As a Colorado local, I love spending a day exploring the many fun things to do in Colorado Springs.
If you’re wondering what to do in Colorado Springs, I’ve got you covered in this article! From delicious food tours to great hiking trails to historic museums, there’s something for everyone on this list.
One note before we dive in: many of the things to do in Colorado Springs now require reservations ahead of time. Be sure to check the website for places you’re interested in – especially for the more popular attractions like Pikes Peak.
Table of Contents
- 28 Best Things to Do in Colorado Springs
- Museums & Cultural Attractions
- What to Do Outdoors in Colorado Springs
- Food & Drink
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28 Best Things to Do in Colorado Springs
Garden of the Gods
Walk under striking red rock formations
Garden of the Gods is one of the first landmarks people associate with visiting Colorado Springs. The park is full of fascinating rock formations in brilliant shades of red. You’ll find some of the best easy Colorado Springs hikes here. Most of the trails through the park are paved, so they’re stroller and wheelchair-friendly.
You will also find picnic tables and easy walks to see the various formations. Also, be sure to stop in at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center before making the turn into the park to get the lay of the land, learn the park’s history, and see some amazing views of the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak.
Visit the mountain that inspired a classic national song
There are lots of ways to get to Pikes Peak. You can drive, hike, bike, or take the recently refurbished Pikes Peak Cog Railway to the top. Since it sits above 14,000 feet, you’ll want warm clothes regardless of when you visit. See the spot on America’s mountain that inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write “America the Beautiful” more than 100 years ago after a trip here.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Spend time at a mountain zoo
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is more than 6,000 feet above sea level, and is designed so guests can get nice and close to the animals. Feed a giraffe, watch the wild animals, and take in an animal demonstration at this unique zoo!
🛎️ Need a Hotel? Find hotels near Colorado Springs attractions including the zoo!
The Broadmoor Seven Falls
Check out beautiful, sparkling waterfalls on this hike
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (844) 602-3343 | Website | Hours: Summer 10 am – 6 pm daily, Closed Tues – Thurs, Off-season 10 am – 6 pm daily, Closed Mon – Thurs | Entrance: $17, adults, $11 under 13 | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator
Seven Falls is less than a mile from Colorado’s best-known hotel, and is the only waterfall in Colorado on National Geographic’s list of International Waterfalls. The 224 steps to the top of the falls are a challenge, but you’ll get cool views of the box canyon and a stream as you hike up, plus amazing views from the top.
Air Force Academy
See the picturesque training grounds for elite aviators
The Air Force Academy has a striking campus up against the Rocky Mountains, and there are several outlooks for visitors around campus where you can take in the beauty of the area. You can also pop in to the Air Force Academy Visitor Center, the Planetarium, the Falcon Athletic Center, and other campus spots. The Space Age-looking Cadet Chapel is an unusual stop as well, but it’s being renovated until Spring 2024 so you won’t be able to go inside.
Because you’ll be entering a military base, be sure to have a valid photo I.D. like a current driver’s license or passport. You may also be asked to share proof of insurance and vehicle registration and may want to have your car rental agreement on hand. Security personnel may also search the vehicle.
📚 Related Reading: If you’re staying in Colorado Springs for several days, check out my list of 22 Fun Day Trips from Colorado Springs!
Olympic Training Center
See where Olympic and Paralympic athletes train
Colorado Springs is known as Olympic City, USA – come see where the city got its nickname! The Olympic Training Center near downtown Colorado Springs has housing, dining, and extra-curricular activities for athletes training to be the best. Up to 512 athletes can stay at the center at one time, and there is also a museum dedicated to past athletes at the Training Center. Come see where some of your Olympic heroes may have trained!
👉 Read Next: 59 Fun Things to Do in Denver, Colorado
Colorado Wolf & Wildlife Center
Learn more about these majestic, mysterious animals
The Wolf & Wildlife Center offers tours to teach visitors about the importance of wolves, coyotes, and foxes to the ecosystem and to help them understand the animals better. They also work to promote the preservation and conservation of forests and other lands. Tours of the property provide an up-close look at wolves while visitors learn more about them.
