Planning a sojourn in the mountain states? Then, you’ll want to check out all the best things to do in Colorado Springs! Tucked into the foot of the Rocky Mountains just south of Denver, Colorado Springs is a visitor favorite for its rugged natural beauty and vibrant cultural scene.
Among the top tourist attractions in Colorado Springs, you can hike the majestic Pikes Peak, soar sky-high on a zip line, browse museums and funky art galleries, or soak up that Old West feel at one of the city’s historic sites. Just save some energy because this mountain town’s restaurants and bars are buzzing after sundown!
Ready to make some mountainside memories? Grab our guide to the best places to visit in Colorado Springs, and hit the trail!
Must-see places to visit in Colorado Springs, CO
If you dream of scaling the heights on your Colorado Springs adventure, you’ll want to tackle Pikes Peak, aka “America’s Mountain.” Set in Pike National Forest on the front range of the Rocky Mountains, this awesome rock structure rises over 14,000 feet. The mountain views here are so majestic, it inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write her famous poem, “America the Beautiful,” now one of the nation’s most well-loved patriotic songs.
Cruise the gorgeous Pikes Peak Highway, then hit the Barr Trail for an exhilarating 13-mile trek. Reach the summit, more than 14,000 feet above sea level, and you’ll be treated to stunning panoramic views of five states.
Saddle up on your mountain bike for a scenic tour, cast a line into a mountain stream, or hop aboard the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, the highest locomotive railroad in the US, for a train ride you won’t forget.
Up for the ultimate workout at Pikes Peak? Climb the Manitou Incline, a mile-long set of “stairs” made of old railroad ties. Feel the burn!
Garden of the Gods
Ready for an otherworldly experience? The Garden of the Gods will not disappoint! Filled with stunning rock formations ranging from towering cliffs to vast canyons, this National Natural Landmark is an adventurer’s paradise and one of the best places to see in Colorado Springs.
Ramble across 21 miles of beckoning trails in the Garden of the Gods Park. Explore mesmerizing rock formations, and take in spectacular views of snow-capped mountains set against a brilliant blue sky.
Rent a bike or Segway, or hop into an open-air jeep for an adventure on wheels. Or saddle up to experience the Garden’s natural wonders and scenic beauty on horseback.
Check out the Visitor & Nature Center to view fascinating Native American artifacts and interactive exhibits, then hit the Geo-Trekker Theater to learn how these awesome canyons were formed.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) … not to mention elephants, giraffes, and more … Encounter all these critters at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Ranked one of the best zoos in the country, this family-friendly zoo is one of the must-see Colorado Springs tourist attractions.
The only mountain zoo in the United States, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is home to hundreds of animals, including a number of endangered species. The zoo’s gorgeous natural setting features mountain streams, rugged rock formations, sweeping fields, and towering trees.
Check out wildlife neighborhoods like the Monkey Pavilion, the Asian Highlands, or the African Rift Valley. Peer into a bear cave or ride high on a ski lift for thrilling views of the tigers below. Take a Safari Tour, or book a private animal encounter for an amazing up-close experience.
Cave of the Winds Mountain Park
Up for adventure on your Colorado Springs itinerary? Drop into Cave of the Winds Mountain Park. Stunning scenery, fascinating cave tours, and a park packed with fun activities make for a perfect family-friendly experience. Discovered in 1881, these caves are actually millions of years old – just waiting to be explored.
Take your pick of adventures at Cave of the Winds Mountain Park. You can take the kids on the Discovery Tour for a fun and easy-going look at all the cool cave features. Feeling bold? Take the spooky Lantern Tour and hear spine-tingling ghost stories and local lore.
Ready for some fresh-air fun? Soar through the air on a zipline, or scramble across the canyon walls on a challenging trail of cables and ladders.
Want to chill at this top Colorado Springs point of interest? Pan for gemstones, then grab an ice cream at Caver’s Cafe.
