, no matter the purpose, Twin Springs is definitely the place to be when it comes to water.

Celebrate Precious Moments at the Cliff House Dining Room

Entrance of Cliff House Hotel Dining Room
Suzie T from Raleigh, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you're searching for a taste of upscale New American cuisine, the Cliff House Dining Room is worth exploring.

Located in a historic hotel, the Cliff House is synonymous with a cozy, romantic ambiance and offers the bonus of outdoor dining.

I remember celebrating my anniversary here.

The excitement was palpable as we stepped into the dining room.

The sweet potato gnocchi was absolutely delicious, and we admired the well-spaced courses despite the lengthy waiting time.

To make amends, the staff offered us dessert and a cocktail, but they only covered one dessert and gave us a single cocktail to share.

Take in Serenity at Stratton Spring

When it comes to finding peace in a bustling city, Stratton Spring stands out.

A simple stroll along the winding paths of Manitou Springs, a stone's throw from my doorstep, leads me straight to this haven of tranquility.

It's more than just a spring, it's a testament to the city's vibrant history and natural beauty.

In fact, this sparkling mineral water spring was drilled way back in 1936.

Just a few steps away, a magnificent sculpture by a local artist stands guard, seamlessly blending the man-made artistry with the charm of nature.

Every time I pass by it, I can't help but marvel at the craftsmanship that went into creating this masterpiece.

But of course, the real star of the show is the natural sparkling water that flows from Stratton Spring.

I've tried the water at all the other springs, but Stratton's has a unique flavor that can't be replicated.

It's the kind of taste that has the power to refresh not just your palate but also your soul.

It's not just me who loves this spot, though.

If you're ever in Manitou Springs and feel adventurous enough, you can join the other brave souls who taste the water right from the source.

It's a unique experience that I recommend to anyone visiting my city.

What makes my visits even more enjoyable is the knowledge that every detail here tells a story.

I’ve been fortunate enough to learn these tales from the friendly locals who are more than happy to share stories about each building that surrounds the spring.

There's just something about the place that brings people together.

Whether it's the soothing ambiance, the shared love for the spring, or the stories that weave us together, Stratton Spring remains my favorite spot in Manitou Springs.

Have a Family Time at Memorial Park, Manitou Springs

Stepping out of my front door and walking down the street, I'm greeted by the familiar sight of the Memorial Park in Manitou Springs.

This park is a great spot to unwind after wandering through Manitou Springs, a charming town known for its unique architecture and entertaining cultural scene.

Take a moment to visit Manitou Springs and its delightful array of shops featuring a wide range of items that cater to all tastes.

The park is situated right by Fountain Creek, where the cool breeze is always a welcome refreshment.

It's a real treat to sit by the water's edge, breathe in the clear air, and watch my fellow locals and visitors enjoy the park.

For those with children, the park features a playground that keeps the little ones entertained.

However, I must admit, the playground could benefit from a bit of sprucing up.

Parking has never been an issue for me, but for those who drive in, the park provides free parking for the first half an hour.

After that, it's a reasonable $3.5 an hour.

If you're lucky, you might even find a spot right by the park.

One aspect of the park that I particularly love is its proximity to the creek, even though it's fenced off for safety.

The half-shade condition of the park offers a respite from the hot sun, which is particularly nice on those scorching summer days.

Just a stone's throw away, you can find a mineral spring faucet, a unique feature that adds to the park's appeal.

Start Your Day at Steamboat Rock

I've lost count of the times I've found myself at Steamboat Rock, it's become a weekly ritual.

It’s my fortress of solitude, my little getaway from everything mundane.

The views alone are breathtaking; you feel like you've stumbled into a painting.

The biggest secret? Get there early.

You'll beat the crowds, and the early morning light paints the rock in such a way that it feels like you've discovered it for the first time.

Even after being a regular visitor for over a decade, that feeling never gets old.

A lot of people make the mistake of just driving by, thinking that a quick glance from the road would suffice.

However, they're missing the point - it's not just about the rock, it's about the experience.

The short hike from the parking lot to the rock, the smell of the fresh air, and the sound of nature enveloping you - that's what makes it worth getting out of your car and walking around.

What's more, it's not just the rock that's worth a visit.

The surrounding Garden of the Gods park is a treasure trove of natural beauty, and hiking from other parts of the park to Steamboat Rock is a journey I've always enjoyed.

October visits are my favorite.

The weather is agreeably cool, the trees artistically change their colors, and the crowd is minimal.

