This is a living guide to Colorado Springs, and it’s by no means exhaustive. As time goes on, we’ll add more favorite natural wonders, restaurants, breweries, cultural locations, and unusual little spots to the list.
We enjoy living and working in Colorado Springs. We could probably spend a year writing a guide like this, and we wouldn’t even come close to exploring everything, either. Who has? If you have a suggestion or addition for the guide, you can contact us.
If you’re new to Colorado Springs, this link will take you halfway down to the page to our “new to the area” section. There, you’ll learn about a few things you can do to avoid some serious headaches. You’ll get used to Colorado Springs life in no time, but there are a few mistakes many newcomers make. We want to help make your new home as enjoyable as possible.
And If you’re a homeowner in the “Old North End Neighborhood” be sure to download the Interpretive Guide from oldnorthend.org. It helps to support North End historic preservation and design, as well as providing general guidelines for homes. You can access the guide, here.
Garden of the Gods
Where can we start with Garden of the Gods? Its official website says, “Where else can you eat inside a postcard?” We have to agree. There’s a reason there are always so many people there.
Garden of the Gods provides a bounty of natural wonders and activities and it’s right in your backyard. Not taking advantage of it doesn’t make sense! In fact, it’s been voted the #1 city park in the USA. There’s plenty of biking, hiking, and climbing to keep active people busy, but there really is an activity for everyone here.
- Biking (if it’s your first time, check here before you mount up)
- Jeep Tours
- World-class rock climbing
- Nature talks
- Nature walks
- Visitor Center with plenty of activities
Garden of the Gods is completely family friendly, too. Even if you’ve lived in Colorado Springs your entire life, there’s always something new to explore at this national treasure.
Journey Up Pikes Peak
If you’re new to the area, you owe it to yourself to drive or take the cog train up Pikes Peak. Even if you’re a Colorado Springs native, you should remind yourself of the amazing place you live with a leisurely drive or train ride every now and again.
Pikes Peak Cog Railway is the highest cog railway– with an average grade of 12%, it climbs 14,115 feet. It’s a relaxing way to take in some amazing views because the train does all the work for you. You can make reservations here.
Helen Hunt Falls and Cheyenne Canyon
Cheyenne Canyon offers visitors a beautiful drive, and it’s absolutely free. There’s plenty to do in North Cheyenne Cañon Park, but we especially recommend Helen Hunt Falls. Named for a brilliant American poet and human rights activist, it’s a gorgeous sight that offers about 30 parking spots and a short hike to Silver Cascade Falls.
There are many other hiking opportunities in the area, too. This guide at EveryTrail.com is a great starting point. No matter where you go, it’s sure to take your breath away.
The Air Force Academy Chapel
From the Air Force’s website:
“The Cadet Chapel is the most popular man-made attraction in Colorado, with more than a half million visitors every year.”
With its 17 spires,The Air Force Academy Chapel is an amazing building. It’s a US National Historic Landmark and a highly regarded example of modernist architecture. It’s a unique building, and you won’t see anything like it anywhere else. It also gives newcomers a great feeling for the military-centric nature of our city, which is a treasured part of our community.
You can learn more and seek out visitor information here.
The Annual Labor Day Lift Off
The Annual Labor Day Lift Off is one of the best hot air balloon festivals in the country. As of this writing, it’s been a fixture in Colorado Springs for 39 years, and we’re looking forward to many more.
The balloons glow at night, which provides an incredible experience– it’s almost as good as watching the balloons lift off in the morning. With balloon rides, skydiving, live music, and great food, the Labor Day Lift Off is one of our favorite yearly traditions.
For more information,including a full balloon gallery, click here.
The Olympic Training Center
The United States Olympic Training Center, also known as the US Olympic Complex, is the flagship training center for the Olympic Committee and Training Center programs. It houses the national headquarters of both the Olympic swimming and shooting teams.
It’s a 35-acre complex near the downtown area, and it features facilities for fencing, swimming, gymnastics, judo, shooting, weightlifting, and more. The Training Center also houses state-of-the-art science and medical facilities.
