Places to visit & what to do in the Pikes Peak region

Brody, a photographer, wearing sunglasses and smiling at the camera with a view of rocky, mountain terrain in the back

Your Weekend guide to Colorado Springs

Howdy, friends! Have you been thinking of taking a weekend trip to the mountains? Breathing in the fresh air from the pines and getting a view of the sun setting behind the mountains—ahhh. Colorado Springs has that to offer and so much more!

My name is Brody and I'm a Colorado photographer who travels all across Colorado and the Southwest. This guide provides helpful tips and destinations to consider when planning your trip to Colorado Springs.

Home to America's Mountain

Known for being the home of America’s Mountain, or Pike’s Peak, the big ole mighty mountain that crowns the city. It’s a gateway to hundreds of trails within its parks and open spaces, and some even take you right into the Front Range! Colorado Springs is where you want to go when you have a drive for adventure but want the amenities of the city. From it’s charming coffee shops and eateries to the hustling and bustling night life, you’re sure to find a new favorite to come back to!

Pikes Peak Cog Railway from the summit of Pikes Peak

The best weekend in colorado springs

A happy young couple smiling and walking together hand-in-hand in front of Cheyenne Mountain.

Pike's peak

The iconic and notable "Fourteener" that is home to national forest land and a hub for recreation and adventure

Garden of the gods & Manitou Springs

A gem of a free, public park located near the foothills with its abundance of trails and wildlife, it's an oasis within reach of the city.

Downtown Colorado Springs

A fast-growing, lively city center that makes for a fabulous side-quest on any adventure.

What to Do in a Weekend in Colorado Springs

All this talk about things to do, so you know I’m going to hook you up with some local icons! Now, I get excited about sharing and have a habit of rambling about things that I’m excited about so I’ll keep it short and sweet for y’all!

If you’re going to do one thing in “the Springs” while you’re in town, you better pay a visit to Pike’s Peak. For my adrenaline fiends, buckle your seatbelt and hit the highway—Pike’s Peak Highway, that is! Yep, you can drive straight up to the 14,000+ foot high summit. It takes a couple of hours to make the drive up and back, and that’s without stopping for views and exploring (which is also encouraged). Take lunch in a cooler and spend the day exploring Pike National Forrest and make an afternoon out of it! 

If you are looking for a more relaxed approach to experiencing the mountain, book a ticket for the Cog Railway. It’s a one-of-a-kind train that takes you to the brand new Summit House. From the Summit House, you can explore the deep history associated with Pike’s Peak and how the mountain has been explored over time. Before you leave the Summit House and head back down the mountain, be sure to grab a high altitude donut for the road! ;)

Garden of the Gods + Manitou Springs = a perfect day

Garden of the Gods and a stroll through Manitou Springs is a stellar combo and an excellent choice for an afternoon! You can choose your own pace of how to explore Garden of the Gods; you can park and hit the trails, or cruise through the park on your way to Manitou. Pro Tip: week days and mornings are considerably less busy than afternoons and weekends. Once you’re in the park, check out the Central Gardens or Balanced Rock! There’s parking scattered throughout and most trails are connected so if it’s busier in one area, you can make a lap around and check back or park at a nearby lot and hike your way over. Best advice for your first visit: check out the map of the park and plan ahead!

Manitou Springs is the eclectic neighbor to Colorado Springs, with just as much adventure, history and interest! There’s restaurants and shops all up and down the main strip of Manitou, most of them being locally-owned or small business. A neat place worth checking out is the Penny Arcade, which is home to many classic and vintage arcade games, and there just so happens to be a funnel cake stand nearby… 👀

For an afternoon bite to eat, like I said there’s *too* many good choices, but you can never go wrong with lunch at Swirl or a burger from Border Burger. My first “taste of Manitou” was a slice of pizza from Hell’s Kitchen after a summer hike, and it absolutely hit the spot. 

This charming, quirky town is known for being a tourist hot spot in the spring and summer as folks make their way to and from the mountains. Really, there’s no “bad time” to visit as there’s something to discover each time you return!

A distant angle of Cheyenne Mountain with Garden of the Gods in the foreground, marked by its rock formations.
Downtown Colorado Springs intersection, with a lovely view of the front range in the backgorund

In my book there’s only two ways to start the day in Colorado Springs: one of them being a cup of coffee, of course!!

Downtown Colorado Springs is dappled with historic homes and buildings, especially in the Old North End District as you drive into downtown. There’s store fronts filled with a variety of shopping, eateries and restaurants—all within eyeshot of Pike’s Peak!

There’s a passion-project of mine that includes sifting through the city for the best coffee in town. There have been many *very real* research hours dedicated to this said passion-project! Just don’t tell my accountant. Anyway! There’s a delightful cold brew on-tap at the boutique hotel, Kinship Landing, at the Homa Cafe. I’ve told every soul I know about that latte-in-a-keg because it’s so yummy and perfectly sweet. I imagine there’s a thing like that for everyone, but definitely worth a try when you’re in town! A local icon and charming cafe, Loyal Coffee continues to have a special place in my heart. Their brews are consistently wonderful and tasty and the atmosphere is where the commuter and community overlap. You already know, that cold brew is where it’s at! The cafe is always busy but when you can grab a seat, it makes for the perfect place to catch up with friends or become a great working space when you need to “get out of the office” for a bit.

If brunch is where you start your day, there’s a local favorite with delish libations  from Urban Egg that you’ve got to try! There’s also Denver Biscuit Company who brings some serious game with their biscuits and gravy.

Night life and the dinner choices can be overwhelming because let’s be real we could talk about food until the cows come home. I could write a whole Foodie Guide on Colorado Springs but there’s plenty to choose from. My favorite date night place is The Rabbit Hole, which is quite literally underground! There’s a great lineup of eateries along the south end of Tejon Street downtown, such as and definitely limited to, Dos Santos, COATI,

Brody Lee Photo Company
A charming cafe in Manitou Springs with large windows with a view to the busy town roads
The ridges of the central gardens in Garden of the Gods park is illuminated by a sunset, featuring the Kissing Camels

Brody Lee Photo Company -

Colorado springs has something to offer for every one.

Whether you’re heading for the trails or looking for a getaway, Colorado Springs has something to offer for every one! It’s no wonder it made the list of Best Places to Live by US News & World Reports because more and more people are falling in love with the mountains and the natural beauty of Colorado. 

Being a photographer for over ten years, I’m constantly inspired by the landscape and the outdoors. There’s nothing I love more than sharing my travels and the really amazing natural spaces that are available to explore. I encourage every one to explore the outdoors and do-so responsibly, by following local regulations and Leave No Trace principles. This protects these natural spaces and allows for future recreational use by generations to follow. Please enjoy the great outdoors by also respecting them by following the Care for Colorado Leave No Trace Principles. Learn more about the principles and the Care for

Coalition by clicking here.

A distant angle of Cheyenne Mountain with Garden of the Gods in the foreground, marked by its rock formations.