7 Fun Must Do Activities in Colorado Springs

Visiting Colorado Springs for pleasure or business? Check our list of 7 Fun Must Do Activities in Colorado Springs that are great for families and people of all ages. Even if you are only passing through on a cross country drive, hitting a few of these stops will be absolutely be worth your time!

Garden of the Gods and Pike’s Peak are my absolute favorites and “must do” attractions on this list while the others are quick and easy extras if you are looking for a few other ideas in and around town.

Look at this pic of Garden of the Gods. Doesn’t it look like a cool place to stop on your vacation out west?

7 Fun Must Do Activities in Colorado Springs

Look at this pic of Garden of the Gods. Doesn’t it look like a cool place to stop on your vacation out west?

7 Fun Must Do Activities in Colorado Springs

Check out our list below with 7 Fun Must Do Activities in Colorado Springs. Like I shared above, the absolute can’t miss attractions if you are in town are to check out Garden of the Gods and take an adventure up to the top of Pike’s Peak.

We spent several days in Colorado Springs after our Rocky Mountain National Park family hiking vacation. We needed to drop off my daughter Kenzie at the Olympic Training Center for her Penathlon camp and National Championship competition, so we had extra time to stay in town while she was training at the OTC.

While Kenzie was working with Team USA, we chilled at the pool!

Garden of the Gods Resort Pool

While she was at the OTC, we stayed at the Garden of the Gods Resort since we thought this location would offer us a nice pool, views, and proximity to Garden of the Gods Park. The hotel worked out great for us! After several days of hard and amazing hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, plus having already been on the road for 10 days of travel, I was ready for a low key few days.

Highlights from our Colorado Spring stay included us visiting the Garden of the Gods park a bunch of times for runs & to watch the sunset along with an absolutely fabulous afternoon at Pike’s Peak.

Here’s the scoop and a bunch of photos sharing our time Colorado Springs.

How Much Time Should Spend in Colorado Springs?

Honestly, you could spend more or less time here depending on what you want to do with your itinerary. I think you could hit most of our favorites in just a 48 hour visit or even 1.5 days if you plan to simply make Colorado Springs an overnight stop on a longer road trip or as an add on to a Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado vacation.

Visit Garden of the Gods Park

Garden of the Gods Park is beautiful, unique and FREE!

The giant red rocks emerging from the earth set against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains and Pike’s Peak is stunning. The 480 acres surrounding these red sandstone rock formations was donated to the City of Colorado Springs in 1909 and is intended to be free to the public forever.

The driving loop is only a few miles so you can tour this area quickly if you’d like. You can also stop and walk various trails too so that will make your visit as long or as short as you’d like! We stayed at the Garden of the Gods resort which overlooked the park so we visited daily to go running and then to come back at sunset too.

There are 21 miles of trails in the Garden of the Gods park – both paved and dirt – so there is lots to explore in a small contained area if you are staying locally or visiting more than once.

The views change based on the time of day which made the setting extraspecial – we loved catching sunset at Garden of the Gods after climbing up high on rocks for a great view.

Garden of the Gods is a designated registered National Natural Landmark.

Stand on Balanced Rock in Garden of the Gods

Balanced Rock is cool! This is a must do while driving the Garden of the Gods loop. Definitely a photo spot for the family and totally instagram worthy.

Balanced Rock is located near the far end of Garden of the Gods Park so it can be easy to miss this if you are just on the loop road. As a reference point, Balanced Rock is closer to the exit side that approaches Manitou Springs and not at the beginning of the loop which is near the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center.

Balanced Rock at Garden of the Gods

Summit Pike’s Peak

This was our favorite excursion in Colorado Springs. Pike’s Peak is known as America’s Mountain and it is definitely worth the drive. I can’t rave enough about our trip! Kyle, Mike and I loved loved loved our adventure to the summit of Pike’s Peak. We felt bad Kenzie missed this exciting activity but she was at the Olympic Training Center so was having her own adventures.

We chose to drive up Pike’s Peak in our car which was great so we could stop and enjoy various views along the way. The landscape during the 19 mile drive changes dramatically as you reach a summit of over 14,000 feet!!!

7 Fun Must Do Activities in Colorado Springs

Mike did the driving for us – and I admit I would have been nervous driving myself as there were certainly tight windy turns.

We were able to see some amazing wildlife up close too! We stopped a bunch of times to enjoy the view and there is a brand new gorgeous visitor center at the summit.

Bighorn Sheep on Pike's Peak

Plan for about 3 hours roundtrip for this excursion. When you reach the summit, you might want to buy some of their famous Cinnamon Sugar donuts and grab a cup of hot chocolate to enjoy while you soak up the views.

