Full of natural beauty, Colorado Springs is the second largest city in Colorado and is an amazing vacation destination for families and couples alike.
Colorado Springs has so many things to do that it can be overwhelming to know where to go and what to book in order to make the most of your trip.
From hiking up mountains, to local history, to culture, and to meeting wolves, we have compiled a list of the best things to do in Colorado Springs!
Let's get into it...
Whether you're coming from Denver or another nearby city, Colorado Springs is easily accessible by car. The main highway of l-25 goes straight through the city making it easy to access from both the north and the south.
Or you can simply plan an epic Colorado road trip, as there are so many awesome places to visit within this state.
If you're coming via airplane from within the US, you can fly directly into Colorado Springs Airport which is around a 20 minute drive outside of downtown Colorado Springs. Direct flights can be found from cities such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, San Francisco, and Dallas.
However, if you're visiting Colorado Springs from outside the United States, it's likely you'll fly into Denver International Airport and need to make your own way to Colorado Springs. This can be done through a connecting flight or by road, whichever you prefer or is more suitable to your budget and schedule.
We would recommend using Skyscanner to check for flights so you can get the best deals!
Colorado Springs is accessible by train from 67 other cities, the most popular routes being from Denver, Elyria, and Syracuse.
Tejon Park and Ride is the main train station in Colorado Springs so it's likely you'll get dropped off there if you do get to Colorado Springs by rail. Don't worry though as both are less than a mile away from the city center.
Amtrak has by far the best train coverage in terms of frequency and quality of trains so we’d 100% recommend booking through them.
If you're traveling to Colorado Springs from another location within Colorado, a bus is a great option!
Bustang is a popular bus company within the state and it regularly carries commuters between Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins, and many more destinations.
Be sure to check prices and timetables on the Bustang website!
Colorado Springs is a city built for drivers and the best way to get around is definitely by car.
Most of the large attractions have car parks and a lot of the hotels have free parking included in your stay.
If you're not able to drive into Colorado Springs you can easily rent a car. There are endless options for car rentals and a large proportion of them have pick-up points at the airport.
Or you can always get a hire car in advance with Rentalcars who often have fantastic deals!
If you're not looking to rent a car for your trip, ride hailing apps like Uber and Lyft are common in the city but for the bigger day trips, renting a car would be best suited.
If you're just looking to get around downtown Colorado Springs, the Mountain Metro Transit bus runs all around the city and your basic day pass will only set you back around 4 dollars.
Luckily public transport is very accessible to not only locals but also tourists so you'll find it easy to purchase tickets on board both buses and trains.
Colorado Springs tries its best to be a green city and that has meant putting an increasing amount of bicycle lanes around the downtown area.
Not only this but there are also several Pike Ride locations scattered around the city which allow you to rent bikes via the app and pay hourly for rental.
With a seasonal outdoor heated pool, a bar, and a picnic area with BBQ facilities, this hotel has a lot to offer considering it's one of the more budget-friendly options in Colorado Springs. There are a variety of rooms to choose from and some of them even feature a private kitchenette which will help you keep food costs low.
Next up is SCP Colorado Springs Hotel which is one of the most beautiful properties you'll find in the area. With its cozy wooden interior, gorgeous rooms (many of which offer mountain views), and the fact that it's pet friendly, this hotel has a lot to offer!
Garden of the Gods Club & Resort is one of the most luxurious hotels you'll find in Colorado Springs. Boasting an Olympic sized pool, an on-site spa, a fine dining restaurant, and a state of the art fitness center, you won't be short of facilities if you decide to stay here.
It's no doubt that the Garden of the Gods should be at the top of your things to do list while in Colorado Springs!
Garden of the Gods is one of the main reasons people flock here and it's completely free to enter.
If you've never heard of Garden of the Gods before, it's a public park situated in the city, that's famous for its striking natural red rock sandstone formations that reach up to 300 feet tall!
