Weekend in Colorado Springs: Where to Eat, Stay, and Adventure

In 1893, Katharine Lee Bates was so inspired by the magnificent view of Pikes Peak, that she wrote the celebrated words to “America the Beautiful.” The glorious Pikes Peak Region indeed evokes spacious skies and purple mountain majesties. So who wouldn’t want to spend a weekend in Colorado Springs exploring this majestic region?

Just an hour’s drive from Denver where I live now, this area is so easy to access, I’ve visited the region a couple of dozen times. More if I count the trips I made with my family, as a kid growing up in western Kansas. My grandmother lived in Colorado Springs during her later years, and I feel almost as if I grew up in the area.

On a weekend in Colorado Springs, you can satisfy your thrill-seeker tendencies as you zipline across the 1,250-foot-deep Royal Gorge or bicycle down the winding highway from the summit of Pikes Peak. If high-octane adventure is not your speed, you may prefer to indulge in fine dining, golf, or a spa treatment at the elegant Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Or do it all! It’s all here for the taking during your weekend in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region.

Where is the Pikes Peak Region?

The Pikes Peak Region encompasses a large area that includes several counties and towns. It typically includes Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Cripple Creek, the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, and of course the region’s namesake, Pikes Peak, also known as America’s mountain.

Map of Things to do in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region

Nuts and Bolts for your Weekend in Colorado Springs

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. The air is thin here. Without plenty of water, the high altitude can result in a headache or nausea. You may want to try an electrolyte drink mix that helps aid in acclimating to the altitude. In addition to a good water bottle, essentials include a fleece jacket or puffer vest, sunblock, a hat with SPF, and lip balm also with SPF factor. I also highly recommend taking baby aspirin daily starting 3 days BEFORE you come to Colorado – it can help with altitude adjustment.

While the elegant Broadmoor hotel is reason enough to visit Colorado Springs, there is so much to do in the area, you may decide to stay more than a weekend. If you’re looking for soft adventure, ride a horse or Segway through Garden of the Gods or explore Cave of the Winds by going on a haunted lantern tour (remember to duck or you’ll conk your noggin). Your heart rate will climb as you ascend the 224 stairs to the top of the Broadmoor Seven Falls. Rewards are fantastic views and bragging rights. Or watch bull riders compete at the rodeo at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

weekend in colorado springs

This itinerary covers everything from where to have an IPA on an outdoor patio to where to raft Class III rapids. Adventure awaits. So, grab your pack and hit the road!

Day One Morning: Fresh Beignets, Spices, and Books

The first stop for your weekend in Colorado Springs is La Baguette French Bakery & Café, on East Pikes Peak Avenue, on your way to Tejon Street. Don’t let the plastic banner hanging across the entryway fool you. Once inside, you’ll find soft lighting, classical music playing, hardwood floors, and the aroma of fresh beignets and café au lait. Sit at a table near the window and plan your day.

One of my favorite shops on Tejon Street is The Savory Spice Shop. The aroma alone is worth stopping in this locally owned treasure. With 400 spices and herbs that they blend onsite, the fragrance will entice you to check out the exotic-sounding salts. (Ask for a sample) On my recent trip there, a friend from Toronto stocked up on Ghost Pepper Salt, which adds intense heat to any dish, and a jar of Hickory Smoke Sea Salt. The shop even has a recipe for Ghost Pepper Salted Double Chocolate Cookies.

I settled on a four-pack of sauces called Scorch Set, which includes four bottles of the hot stuff:  Smoked Jalapeño, Smoky Ghost, Hot Thai Green, and Aleppo Pepper. My nephew loves anything scorching and will appreciate this gift. The box reads, “Some like it hotter.”

Tattered Cover, Colorado’s bookstore darling, opened its first location outside of Denver in June 2022. Located at 112 North Tejon Street, the store has 8,000 square feet of everything book lovers need and the service for which Tattered Cover is famous.

Day one/afternoon – Garden of the Gods, by foot, horse, Jeep, bike, or Segway

The first time I visited the Garden of the Gods I was eight years old, traveling with my parents and sitting in the backseat of our car with my grandmother and sibling. We slowly drove on the road near the soaring red sandstone formations. My dad, who was a wanna-be geologist, explained the geology, flora, and fauna to us, pointing out the iconic rock formation called the Kissing Camels.

But these aren’t my grandma’s gardens. Today, visitors can glide on a Segway, either with or without a guide, through the gardens with the wind and sun on their faces, and maybe raindrops, too.