You will need a reservation to drive to the top of Pike’s Peak, but we literally were able to book a reservation online about 60 minutes before we were ready to drive to the top. We had a clear day and decided it was the perfect time to drive to Pike’s Peak.

Visit the Pike’s Peak website here to best plan your visit and reserve a time slot. If you don’t want to drive to the top of the mountain in your own car, you could book a ticket for the cog train.

Pike's Peak Views

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

You can enjoy this must do quickly with even a 30 minute visit. So, if you’re in Colorado Springs and hitting Pike’s Peak, add this to your route. Seriously this is a quickie so it’s worth being part of our 7 Fun Must Do Activities in Colorado Springs.

The ancient Native American cliff dwellings overlook the historic town of Manitou Springs and you are even able to go inside and walk around the dwellings too which is fantastic!

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

I was an anthropology major while studying at Cornell so I always love learning more about the cultures and history whenever we travel. The kids, Mike and I loved climbing into the dwellings and walking around from structure to structure.

Manitou Cliff Dwellings photos

Visiting the Manitou Cliff Dwellings is an EASY stop to your Colorado Springs and Pike’s Peak region visit so absolutely consider visiting. You will pay admission, but you can likely find a coupon online to reduce the cost which is what we did before paying to enter.

Learn more about visiting the Manitou Cliff Dwellings here.

Manitou Cliff dwellings in Colorado Springs

Check out the Manitou Incline

If you are up for an ENORMOUS workout, climb or run to the top of the Manitou Incline!

Reservations are FREE but are required to book a time slot. You can make your FREE Reservation to Hike the Manitou Incline here.

My husband Mike decided to go for a RUN up the Manitou Incline as his workout for the day and then to run down the hiking trails after hitting the top of the mountain. It was quite a workout but he is certainly in shape.

7 Fun Must Do Activities in Colorado Springs

When you hike or RUN up the Manitou Incline, you’ll gain over 2,000 feet of elevation in less than one mile. WOW! The base of the Incline is located in Manitou Springs, a super cute town, and close to the base of the Barr Trail and across the street from the Cog Railroad that takes you to the top of Pike’s Peak.

Kyle and I skipped this climb as both of us knew it would bother our knees since we’d been hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park for the previous few days and hundreds of stairs wouldn’t be great for us. However, this activity is ultra popular for visitors to Colorado Springs and my husband was inspired to run it!

Visit the Olympic Museum

When in Olympic City, USA you’ll absolutely enjoy a visit to brand new U.S. Olympic & Paraolympic Museum. This modern sleek building is full of interactive exhibits and you could spend hours exploring the artifacts or participating in activities.

7 Fun Must Do Activities in Colorado Springs

Even if your itinerary is packed, a quick visit of 60 minutes could give you a wonderful taste of the history of the Olympics! We were able to tour the museum after it closed as part of a private event for Penathlon competitors and their families and we absolutely LOVED seeing all the artifacts.

Think all kinds of Olympic medals, sporting equipment worn in the Olympics, team uniforms, and so many Olympic Torches too!

7 Fun Must Do Activities in Colorado Springs

Learn more about the U.S. Olympic and Paraolympic Museum here.

US Olympic and Paraolympic Museum

Stroll the Broadmoor

The Broadmoor is a historic hotel which originally opened in 1918. This hotel is rich in history and full of stunning architecture. Even without booking an overnight at the Broadmoor, you can enjoy dining here or just taking a stroll around the manicured grounds of this historic venue.

Broadmoor Hotel Colorado Springs

Today, the resort has 784 rooms and staying here is on the expensive side but the location is gorgeous. Many rooms have a views of the mountains and a fireplace too! The hotel sits at the base of the mountains and many of the buildings surround a lake so the setting offers gorgeous views.

The pool has a spectacular view and guests can take out paddleboats to enjoy the lake.

Broadmoor Hotel Pool

We visited on a Saturday morning to walk around the lake and explore the property. It was definitely a fun way to spend an extra morning in Colorado Springs and to give ourselves a taste of the Broadmoor.

Broadmoor Hotel Walking Path

As you can tell there are TONS of amazing activities and excursions to enjoy in Colorado Springs. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to explore the region with our 7 Fun Must Do Activities in Colorado Springs. These are our favorite easy touristy activities that immersed us into the area and gave us a taste of mountain life!

For more family vacation ideas if you love the outdoors and are exploring the west on a roadtrip to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone or the Tetons, check out our must do’s for those regions to help plan your itinerary. Enjoy and happy travels!

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