Colorado Springs is the second most populated city in the state, with around 470,000 people. It sits near the base of Pikes Peak, one of America’s most iconic mountains. The town is located about an hour south of Denver on I-25.
The Springs is a big city with a small-town feel. It’s often rated as one of the country’s best cities to live in. The downtown area is lined with all types of shopping, dining, entertainment, and history. It’s the El Paso County Seat.
Located at a higher elevation than Denver at 6,035 feet and closer to the mountains, outdoor-minded people love living in the city. It’s famous for its abundance of natural features like the Garden of the Gods and Cave of the Winds. If you’re thinking about moving here, consider one of these top neighborhoods in Colorado Springs.
The city was founded in 1871 by General William Palmer, a Civil War General and a surveyor with the Kansas Pacific Railroad. Many claim it was named for the springs fountain on Monument Creek, north of town (which was destroyed in a 1935 flood, in present-day Monument Valley Park).
Another source says COS was actually named for the springs found in Manitou Springs. You can go on a free self-guided walking tour of the mineral water springs in Manitou, and even drink from the eight fountains.
Palmer was responsible for selecting possible railroad routes south of Denver to be strategically occupied. The stunning mountain scenery and nearby Garden of the Gods made the Pikes Peak area perfect. His original intention was to create an upscale resort community along the railroad.
Colorado Springs is situated in that sought-after Pikes Peak region. The region was named after the American explorer Zebulon Pike after his group attempted to reach the Pikes Peak summit. Unfortunately, they were not able to cross the mountain because of insufficient materials and gear. Nonetheless, the region has become a lively town because of its natural resources.
Later on, in the 1890s, gold was discovered in the area. Almost overnight, the town has transformed from a cattle pasture and a minor settlement area to a home of 50,000 people. Because of the success of the gold rush, the city was dubbed “the city of millionaires.”
Learn more about the things that make Colorado Springs famous.
Air Force Academy – The giant campus is situated at the base of the Rocky Mountains and can be seen from I-70, north of town. You can take self-guided tours of the academy, daily from 9 am to 5 pm.
Broadmoor Hotel – A sprawling, five-star hotel with numerous first-class restaurants, golf courses, and spas. It’s centered around Cheyenne Lake. It originally opened in 1891 as a gambling casino and was transformed into a world-class hotel & resort in 1918.
Olympic Training Center – Home to current Olympians, the campus is able to provide housing, dining, and training facilities for more than 500 athletes and coaches. The 35-acre complex is located within minutes from downtown. Guided tours are available year-round.
Garden of the Gods – This is probably the most spectacular public park in Colorado, if not the whole country. It’s free to access year-round for sightseeing and recreation. Go for a drive, hike and even rock climb in the Garden of the Gods park and national natural landmark.
Read about the top things to do in Colorado Springs. For families with children, pick a few of the kid-friendly activities for your itinerary. There are also plenty of free attractions in town to enjoy.
Have a great summer day at one of the amusement and water parks in the Colorado Springs area.
Art lovers will enjoy discovering all the wonderful sculptures around Colorado Springs.
- Cheyenne Mountain offers 51 full hook-up RV sites and 10 walk-in tent sites. It’s open year-round.
- Read about the camping near Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region.
Disc Golf – Discover the top disc golf courses near Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs.
Fishing – Some of the most convenient fishing in the Springs are at Quail Lake Park. It is a great spot to fish from the shore or a non-motorized boat. You can find catfish, carp, bluegill, and plenty more
- Multi-use trails at Cheyenne Mountain State Park are open to hiking and biking, but no pets.
- Garden of the Gods has designated trails through the forest and jagged red sandstone.
- Red Rock Open Space has a whole system of connected trails that offer beautiful views of the city for all skill levels.
- Seven Bridges Trail is another option located in the North Cheyenne Cañon. Nearly a 6-mile roundtrip hike, it takes about 2-3 hours to complete
- Read our five favorite hikes in Colorado Springs.
Rock Climbing – Read about the indoor climbing gyms in Colorado Springs.
Swimming – Read about these public swimming pools near Colorado Springs.
Discover the best public parks in Colorado Springs for a fun time year-round.
The Antlers – This is a luxury 4-star Wyndham Hotel located in the heart of town. It’s within walking distance of shopping, dining, and attractions.
Best Western Plus Peak Vista Inn & Suites – A reliable, 2-star budget hotel that’s well-viewed by previous guests and close enough to the city. It’s located north of downtown closer to the Air Force Academy, which is more convenient if you happen to day trip to Denver.
The Broadmoor – The premier 5-star hotel in town has a long rich history in Colorado Springs. Stop by for the multiple fine dining restaurants inside.
Emerald Valley Ranch – Luxury dude ranch that’s associated with the Broadmoor. It has a true upscale Old West ambiance.