It feels like I have the whole place to myself, and it's just pure bliss.

Step back in Time at the Miramont Castle Museum

Miramont Castle Museum
John Howard Kohn / Shutterstock.com

Once in a while, I treat myself to a day of history and high tea at the Miramont Castle Museum.

This 1895 chateau is a charming architectural medley featuring historical artifacts and a delightful tea room.

As you walk through the rooms, you'll find yourself transported to different eras and narratives.

The locked-away original wallpaper laced with arsenic is a particularly intriguing exhibit.

The Queen's Parlour Tea Room is another jewel of the castle.

While it may seem a little pricey at $45 per person, I promise you the delectable food and refreshing tea make it worth every penny.

The servers are always attentive, ensuring your tea cup never runs dry.

The atmosphere is delightful, with soft lighting and vintage decor that adds to the overall charm of the experience.

After a sumptuous High Tea, I like to take a leisurely stroll around the verdant castle grounds.

The serenity of the landscape, paired with the gentle murmur of the fountains, makes for a peaceful afternoon retreat.

The weather in Colorado Springs usually complements the experience, making it even more pleasant.

However, the castle tour isn't included in the High Tea package and costs an additional $14 per person.

Although it's not as grand as European castles, the Miramont Castle Museum has its unique charm.

From a room dedicated to the Nuremberg trials to another showcasing a firefighter exhibit and the living quarters of former inhabitants, the exhibits can feel a bit disjointed.

However, the informative signs and displays more than make up for it, giving you a rich understanding of the history and narrative behind each exhibit.

Whenever I'm in Manitou and eager for an aesthetic treat, I find myself drawn to the Green Horse Gallery, a real gem in our town.

It's the perfect spot to immerse oneself in the world of art, to lose track of time appreciating an incredible assortment of multimedia artworks.

You can explore more about this place on their website, Green Horse Gallery.

Just stepping through the door feels like entering into a different universe - one where creativity reigns supreme.

The walls are adorned with spectacular works of art, ranging from pricey paintings to more affordable prints.

The variety of pieces on display is astounding — it's never just a quick browse for me.

Every piece seems to tell a story waiting to be unraveled.

The true charm of this gallery, however, lies in its uniqueness.

Each masterpiece is a one-of-a-kind creation, making it an absolute delight to explore, as no two visits are ever the same.

What's more, their offerings make for some amazing gifts!

I've often walked out with a beautiful piece of artwork tucked under my arm, delighted at the prospect of gifting something so exquisite without breaking the bank.

The Green Horse Gallery is more than just a shop - it's a treasure trove of beautiful masterpieces waiting to be discovered.

Have a Quiet Retreat at Schryver Park

Just when you think you've seen it all in Manitou Springs, you stumble upon a hidden gem like Schryver Park.

Tucked away just off a bustling intersection, this park is a delightful surprise nestled in the heart of our busy town.

It's more than just a park - it's a community sanctuary that has recently undergone a facelift.

The new informative signs are clean and easy to read, while the benches, lighting, bridges, and trails circling the pond and island have been given a much-needed refresh.

I often find myself sitting on these well-maintained benches, simply soaking in the serene environment or enjoying a leisurely stroll along the trails.

What makes Schryver Park stand out from the rest is its commendable efforts to cater to everyone in our community.

The park is completely fenced, making it the perfect spot for my neighbor's special needs child to play safely.

It's heartwarming to see how the park can bring such joy to his life.

But Manitou Springs is not just for quiet contemplation or safety.

It also offers fun for the little ones.

My niece adores the playground, always buzzing with excitement whenever she visits.

The park's proximity to the public pool and gym is an added bonus for those looking to incorporate a little fitness into their day.

Schryver Park is also a popular spot for group gatherings.

A few friends and I recently had a spontaneous picnic there, and we found some fantastic spots.

We were surrounded by the peace and quiet of nature, even though we were in the heart of the town.

Hop on a Scenic Ride on The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway

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

Believe me when I say the ride on The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway should be on your bucket list if you're looking for a unique adventure.

Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, this cog railway ride up to the top of Pikes Peak offers a stunning view that has been entertaining people since 1891.

This journey is nothing short of breathtaking.

As the train climbs, the landscape changes dramatically, providing a new vista around every turn.

The tour guide ensures that the trip is not only visually stimulating but also informative, sharing exciting tidbits about the area's history, railways, and wildlife.

It's an engaging experience that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Now, don't underestimate the altitude.

It might take a toll on you, especially if you're not accustomed to such heights.

