I’ve written quite a few Colorado travel guides over the past couple of years. I started with Estes Park part 1 and part 2 and the most recent was Steamboat Springs but I’ve never posted about my hometown: Colorado Springs! This post was actually really difficult to write because I had a terrible time deciding which local businesses I wanted to recommend and which ones I wanted to keep to myself. Part of me wants everyone to love my favorite coffee shop but I also don’t really want my favorite table to be available even less often. I’ve managed to push down (most of) the selfishness and I’m doing a slightly different format for this post: a three-ish day schedule instead of just a list of my favorite places. I’m also not keeping you inside the city for the whole time. This is really designed for someone who either lives outside of Colorado, or is new to the area and has a few days free so if that sounds like you, or if you just want some new recommendations of things to do in the Springs, read on!
Roll into town sometime early in the afternoon and head to Cheyenne Canyon for a hike. Seven Bridges is one of my favorites and if you have extra time you can keep going past the seventh bridge and hike into Allen’s Park. When you finish the hike head to Trader Joes. Get the ingredients to make dinner tonight, and a picnic lunch and trail mix for tomorrow.
Get up early and watch the sunrise from Garden of the Gods (balancing rock is a great spot for this!). Grab breakfast burritos from the La Casita on Cimmaron and coffee from Intertia Coffee and head west on highway 24 to explore the mountains. Mueller State Park has some great hikes and the aspens are beautiful in the fall. If you want something more strenuous, head to Pancake Rocks for an amazing view of Cripple Creek (you can read more about Pancake Rocks here). On your way back into town make sure you stop at the Donut Mill in Woodland Park!
Eat a late lunch/early dinner at the Skirted Heifer in downtown CO Springs. They make some of the best burgers in town but don’t get there too late because the line gets crazy long! Spend the rest of the afternoon/evening shopping and exploring the downtown area. Some of my favorite shops are Rocky Mountain Soap Market, and Wilder Bag and Weighstead in Pikes Peak Market. When you’re in Pikes Peak Market, make sure to get some gelato from Legit Gelato, the orange chocolate is my favorite.
Have brunch at Ivywild Kitchen. Ivywild Elementary School was built in 1916 and closed in 2009. It is now owned by Bristol Brewery and is home to Bristol Brewery, Ivywild Kitchen, a cute brunch place/coffee shop, a bar called The Principal’s Office, and fairtrade shop Yobel Market as well as a few other local businesses. When you’re done, explore the Broadmoor, a historic resort built by Spencer Penrose before heading back home or out of town.
Honorable mentions: I have visited some but not all of these businesses, they have all been recommended by friends who love them.
The Pop – a coffee/specialty soda drive-through in north CO Springs
Who Gives a Scrap – a second-hand craft supply store in Old Colorado City (I haven’t visited but this place looks really cool and I’m going to visit the next time I’m in the area!)
Roscos Coffee – a local coffee shop and roaster in downtown CO Springs
Switchback Roasters – another local coffee roaster/shop in downtown
Special Grounds Coffee – a local coffee shop in north/east CO Springs
What is your favorite thing to do in or near Colorado Springs? Tell me in the comments!