Old Colorado City#8 in Best Things To Do in Colorado Springs
- 4.0Food Scene
Sitting just west of the downtown area is Old Colorado City, the original capital of the Colorado Territory. Founded back in 1859, this area was once a hotbed of activity, overflowing with farmers, miners, ranchers and other settlers seeking a piece of their own Manifest Destiny. In 1917, Colorado City was annexed by a fast-growing new settlement: neighboring Colorado Springs. Although it is no longer its own town, the Old Colorado City Historic District maintains its 19th-century "Wild West" feel with a few modifications: the area's buildings now house locally owned art galleries, quaint shops and mom and pop restaurants.
Travelers who visit Old Colorado City frequently praise the district's relaxed atmosphere and friendly business owners, but many say you don't need to spend much more than a few hours here. Recent visitors point out that while this is mostly a tourist destination, it's also a good place for families. Others recommend stopping here before or after a visit to Garden of the Gods or Red Rock Canyon as it's along the way.
You'll find Old Colorado City sandwiched between West Colorado Avenue and Highway 24 near Vermijo Park. You can visit the area at any time of day and you don't have to pay to explore. Learn more about this historical district by visiting the Old Colorado City Historical Society website.
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#1 Garden of the Gods
It's easy to see how this natural landmark earned such an ethereal title: These magnificent red rock formations look as though deities themselves could've carved them. However, the sandstone pillars are, in fact, the work of geological activity along a natural fault line, as well as rainfall over millennia. You can learn about the garden's formations at the visitor and nature center, which houses numerous informative displays and hosts daily nature presentations. You are welcome to explore the park on your own time (either on foot or by bike); the visitor and nature center also offers guided hikes, as well as bike, Jeep, trolley and Segway tours (prices vary by vehicle and tour length). Or, if you're looking for a more authentic "Wild West" experience, you can reserve your spot on a guided horseback tour offered by Academy Riding Stables.
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