It’s going to be that time of year again soon… spring break! Since this feels…
How to Spend an Exciting Weekend in Colorado Springs
If you feel the need for some fresh air and relaxation, nothing will do the trick better than spending a weekend in Colorado Springs.
Back in the day, many Americans would travel out to the Pikes Peak region in search of a better environment. The drier climates, continuous sunshine, mountainous landscape, and mysterious springs were a far cry from the colder, more humid weather found along the industrial East Coast. They say doctors often sent tuberculosis patients out here, hoping the bubbling springs would help heal their patients’ deadly illnesses
While the springs were not a magical cure, the region did prove to be a healing escape, and today it’s known for its Olympic-level beauty. It’s so beautiful, in fact, it inspired one of the United States’ most famous songs, “America the Beautiful.” Trust me when I say, a weekend in Colorado Springs will rejuvenate the soul and remind you just how incredible this world really is.
Where to Stay in Colorado Springs: The Broadmoor
First things first, when it comes to booking accommodation, look no further than The Broadmoor, a stunning, historic hotel located at the base of Cheyenne Mountain. This resort is well over a century old, though its history goes back even further to the 1880s. During this decade, the land was first purchased by tuberculosis patient, Willie Wilcox, as he searched for a cure. In the 30+ years between his purchase and The Broadmoor’s construction, the land was used as a dairy farm, casino, and more.
It was only when Spencer Penrose brought the entire property that The Broadmoor as we known it today began to form. Penrose brought in Warren and Wetmore to design the resort, requesting that his new hotel would rival the most luxurious properties found abroad.
In turn the design firm brought in artisans from Europe to create a beautiful Mediterranean Revival building whose pink stucco facade complemented the natural surroundings. With Donald Ross building an 18-hole golf course and Frederick Olmsted Jr. handling the rest of the landscaping, The Broadmoor opened its doors in 1918 and has since become one of the most famous resorts in the country.
So famous, it’s also welcomed hundreds of celebrities guests starting with John D. Rockefeller. Check out the Hall of Fame to see how many of the faces you know, and if you look hard enough you might just find a certain blonde travel host up there!
Where to Go for a Weekend in Colorado Springs
One of the things you cannot miss seeing in Colorado Springs is the view from Pikes Peak. This is the view that inspired Katharine Lee Bates to pen “America the Beautiful.” At over 14,000 feet, it’s one of the most popular mountains in the world and offers the most incredible views for miles. If you visit on a clear day, you’ll even be able to see out to the Denver skyline.
While you can hike up Pikes Peak, a much more relaxing option would be to ride The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway. Originally built in 1891, today it’s the highest railroad in the Northern Hemisphere and one of the few cog railways left in the country.
I highly recommend paying extra to choose where you sit. Make sure to pick Seat A, which gives you a window seat on the side of the train with superior views.
U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum
Got an athlete in the family or just a fan of the Olympics? You do not want to miss the incredible U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum. Colorado Springs is known, after all, as Olympic City USA.
While the interactive museum celebrates Team USA and our country’s history with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, it more importantly aims to honor the determination that goes into being an athlete. It hopes to encourage visitors to work hard and believe in themselves, just like an Olympic-level athlete needs to do to compete on a global stage.
It truly is an incredible and inclusive museum that will leave you feeling inspired.
Garden of the Gods
No weekend in Colorado Springs is complete without a visit to the magnificent Garden of the Gods. Every single photo, no matter how breathtaking, simply does not compare to seeing this place in person. It’s as one of the surveyors who discovered the land said, “…a fit place for the Gods to assemble.”
The red rock formations that fill the park were all formed millions of years ago due to a geological upheaval along a natural fault line. And while it was two surveyors who gave the park its name in 1859, humans have been coming here as early as 1330 B.C. In fact, looking over the Garden of the Gods is like looking at a snapshot of Earth in all its various stages from the beginning of time.
Bring your walking shoes and prepare to follow all along the trails through the park. It’s not too strenuous and I promise you’ll be too busy taking in the views to notice any tiredness. Don’t miss the kissing camels!
Given the name “Colorado Springs,” you’d think there’d be actual springs to see. However, you’d be wrong. To see (and sip from) the actual springs that have helped heal visitors for centuries, you’ll actually want to pop over to Manitou Springs. Don’t worry, it’s only about a ten-minute drive, and it sits at the foot of Pikes Peak, so it’s a good place to visit before or after your train ride.
