07/02/2019 | by Michelle Reynolds | Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs is the second most populated city in the state, with around 420,000 people. It sits near the base of Pikes Peak, one of America’s most iconic mountains. The town is located about an hour south of Denver.
The Springs is a big city with a small town feel. It’s often rated as one of the country’s best cities to live in. The downtown area is lined with all types of shopping, dining, entertainment and history.
The city was founded in 1871 by General William Palmer, a Civil War General and a surveyor with the Kansas Pacific Railroad. He was responsible for selecting possible railroad routes south of Denver to be strategically occupied. The stunning mountain scenery and nearby Garden of the Gods made the Pikes Peak area perfect. His intention was to create an upscale resort community along the railroad.
Colorado Springs is situated in the Pikes Peak region. The place was named after the American explorer Zebulon Pike after his group attempted to reach the Pikes Peak summit. Unfortunately, they were not able to cross the mountain because of insufficient materials and gears. Nonetheless, the region has become a lively town because of its natural resources. It has then become a settlement for miners in the region and the Denver area.
Later on, in the 1890s, gold was discovered in the area. Almost overnight, the town has transformed from a cattle pasture, minor settlement area, to home of 50,000 people. Because of the success of the gold rush, the city was dubbed “the city of millionaires.”
As the local economy grew, the next step for the town was to connect to other cities. Spencer Penrose, one of the millionaires and former owner of a couple of the houses and inns in this list, invested in building Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain Highways. As to date, their foundation, El Pomar Foundation, still supports different causes that promote the Pikes Peak area.
It was not until the late 1940s when the town has been redefined, yet again. The United States Air Force Academy was established in the area, and the military base has been the central industry in the region. At present, there are multiple U.S. military installations in Colorado Springs including NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), Schriever Air Force Base and the Peterson Air Force Base.
Air Force Academy – The giant campus is situated at the base of the Rocky Mountains and can be seen from I-70, north of town. You can take self guided tours of the academy, daily from 9am to 5pm.
Broadmoor Hotel – A sprawling, five star hotel with numerous first-class restaurants, golf courses and spas. It’s centered around Cheyenne Lake. It originally opened in 1891 as a gambling casino and was transformed into a world-class hotel & resort in 1918.
Olympic Training Center – Home to current Olympians, the campus is able to provide housing, dining and training facilities for more than 500 athletes and coaches. The 35 acre complex is located within minutes from downtown. Guided tours are available year round.
- Cheyenne Mountain offers 51 full hook-up RV sites and 10 walk-in tent sites. It’s open year round.
- Multi-use trails at Cheyenne Mountain State Park are open to hiking and biking, but no pets.
- Garden of the Gods has designated trails through the forest and jagged sand stones.
- Read our five favorite hikes in Colorado Springs.
Feb – CSCCI Chinese New Year Festival – Annual celebration of the Chinese New Year and the twelve animal zodiacs, held in early February.
Jul – Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo – Historic four day championship rodeo event held annually since 1950 in mid July.
Jul – Springs Beer Fest – Afternoon of craft beer, food vendors and live music in America The Beautiful Park, held in mid July.
Aug – Steers and Beers Whiskey and Beer Festival – Annual summer Saturday of whiskey and craft beer since 2016, held in mid August.
Nov – All Colorado Beer Festival – Mid fall festival celebrating Colorado’s mission to be the best beer making state in the nation. Some proceeds go to charity.