Basically, what we’re saying is– if you’re interested in the Olympics, or even sports, you should visit the complex and let the awe wash over you. There are plenty of guided tours available every day.
More information here.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Located along Highway 24, the Red Rock Canyon Open Space offers a less crowded version of Garden of the Gods. Sometimes you want to bask in the glory of nature, but you can do without the crowd– that’s why this attraction is a favorite for locals.
It offers climbing, hiking, biking, equestrian access, and paragliding, but also hosts many local event. It’s a popular place for photographers, too. You can find more information on trails here.
If you visit the Red Rock Canyon Open Space and fall in love, you can always lend a hand and help keep it beautiful.
We wrote about why we love Manitou Springs in this post, but here’s a summary.
The public mineral water fountains are one-of-a-kind. You won’t find anything like them in other urban areas. The Penny Arcade is a great place for family outings because it offers plenty of classic pinball machines and video games.
Manitou Springs also boasts amazing and unusual food, visual art, and music. It’s a popular tourist destination, but the locals who live there keep the rest of us in mind with their restaurants, shops, and galleries.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo offers extensive African wildlife habitats to share a taste of the exotic with visitors; but it boasts some amazing Rocky Mountain habitats, as well. There’s no better opportunity to get up close and personal with the creatures of Colorado.
The Zoo offers tours, wildlife conservation lessons, nights at the Zoo, classes and activities for kids, and the opportunity for adults to shadow or interview zookeepers.
Make sure you bring cash to feed the giraffes and ride the ponies.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo also offers the unique Mountaineer Sky Ride, which allows visitors take in an amazing view of the zoo, the city, Cheyenne Mountain, and the plains to the east. It’s an open-air, chairlift style ride that’s sure to be the most memorable part of your visit.
Learn at Catamount Institute
Since 1997, Catamount Institute has given selflessly to the community of Colorado Springs. Colorado College professors Julie Francis and Howard Drossman bought some land and created a small park, which they use for educational, environmental, and research purposes. We’re happy to donate to the Catamount Institute every year, because it’s one of the real, underappreciated treasures in the Colorado Springs area.
The park, located in Sonderman Park, just off of I-25 and Fontanero, features hiking trails and a creek. It’s a great place to relax and stay active. What we really appreciate, though, are the educational opportunities Catamount Institute provides to children in our community. They focus on kids who might not otherwise have the opportunity to spend time outdoors, offering outdoor education clubs, classes, and camps. Kids can learn about the ecology of the lake, the environmental impacts of snow, how wind affects Pikes Peak and Colorado Springs, and many other scientific and environmental realities. It all takes place in a science-based outdoor education setting. It’s a great summer activity for kids, but it’s not confined to the summer months. They offer “snow survival” spring break camp, as well.
Our own girls have attended their summer camps, and they enjoyed and valued the experience. The Catamount Institute provides great opportunities for learning– and it’s education your kids will actually enjoy. If you have kids, sign them up for a camp. And the next time you’re looking for a nice day in the outdoors, visit the park. You’ll be glad you did.
Josh & John’s Ice Cream
Josh & John’s is the only shop in Colorado that still uses a turn-of-the-century slow-churn for making ice cream. They take their time, use great ingredients, and pay attention to detail. It’s what separates them from every other ice cream shop in Colorado.
Located downtown and involved the community, a summer stroll around the city wouldn’t be complete without ice cream from Josh & John’s. They offer plenty of gluten free options, as well as cakes, sundaes, and shakes.
We love our craft beer in Colorado Springs. If you’re a newcomer, you’ll learn to love it soon enough. We’re biased, but we think we’re blessed with some of the best, most innovative breweries in the United States.
Our team loves:
These eclectic local breweries offer a diverse assortment of beers, along with truly unique food you can’t find anywhere else. Stop in for lunch, dinner, or a drink. You won’t be sorry you did.
Over Easy for Breakfast
Have you ever been sick of pancakes? If you grab breakfast at one of Over Easy’s two locations, you’ll never feel that way again.