But don't worry; the railway station has got you covered with canned oxygen available for purchase.

Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railwayhalted at a station
Michael Vi / Shutterstock.com

My parents often use these on our family trips up the mountain, and I've seen firsthand how helpful they can be.

This thoughtful provision ensures that everyone can enjoy this spectacle comfortably.

One of the most awe-inspiring parts of The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway is reaching the summit of Pikes Peak.

Who could forget the first time they heard that 'America the Beautiful' was inspired by the view from this peak?

When you stand there yourself, taking in the view, it's not hard to understand why.

I've witnessed this view countless times, and it never ceases to amaze me.

The facilities at the top are top-notch, from the fresh donuts to the clean restrooms.

It's clear that the staff takes great pride in maintaining the station.

And the hot chocolate there, oh, it's the best way to warm up on a cool mountain day.

Have a Date Night at Sahara Cafe

Sometimes, when the craving for Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine hits, there's only one place in my mind - Sahara Cafe.

It's not just about the food, which is, by the way, a delightful medley of flavors and textures, it's also about the whole experience.

The last time my partner and I had a spontaneous date night, we decided to stop by our old favorite.

The moment we walked in, we were surprised to see how everything had been updated.

The dishes we used to love were even better, with bigger portions and so much flavor.

I mean, it's not every day that you find a place that improves over time, especially during these crazy times of inflation.

The service was outstanding.

Despite it being a slow night, the staff was attentive, fun, and friendly.

They genuinely cared about our experience and ensured we were well taken care of.

This level of service is a rarity these days, and it truly sets Sahara Cafe apart.

The one minor downside was that the hummus was a bit creamy for our taste, it had lost some of its traditional texture.

However, the pita bread was spot-on, and the meat was well-seasoned.

Have an Artful Culinary Experience at Adam’s Mountain Cafe

When I'm in the mood for some hearty, vegetarian fare, I know just the place to go - Adam’s Mountain Cafe.

Nestled in the heart of Manitou Springs since 1985, this quaint bar and eatery has become a cornerstone of the local dining scene.

The moment you step into the cafe, you're greeted by a warm, homey ambiance that seems to hum with the rich history of the town.

The walls adorned with local art pieces only add to this charm, making for a delightfully artistic dining experience.

Adam’s Mountain Cafe serves mainly vegetarian dishes, but don't let that deter you.

Even as a non-vegetarian, I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of flavorsome options on their menu.

I remember the first time I tried their avocado toast and blueberry lavender kombucha and thinking how refreshing a change it was from my typical meat-based meals.

Their homemade desserts are a treat for the senses.

On my last visit, I ordered their Sticky Toffee dessert and savored every bite.

It was the perfect sweet ending to a fulfilling meal.

One unique aspect about this place is that they serve breakfast options for lunch as well!

I personally recommend the Runners special pancakes.

And if you're a pasta lover, don't miss out on their Lasagna.

It's true that the cafe is a bit on the pricey side, but considering the quality of the food and the charming environment, I think it's worth every penny.

Plus, they offer a range of drink specials, ‘Juice of the Day’, and wine bottle specials, which add a fun element to the whole experience.

Go Wine Tasting at Manitou Winery

Every day feels like a special occasion when you visit Manitou Winery.

Imagine a place where you can relax, taste exquisite wines, and even try your hand at creating your own blend.

This charming winery, nestled in the heart of our community, is that place.

My visits to Manitou always begin with a sampling of their wines.

They have a delightful selection that caters to every palate.

Their Caramel Apple Riesling is a must-try, with delicate notes of apple and creamy caramel that dance on the tongue.

The Pumpkin Spice Moscato, on the other hand, is a delightful treat that wraps you in the comforting flavors of the season.

And if you're a fan of bolder flavors, the Raspberry Pinot Noir and Blackberry Merlot won't disappoint.

Beyond the wine, Manitou Winery is a treasure trove of trinkets and wine-related gifts.

From elegant wine glasses and bottle openers to unique decor items, there's always something new to discover during each visit.

It's the perfect place to find a unique gift for a loved one or a little something for yourself.

But a visit to Manitou is about more than just the wine and the shopping.

It's about the overall experience.

The outdoor seating area is a dream, offering a beautiful and tranquil atmosphere that's just perfect for savoring a glass of wine.

Journey through Time at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Red brick exterior of Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

Who knew that an afternoon wandering through a piece of ancient history could be so captivating?

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings is not your average tourist spot.

