This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Your Colorado Springs House. All opinions are entirely my own.
by Susanna Haynie, Guest Contributor
Have you ever met someone from the same place you used to live? One of the first things you do after getting all, “NO WAY!” excited, is you compare notes by asking, “Did you ever_________?” or “Have you had/done________?” Or maybe you meet someone who is moving to your old stomping grounds and you excitedly declare, “Oh! You just have to_________.”
Whether your PCS orders are taking you away or bringing you to Colorado, this is our list of 75 “you just HAVE to do this!” activities in Colorado Springs.
Treat this like your duty station bucket list. Print it out and check off each activity you do. Don’t be shy about adding your own experiences as well! This is a great way to keep fond memories of Colorado before your next adventure in a new location.
75 Things To Do When You’re Stationed In Colorado Springs
1. Ride the COG Railway up Pikes Peak. Take a camera and some friends!
2. Get up in the morning, throw your kayak in the car and enjoy an hour on the Catamount lakes on Pikes Peak before work.
3. Bike down Pikes Peak and stop at the Colorado Wines restaurant, sit creekside and enjoy a yummy veggie burger. (They have other tasty food too.)
4. Release your inner child by playing in the Penny Arcade in Manitou Springs and enjoying candy and ice cream from Patsy’s (you can tour their candy factory as well!).
5. Dance in the water at the Uncle Wilber water fountain in downtown Colorado Springs (Acacia Park)
6. Eat breakfast at the famous King’s Chef Diner (cash only!)
7. Hike around Garden of the Gods, take a selfie at Balance Rock, hunt for The Scotsman and find the infamous “window” photo op at the Siamese Twins formation.
8. Take a selfie on the Garden of the Gods overlook on Mesa Road.
9. Run a 5k on a Tuesday night with the Jack Quinn’s Running Club. Walkers and strollers are welcome.
10. Watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks from the Peak.
11. Climb the Manitou Incline.
12. Hike Barr Trail. (This needs planning and preparation.)
13. Fish in 11-Mile-Canyon for the best Brown Trout Fishing in the country!
14. Pack a cup and enjoy a taste of the free-flowing spring waters in Manitou Springs.
15. Attend the annual Territory Days Festival in Old Colorado City. Enjoy funnel cakes, vintage gunfights, music, shopping and giant turkey legs.
16. Enjoy the Rodeo Days Western Street Pancake Breakfast. Kids under 5 eat free.
17. Don’t miss the Longhorn Cattle Drive on Tejon street.
18. On a Sunday morning, load up the kayaks or a canoe, drive to Woodland Park, stop at the Hungry Bear Restaurant for breakfast, then spend a lazy afternoon on Rampart Range Reservoir.
19. Shop the summer farmers market in Old Colorado City.
21. Tour the Michael Garman Museum and Gallery.
22. Listen to the Symphony Above the Clouds in Woodland Park on July 5.
23. Visit the Pioneer’s Museum.
24. Stroll the Folk Art Festival at Rock Ledge Ranch. Make sure to stop by the blacksmith, watch them at work, visit the homestead and enjoy the smells of freshly baked cookies or applesauce.
25. Drive out to the Paint Mines Interpretive Park for some awesome photo ops, climbing on rocks and beautiful red colors of the earth.
26. Visit the Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel.
27. Tour the Olympic Training Center.
28. Take the day off for the AFA graduation in May. Pack a picnic and find a spot on the eastern side of I-25, across from the Academy and watch as the Thunderbirds buzz your head. They’re so close you can see the pilot’s face as he whizzes by!
29. Visit the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
30. Visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and walk up to the Shrine of the Sun.
31. Bundle up for Boo at the Zoo or the Christmas Electric Safari.
32. Plan a girls night at the Broadmoor during the holidays. Admire the giant gingerbread house, walk around the lake and then sit by the fire at Bar del Largo while sipping your favorite hot beverage.
33. Plan a brewery tour with your friends.
34. Hike up to Helen Hunt Falls.
35. Drive Gold Camp Road (make sure you have 4WD)
36. You have to attend at least one night at the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo!
37. Descend 1,000 feet into a mountain during the Mollie Kathleen Mine Tour.
38. Treat the kids to a night at the Great Wolf Lodge. Don’t forget to ask for their military discount.
39. Drive up to Divide, Colo., to the Wolf Wildlife Refuge and then hike the Fossil National Monument.
40. The Dinosaur Resource Center is a must for your littles!
41. Meet Hiking Bob and get a sticker.
42. In the fall, spend the day driving to Cripple Creek for the views and amazing aspen leaves!
43. Enjoy the history of the Manitou Cliff Dwellings.
44. Pick the hottest summer day and go to Cave of the Winds.
45. Surprise your kids with a visit to the North Pole in the middle of summer.
46. Rent costumes at Zeezo’s and attend the Renaissance Festival.
47. Eat brunch at the Broadmoor.
48. Have a drink of whiskey in the Principal’s Office. (Shhhh! Actually, it’s ok)
49. Pack a blanket and a bottle of wine for the St. Stephens Jazz in the Garden or at Hillside Gardens.
50. Get fresh roasted chilies and fabulous wine tastings at the Holy Cross Abbey Harvest Fest.
51. Sign up to run one of the many races around the city.
52. Ride a Segway through the Garden of the Gods
53. Enjoy a winter day at the Cripple Creek Ice Fest
54. Get up early on Labor Day to watch the hot air balloon launch
55. Attend a Murder-Mystery dinner at the Briarhurst Manor
56. Gather a group of friends and race with a coffin through Manitou Springs.
57. Participate in a wild donkey race at Donkey Derby Days
58. Dress up for a night at the new Ent Center for Performing Arts
59. Bike the Santa Fe Trail
60. Take your best friend to the Beauty Bar.
61. Go ahead and fall down The Rabbit Hole.
62. Experience the Gold Room.
63. Take a train ride through the Royal Gorge.
64. Eat a home-cooked chicken dinner at a little adobe house, Juniper Valley Ranch. (Reservations required.)
65. Take your dog for some play time at Bear Creek Dog Park and then stop for a cold one at Pub Dog Colorado.
67. Drive one hour west on a cold, snowy day and soak in the mountain creek at the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs.
68. Mark your calendar for some good ‘ol summer music festivals like Bands In The Backyard.
69. Raft the Arkansas River.
70. Experience the quaint shopping and whitewater park at South Main, Buena Vista.
71. Attend a Sky Sox baseball game on a Friday night.
72. Sing a few tunes and enjoy a yard of beer at the Golden Bee.
73. Experience high tea at the Glenn Eyrie Castle.
74. Have a latte in a tiny house at Story Coffee Co.
75. Admire the Big Horn sheep through binoculars at the Garden of the Gods Visitors Center.
I’m sure you can add so much more to this list! The sky is the limit. Climb, bike, hike, eat, drink, and drive your time away in Colorado Springs.
Susanna Haynie is a veteran’s spouse and Realtor in the Colorado Springs area. She’s passionate about serving the military community – especially when it comes to making sure military families with special needs children are taken care of – and just “gets it.” Check out her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to catch up with or reach out to her.