Under Manitou Springs sits a karst aquifer which gives the springs their natural carbonation. The name comes from the Mountain Utes tribe, who believed the healing properties of the water were a gift from the Great Spirit Manitou.
Today you can visit the eight different springs and sample the water for yourself. Just visit the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau to pick up a cup, map, and a detailed description of each spot. See if you can taste the difference in each of the springs!
Colorado Ski Furniture
While you’re in Manitou Springs, stop by the very cool Colorado Ski Furniture. Father and son duo, Adam and Keagan Vernon, take upwards of 200 pairs of old skis a week and transform them into unique furniture pieces. They take it further by offering custom paint jobs on any of their products. Imagine cheering for your favorite sports team from Adirondack chairs painted in your team’s colors!
Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
One of the truly unique things to do in Colorado Springs is to pay a visit to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center. This center was founded by Darlene Kobobel, who started her journey with hybrid wolf-dogs back in 1993 when she rescued a sweet boy by the name of Chinook. Only after adopting Chinook and saving him from being euthanized did Kobobel realize just how much misinformation and fear-mongering there was around these creatures.
Since then, she’s worked tirelessly to build a legitimate sanctuary for not just rescue wolf-dogs but also wolves, coyotes, and foxes. Additionally, her goal is to help educate visitors on these misunderstood animals and their crucial role in our ecosystem.
As a visitor, you can choose from all sorts of tours that allow responsible interaction with wolves. Even the VIP encounter, which lets you get up close with a wolf, is done with extreme safety precautions and an hour-long educational tour.
Where to Eat During Your Weekend in Colorado Springs
When you’re feeling hungry, be sure to stop into Lucky Dumplings for some seriously delicious fusion cuisine. This restaurant holds a special place in its founder, Brother Luck’s heart as the location is where he used to cook solo long before he became famous for his appearances on shows like “Top Chef,” “Chopped,” and “Beating Bobby Flay.”
The inspiration for the Lucky Dumplings comes from two very specific memories. The first is a memory of his father, who passed away when Luck was ten, taking him to Japantown in San Francisco and introducing him to gyoza. The second is the fact that dumplings were one of the first foods he learned to make in culinary school.
With his dishes, Brother Luck truly shows what a melting pot American fusion cuisine can be as he masterfully blends his own half-Cajun, half-Creole heritage with his experiences living in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Hong Kong, and Japan. You’ve truly got to try his creations for yourself!
If you’re looking for a drink, look no further than Atrevida Beer Co. where diversity is always on tap. Badass founder, Jess Fiero, is the first Latina owner and head brewer in Colorado and very much lives up to the meaning of “atrevida” with her bold, fearless aproach to brewing. Nothing is automated here and she and her crew are sometimes lifting 50lbs of grain!
Fiero’s love of beer first came about when she was living in Heidelberg with her military husband. While there she was able to grow her love and knowledge right at the source – Germany, Belgium, and the Czech Republic. When they moved to Colorado Springs and she opened Atrevida, she fused her own Latin heritage into her brews. Think beers like chocolate Ibarra, Maria Bonita, Fresas con Crema, or, my favorite, the Drunken Churro.
And there you have it! All you need for a rejuvenating weekend in Colorado Springs. From inspiring museum visits to some of the most incredible natural landscapes in this country, all you need to do is book that flight!
If you want to see more ideas on how to spend a weekend in Colorado Springs and what else we got up to on our visit, check out the Season 5 episode of “Colorado Springs” on Samantha Brown’s “Places to Love.”
This Post Has 4 Comments
Thanks for featuring my hometown of Colorado Springs. All these attractions are wonderful. The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center isn’t actually here in Colorado Springs, however, but about 30 miles away in the Divide area. About a 45 minute ride from downtown Colorado Springs, on Highway 24. Well worth the drive. 🐺❤️
I have followed you since you were in the Travel Channel. I live in Colorado and have been mutiple times in Colorado Springs, but have never visited most of the places that you mentioned in your program. Visiting those places will be my homework this July. Will send you my pictures.
As a teenager in the mid-1950s I was privileged to work at the Broadmoor, running the guest elevator and ushering in the theater during off-,school hours. I didn’t give a thought then to what a remarkable place it was. Now all these years later I’m happy to have those memories. Carrying Mrs. Penrose and her little black poodle up and down to and from her penthouse is one of my favorite memories.
I visit my family in Colorado Springs every year! Such a beautiful state. I need to check out Lucky Dumplings, asain food is the best!