There is a special kids’ tour as well, but be aware that it discusses the fur industry, canned hunts, and other hardships these animals can endure. It’s not graphic, but you may want to call ahead to get a better idea of what will be shared if you have a sensitive child.
Sunrise Balloon Tour Over Colorado Springs
Tickets: From $250 | 👉 Book Your Sunrise Ride Here
One of the coolest ways to explore Colorado Springs is from the air. Booking a Colorado Springs sunrise balloon tour is one of only two attractions on this list (along with Garden of the Gods) that makes our list of the 33 best things to do in the state of Colorado. Take in incredible views of Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, and the Rocky Mountains. Sure, it’s a pricey thing to do in Colorado Springs, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime bucketlist experience for the truly adventurous.
Museums & Cultural Attractions
Rock Ledge Ranch
Walk back in time at this living history museum
Rock Ledge Ranch is a living history museum with demonstrations and historical reenactments. You can experience the occupation of the Camp Creek Valley by the Utes in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Victorian life in 1875 at the Chambers Family Rock Ledge House, and early 20th century life in the Edwardian Orchard House. There are blacksmith demonstrations, farm animals, a garden, and other activities showing Colorado life from hundreds of years ago.
Pikes Peak Alpine School
Tackle ice, rocks, and more at this climbing school
Pikes Peak Alpine School offers rock, snow, and ice climbing as well as ski tours. Climb at several Colorado Springs spots including Garden of the Gods and Red Rock Open Space or try backcountry skiing at Pikes Peak.
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
Learn about the culture and history of the Colorado Springs area
The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum in downtown Colorado Springs displays examples of early pioneer art like quilting, pottery, and painting. It also has exhibits on the history of the area, along with art celebrating Native American crafters. Other exhibits celebrate the area’s time as an early health resort, and more recently as a military training center.
Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association
Celebrate Colorado’s Wild West heritage with a trip to a rodeo museum
Check out the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and the Museum of the American Cowboy while you’re in Colorado Springs. You’ll learn about the history of rodeo and see exhibits about famous rodeo stars of past and current times.
Cave of the Winds
Tour some underground caverns for a close-up look at stalactites and stalagmites
Cave of the Winds has one of the highest show caves in the U.S., which was discovered in 1881. There are three different tours to choose from to wind through the underground caverns. You can also go on rides at the outdoor fun park or try the climbing wall or Via Ferrata for an extra kick of adrenaline.
Manitou Cliff Dwellings
See reconstructed Ancient Puebloan cliff dwellings
The cliff dwellings in Manitou Springs were relocated from Southwest Colorado in the early 1900s. The ruins traveled by train and horse-drawn wagons to their current spot. When they reconstructed the ruins, the builders used concrete mortar instead of adobe mud or clay so the buildings are sturdy enough to tour.
📚 Related Reading: If you’ll be visiting other parts of Colorado as well, be sure to bookmark our Ultimate Colorado Travel Guide!
The Peterson Air & Space Museum
Tour Colorado’s oldest aviation museum
Colorado Springs has long been associated with aviation – learn all about the city’s ties to flying, military fighting, and space at this Air and Space Museum. The museum is built on the site of Colorado Springs’ first municipal airfield and you’ll see vintage planes, rockets, and other aircraft while you tour the area.
Western Museum of Mining and Industry
Discover Colorado Springs’ mining history
Learn about the impact Colorado Springs and its people had mining and ranching, and vice versa! You can walk through a replica mine shaft, check out a 1895 Corliss steam engine, and view a rescue pod used to save the Chilean miners. You can also see other machines used throughout the history of mining.
Penrose Heritage Museum
See one historic family’s impact on Colorado Springs
The Penroses were a wealthy Colorado Springs family that made their money in mining. Spencer Penrose was responsible for the construction of the Pikes Peak Highway, the Broadmoor, and other landmarks in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region. See how this wealthy family lived in the early 20th century and view 30 carriages and 15 race cars, among other artifacts.
Glen Eyrie Castle
Visit this respite from a busy world
This castle was built by the founder of Colorado Springs, General William Jackson Palmer, for his family. It is now owned by the evangelical Christian group the Navigators, who use it for events, but it’s still open to the public for tours, afternoon tea, or to visit the book and coffee shop. You can also spend the night at the castle and check out the beautiful hiking trails on or near the property.