They serve a variety of omelettes, benedicts, French toast, breakfast burritos, and other classics, but their pancakes make them special. Try the Colorado Blueberry Streusel Pancakes, the Strawberry Cheesecake Pancakes, or Fred’s Hawaiian Pancakes– or better yet, mix them all in a sampler.
While you’re at it, try the Colorado Honey Lemonade and the Green with Envy, too. This is undoubtedly our favorite breakfast spot.
Uncle Wilber Fountain
If you’re looking to cool off on a hot day, look no further than Uncle Wilber Fountain in Acacia Park. It’s often crowded because of its downtown location, but splashing kids will always make room for a few more on a summer day. Uncle Wilber Fountain is just one of those little things that makes life in Colorado Springs amazing.
Looking for something fun and different to do in Colorado Springs? Any given day or night of the week, PeakRadar.com has you covered. It is, hands-down, the best website for local Colorado Springs events.
The Milibo Art Theatre
The MAT’s Bubble Circus is an amazing and awe-inspiring event for kids, and adults will get a kick out of it, too. It’s a night your kids will never forget. Their puppet theater shows are no slouch, either.
New to the Area?
You’ll love it here in Colorado Springs. There are, however, some common pitfalls many new residents fall into. Colorado Springs is unlike any other city. We’ve put this guide together so you can avoid these mistakes and the stress they cause.
Things Not to Do When You Move to Colorado Springs:
- Wildlife Crossing – Don’t assume the “Wildlife Crossing” signs are correctly placed or there for looks. Deer frequently cross roads in herds: in neighborhoods, on interstate on-ramps, and on major roads. The deer definitely don’t follow the signs.
- Through Streets – If you get onto a road and think “I will just take this straight through to my destination,” you’re kidding yourself. Colorado Springs’ city planners built this city around places and landmarks, so roads start and stop in different places.
- Doublecheck Your Street – Never forget to ask if the street you’re looking for has a last name like road, place, boulevard, or court. “Road X Court” and “Road X Street” may be in two completely different locations, or even inaccessible from one another.
- Garbage – Don’t put your garbage cans out the night before trash pick-up. Bears, raccoons, and neighborhood dogs are all known to enjoy a good spread– literally. You’ll find your trash shredded and spread across your driveway or lawn the next morning.
- Wildlife in Your Neighborhood – Don’t ignore the “Wildlife in Your Neighborhood” warning signs. They really do put up these signs on the west side of town. That’s because they’ve spotted a mountain lion or bear in someone’s backyard. I’ve seen both in mine.
- Bumps – “Bump Ahead” signs truly mean you need to slow down. Large dips in the roads throughout downtown help drain water from the streets– and they’re not things the bottom of your car will like. Some of these bumps aren’t marked, so use caution. They are real bumps and they can damage your car if you ignore them.
- Exits I-25 truly does have North Nevada, South Nevada, North Academy, and South Academy exits which are nowhere near each other. Again, roads don’t go in a straight line here.
- Assumptions – Don’t assume that this is a strictly conservative town. The city and the connected smaller towns divide themselves into segments. The very conservative eastern areas house major non-profits and mega-churches. The extremely liberal western areas, on the other hand, are places where dreadlocks, pot shops and protest signs are regular sights. Also consider the five military bases in between. Colorado Springs is home to all sorts of people.
- Bike Lanes – Don’t ignore the biking lanes. People bike to work, they bike downtown for the fun of it, and they bike to the city parks for recreation. Watch out for bikes. They’re everywhere, and cyclists have a right to the road, too.
- Appreciation – Don’t forget to visit the truly amazing sights around you after all of your friends have come to visit you that first year. The Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak are still awe-inspiring, Manitou Springs’ shops and restaurants are still delicious, and all of the little unusual places are still worth your time even after your friends are gone. There are too many people who live here who have never been to the top of Pikes Peak, or done anything but view Garden of the Gods from the distance. Glorious nature is in your backyard. Take advantage of it. Not everyone is so lucky.
