Countless museums, creative districts and mountain adventures await visitors to Colorado’s second-largest city
Duration: 4 Days
This Itinerary is Ideal For: All age groups
Spend your first day in Colorado Springs by honoring America’s Olympic heritage. Since 1978, the U.S. Olympic Training Center has hosted thousands of Olympic athletes and para-athletes who take advantage of the campus’ state-of-the art facilities and thin Colorado air. Hour-long guided tours of the 35-acre complex include visits to the aquatic center, wrestling facility and shooting range. Groups will also learn about the daily rigors of Olympic training as they see dieticians, sports psychologists and high-altitude training experts that also work on campus.
After experiencing the American Olympic present, walk through its past and future at the U.S. Olympic Museum—Colorado Spring’s newest and most technologically advanced attraction. Across four floors and 60,000 square feet, visitors will learn about the Olympics’ ancient Greek roots and interact with state-of-the-art exhibits that allow them to race Usain Bolt and pass through half-pipes with Chloe Kim and Red Gerard.
Enjoy an evening of live music and fine dining at Ivywild, a converted middle school and multi-stage entertainment hot spot. Grab a cocktail in the Principal’s Office, sample craft beer at the Bristol Brewing Company and dance to live country music in the converted school auditorium. The basement houses Axe and the Oak, which hosts blues musicians and whiskey tastings.
Witness an unforgettable Colorado sunrise at the Garden of the Gods, a collection of ancient towering sandstone rock formations at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Begin at the Visitor & Nature Center, which offers interactive exhibits, before exploring the park on a guided van trip, rock climbing excursion or Segway tour.
Along the mountainside is the quaint town of Manitou Springs, an artist enclave filled with boutiques, creek-side cafes and galleries housed in colorful Western storefronts. Be sure to also explore the Miramont Castle, an eclectic mansion that spans four floors and nine distinct architectural styles. Visitors can tour the historic building’s 30 rooms, relax in the Victorian gardens or try traditional English high tea in the dining room. Enjoy lunch here before continuing uphill to the Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings, 800-year-old Anasazi structures carved into the mountainside.
Continue downhill to the Broadmoor, an elegant resort that dates back to 1918. The grounds that surround Cheyenne Lake include three golf courses, a tennis club and over 20 restaurants, bars and lounges to relax in and admire the Mediterranean-inspired architecture. Conclude your day with an evening of comedy and comfort food at the Iron Springs Chateau Melodrama Theater. The group-friendly venue offers a three-course meal and interactive production that encourages audience members to boo the villain and cheer for the hero.
The mountainside campus of the U.S. Air Force Academy is a peerless example of mid-century modern university architecture and free to explore. Begin at the visitor center to learn about academy life and view American aviation artifacts before touring the Cadet Area, a distinct blend of sleek modernist architecture and Italian terrazzo plaza design that stands in contrast to other American military academies. The campus’ architectural triumph is the Academy Chapel. Tiered with separate worship spaces to accommodate different faiths, the steel and aluminum structure consists of 17 spires that resemble jets flying skyward. On your way downtown, be sure to stop in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, which honors the sport’s wranglers with over 300 inductee collections.
Spend your afternoon in Downtown Colorado Springs, a Colorado Certified Creative District with thriving galleries and boutiques. Visitors can admire the rotating sculptures on public display, sample craft beer at Iron Bird Brewing Co. or seek out the world-renowned Dale Chihuly glass collection at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Located in the beautifully restored 1903 El Paso County Courthouse, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum includes exhibits that highlight the region’s Native American history, mining heritage and indigenous art. Conclude your day in Old Colorado City, a saloon town created during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush of 1859. Facades of old saloons and casinos now house restaurants (like Bon Ton’s Café, La Baguette, Pizzeria Rustica) and art galleries.
Pikes Peak—one of the world’s most iconic mountaintops—dramatically rises above the Colorado Springs skyline. Visitors will pass by breathtaking scenery of mountain reservoirs and timber forests as they ascend to the 14,115-foot summit and Pikes Peak Summit House. Along the way, stop by lakes for fishing, participate in an interpretive ranger program or hike part of the Barr Trail, which was once traversed by 19th century prospectors. The famous Pikes Peak Cog Railway is currently undergoing a comprehensive overhaul, and the updated attraction will feature a completely new track and state-of-the-art compartments when it re-opens to the public in 2021.