Glen Eyrie Castle – Stay like royalty inside the castle walls. Choose from 17 individually decorated rooms in the historic Glen Eyrie Castle. Guided public tours of the facilities are available as well.
Great Wolf Lodge Water Park – Play all day at the indoor water park and other activities and sleep well at night in a number of on-site accommodations. This themed resort has locations across the United States.
ColoRADo Adventure Hostel – Open to guests 18 years and older with a maximum stay of 14 days per year. This hostel is located in Northeast Colorado Springs and has both private rooms and shared dorm rooms.
Satellite Hotel – 4-star accommodation with a bar, pool, and even a tennis court. 76 rooms are available for rent, located less than ten minutes drive from downtown.
- Read about the best hotels in Colorado Springs.
- Read about the luxury 4 & 5-star hotels in Colorado Springs.
- Read about the bed and breakfast in Colorado Springs.
- Read about the cabins to rent near Colorado Springs.
- Read about the pet-friendly hotels in Colorado Springs.
The Airplane Restaurant – An iconic dining experience inside an intact Boeing KC-97. It’s located near the Colorado Springs Airport and is open daily for lunch and dinner.
CO A.T.I – Previously the railroad interchange warehouse, this beautiful space was revitalized as a trendy food hall. There are 2 bars, a brewery, 5 food stands, and a full-service restaurant.
Loyal Coffee – With two locations, one downtown and one in Briargate, this is the perfect spot for breakfast, lunch, or just a quick coffee. They have a variety of craft coffee, breakfast items, and freshly baked pastries to enjoy.
Jake & Telly’s Greek Taverna – Family-owned spot in Old Colorado City with a huge menu of authentic Greek dishes and a fully stocked bar.
Piglatin Cocina – Hidden in a strip mall, this lively restaurant is packed with delicious Latin-American fusion food and unique cocktails.
- Read about the best bars in Colorado Springs.
- Read about the best breweries in Colorado Springs.
- Read about the best budget restaurants in Colorado Springs.
- Read about the best coffee shops in Colorado Springs.
- Read about the best fine dining restaurants around Colorado Springs.
- Read about the best restaurants in Colorado Springs.
- Read about the best steakhouses in Colorado Springs.
- Read about the best wineries near Colorado Springs.
- Read about the best distilleries in Colorado Springs.
- Check out these Colorado Springs date ideas to combine with your dinner night.
Feb – CSCCI Chinese New Year Festival – Annual celebration of the Chinese New Year and the twelve animal zodiacs, held in early February.
Jun – Colorado College Summer Music Festival – 3-week annual orchestral and chamber music festival showcasing classically trained musicians from around the globe. Colorado College students and faculty members will also perform.
Jul – 4th of July Symphony on Your Porch – Boasting 10 different firework displays across the city, no matter where you are in Colorado Springs during the 4th of July, you’re sure to see lights!
Jul – Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo – Historic four-day championship rodeo event held annually since 1950 in mid-July.
Jul – Springs Beer Fest – Afternoon of craft beer, food vendors, and live music in America The Beautiful Park, held each summer.
Jul – Rocky Mountain State Games – Two weekends of multi-sport competitions in the Olympic City. Events range from Tae Kwon Do and Judo to swimming and pickleball.
Aug – Colorado Springs Comic Con – Annual 3-day festival for those who love anime, cosplay, sci-fi, gaming, pop culture, and of course, comic books.
Sep – Labor Day Lift Off – A colorful event that will have you looking toward the sky, Colorado Spring’s Labor Day Lift Off is great for the entire family. Taking place over 3 days, guests can watch as approximately 70 hot air balloons float around the city.
Sep – Pawtoberfest – Annual pet-friendly event with beer, spirits, food vendors, and a 2-mile dog walk that benefits the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.
Sep – Pikes Peak Regional Air Show – A two-day event for those who love military planes featuring live demonstrations, WWII Flying Warbirds, and a kids’ zone, this two-day event is meant for those who love air shows.
Oct – Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame – The Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony is a yearly celebration of the athletes, teams, coaches, and contributors who have left their mark on the community.
Nov – Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival – Three-day women’s film festival celebrating the overlooked perspectives and voices of women. It’s held in November.
Nov – Colorado Springs Record Show – A great event for music and vinyl lovers with over 40 tables and 30 vendors selling records, LPs, CDs, cassettes, 8-tracks, memorabilia, posters, etc.
Nov – All Colorado Beer Festival – Mid-fall festival celebrating Colorado’s mission to be the best beer-making state in the nation. Some proceeds go to charity.
Dec – Festival of Lights Parade – Welcome in Santa Clause and the holiday season every December downtown with a light show.
Read about the top events in Colorado Springs.
Activities near Colorado Springs
- Cave Of The Winds (7mi)
- Great Wolf Lodge Water Park (13mi)
- Manitou Springs Penny Arcade (6mi)
- North Pole Santa’s Workshop (12mi)
- Springs Adventure Park
- Brass Ass Casino (45mi)
- Bronco Billy’s Casino & Hotel (45mi)
- Century Casino Cripple Creek (45mi)
- Colorado Grande Hotel & Casino (45mi)
- Double Eagle Hotel & Casino (45mi)
- Johnny Nolon’s Casino (45mi)
- McGills Hotel & Casino (45mi)
- Midnight Rose Hotel & Casino (45mi)
- Wildwood Casino (44mi)
- Read about the casinos near Colorado Springs.
- Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument (36mi)
- Fountain Creek
- Pike National Forest
- Pikes Peak
- Rampart Reservoir (28mi)
- Barr Trail (up Pikes Peak) (8mi)
- Fountain Creek Regional Trail
- Manitou Incline (6mi)
- New Santa Fe Regional Trail
- Pikes Peak Greenway Trail
Hot Air Balloons:
- Adventures Out West (3mi)
- SunWater Spa (6mi)
- Cheyenne Mountain Complex
- Garden Of The Gods
- Glen Eyrie Castle
- Gold Camp Road Tunnels (18mi)
- Miramont Castle Museum (6mi)
- Olympic Training Center
- Peterson Air Force Base
- Pulpit Rock
- US Air Force Academy
- US Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel (19mi)
- Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun
- ANA Money Museum
- Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
- Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum
- Dinosaur Resource Center (19mi)
- Dragon Man’s Military Museum
- Ghost Town Museum (3mi)
- Manitou Cliff Dwellings (6mi)
- May Natural History Museum
- Miramont Castle Museum
- The Michael Garman Museum & Gallery
- National Museum of World War II Aviation
- Old Colorado City History Center
- Penrose Heritage Museum
- Peterson Air & Space Museum (8mi)
- Pikes Peak Museum (18mi)
- Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center (29mi)
- Pikes Peak Trolley Museum
- Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame
- Play Street Museum
- Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center (16m)
- Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum
- Space Foundation Discovery Center
- US Olympic & Paralympic Museum
- Western Museum of Mining
- World Figure Skating Museum
- The Black Sheep Rocks
- Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
- Cottonwood Center for the Arts
- Flying W Ranch (7mi)
- Loonees Comedy Club
- Stargazers Theater
- Acacia Park
- America the Beautiful Park
- Austin Bluffs Open Space
- Bancroft Park
- Bear Creek Regional Park
- Black Forest Regional Park
- Bluestem Prairie Open Space
- Boddington Park
- Crystal Creek Reservoir (16mi)
- Fountain Creek Regional Park (11mi)
- Gold Camp Park
- Gossage Youth Sports Complex
- Memorial Park
- Monument Valley Park
- North Cheyenne Cañon Park
- North Slope Recreation Area (16mi)
- Paint Mines Interpretive Park (37mi)
- Palmer Park
- Quail Lake Park (4mi)
- Red Rock Canyon Open Space
- South Cheyenne Cañon Park
- South Slope Recreation Area (28mi)
- Ute Valley Park
- Pikes Peak Cog Railway (7mi)
- Broadmoor Towne Center
- Chapel Hills Mall
- Cheyenne Mountain Shopping Center
- The Citadel Mall
- First and Main Town Center
- University Village Colorado
- Breckenridge Ski Resort (107mi)
- Eldora Mountain Resort (115mi)
- Loveland Ski Area (120mi)
- Keystone Ski Resort (120mi)
- Monarch Mountain (123mi)
- Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (130mi)
- Winter Park Resort (132mi)
- Ski Cooper (137 mi)
- Copper Mountain (143mi)
- Read about more the ski resorts near Colorado Springs.
State Wildlife Areas:
- Black Forest (18mi)
- Calhan (34mi)
- Cañon City (46mi)
- Cascade (10mi)
- Castle Rock (40mi)
- Cripple Creek (45mi)
- Denver (68mi)
- Divide (26mi)
- Florissant (34mi)
- Fountain (13mi)
- Green Mountain Falls (15mi)
- Hartsel (64mi)
- Lake George (38mi)
- Larkspur (32mi)
- Manitou Springs (6mi)
- Monument (20mi)
- Old Colorado City (2mi)
- Palmer Lake (23mi)
- Penrose (33mi)
- Pueblo (43mi)
- Security-Widefield (8mi)
- Stratmoor (5mi)
- Woodland Park (19mi)
- Bustang Bus
- Colorado Springs Airport (10mi)
- Denver International Airport (78mi)
- Mountain Metropolitan Transit
- Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (5mi)