Pumpkins at the Venetucci Farm
Each year, Venetucci Farm gives pumpkins to thousands of Colorado Springs area school children with its, Pumpkins for Kids giveaway, but they’re much more than just pumpkins. The farm was founded in 1936, and it’s a 190 acre, community-oriented urban farm that grows more than 100 different types of chemical-free vegetables. The farm also hosts cows, hogs, horses, geese, chickens, and goats. Venetucci Farm is supported by the Venetucci Family and the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, and it sells to local markets and restaurants all over the community.
They also provide farm tours and plenty of educational opportunities. Kids and adults alike can learn about how working farms operate, meet the animals and, yes, even grab a pumpkin or two. Venetucci Farm gives Colorado Springs a unique opportunity to learn about sustainable urban farming, healthy food, and the history of our great city.
Manitou Springs Emma Crawford Coffin Races
Each October, Manitou Springs celebrates Emma Crawford with its annual coffin race. Emma died of tuberculosis in 1891, and her fiance buried her atop Red Mountain. After years of stormy weather, her remains washed down the mountain, and some locals found her casket handles and a nameplate. In 1995, Manitou Springs started celebrating her legacy with a coffin race, a Victorian wake, a sidewalk sale hosted by Emma Crawford’s estate, and other festivities.
Each year, contestants dress up in spooky, often period-specific costumes, and build a racing coffin. Local businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations form teams of five (four runners and one Emma), and push their coffins 195 yards to the finish line. It’s a fun and festive occasion, and it draws over 10,000 people each year. It’s easily one of the most unique Halloween parties in the nation, and it takes place right here in Colorado Springs. It’s also a great way to honor a departed and beloved community member.
Colorado Pumpkin Patch
Located 30 miles from downtown Colorado Springs, north of Larkspur right off I25 at Jellystone Park and Resort Exit 174, the Colorado Pumpkin Patch is thriving in its new location. Their annual farm camps teach animal care and crop cultivation to kids, every summer. They also offer hayrides, a petting zoo, a rope maze, and a straw bale pyramid.
They’re open most every day of the week, all year ‘round. You can go to pick out a pumpkin or two, learn about farming, or just enjoy a relaxing picnic in a scenic location.
When people visit Colorado Springs or are new to the area, they often think there’s no real close skiing. They think the only close skiing is in Summit County. But those ski and snowboard trips are not the only options!
Truth be told, we’re closer to some of the greatest skiing on the planet than people in most cities. And most cities aren’t as great as Colorado Springs. Here are a few skiing and snowboarding suggestions. Make sure you prepare for at least two and a half hours in the car, and make sure you’re prepared to drive in the snow. Bring tire chains if necessary, and always keep an emergency kit. But if you’re a skier or snowboarder, adventure’s in your blood anyway, right?
- Eldora Mountain Resort – Located 21 miles away from Bolder, it takes about two and a half hours to get to Eldora Mountain Resort, if traffic and weather feel like cooperating.
Eldora gets about 300 inches of snow per year, and it offers 680 acres for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and Nordic skiing. Its terrain is 100% groomed, so you’re bound to have an optimal downhill experience.
They offer lessons for beginners and some notoriously difficult courses for experts– try out Corona Bowl if you’re up for a challenge.
- Monarch Mountain – Monarch Mountain is also about two and a half hours from Colorado Springs. Monarch Pass gets heavy snowfall, so be extra careful when you’re driving over it. It’s much better to get less ski time and stay safe.
Monarch operates on 100% natural snow, and features 800 acres of ski terrain. It’s also not nearly as crowded as other area mountains. Beginners can definitely have fun at Monarch, but it’s a great experience for intermediate or expert skiers.
- Breckenridge – Breckenridge is about two hours and 15 minutes away from Colorado Springs. It gets around 300 inches of snow per year, and it offers a breathtaking view of Quandary, Grays Peak and Torreys Peak.
