Once a booming mining town, Colorado Springs now leads the nation as one of the top places for technology companies to settle. Picturesque
For charming window-shopping stroll along Colorado Avenue where historic buildings have become beautifully decorated contemporary shops. Art galleries are plentiful, many of which are Southwest and Indian themed and pay tribute to the area's cultural heritage. Break from shopping to dine at
Serving as the gateway to such popular attractions as the
Long-standing million dollar estates mix with new homes along the foothills and slopes of Cheyenne Mountain, establishing this as the most elite area of town. The
The most noticeable attribute of the downtown area is its lack of billboards and skyscrapers cluttering the skyline, giving it a clean, vibrant look. Shop for vintage clothing or a Rolex watch at any of the many quaint shops. Rack 'em up and slam 'em back at
Far north of town, situated on rolling hills, is the prestigious
A mixture of upper class residences splashed with strip centers and an abundance of eclectic restaurants situated near the picturesque Rocky Mountains make this a highly desirable place to live. Enjoy a Victorian tea and tour at the historic
This area blends forested parks with fabulous shopping and dining. Have time for a quick hike?
Hills covered with newly developed middle-class neighborhoods run north to south for miles. See historic aircraft, missiles and exhibits at the
Whether here on business or a well-deserved vacation, be sure to get out and behold the view of
Colorado Springs is nestled at the base of the nation's most spectacular mountain, Pikes Peak. This rugged frontier environment naturally lends itself to a local cuisine dominated by hearty dishes and an abundance of smooth, hand-crafted brews. Food and drink is not just nourishment—meals are an event here, something to be savored. Of course, one should not overlook the city's history as a genteel resort community—this refined sensibility appears on many menus of sophisticated restaurants across town. Dining in Colorado Springs is a singular experience. In addition to a high standard of excellence in preparation and presentation, diners at nearly every restaurant in the area are treated to a view unlike any other—that of the snow-topped Rocky Mountains.
Along Highway 24, stretching through Manitou Springs and to the base of Pikes Peak, are a number of upscale restaurants with fine dishes to tempt every palate. The most popular establishments are on the Broadmoor Hotel property, including the Golden Bee, an authentic English pub which serves beers by the yard and hosts nightly sing-alongs. Restaurants of a historical character housed in landmark buildings abound, like Briarhurst Manor, Cliff House, Craftwood Inn, La Petite Maison and the Stagecoach Inn. With perennial appearances on readers' choice lists, the Steaksmith is also a favorite, thanks to an environment perfectly balanced between elegant and comfortable. The district also holds several specialty eateries, including the Colorado City Creamery, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and Tajine Alami, a Moroccan-themed restaurant.
The heart of Colorado Springs is a dining hotbed, with a liberal mix of simple and fancy decors and old-fashioned and modern tastes. Historical Colorado Springs is on display at Fargo's Pizza Company, housed in a restored Victorian home, and at Giuseppe's, a renovated railroad depot. MacKenzie's Chop House is another upscale option, with a menu of choice beef cuts and a selection of more than 30 specialty martinis. Art buffs will appreciate El Tesoro and the Warehouse, eateries with a modern aesthetic, which combine dining with art viewing. If casual is more your style, check out Zeb's for laid-back barbecue, or Jose Muldoon's and Nemeth's El Tejon for great southwestern plates. Great food can also be found at the Ritz Grill and Phantom Canyon Brewing Company, two restaurants that draw brew connoisseurs from across the country.
Dining diversity abounds in the area, but great taste is the thread that runs throughout. Whether you desire the finest dining experience or just a quick bite with friends, the town has a number of establishments from which to choose. As if these were not enough, you will also find numerous bars, breweries and pubs to tempt your tastebuds. The clean, crisp mountain air is sure to make you work up a healthy appetite—get out there and sample all the sights, smells and tastes of the city's culinary community!
The northern neighborhoods of Colorado Springs hold a wonderful blend of traditional local tastes and a variety of world cuisine. If you crave the old-fashioned goodness of steak and potatoes, the County Line Smokehouse or the Country Buffet serve up huge portions of country favorites in a comfortable, casual environment. Flavors are a bit more continental at the Marigold Cafe & Bakery, a French-themed eatery that has cultivated a devoted following in the community during more than 20 years in business. Spicy Caribbean fare can be found at Isla Bonita, and India Garden is the city's exotic Indian hot spot. If pasta is your preference, try Antonio's or Carrabba's Italian Grill, both of which give conventional Italian a modern twist.
Southern Colorado Springs does not have an abundance of restaurants, but those it has are of superior quality. The most casual is probably Luigi's, a family-owned Italian restaurant with a menu full of homemade standards. For German fare, try another ethnic enclave called Edelweiss. For a full-course meal in the most sophisticated of atmospheres, make a reservation at Winery Fine Dining. The price is rich, but so is the food, and the experience is well worth it!
Colorado Springs is often overshadowed by its neighbor to the north, Denver. While the capital city is bursting with attractions and events, the charming mountain town of Colorado Springs holds its own in offering a true taste of Colorado.
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
The downtown area is small, but it features several notable attractions. The Colorado Springs Fine Art Center has an impressive collection of Native American and Western pieces. Nearby is the McAllister House Museum, which houses the city's rich past. The highlight of the district is the Pikes Peak Center which offers plays, concerts and musicals, and is home to the Colorado Springs Dance Theatre and the Colorado Springs Symphony. Dine at Howard's Backyard Pit Bar-B-Q.