If you're an avid hiker, Garden of the Gods is home to miles of different trails for both hikers and cyclists. Some of the highlights throughout these trails include unique views of twin peaks and walking along the ridges.
For the extra adventurous people, Garden of the Gods is a popular place to go rock climbing! Book your private rock climbing session to get the views of the park from a whole other angle!
A trip to the top of Pikes Peak is one of the best things to do in Colorado Springs.
There are several different ways to reach the 14,000 feat summit and all of them are well worth the trip!
If you're planning on taking the famous hike up to the top of Pikes Peak, there are a few things to note.
Firstly, It's an intense hike so be sure you're in good health and are an experienced hiker before you commit to doing an up-hill half marathon! You'll also need to plan your decline down the summit in advance as it can be tricky if you decide you don't want to hike back down.
Reaching the top by bike is another viable option for exploring the peak but we would definitely recommend booking an organized tour!
These tours meet at the adventure center and take you to the top of the mountain in vans so that you get the full experience of cycling down the summit with several photo pit stops along the way!
However, if you want to explore the peak in style, there is no better way than to opt for a Jeep tour! This way you’ll get to learn the history of the summit from the tour guides and stop off at all the highlights, without having to stress about the roads.
The US Air Force Academy, located just north of Colorado Springs is one of the few cadet training centers in the United States that allows the public to enter for free.
Here you can take a trip to the visitor’s center, have a nose around the base, and take part in the various tours they often have running, to learn all about everyday life in the Air Force.
Visiting this place is one of the top things to do in Colorado Springs, especially if you've got kids! The US Airforce Academy runs activities such as scavenger hunts, fishing, and hunting activities, and lots of photo points that will make this a great family day out.
Similar to Garden of the Gods, Red Rock Canyon draws visitors to its large red sandstone formations.
The canyon is located in the Pikes Peak region of Colorado Springs and is a hotspot for hiking enthusiasts. Red Rock Canyon is home to over 20 recognized trails all varying in difficulty so whether you're a hiking beginner or a hiking expert, there will be a trail for you.
The canyon trails are a perfect opportunity to witness some of Colorado Springs's stunning landscapes and vast wildlife.
If you find Red Rock Canyon impressive then I'd highly recommend heading to the neighboring state of Utah which is where you'll find the city of Moab. This place is known as the Gateway to the Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, which is home to tons of this impressive red rock!
Based in Colorado Springs airport, the National Museum of World War II Aviation is a must-visit for any fan of history or aircraft.
This museum opened in 2012 and tells the story of the role the aviation military had in World War II through multiple exhibits and testimonies.
The collection at this museum holds 28 fully restored war aircrafts and several more that are still being restored. The museum regularly hosts events and tours so be sure to check their events calendar before your visit.
The entrance to the museum is reasonably priced, however, the prices are slightly lower if you book online in advance!
The museum itself is a non-profit organization so it's worth noting that they rely on entrance costs and donations to stay open for visitors!
On your way to the museum, you'll drive past a airplane restaurant, which looks super cool and fits the theme ;)
Once home to the founder of Colorado Springs, General William Jackson Palmer; Glen Eyrie is a castle that was built in 1871.
Today the castle is a tourist attraction in itself due to its ability to hold conferences, and tours around the grounds, as well as the most popular activity - afternoon tea!
The castle teas are held year round on the castle's patio in the summer and inside the castle during the colder months. Book a table and enjoy the castle's large selection of teas, cakes, sandwiches, and salads from their seasonal menu.
If you have a bit of extra time during your stay in Colorado Springs, why not book an overnight package at Glen Eyrie Castle? Isn't staying overnight in a castle on everyone's bucket list?
You might have guessed from its name, but Old Colorado City used to be its own independent city in the early 1900s and actually used to be the Capital of Colorado territory before it was moved to Denver.
As you can probably tell, this area is full of history and culture and is known for being a vibrant old town situated within Colorado Springs.