Breckenridge is awesome because of the variety it offers. Because it encompasses several different peaks, there’s plenty of terrain for skiers and boarders of all experience levels. That’s 2,908 acres of fun!
- Keystone – Estimate about two and a half hours to get to Keystone Ski Resort. Keystone features a wide array of mountains for all skill levels, and hosts 3,148 skiable acres.
There are terrain parks, a tubing hill, plenty of lessons, and night skiing available, too. Expect serious fun, but also expect a crowd.
Several other ski mountains reside in the Breckenridge and Keystone area, including Copper Mountain, another great resort with varied terrain and much to offer.
Nutcracker in the Park
We love seeing the Nutcracker at Pikes Peak Center, but there’s another version we like just as much. This rendition of the Nutcracker is also the most unlikely. The Catamount Institute teams up with Imagination Celebration to produce Nutcracker in the Park. The show features local actors and dancers from Imagination Celebration, and the woods are the stage! It’s a truly unique experience.
If you plan on attending, dress warm and plan on a short hike through Sonderman Park. Because it’s a Catamount Institute event, you’ll also learn about local wildlife. After the show, you’ll be treated to hot cocoa, cookies, and the opportunity to make holiday-themed crafts.
You might have seen the Nutcracker, but you’ve never seen it like this.
Holiday Cheer at the The Fountain Creek Nature Center
The Fountain Creek Nature Center hosts a variety of fun, educational, and interactive events– even during the holidays.
If all those Christmas carols about sleigh rides make you want to spring into action, we recommend their horse drawn wagon rides. These wagons are pulled by Suffolk Punch draft horses, who happily transport you down the Regional Trail with jingling bells and seasonal songs. These afternoon wagon rides are dependent on the weather, but bring warm clothes and a blanket just in case. Warmth makes every wagon ride better. There’s no better way to enjoy the natural beauty of Colorado Springs during the holiday season.
The Fountain Creek Nature Center offers one more opportunity to appreciate nature during the holidays that’s equally good, however. Their annual Nature Hike with Santa lets families participate in an interactive reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” at the Nature Center while they make holiday crafts. Then, Santa arrives to greet everyone and whisk you away on a nature hike. It’s a great hike down the nature trail, and Santa himself explains the gifts nature gives us during the holidays– and all year long.
Electric Safari at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
There’s never a bad time to visit Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Zoos are typically thought of as a summer activity, but in the month of December, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo pulls out all the stops with their Electric Safari. Featuring 50 acres full of 85 intricate light sculptures, you’ll look at the zoo in a completely different way.
There are plenty of warming fires throughout the zoo, and you’ll be able to visit many of the zoo’s indoor residents. Seeing the city lights from the zoo is a special treat during the holidays, as well.
The Nutcracker Ballet
Each year, we love attending the Nutcracker Ballet at Pikes Peak Center. Seeing the Ballet Society of Colorado Springs and the Colorado Springs Philharmonic in action is a recipe for winter magic.
If you attend once, you’ll attend every year after.
AdAmAn Club Fireworks at Pikes Peak
You don’t have to scale Pikes Peak to enjoy these fireworks because the AdAmAn Club’s climbers do it for you. Every year since 1922, these brave climbers make the upward trek and launch fireworks from Pikes Peak, all to provide the Springs with a New Year’s experience like no other.
This is one of the most unique New Year’s Eve fireworks spectacles in the whole country and all you need to do is look up. At the stroke of midnight you, and everyone else within a hundred miles, are in for a treat.
Manitou Springs Fruitcake Toss
Holiday fun doesn’t have to end with January 1st. Each year, in late January, Manitou Springs Memorial Park hosts a Fruitcake Toss. In this all ages event, fruitcake tossers armed with mechanical devices can compete in the categories of accuracy, distance, speed, and more. There are plenty of prizes to be had, and you can rent a fruitcake for tossing if you don’t want to make your own… or if you don’t have one left over from the holidays.
There’s a fruitcake bake off, too. Most of the fruitcakes are surprisingly good, and are made with natural ingredients. This fun event collects food for the less fortunate, splatters fruitcake all over the landscape, and never takes itself too seriously.