Stroll through Memorial Park, which contains the Sertich Ice Center. Admire the architecture at First Christian Church, then grab a bite at MacKenzie's Chop House or Jose Muldoon's.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
To the south of the city is the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and the nearby Seven Falls which plunge 180 feet. The exhibits at John May Museum Center focus on space and science. Adventures Out West is an outdoor activity center close by. Have dinner at the Penrose Room.
Manitou Cliff Dwellings
Western Colorado Springs offers the area's greatest concentration of attractions. Visit the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the Garden of the Gods and Miramont Castle, a mansion of immense proportions. Explore the historic Manitou Cliff Dwellings, then dine at Peppertree.
Stop at the Cave of the Winds, then go to Pikes Peak. Whether you plan to ride the Pikes Peak Cog Railway or drive up the peak, plan to spend a few hours at the summit absorbing the beauty and peaceful environment. Dine at Bon Ton's Cafe or Jake & Telly's.
See Colorado Springs on a bike, in comfort on an air conditioned bus or in the back of a jeep, the choice is yours.
Bus Tours Gray Line: Colorado Springs (+1 719 633 1181/ http://www.grayline.com/) Ramblin Express (+1 719 590 8687/ http://www.ramblinexpress.com) Pikes Peak Tours (+1 800 345 8197)
Bike Tours Pikes Peak Mountain Bike Tours (+1 888 593 3062/ http://www.biketours.com/) Dream Cycle Tours (+1 719 473 3110) Bicycle Experience (+1 719 473 1015) Challenge Unlimited (+1 719 633 6399/ http://bikithikit.com/)
Jeep Tours High Altitude Jeep Adventures (+1 877 674 5337)
The history of Colorado Springs does not begin with its discovery, its first inhabitants, or even its founding, as is the case with so many other American cities. Instead its birth dates back tens of millions of years ago when powerful geological forces molded this part of the earth into a range of sky-scraping mountains.
Today's Colorado Springs, a natural retreat located at the base of Pikes Peak, was once considered an unconquerable alpine wilderness, too rugged for human habitation. However, despite its seemingly harsh landscape, the beauty of the Colorado Springs area drew settlers from several Native American tribes, including the Arapaho and Cheyenne. They found the land rich with wild game and pure mineral springs and thrived on it for several hundred years.
In the first decade of the nineteenth century, intrepid explorers began to push further west in search of land, fur and wealth. In 1806 a young lieutenant in the United States Army, Zebulon Pike headed the most famous expedition to the Colorado Springs area. Upon sighting the immense mountain, Pike vowed to conquer it. His small climbing party, however, was battered by a winter storm and eventually had to concede the climb. Nevertheless, Pike was later honored for his ambitious quest when the beautiful peak was named after him.
The passing decades saw few settlers but a great deal of traffic as prospectors flooded west into California, seeking their fortune in gold nuggets. By 1859, a small town called Colorado City had formed to serve as a midway point where supplies and mining equipment could be housed. It was from this developing industry that brought General William Jackson Palmer to town.
Palmer was scouting the land for a railway he was building when he passed through Colorado City. The mild climate and breathtaking countryside vistas of the area held a special appeal for the Civil War veteran and railroad magnate. He imagined creating a sprawling resort community modeled after those he frequented along the East Coast. Hence, in 1871 he established himself in the community and began planning the town that would be Colorado Springs.
In the years before the turn of the century, the new city flourished as a western retreat for upscale travelers from New England. It was during this time that Palmer constructed what was the first incarnation of a Colorado Springs institution, the Antlers Hotel. The larger-than-life frontier environment and warm lodge-like accommodations attracted luminaries from the uppermost echelons of society. And Americans were not the only ones enchanted—so many British tourists frequented during the summer months, the city was dubbed 'Little London'.
This bustling, yet peaceful, microcosm was shattered in 1891 when gold was struck in the city's neighboring town of Cripple Creek. Colorado Springs experienced a huge influx of people—the population more than tripled—all eager to claim their part of the riches. Many of these new residents found their dreams realized and settled in Colorado Springs as gold-rush millionaires.
One of these men, Spencer Penrose, used his fortune to leave a permanent mark on the city. He funded the construction of several of Colorado Springs' most enduring landmarks, including the Broadmoor, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun. The city was young and wealthy, and growing by leaps and bounds. These heady days continued for 25 years, until the federal government began using silver for coin currency, and gold mining became less profitable. Colorado Springs turned its focus to the tourism industry once again.
The city was no longer flush with money, but the next two decades were comfortably prosperous for its residents. Tourists from the world over continued to visit Pikes Peak and its mountain town, but another change was on the horizon. America became embroiled in World War II, and the country was in need of more military bases. Colorado Springs found itself the new home for both Fort Carson Army Base and Peterson Air Force Base. Even after the war was resolved, the military community grew with the addition of the Air Force Academy and the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Colorado Springs was again changing.
Today, the city boasts an impressive history as a gold-mining boomtown, a posh western resort and one of the nation's major military capitals. Even with such success, Colorado Springs continues to be a community on the forefront of industry, as it has been throughout its existence. Technology is now part of the diverse mix, and more people than ever are being drawn to live by the mountains. Colorado Springs, the creation of a forward-thinking businessman, embraces this enterprising philosophy and its history, yet strives on in search of new frontiers.