Manitou Cliff Dwellings
If you want to step into the past while in Colorado Springs, head to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. Built into an imposing set of cliffs, these ancient cliff dwellings date back centuries. This 40-room site has been painstakingly preserved and offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the region’s early indigenous peoples.
The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are amazing feats of architecture – a legacy of Puebloan ancestry and culture. Wander these ancient spaces for a very up-close-and-personal look at how past inhabitants lived, worked, and played.
Explore the Pueblo Indian Museum to learn more about the early inhabitants of the Four Corners region. Take in informative videos and browse displays of authentic pottery, weapons, and artifacts.
The Broadmoor Seven Falls
Prefer your landscapes with a dollop of drama? Carve out time for The Broadmoor Seven Falls. Set on South Cheyenne Creek, this stunning set of seven cascading waterfalls is one of the coolest things to see in Colorado Springs.
Running along a 1,250-foot-high box canyon in the Pikes Peak watershed, The Broadmoor Seven Falls features a 181-foot drop of water. The Pillars of Hercules – majestic rock formations rising over 900 above the canyon floor – tower on each side.
Up for some thrills on your trip to Colorado Springs? Fly the zipline tracks at Soaring Adventure. Or scramble up the 224 steps on the side of the falls. Reach the top and take in awe-inspiring views, then hit the hiking trails and immerse yourself in this natural wonderland.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Craving some room to move? You’ll find it at Red Rock Canyon Open Space. Boasting nearly 1,500 acres and striking red rock formations, this vast space is a great recreational getaway and one of the most popular places to go in Colorado Springs for outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes (including pups).
Red Rock Canyon offers loads of ways to in a workout while taking in the stunning natural setting. Enjoy a leisurely stroll or an energetic hike. Saddle up for horseback riding or mountain biking. Reach the park’s peak elevation of 6,866 feet and enjoy sweeping views of Colorado Springs and the Rocky Mountain foothills.
Another must-see is around Red Rock Canyon to check out the intriguing reclaimed industrial sites, including the original mill used to refine the ore collected from the gold mines in Cripple Creek.
Old Colorado City
Ready for some time travel on your Colorado Springs trip? Then make the trek to Old Colorado City for a taste of life during the Pikes Peak gold rush of 1859. The original capital of Colorado, this town was a lively community hub for the miners who flocked here with dreams of striking it rich.
Today, Old Colorado City exudes a perfect blend of historic intrigue and small-town charm. Check out exhibits and artifacts at the Old Colorado City History Center Museum. Stroll Colorado Avenue’s tree-lined sidewalks to browse the galleries, boutiques, and gift shops housed in 19th-century brick buildings.
Stick around this fun destination after sundown to enjoy a delicious meal at one of the eateries and savor some local craft beer or spirits.
Ghost Town Museum
Want to see the glory days of the Colorado Gold Rush brought to life? Head on over to the Ghost Town Museum. A tribute to the Pikes Peak pioneer heritage, this model Old West town turns the clock back over 100 years and tops the list of what to do in Colorado Springs for history buffs.
At the Ghost Town Museum, you can take a stroll down the wooden promenade, stopping along the way to admire the authentic Old West wagons and stagecoaches. Check out the historic structures that housed the hotel, the barber, the apothecary, and more. Browse a fascinating array of Old West artifacts.
Looking for some hands-on action? Take your pick! Try cranking a butter churn, playing antique arcade games, or panning for real gold. Feeling lucky yet?
If you’re on the hunt for a great big family-friendly playground, look no further than Palmer Park. Named for William Jackson Palmer, the founder of Colorado Springs, this 750-acre haven is packed with outdoor activities.
A wilderness preserve, the Colorado Springs public park’s natural beauty has been carefully protected from urban development. Explore Palmer Park’s 25 miles of trails. Hike, bike, or ride horseback through woods, rolling hills, past lakes, and ponds.
Hit the fields for a game of baseball, soccer, football, or volleyball. Let Fido cut loose on the dog run, and let the kiddos roam free in the playground.