Festival of Lights Parade
The Festival of Lights brings traditional holiday joy and cheer to Colorado Springs every year. Its focal point is a huge parade, with floats, cars, people, and other moving objects adorned with tons of lights. Each year’s innovative rendition of Santa’s Sleigh is an obvious highlight. It’s so popular that local news stations rebroadcast it on Christmas Day.
The Festival also features plenty of live holiday music, live theater, arts and crafts, and food from various vendors. Thousands of people line the streets for the parade each year, and the Festival gives back even more– each year it chooses a local charity for a sizeable donation.
If you want to get into the holiday spirit, you can’t miss this parade.
Cripple Creek Ice Festival
Cripple Creek, nestled on the southwest slope of Pikes Peak, is just a stone’s throw away from Colorado Springs. Every February, the historic town hosts an Ice Festival that focuses on incredible ice sculptures and family fun.
There’s an ice luge, martini bar, and beer tent for the adults, and kids can enjoy an ice maze, an ice slide, and interactive ice sculptures for photo opportunities. Local vendors sell food and crafts, as well.
For more information, you can visit Cripple Creek’s website.
Manitou Springs Carnivale Parade and Gumbo Cook-Off
If you look forward to Mardi Gras celebrations each year, Manitou Springs is the place to be in February. The day begins with the annual Mumbo Jumbo Gumbo cook-off, in which professional chefs from all over the country and local amateurs compete to see who makes the best gumbo. It’s inexpensive for onlookers, too, and a great way to try plenty of gourmet gumbo.
The parade begins after the cook-off. It winds down Manitou Avenue, where people in colorful costumes toss out candy and beads to parade-goers. What’s even better? Anyone can join the parade. It’s a great event that brings the community together, and even transplants from Louisiana seem to love it.
There’s also Cajun music, dancing, face painting, and local vendors. When it comes to Mardi Gras in Colorado Springs, nothing else comes close.
Valentine’s Day at the Zoo
If you’re looking for a way to spend Valentine’s Day alone with your special someone, but don’t know what to do with the kids, then Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has a solution for you.
Each February 13th, the Zoo offers kids a fun and educational evening full of pizza, s’mores, Valentine’s-themed crafts, visit the animals at night, feed the giraffes, and even sleep next to some friendly animals in the Zoo’s loft. In the morning, they’re treated to a continental breakfast and a morning tour of the zoo.
Chocolate Lovers Walk in Cañon City
If you and your partner like chocolate, this is a great way to spend Valentine’s Day afternoon. You’ll get to enjoy some gourmet chocolate on a tour of downtown Cañon City, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to find more sweets along the way. A few lucky guests will even find a Winning Chocolate Bar containing up to $150.
It’s a fun, relaxing Valentine’s Day experience for anyone with a sweet tooth. If you love chocolate enough, it’s worth the 50 mile drive. More info here.
Valentine’s Day Train
How often do you get to take a romantic train ride through the Royal Gorge? If you’re looking to try something new this Valentine’s Day, Royal Gorge Route Railroad has you covered. The scenery is great, and you’ll also receive lunch, champagne, and dessert.
More info here.
Bighorn Sheep Day
Other cities might focus on romantic, candlelit dinners for Valentine’s Day, but in Colorado Springs, we give equal attention to bighorn sheep. Each year in mid-February, the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center holds a free event that takes the entire family on an interactive nature tour.
You’ll see bighorn sheep in their natural habitat, enjoy the winter scenery at Garden of the Gods, and learn bighorn biology, do arts and crafts, and even meet some friendly zoo animals.
More info here.
Celtic Countdown at Pikes Peak Brewing
If you’re a St. Patrick’s Day enthusiast, Pikes Peak Brewing has three days of fun planned for you. There’s trivia, food, a foot race, an Irish Dance troupe, bagpipers, and live celtic bands. You can find the full schedule and register for the race here.
Victorian Easter at Miramont Castle
An Easter egg hunt for the kids doubles as a fundraiser for the Miramont Castle Museum. Kids are in for a uniquely-Victorian Easter egg hunt, and one child will find a special golden egg. Tea will be served for both kids and adults after the egg hunt, and the little ones have a chance to hang out with a Prince or Princess.
Cheyenne Canon Hummingbird Experience
Each spring, hummingbirds make their triumphant return to Colorado Springs. To celebrate, The Friends of Cheyenne Cañon team up with the Pikes Peak Birding and Nature Festival for the North Cheyenne Cañon Hummingbird Experience.
The event features two field trips through the Birding and Nature Festival, along with free family events that celebrate hummingbirds with education and activities. The event begins at Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center and venture out from there.
Kids love hummingbirds, and this is a great opportunity to learn more about them and see them in their natural habitat. Adults love hummingbirds, too, of course, so this is one of our favorite wildlife-related events of the year.
Colorado Springs Veterans Day Parade
Several years ago, a group of volunteers formed a nonprofit organization to honor veterans with a parade in Colorado Springs. Now, every Veteran’s Day, one of the biggest and best parades in the United States makes its way down Tejon Street.
Powered by local donors, the parade features veterans of all ages from all over Southern Colorado. Local schools also build floats and high school bands pay tribute with patriotic marches. The parade board itself focuses on education for local children, and they invite all veterans to participate in the parade. It’s easily one of the best and biggest parades in the Colorado Springs area– and it’s hosted by a local nonprofit group who truly cares about the health and welfare of our veterans. You can find more information here.
Cheyenne Mountain Holiday Craft Fair
This arts and crafts show draws over 2,000 people every year. Each December, people from all around Colorado Springs and surrounding cities come to peruse handmade gifts, local gourmet food, and a chance to meet local firefighters, who are always a big hit at the event.
The Cheyenne Mountain Holiday Craft Fair includes art, jewelry, clothing, decorations, toys, and gourmet baked goods. There are over 160 booths to choose from, and it’s worth showing up for the bake sale alone. This free event is one of the most popular craft fairs in the state.
Pride of Doherty Craft Fair
Doherty High School’s instrumental music department has hosted its own craft fair each year on the first day of December, since 1976. It features plenty of local craft vendors, a bake sale, and a silent auction. All proceeds benefit the school’s instrumental music department.
This venerable craft fair is a great place to do some holiday shopping and support promising young musicians. You can find more info, or apply to be a vendor, here.
Rocky Mountain Classical Academy’s Market Day
Each year, Rocky Mountain Classical Academy puts on its own craft fair and shopping event, which is free to the public. Vendors sell handmade woodworking, jams and jellies, candles, handbags, cards, and quilts. There are also books, kitchen gadgets, home decor items, and plenty more gifts to choose from.
They also feature a raffle for unique gift baskets with special themes (such as a basket for coffee lovers). Market Day doesn’t have a website, but you can visit its Facebook page for details and photos of past Market Days.
Bear Creek Nature Center Bunny Walk and Egg Hunt
Colorado Springs has no shortage of awesome Easter egg hunts, but Bear Creek Nature Center does something special. Each Easter, kids walk along a beautiful trail with their own Easter Bunny Guide. Along the way, they’ll see the splendor of nature, find plenty of goody-filled eggs, meet a live rabbit, and learn a little bit about the Great Outdoors along the way.
Bear Creek Nature Center successfully combines traditional holiday fun and an unforgettable learning experience.
Pikes Peak Art and Music Festival
In Colorado Springs, the Independence Day weekend is a busy time. We have some stellar parades and fireworks, but we also have Pikes Peak Art and Music Festival.
The festival celebrates live music, fine art, and handmade crafts from around the area. Artists perform demos and give you a behind the scenes look at their process, and there’s a unique musical performance around every corner.
America the Beautiful Park also grants a unique and enjoyable view of Pikes Peak. Come for the art, music, and handcrafted items– stay for the food vendors and the friendly, festival atmosphere.