👉 Pro Tip: If you want to tour the castle or go to tea, you’ll want to make reservations ahead of time!
National Museum of World War II Aviation
Learn about military aviation during WWII
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 637-7559 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily, Closed Mondays | Entrance: from $15, adults, from $11 ages 4-12, free under 4, from $13, seniors & military, free for WWII vets
You’ll learn about the huge leaps in aviation technology that happened during World War II and learn the stories of those who built and flew these planes. There are 28 restored aircraft at this museum, plus plenty of artifacts and documents sharing the history of the war.
What to Do Outdoors in Colorado Springs
Helen Hunt Falls
Take a short walk to this pretty waterfall
There’s a very short walk to an overlook where you can see Helen Hunt Falls, or you can make a longer hike of it and trek to the top. You’re also near the Seven Bridges Trail, so if you’re up for exploring more hiking trails, you can link up with that as well.
Florissant Fossil Beds
Visit one of the most diverse fossil deposits in the world
Take one of the hiking trails past massive petrified tree stumps or take a trek along the Geologic Trail on a trip to the very distant past. Visit the Hornbek Homestead where single mom Adeline Hornbek and her four kids turned their 1870s homestead into a thriving ranch.
👉 Read Next: 29 Fun Things to Do in Boulder, Colorado
Paint Mines Interpretive Park
Hike past technicolor rocks
This park gets its name from the colorful clay that Native Americans collected to make paint. The colors come from oxidized iron compounds, and vary from white to red to yellow and even green. Spend plenty of time on the hiking trails through the park, taking in the ever changing light and color playing across the rocks.
Get your adrenaline rush
Colorado is known for its whitewater rafting opportunities! Your best bet for rafting near Colorado Springs is going to be along the Arkansas River, and there are plenty of outfitters with guides who will take you on a variety of trips. From low-key floats with just enough excitement for the kids to seriously challenging rapids and overnight trips, you’ll find something to suit you!
Test your mental and physical mettle on this lung-busting trek
The hike up these stairs is less than a mile, but don’t let that fool you – this is a serious Colorado hike! The 2,744 stairs have up to a 68% grade and have been a challenge for military trainees, fitness gurus, and Olympians. You’ll want to get plenty of exercises and be ready for the elevation before attempting to climb the Incline, and bring plenty of water. Most people can count on taking at least an hour or more to summit the Incline.
👉 Pro Tip: You’ll need to make a free reservation to climb the Incline on the website. There is nearby parking starting at $1 an hour.
Mueller State Park
Watch for wildlife at this scenic park
Mueller State Park has elk, bears, deer, and a variety of birds for watching. It also has beautiful scenery and sweeping mountain views, along with a variety of gorgeous hikes for all levels! Bring your gear to fish, or go snowshoeing in winter.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Hike, mountain bike, or climb among these striking rocks
Red Rock Canyon Open Space is near Garden of the Gods, but much less crowded! You can hike, mountain bike, or climb with an outfitter or on your own on the craggy rocks. There are plenty of easy hiking trails to do with kids, along with more challenging hiking or biking trails.
Food & Drink
Stop for a bite to eat in this historic town
Whether you want a burger, pancakes, or an ice cream cone after a day of hiking and exploring, downtown Manitou Springs can suit your cravings! Stroll the quaint historic street and pop into a shop for coffee or ice cream, or grab a seat at a sidewalk cafe.
Rocky Mountain Food Tours
Check out a speakeasy, a celebrity chef’s restaurant, and more on a tour of local eateries
The woman-owned Rocky Mountain Food Tours offers several different tours to sample local Colorado Springs restaurants and bars. A food tour takes you to several great restaurants, while the cocktail tour and the craft beer tour specialize in boozy creations. This would be one of those fun things to do in Colorado Springs for a Girls’ Trip or bachelor party in the area!
As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Colorado Springs! For even more ideas on what to do in Colorado Springs, check out my extensive list of hikes in and near Colorado Springs as well. Happy exploring!