Cities have personalities. Paris is chic, London is a busy financial hub and New York has a tough veneer all its own. I live in a city with a famous personality too: Boulder, Colorado. Home of more natural food startups, yoga studios and tech companies than you can count, the roads are clogged with Tesla, Prius and Volt alternative power vehicles, when you’re not being blocked by swarms of bicyclists 10 miles into their daily 100-mile bike rides.
Colorado Springs, our neighbor to the south, is another city with a personality, but if you haven’t explored the city, you might not know about this quaint and family-friendly community. If I asked my Boulder neighbors, they’d justify never visiting by explaining that it’s too different from “the Boulder bubble”, but they’re missing out…
I’ve visited Colorado Springs many times with my kids and I can say with confidence that those unadventurous Boulderites are really missing out on a gem of a tourist destination in our beautiful state of Colorado. I’ve brought my family with on many visits, including stays at both the swanky Broadmoor hotel and the ridiculously child-friendly Great Wolf Lodge, and we always have a great time.
Want to check out something inspiring? The Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center is located in The Springs (as locals call it) and I promise you’ll be intrigued and want to work out more after a tour. World class athletes, training every day of the week for gold. Prefer the outdoors? There are few places in the United States that can hold a candle to the breath-taking grandeur of Garden of the Gods. Allocate a half-day for one of the many leisurely hikes through the distinctive rock formations, and bring a camera.
You don’t have to travel to the top of the 14,115 foot Pikes Peak to check out that area and marvel at the quaint old town Pikes Peak area. Bonus: No extra oxygen needed. Like the Old West? Don’t miss out on Manitou Springs too, one of my favorite places to take cute pics of the kids. And if you don’t mind a bit of extra driving, Cripple Creek is a lovely mountain town about an hour out of The Springs, and well worth the drive.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is a real treat too, spread across the side of a mountain. The focus is on quality, not quantity, so the enclosures are lovely and you get to see a lot of unusual animals in native habitats. Quite a contrast to the Denver Zoo, though we like both for trips to see exotic critters. Finally, no visit to Colorado Springs would be complete without an afternoon at the Ghost Town Museum. Bonus points for going on Halloween, of course, but it’s fascinating any time of the year.
There’s actually quite a lot to do, enough for fun weekend adventures any time of the year. Colorado Springs is also close enough for the millions of people living in the greater Denver metro area that there’s no excuse about travel logistics or distance: Denver to Colorado Springs is less than 70 miles. Heck, that’s an easy day trip with the family!
Now that I think about it, it’s time for my kids and I to head back down to The Springs again soon. Maybe we’ll have to cook up some s’mores at The Broadmoor again, or compete for most beautiful sunset photo at Garden of the Gods. Who knows, maybe we’ll see ya there. It’s well worth the trip.
Disclosure: I wrote this post in conjunction with Visit Colorado Springs and have utilized their imagery within this article too.