Colorado Springs, Colorado is known as the gateway to the Rocky Mountains. Every year thousands upon thousands of tourists flock to the foothills of the Front Range of the Rockies to visit historic and scenic Colorado Springs; and every year, more and more people make the decision to stay in Colorado Springs permanently. In fact, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.
Colorado Springs was founded in 1871 by General William Palmer, whose statue stands grandly in a busy intersection downtown, and whose namesake is dotted all over the city and surrounding area. The small town was originally planned as an exclusive resort for the rich and famous. The more than 6,000 feet altitude as well as the dry, arid climate was appealing to wealthy travelers from the humid East Coast and Deep South of the United States.
Colorado Springs is probably known best for its view from just about anywhere in the city of the imposing Pikes Peak that towers more than 8000 feet above the city, putting it at more than 14,000 feet above sea level. Pikes Peak was first spotted by Zebulon Pike and thus received his name. It is a few miles west of the city and requires a day’s climb to reach the summit, but Pikes Peak also has a highway that leads to the top of the mountain. Each year tourists hike, drive, and even mountain bike to the top of the Peak where they find a warm building with a coffee shop, gift shop, and restrooms. Pikes Peak also offers a cog railway ride to the top, complete with a tour guide and amazing views of the city and surrounding mountains. In 1893, Katherine Bates wrote her famous, “America the Beautiful” from the top of Pikes Peak. Anyone who has stood atop the mountain and looked the at miles upon miles of beauty will understand why.
There are countless things to do in Colorado Springs. Hugging the foot of Pikes Peak are Manitou Springs and Old Colorado City, which were once a spa and a saloon town, but now boast touristy shops, restaurants and museums. Seven falls, with its nighttime lighting and steep staircase to the top of the falls, is a spectacle for anyone, tourist or local. And of course, the world famous Garden of the Gods is in Colorado Springs. The red rocks that can be seen from many areas around town have been protected and preserved, and a beautiful park surrounds them, with a visitor center that gives information on how they were formed. The Garden of the Gods park has hiking trails, picnic areas and even trail rides. Also nearby, just north of town is the Air Force Academy complete with its unusual chapel and scenic grounds.
The city of Colorado Springs has many parks and walking paths along Monument Creek. With 360 days of sunshine each year, there is ample opportunity to do things out of doors. Even in the winter time, the weather in Colorado Springs is rather mild. Although the city might experience a winter blizzard one day, with temperatures in the teens or twenties, usually by the next day, the temperature rises again to the mid-fifties or sixties.
Restaurants and shopping in Colorado Springs are abundant. Specialty restaurants such as Michelle’s Ice Cream Shop, Old Chicago Pizza and Senor Manuel’s are some of the more popular local restaurants, but visitors can also find all other chain restaurants such as Applebee’s and Olive Garden to McDonald’s and Pizza Hut. Colorado Springs has several malls and shopping centers, as well as a bustling downtown shopping district with wide streets, scenic, flower-trimmed sidewalks, and beautiful Acacia Park in the center of it all. After browsing in Independent Records or have coffee at Starbucks, visitors will want to visit the popular Chinook Bookstore. Just a walk away is the beautiful and historic St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Antler’s Plaza Hotel, originally built by General William Palmer, himself.
Colorado Springs is a wonderful place to visit for adults and children alike. With a climate that is nearly perfect, abundant sunshine, plenty of things to do and views that cannot be beat, you might find that you are one of the ones who wants to stay forever.