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
Heads up, history buffs! If you’re interested in digging into the Old West’s past, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is the place to do it. Set in the beautifully restored 19th-century El Paso County Courthouse, this historic building is striking for its blend of German and French Renaissance architecture and imposing clock tower.
Step inside the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, and you’ll discover a treasure trove of paintings, manuscripts, and historical artifacts celebrating Colorado’s colorful past.
Explore the libraries and archives to view historical documents dating back to the 1800s, and be sure to take in its impressive Native American collection.
Admission to the museum is free for all ages. It’s open for guests from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 am to 5 pm.
After roaming around one of Colorado Springs’s coolest museums, don’t miss the chance to explore the rest of Downtown Colorado Springs. Get the low-down on America’s most famous Olympic athletes at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum. Or see where Team USA trains (and how the city got its nickname, Olympic City USA) at the Olympic Training Center, about two miles east of downtown.
Catch a show at Pikes Peak Center For The Performing Arts and end your evening with a bite to eat and drinks at one of the many downtown eateries, bars, and craft breweries.
Miramont Castle Museum
Colorado Springs is jam-packed with rough-and-tumble Gold Rush remnants, but if you want to see how the other half lived in the Wild West, pay a visit to the Miramont Castle Museum. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this gem has been lovingly restored with authentic Victorian furnishings.
Built as a private residence in 1895, it boasts 14,000 square feet and over 30 rooms to explore. Enter the Miramont Castle Museum and be awe-mazed. View an eye-popping mashup of architectural styles ranging from Byzantine to Elizabethan – not to mention sixteen-sided rooms. But the grand staircase steals the show!
At this top tourist attraction, you can browse the collections of art and vintage artifacts, then refresh yourself with a cuppa in the Queen’s Parlour Tea Room.
Pulpit Rock Park
Up for a high-altitude workout? Then grab your bike, runners, or hiking boots – and take a jaunt over to Pulpit Rock Park. Set in the Austin Bluffs Open Space of Colorado Springs, this natural gem features 500 acres, a network of trails, and amazing views.
Pulpit Rock Park isn’t a 21st-century “discovery”: It was the home and place of ceremony for early indigenous Plains populations. The area’s abundant stone was used in toolmaking, and the enclosures surrounding Pulpit Rock were used in Ute vision quests.
Ready to take on Pulpit Rock? Rising 6,620 feet above El Paso County, this massive white outcrop is the park’s crowning jewel. Your reward for reaching the summit: a spectacular panoramic view.
North Cheyenne Cañon Park
Want a dose of fresh air on your Colorado Springs sightseeing adventure? Head up to North Cheyenne Cañon Park and take a deep breath. Spread out over 1,600 acres at the foot of a 1,000-foot-deep canyon, the awesome setting is home to a diverse range of ecosystems and animal species.
Drop into North Cheyenne Cañon Park’s visitor center to check out interactive displays highlighting the area’s wildlife. Learn about the park’s 20 miles of pathways to popular sites like Helen Hunt Falls and Seven Falls. Keep your binoculars handy for wildlife sightings as you hike the park’s miles of trails. (If you’re visiting in winter, some trails, like the South Cheyenne Cañon Trail, are even suitable for cross-country skiing. Get advice from local residents before heading off.)
Take a break at one of the park’s picnic sites. Want to linger in the beautiful Colorado Springs weather? Claim a campsite for a night under the stars.
Cheyenne Mountain State Park
Hunting for a spot to connect with the natural world and enjoy some family-friendly fun? Pack up your tent or RV and head over to Cheyenne Mountain State Park. Full-service campsites make this spot a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts and one of the most popular day trips from Colorado Springs.
Featuring nearly 30 miles of hiking and biking trails, Cheyenne Mountain State Park is an ideal option for groups and families traveling around Colorado Springs. You can take it easy with a guided wildflower walk.
Or, if you’re up for a challenge, hit the Dixon Trail. Work your way to the top of Cheyenne Mountain, and you’ll be rewarded with unforgettable stunning views.