This is where I often find myself spending my weekends, immersed in the wonder of these preserved structures dating back to 1200.

As you roam the property, you can't help but marvel at the astonishing 360-degree views that offer a glimpse into the grandeur of nature.

From the peaks of the towering cliffs to the wide expanse of the horizon, each vista is an unforgettable memory etched into the landscape.

The dwellings themselves are a labyrinth of history, each corner filled with stories of a time long gone.

The freedom to explore at my own pace is something I particularly love about this place.

It's like walking back in time, hands brushing against the rough cliff face where centuries-old narratives are carved.

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

Attached to these cliffs, you'll find a multi-level museum.

Don't let its size fool you.

While it might seem small, it houses a myriad of ancient artifacts, tools, and replicas that reflect the rich tapestry of prehistoric Native American life.

I often lose track of time, absorbed in the fascinating tales these objects tell.

Indulging in a bit of retail therapy at the gift shop, which is conveniently connected to the museum, is always a highlight.

Their collection ranges from local crafts to one-of-a-kind souvenirs, a perfect way to remember this unique experience.

But perhaps the most endearing aspect of my visits to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings is its warm, dog-friendly environment.

The staff truly goes above and beyond, greeting my furry companion with treats and making him feel just as welcome as I do.

Exhibits at Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

Other Things to Do Nearby

Have a Picnic at Rainbow Falls

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

What does a day at the heart of nature look like? For me, it looks like Rainbow Falls.

Nestled in the scenic landscapes of El Paso County, this low-key hiking trail is my escape from the city's hustle-bustle.

It's just not any ordinary hiking trail; it's a paradise that features a graceful waterfall, swimming pools, and picnic areas.

I remember my summer visits to this place vividly.

The memories of the sun shimmering through the trees and the sound of the cascading waterfall are etched in my mind.

Parking is a bit hard to find, but that's the beauty of it.

The place remains uncrowded, making the experience even more serene.

Rainbow Falls is indeed an oasis during the summer, and the swimming pools are a cool retreat to beat the heat.

Frozen Rainbow Falls with graffitis on the rock around it
Mike Blanchard / Shutterstock.com

Picnicking under the shadow of the towering trees is a delightful experience.

The picnic areas are well maintained with tables set up, making it a nice place to relax for a couple of hours.

I usually pack some homemade sandwiches, and the natural ambiance makes them taste even better.

Another exciting aspect of Rainbow Falls is the offroading trails.

It's quite the adrenaline rush!

Mini Moab, The Gulches, and Schubert’s Loop are some of my favorite trails.

Taking my Jeep Rubicon through these challenging trails has always been a thrilling experience.

Just make sure to have a full tank of fuel, some food/snacks, and lots of drinks before you set off for these trails.

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

Go Rock Climbing at Garden of the Gods

Winter at Garden of the Gods
John Hoffman / Shutterstock.com

There's nothing quite like waking up early, grabbing a mug of steaming coffee, and heading out to Garden of the Gods.

As the sun rises over the sandstone formations, it's a reminder of the awe-inspiring power of Mother Nature and a sight I am fortunate to see often.

Unlike many parks, Garden of the Gods has 1,300 acres of unique sandstone formations that offer endless viewing pleasures.

The paths here are well-maintained and easy to navigate, making it the perfect place for morning jogs or leisurely walks.

If you prefer rock climbing, you can do so with a permit—it's an amazing experience that I've been fortunate to try a few times.

Weekends are usually bustling with families, pet owners, and outdoor enthusiasts who come to experience nature at its best.

But it's the weekdays, when it's quiet and serene, that I love the most.

Scenic view of the Garden of the Gods
John Hoffman / Shutterstock.com

The silence is only broken by the occasional chattering of birds, the rustling of leaves, and the soft crunch of gravel underfoot.

If you're lucky, you might encounter some of the local wildlife.

Not only is the park great for outdoor activities, but the visitor center is also worth checking out.

They have a lot of informative displays that teach you about the history of the park and the unique geology of the area.

And the best part?

The park is free and open to the public, a wish of the original landowner that has been respected and upheld.

Hiking trail at Garden of the Gods
Vineyard Perspective / Shutterstock.com

Final Thoughts

Living in Manitou Springs has been a delight.

The charm of this small mountain town is truly captivating.

From the stunning vistas of Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods to the fascinating history housed in places like the Manitou Springs Heritage Center and Museum, there's no end to the enchantment this place offers.

It's an ongoing love affair with the mountains, the arts, and the simple pleasures of small-town life.

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