Why not spend a day wandering around this historic district to get a feel for what Colorado used to be like whilst soaking up the history and obviously appreciating the range of cool coffee shops and boutique shops!
Here's some more information on things to do in Old Colorado City...
Home to one of the tallest caves in the US, Cave of the Winds is one of the best day trips you can do in Colorado Springs for the whole family and has been since the caves were discovered in 1881!
The park runs two different types of cave tours, the first being the family friendly Discovery Tour. This lit-up guided tour takes you through 15 different rooms of the caves while teaching you about the history and science of the cave itself.
The second (and slightly more fun) tour is the Haunted Lantern Tour! This tour is candlelit and takes you through many small tunnels and uneven staircases leading to cave rooms with their original floors and low ceilings.
During the tour, the guide will not only explain the history of the cave of the winds but also some mysterious spooky ghost stories!
The cave tours aren't the only things to do at Cave of the Winds making it an easy place to spend a whole day.
The climbing wall and Geronimo’s Leap are the park’s must-do attractions as well as the famous Bat-A-Pult, which flies you around the canyon via a secure zipline!
The cave tours are booked separately from the attractions, so just keep that in mind.
Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site is basically an outdoor living museum set on a farm in Garden of the Gods.
This historic site helps to teach people about the history of the area dating all the way back to 1775 with the American Indians.
Split into four different sites or time periods, the open museum shows re-models of historic settlements and houses with costumed actors around to tell stories and answer any questions.
The Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site regularly hosts all sorts of events including workshops, performances, story times, and demonstrations such as glass blowing so be sure to check their calendar, especially during the school holidays.
The site itself doesn't have a cafe, but you're allowed to bring in your own food so make sure to bring a picnic and you can eat your lunch on the benches next to the duck pond!
Get up close and personal with the wolves at Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center!
Located just under an hour away from Colorado Springs, the wolf and wildlife center is dedicated to the care, rescue, and education of wolves and other wild canines.
Visitors to the center can take a tour and meet the furry residents of the park, including wolves, coyotes, and foxes, learn their stories and if you’re lucky, howl with them!
While the tours do cost an extra fee, the center relies on donations to stay open. The tours are run by experts who teach you all about the conservation efforts of the center and the unfortunate side of the meat industry which includes hunting and lethal management.
Check their events calendar for special events and be sure to check out their children's tour for some more activities in Colorado Springs for the whole family!
Visiting this place is one of the best things to do near Colorado Springs so don't leave it off your itinerary!
The discovery of gold in the Rocky Mountains led to the industrial boom that was gold mining in Colorado. This boom meant that railroad lines were introduced around the state, bringing life to the small clusters of towns along those lines.
The Ghost Town Museum in Colorado Springs goes into depth of this historic story during the late 1800s by bringing an old ‘ghost town’ to life through buildings and old artifacts that have been preserved.
Wander around the old town and take part in some classic old wild west activities such as gold panning, butter churning, and some antique arcade games!
If you're wondering what to do in Colorado Springs then I highly recommend heading out to this place.
Helen Hunt Falls is a stunning 35 foot waterfall located slightly west of Colorado Springs in North Cheyenne. It's actually only a 10-minute drive from Garden of the Gods so why not tie it in with a day trip there?
The waterfall itself is only a short walk from the car park where you can see the waterfall up close in all of its glory. It's quite a popular area and if it's a nice day you're likely to find many people having a picnic or just simply enjoying the view.
However, if you're an avid hiker, you can grab a map from the Helen Hunt Falls visitor center and walk all the way up to the Silver Cascade Falls which overlooks the canyon and the Helen Hunt Falls. This hike is rated easy to moderate but it's about a mile of constant uphill walking!
If you're looking for things to see in Colorado Springs then I'd definitely recommend taking some time to see these epic waterfalls.
Be warned though, sometimes mountain lions and bears are spotted along this route. Despite this, there are usually enough people around for them not to be a problem.
