Discover the Best Free Things to Do in Colorado Springs


Colorado Springs, nestled at the foot of the majestic Rocky Mountains, offers a diverse range of free activities for visitors to enjoy. From exploring natural wonders to immersing in the cultural scene, there is something for everyone. Here are the key takeaways from the article:

Key Takeaways

  • Explore the natural wonders of Colorado Springs, including Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak.
  • Immerse yourself in the cultural scene by visiting museums and attending performances.
  • Enjoy outdoor activities such as biking, rock climbing, and scenic drives.
  • Indulge in local cuisine at restaurants and breweries.
  • Discover the history of Colorado Springs through historic sites and museums.

Explore the Natural Wonders

Hike through Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is a free park in Colorado Springs that has easy walking paths taking you past red rock formations around the park. See if you can find the Sleeping Giant or the Kissing Camels (and if you can figure out why they’re named that!). If you want to do even more during your visit, book a private rock climbing lesson — it’s the only way you’re allowed on the rocks at the park!

Discover the beauty of Pikes Peak

The tour begins with a scenic drive up the historic Pikes Peak Highway, where you’ll make several stops above and below the tree line to fully embrace the breathtaking views. Immerse yourself in the fresh mountain air and observe the changing pine trees as we ascend, culminating in the awe-inspiring sights above the tree line. Your friendly guide will share intriguing facts and folklore, enhancing your understanding of this majestic mountain. At the summit, explore the summit house and don’t miss trying the world-famous Pikes Peak donuts! Wildlife sightings, while likely, are a delightful bonus, and the summer months bring a flourish of wildflowers. Included in your tour are guide services, entry to Pikes Peak Highway, transportation, water, snacks, and guide gratuities. Suitable for most ages and fitness levels, but not recommended for those with heart problems, altitude sickness, or infants under one year. Prepare for variable weather and remember to dress warmly and stay hydrated. The meeting point is easily accessible at 306 Manitou Avenue.

Marvel at the Seven Falls

The Broadmoor Seven Falls trail is a must-visit attraction in Colorado Springs. This series of seven cascading waterfalls, including Bridal Veil, Feather, Hill, Hull, Ramona, Shorty, and Weimer, has been a magnet for tourists and locals for decades. Located just a stone’s throw from the heart of Colorado Springs, the falls are easily accessible and make for a great half-day activity. In addition to marveling at the falls, visitors can also explore the hiking trails, zip-lines, and shops and restaurants in the area. Don’t miss the chance to visit this natural wonder and experience its beauty firsthand.

Stroll around Red Rock Canyon Open Space

The Red Rock Canyon Open Space is an oft-overlooked gem in Colorado Springs. Located just minutes from downtown, this nearly-800-acre space offers stunning views of the Rockies and beautiful red rock formations. It’s a perfect destination for hiking or running, with 11 marked trails ranging from 1.7 to 5.4 miles in length. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there are trail options for every level of difficulty. Lace up your boots and explore this outdoor oasis!

Immerse in the Cultural Scene

Visit the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center

When exploring the cultural scene in Colorado Springs, a visit to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is a must. This vibrant hub for the arts offers a diverse range of performances and exhibitions that showcase both local talent and world-class artists. From captivating theater productions to thought-provoking art displays, there’s always something exciting happening at the Fine Arts Center. Be sure to check their website for upcoming shows and events, and book your tickets in advance to secure your spot.

In addition to the Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs is home to several other cultural attractions. The Western Museum of Mining and Industry provides a fascinating glimpse into the region’s mining history, while the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum offers a comprehensive look at the city’s past. For those who appreciate live performances, the Pikes Peak Center is a must-visit. This premier venue hosts a variety of shows, ranging from concerts to comedy acts, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Experience the Western Museum of Mining and Industry

Trust us when we say that the Western Museum of Mining and Industry is a must-see for anyone with even just a passing interest in historical and industrial culture. With a collection of historic steam engines and mining equipment spread across three rotating galleries, an impressive display of rare minerals on show, and a great range of interactive activities and educational programs, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into Colorado Springs’ rich mining history. Don’t miss the model mining drift and gold panning stations, where you can experience the thrill of mining firsthand.

Explore the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum

Located in the century-old former El Paso County Courthouse building, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum offers a heartwarming journey through the city’s past. Its fascinating exhibits showcase the city’s original Native American inhabitants, the early pioneers who settled in the area (including some of Colorado Springs’ founding fathers), and the culture and landscapes of the region. With hundreds of quilts, Van Briggle art pottery artifacts, and paintings to appreciate, the free museum is the ideal spot for a rainy afternoon.

Attend a performance at the Pikes Peak Center

With a host of entertainment on offer, from concerts to comedy shows and everything in between, the Pikes Peak Center For The Performing Arts is your one-stop-shop for all things “the arts.” Whether it’s catching a world-class performance from the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, or seeing what local talent has up their sleeve with an open mic night, the ever-changing calendar of entertainment seldom disappoints. Check the website to see who’s performing during your stay and make sure to book in advance.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities

Go biking along the Santa Fe Trail

The Santa Fe Trail offers a scenic and adventurous biking experience in Colorado Springs. This historic trail stretches for miles, providing bikers with beautiful views of the surrounding nature and landmarks. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, the Santa Fe Trail has something for everyone. Along the trail, you’ll encounter diverse landscapes, including open fields, wooded areas, and picturesque creeks. Take your time to explore the trail and soak in the natural beauty of Colorado Springs. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning views along the way!

Try rock climbing at the CityRock Climbing Center

If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping activity in Colorado Springs, don’t miss the opportunity to try rock climbing at the CityRock Climbing Center. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, this indoor climbing gym offers a variety of routes and challenges for all skill levels. With state-of-the-art facilities and knowledgeable staff, you’ll have everything you need for a thrilling and safe climbing experience. So grab your gear and get ready to conquer the walls at CityRock!

Take a scenic drive along the Gold Camp Road

If you’re looking for a scenic adventure in Colorado Springs, don’t miss the opportunity to drive along the Gold Camp Road. This road offers breathtaking views of the surrounding natural beauty, with the Front Range and the Rocky Mountains in the distance. While the road may not be the smoothest, the stunning vistas make it well worth the journey. Be sure to bring your camera along to capture the picturesque landscapes along the way.

Go horseback riding at the Academy Riding Stables

The feeling of trotting through fields and meadows in the foothills of Pike Peak is an experience to behold. Enjoy a one-hour horseback ride through the Garden of the Gods, saddle up in the Pike National Forest, or rent your own horse and explore at your own pace! If you’re a sports fan, don’t miss the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, where you can see a ton of event memorabilia, including medals won by local athletes.

Indulge in Local Cuisine

Savor a delicious meal at the Rabbit Hole

The Rabbit Hole is known for its late-night grub and quality cocktails, fitting the definition of a secret speakeasy. It’s a cozy tavern where you can enjoy delicious food and drinks. With its impressive nightlife scene, Colorado Springs offers a variety of bars and pubs to hop around. Whether you’re looking for an upscale cocktail bar or some of the best blues in town, you’ll find it here. The Rabbit Hole is one of the top places to visit for a nightcap. Don’t miss the opportunity to try their $3 drafts during happy hours, with over 20 beers on tap.

Try the famous green chili at the Colorado Mountain Brewery

Looking for a more festive party? Consider the beer and bowling bus tour, a great way to mingle with fellow thirsty travelers! Check out the delicious bites and thirst-quenching brews at Colorado Mountain Brewery, or stop by Phantom Canyon Brewing for the varied beers like the FFFUDGE – Imperial Chocolate Stout. Cerberus Brewing Company is another great brewery to check out with cozy vibes under the string lights on the patio.

Enjoy a craft beer at the Bristol Brewing Company

Bristol Brewing Company is a proud Colorado Springs brewery that enchants its guests with beers made with pure and real ingredients. The lively beer garden and accompanying hearty BBQ dishes add to the vibrant atmosphere. If you’re a beer enthusiast, a visit to Bristol Brewing Company is a must. You can enjoy a variety of delicious brews while soaking in the lively ambiance. Don’t forget to try their signature FFFUDGE – Imperial Chocolate Stout, a rich and flavorful beer that will satisfy your taste buds.

Taste the flavors of Colorado at the Ivywild School

The Ivywild School is not just a school, but also a vibrant food and drink destination in Colorado Springs. Inside the Ivywild School, you’ll find a variety of restaurants where you can order your food and enjoy it anywhere, whether indoors or outdoors. The school offers a unique dining experience with its quirky spaces and eclectic meals. One popular option is Susan’s Samosas, where you can grab flaky and filling post-hike bites. If you’re in the mood for a craft beer, the Bristol Brewing Company is a must-visit. They offer a selection of delicious brews that will satisfy any beer lover. Another great brewery to check out is Cerberus Brewing Company, known for its cozy vibes and string lights on the patio. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a leisurely meal, the Ivywild School has something to satisfy every palate.

Discover the History

Step back in time at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Located just 10 minutes from the Springs, right next to the Garden Of The Gods, the Manitou Cliff Dwellings is your chance to step back in time and take a historical tour through some of the area’s oldest homes, dating as far back as 700 years ago! Built into this stunning series of cliffs is a 40-room site (that was transferred from its original location in McElmo Canyon), as well as a nearby museum that depicts the daily life, tools, and legacy of the Puebloan ancestry. Plus, with a large gift shop, it’s not a bad spot to grab a unique souvenir or two.

Learn about the Air Force Academy at the Visitor Center

The Visitor Center at the Air Force Academy is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning about the history and traditions of this prestigious institution. Here, you can explore exhibits that showcase the academy’s mission, cadet life, and the important role it plays in shaping future leaders. Take a guided tour to get an in-depth look at the campus and its iconic landmarks, including the Cadet Chapel and Falcon Stadium. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop to pick up some Air Force Academy memorabilia.

Explore the historic Old Colorado City

No Colorado Springs itinerary is complete without a visit to this historic neighborhood on the southwest side of town. Lined with 19th-century brick buildings along Colorado Avenue, the centuries-old quarter is a blissful slice of history; its charming shopping district and Victorian homes remaining nearly unchanged since the city’s early days. With a handful of antique stores to explore (not to mention restaurants, coffee shops, and unique shops), Old Colorado City offers a delightful experience for history enthusiasts and shoppers alike.

Visit the Ghost Town Museum

The Ghost Town Museum is a classic family attraction in Colorado Springs that offers an immersive glimpse into the history of mining. Located on South St, the museum features nearly two dozen buildings that have been reassembled to reflect life during the mid-19th century gold rush days. With authentic stagecoaches, wagons, and antique games, it’s a must-see for history buffs. The museum also offers interactive activities and educational programs, including a model mining drift and gold panning stations. Take note that the museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

In Conclusion

Colorado Springs is a vibrant destination that offers a wide range of free activities for visitors to enjoy. From exploring the stunning Garden of the Gods Park to embarking on thrilling outdoor adventures, there is something for everyone in this beautiful city. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adrenaline seeker, or a culture enthusiast, Colorado Springs has it all. So pack your bags, grab your hiking boots, and get ready to make unforgettable memories in this playground for adventure enthusiasts and culture seekers alike.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best free things to do in Colorado Springs?

Some of the best free things to do in Colorado Springs include hiking through Garden of the Gods, exploring the beauty of Pikes Peak, marveling at the Seven Falls, and strolling around Red Rock Canyon Open Space.

What cultural attractions can I visit in Colorado Springs?

You can visit the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, experience the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, explore the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, and attend a performance at the Pikes Peak Center.

What outdoor activities can I enjoy in Colorado Springs?

You can go biking along the Santa Fe Trail, try rock climbing at the CityRock Climbing Center, take a scenic drive along the Gold Camp Road, and go horseback riding at the Academy Riding Stables.

Where can I indulge in local cuisine in Colorado Springs?

You can savor a delicious meal at the Rabbit Hole, try the famous green chili at the Colorado Mountain Brewery, enjoy a craft beer at the Bristol Brewing Company, and taste the flavors of Colorado at the Ivywild School.

What historical attractions can I discover in Colorado Springs?

You can step back in time at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, learn about the Air Force Academy at the Visitor Center, explore the historic Old Colorado City, and visit the Ghost Town Museum.

What is the best park to visit in Colorado Springs?

The Garden of the Gods Park is considered the #1 park in the US and is a must-visit for nature lovers and avid hikers. It spans 1,300 acres and is teeming with vibrant sandstone formations.

Are there any family-friendly activities in Colorado Springs?

Yes, there are plenty of family-friendly activities in Colorado Springs. You can visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, explore the North Cheyenne Cañon Park, have fun at the Colorado Springs Children’s Museum, and take a ride on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.

What are some popular attractions near Colorado Springs?

Some popular attractions near Colorado Springs include the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, the Cave of the Winds Mountain Park, the Olympic Training Center, and the Manitou Incline.

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