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