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Check out the Visitor Center for interactive exhibits and campsite bookings. And learn more about the region’s diverse ecosystems through engaging programs like animal education and family mystery hikes.
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
Craving a cultural shot in the arm on your Colorado Springs trip? Drop into the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center to get your boost. With its world-class exhibits, top-flight productions, and diverse arts programs, the Center has been the cultural hub of the Pikes Peak region for over a century. Over a century old, today it’s a part of Colorado College and features creative spaces ranging from theaters to music studios.
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center houses 15 galleries that showcase world-renowned artists like painter Georgia O’Keefe and printmaker Robert Blackburn. Prepare for some serious browsing as you explore thousands of artworks ranging from enchanting watercolors to striking Art Deco installations.
Up for some live entertainment? Check out the theater’s show and events roster here and book your seat.
Glen Eyrie Castle
Want to refresh and reboot in a serene setting? Plan a stopover at Glen Eyrie Castle, a stunning Tudor-style castle with a dramatic Rocky Mountain backdrop. Sprawled over more than 700 acres, this beautiful retreat is conveniently close to other popular attractions in Colorado Springs, like the Garden of the Gods and Manitou Springs.
Built in 1871 by Colorado Springs founder William Jackson Palmer, Glen Eyrie Castle has been lovingly preserved over the decades. Drop in for the day, or stay the night. Enjoy a guided tour to learn about the castle’s intriguing history, the equally intriguing Palmer clan, and the creation of Colorado Springs.
Catch your breath and enjoy the spectacular natural setting as you explore the castle’s 14 hiking trails. You’ll leave recharged!
Royal Gorge Bridge & Park
Looking for an adrenaline rush on your journey? Pencil in a day at Royal Gorge Bridge & Park. Located west of Cañon City, a scenic 1 hour and 15-minute drive from Colorado Springs, this popular destination is one of the state’s must-sees, with a variety of experiences for everyone in the family.
Start off your visit to Royal Gorge Bridge & Park with a walk along the wooden bridge, soaring over 950 feet above the Arkansas River. Peer below as daring travelers try to tame the raging waters on a whitewater rafting adventure.
Kids and adults alike will love soaking up the 360-degree views from the Aerial Gondolas, one of the longest single-span trams in the United States. If thrill rides are more to your speed, zip over the gorge at 50 miles per hour, as high as 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River, on the Royal Rush Skycoaster. Or take the opportunity to connect even more with nature on the Cloudscraper Zip Line, the highest zip line in the country.
Always wanted to try rock climbing but a little squeamish? Book yourself a tour on Via Ferrata. Embark on an exciting adventure, clinging to the gorge’s granite rocks as trained mountaineer guides walk you through the experience.
If you built up an appetite on your adventures, refuel with coffee and snacks at Café 1230 while staring at the Arkansas River 1,230 feet below. Or if food is on your brain, tuck into a juicy pork sandwich or brisket at Bridge View BBQ.
Recommended places to stay in Colorado Springs for sightseeing
For first-time visitors, the most popular places to stay in Colorado Springs are Downtown and Old Colorado City. These areas are home to many of the city’s most recommended accommodations, ranging from chain hotels to vacation rentals.
With several excellent restaurants and bars within walking distance, the Hyatt Place is a fantastic spot to rest up for your Colorado Springs vacation. Besides the comfortable rooms, the hotel offers a wealth of amenities, including an indoor pool, 24-hour fitness center, and lobby bar.
Offering casual rooms with beautiful mountain views, this Hilton Garden Inn is the perfect downtown escape for mid-range travelers. Cool down in the indoor pool or sweat out some local cuisine in the gym. If you’re craving a night in, the hotel offers rooms service along with an on-site restaurant & bar.
With grand elegance, the Mining Exchange shines as one of the city’s top luxury hotels. After a day of sightseeing or hitting the links at the golf course, relax in the deluxe spa or enjoy a sundowner in the European-style courtyard.