Territory Days, now in its fourth decade, is a Colorado Springs tradition. Each Memorial Day Weekend, you’ll see over 100,000 people gathering in a four block radius to enjoy food, culture, music, and history.
Territory Days honors our history by showcasing Native American culture, including authentic dance, crafts, and history lessons from experts. It also shows the wild spirit of the pioneers, settlers, and ranchers– there are even wild west reenactments.
There’s also blacksmithing, gold panning, a petting zoo, and plenty of live music.
Come for the local craft beer and a turkey leg and stay to learn about the Colorado of yesteryear from several different perspectives.
In June, we’re treated to a unique and relaxing bike ride under the stars. The Trails and Open Spaces Coalition work hard to make the Starlight Spectacular the best nighttime bike ride in Colorado. It’s good for people of all ages and abilities, and it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors with your community.
You’re all but guaranteed to make some new friends.
There are costumes, too, of course. It’s a bike ride full of lights and colors, and you can choose a longer or shorter route depending on your preference.
The bike ride starts and ends at the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center, and winds through Colorado Springs. Live music and refreshments are provided along the way.
This is a free event, and it’s a must for everyone who enjoys a light-hearted nighttime bike ride.
Taste of OCC
Each year in Bancroft Park, we celebrate the West Side of Colorado Springs.
Taste of OCC is organized by the Old Colorado City Foundation, and the event raises funds to make Old Colorado City an even better place.
Different vendors and restaurants provide local food and beer every year, and there are usually plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options available. Make sure you dress for the weather, though, as Taste of OCC is a rain or shine event.
The festival caps out at just 650 people, so make sure you get a ticket in advance.
Turkey Trot and Other Seasonal Races
At Rampart Roofing, we enjoy spending holidays with our friends and families. But Colorado Springs offers us some unique opportunities for holiday celebration– namely, seasonal races.
We’re avid runners, so we appreciate the YMCA of The Pikes Peak Region’s attempts to thrill us with holiday-themed races every year. These 5k races support good causes around Colorado Springs, and even our kids can get in on the fun.
On Thanksgiving, we can’t miss the Turkey Trot. There’s also the Jingle Bell 5k, and the Creepy Crawl 5k for Halloween. You can even buy a season pass and run a race on every major holiday of the year. The YMCA has more information and registration options.
Activities for the Kids
USA Chess Camp
If your child is interested in chess, there’s no better way to nurture that hobby than enrolling them in the Colorado Springs School’s summer USA Chess Camp.
This camp is good for both casual and competitive chess players, and tuition includes their very own chess set. They’ll meet other chess players, expand their social skills, and learn the art of chess from seasoned experts.
More info here.
GameBuilder Video Game Creation Camps
For four days in the summer, the young technologist and gamer in your life can learn valuable skills from experienced game developers. There’s no experience necessary, and they’ll learn the skills to make their very own video games.
The camp nurtures both technical skill and creativity in a hands-on environment. More information here.
Animals Got Talent Zoo Camp
Is there an animal lover in your family?
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo provides a variety of summer camps, but this one might be the best for enthusiastic young children who just can’t seem to learn enough about animals.
Friendly zookeepers explain the key differences between our furry and scaly friends, provide education and fun facts, and let the kids meet some of their favorite animals.
This day camp is recommend for younger children.
Bricks-4-Kidz STEM Centered Summer Camp
This summer camp provides a great opportunity for your kids to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math in a hands on environment. Kids love Lego’s, and this camp allows children ages 11+ to build some remarkable works and learn along the way.
From the camp:
“WMMI has partnered with Bricks-4-Kidz, to provide half-day summer camp programs for children where We learn, We build, We play… with LEGO® bricks. Specially designed project kits and theme-based models provide the building blocks for our approach to educational play. Campers will face new challenges each day, building motorized models and learning STEM principles along the way! Programs are created and designed by engineers and architects, with exciting themes, including ‘Mining and Crafting’, ‘Super-Hero Academy’, ‘Bricks4Girlz’ and more!”
You can learn more here.