Adventures Out West sets up clients with a Segway and helmet, gives a short training in the parking lot, and leads clients on a tour through the gardens.

via ferrata royal gorge colorado
Royal gorge Day Trip

Another option for the afternoon is to venture to the small town of Cripple Creek, full of rich gold mining history. The ride is beautiful, and you should plan on an hour’s drive from Colorado Springs. If you’re in Cripple Creek on a Saturday, take the trolley around town, where residents dress in period costumes and share the town’s history. They play characters such as Doc Susie who began her practice in Cripple Creek in the 1800s. She was the role model for the popular television show, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. You can also ride the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad, a historic steam train and open-air ride that travels over four miles of tracks through the Cripple Creek mining district. The train is coal-fired and there will be cinders. Railroad buffs love this adventure.

Whether you are a thrill-seeker or like to raft on calm waters, Echo Canyon River Expeditions is the company of choice. You can even purchase a GoPro video of your adventure after the trip. Echo Canyon has everything a rafter could need, from wetsuits to special river shoes. After your trip, dine at 8 Mile Bar & Grill which serves popcorn salad. (Try it!) Also a good choice? O’Dell IPA and burger with roasted garlic tomatoes.

Read reviews for The Broadmoor on Trip Advisor | Search for other Colorado Springs area hotels

The Mining Exchange Hotel

However, if you want to stay in the downtown area of Colorado Springs, I recommend The Mining Exchange, a Wyndham Grand Hotel and Spa, a historic renovated property. The hotel is conveniently located a block from Tejon Street, where you’ll find dozens of shops, bars, restaurants, and the recently opened Tattered Cover Bookstore. Leave your car with the valet before check-in time and explore the area.

Check prices and availability for The Mining Exchange | Read reviews for The Mining Exchange on Trip Advisor | Search for other Colorado Springs area hotels

Soul Community Planet

Another favorite for a weekend in Colorado Springs is Soul Community Planet. This unique hotel is a nod to Schitt’s Creek – a remodeled old hotel given a second hip life. The hotel focuses on only locally sourced products and fosters an incredible community of locals and visitors.

soul community planet colorado springs

Check prices and availability for Soul Community Planet | Read reviews for Soul Community Planet on Trip Advisor | Search for other Colorado Springs area hotels

“We try to cater to people who value the environment, social good, and wellness. Every decision we make falls into one of the three mentalities that we are built on: healthy, kind, and green”

Soul Community Planet Hotels

Kinship Landing

Kinship Landing is a trendy, new, high-tech property with a minimalist vibe. Registration is in the same area as the bar. How convenient! You can even request a tent to pitch on your balcony and have a view of Pikes Peak. Kids love this option. Staff will even teach you “how to camp.” They provide a sleeping bag, tent, backpack, camping stove, food, and everything you need to sleep under the stars. The first night is on your balcony; you’ll spend the second night at a nearby campsite. This is a fantastic way for first-timers to get a feel for the outdoors without fear of failure.

Check prices and availability for Kinship Landing | Read reviews for Kinship Landing on Trip Advisor | Search for other Colorado Springs area hotels

How to Get Around During Your Weekend in Colorado Springs

You can fly to Denver or Colorado Springs – there are pros and cons to each. Flights to Denver International Airport may be less expensive than flying to Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, which is smaller and less busy than DIA. It would be best to rent a car for this itinerary. If renting a car is not an option, you can ride-share in Colorado Springs or arrange for transportation with a shuttle service, such as Gray Line.

Best Time to Visit the Pikes Peak Region

Fall (late September and October) is a glorious time to visit the Pikes Peak Region when the aspen are golden and temperatures are crisp. But, that timing doesn’t work for everyone, so pick the best season for you and your family, and just hit the road.

Guidebooks for Even More Information about Colorado Springs and Surrounding Areas

Check out these guidebooks for more tips and ideas about how to get the most out of your weekend in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region:

100 Things to Do in Colorado Springs Before You Die, by Kirsten Akens, lists everything from restaurants where you can “eat vegan” (Moxie) to where to “shred” (Memorial Park Skate Park). This book is easy to digest, and Akens has a gift for writing narratives.

Colorado Family Outdoors Adventure: An All-Ages Guide to Camping, Hiking, and Getting Outside, by Heather Mundt, has a ton of ideas for activities in the Pikes Peak Region and the entire state. Mundt is a third-generation Coloradan and it’s obvious she loves Colorado and the outdoors. I know Heather personally through the Society of American Travel Writers; she has the expertise, enthusiasm, and credentials to recommend places for people of all ages and fitness levels to camp, hike, and explore colorful Colorado.

For more information, visit Pikes Peak Region.

Sherry Spitsnaugle

Meet the Author: Sherry Spitsnaugle has lived in Denver for three decades and is the author of four editions of Quick Escapes Denver, 25 Weekend Getaways in and around the Mile-High City. Sherry is a guidebook author, travel writer, wife and dog mom, first expressed her urge to explore at age four when she packed up her little red wagon and took off for an adventure— around the block. Today, she continues to fulfill her travel bug tendencies, exploring and writing about her experiences.
Instagram: sherryspitsnaugle

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