If you have ever wanted to experience what life was like as a wealthy individual during the Victorian era, you're going to love the Miramont Castle Museum!
Based in Manitou Springs, Miramont Castle Museum is the perfect day trip from Colorado Springs for history and tea lovers alike.
Tours of the castle are self guided and usually take just over an hour to read all about the preserved rooms and old artifacts dating back to the late 1800s. The castle has a scavenger hunt which children can take part in while exploring the museum too.
After the tour why not book in for the famous tea packages in the Queen’s Parlour Tea Room? Here you can enjoy a multicourse Victorian tea in the glass tea house whilst enjoying the stunning views of the Rocky Mountains.
Don't leave this place before having a walk around the castle’s beautifully maintained gardens and grounds, and without admiring the interesting mixes of architecture.
If you're visiting as a family, one of the best things to do in Colorado Springs with kids is to head to the North Pole!
Located just 10 miles west of Colorado Springs, not only can you visit Santa in his workshop but you can also enjoy the vintage style amusement park that surrounds the workshop.
The amusement park itself has more than 20 different rides for all ages as well as an arcade and an aerial tram! If rides aren't your thing, then the park also has goats, llamas, several eateries, and a few village shops where you can purchase your best souvenirs!
If you're visiting in the summer months, there's no need to book in advance, you can just turn up on the day of your visit! However, in November and December, Santa gets really busy so you may want to reserve your ticket to meet him way in advance!
Don't forget to mail yourself a letter home from here so you can have a letter arrive from the north pole once you get back!
If you're looking for fun things to do in Colorado Springs then why not head to Cheyenne Zoo?
This places holds the title of the 'highest zoo in the United States' as it's situated at an impressive 6,800 feet above sea level.
Cheyenne Zoo is one of the only zoos in the world that's built into a mountain and it's been around since the 1920s!
Originally used to hold a private collection of wildlife, this place is now home to a wide variety of species and is involved in tons of conservation projects.
The zoo is most famous for its giraffes, elephants, and penguins, although there are over 200 species here for you to see!
Not only can you wander around the zoo, but you can get up close and personal with the animal experiences they have on offer.
There's also a ski lift that will take you over the bear and tiger enclosures to give you a unique perspective!
Colorado Springs is one of those places that you really could visit all year round and still have an amazing trip.
That being said, we think the best time to visit Colorado Springs is either between March and May or September and October.
June until August is the busiest time for Colorado Springs, meaning prices will be inflated and there will be a lot of tourists. Naturally, however, there are a lot of events and festivals during this time so it depends on your motive for visiting.
Unfortunately, November to February is quite cold so while the scenery is beautiful, it's a bit chilly for a lot of the outdoor activities!
Five to seven days would be the ideal amount of time to stay in Colorado Springs. However, Colorado Springs can be a good base for exploring the rest of Colorado and in that case, you might want to stay slightly longer.
If you have less time to spend in Colorado Springs, either three or four days is enough time to experience the city’s highlights.
According to recent travel trends, $120 a day is a good daily budget for Colorado Springs, although this doesn’t include accommodation costs. Luckily, it's possible to find affordable hostels, campgrounds, and RV sites to keep costs down as well as the upmarket resorts.
Colorado Springs is considered a very safe city for tourists and locals alike! However, you should practice caution as is the case within any large city.
Yes, there are several popular tours in Colorado Springs, these are the top recommended:
As you can see, there are so many things to do around Colorado Springs! It would be impossible for us to list everything so please let us know if you have any other must do activities.
Remember to check availability and book tours in advance, especially for popular experiences like this Garden of the Gods jeep tour!
If you're looking for onward travel after your time in Colorado Springs, you're in luck!
Colorado Springs has great connections to other cities within Colorado including Denver and Fort Collins. Alternatively, you could head south along Interstate 25 to Las Vegas, Santa Fe, or Albuquerque!
If you're planning a trip to the United States then here are some other guides that you may find helpful: