Colorado, Destinations, North America

Hidden Gems In Colorado Springs

One last shoutout to the place I once called home

As most of you know, I am no longer a Colorado resident. I have betrayed my fellow native Coloradans and switched over to the dark side….California. Before we moved, I had to pay one last visit to Colorado Springs, the place I called home for all of my college years.

I have written another more comprehensive post titled Top 12 Things To Do In Colorado Springs that is worth giving a look if you’re visiting for your first time. But for you seasoned Colorado Springs visitors, I have prepared a list of the hidden gems. These are the things that don’t appear first on your typical Colorado Springs guide.

Willowstone Antique Marketplace

Willowstone is a giant warehouse full of antique goods from independent vendors. You can find anything from 25 cent postcards to $40,000 couches shaped like dinosaurs. You could spend hours getting lost up and down the aisles of this vintage wonderland.


Marigold Cafe and Bakery

Back in the day, my now husband and I would stop in Marigold to split a homemade crème brûlée. Today, our entire family makes a point to stop in to Marigold for lunch in Colorado Springs. The food is remarkable and the restaurant is just off the beaten path enough to get away from the hustle and bustle of the college crowd.

Paint Mines

Located just 45 minutes east of Colorado Springs is Paint Mines Interpretive Park, an excellent place for hiking. The hike is unlike any other in Colorado — flat, easy, colorful and chalky. Check out my full post to learn more about this awesome place.

Paint Mines Calhan Hikes near Colorado Springs Paint Mines hike Colorado

America The Beautiful Park

For as outdoorsy Colorado Springs is, they sure do lack open grassy parks. If you’re looking for a spot to spread out a picnic blanket and chill, head on over to America The Beautiful Park. You’ll know you’re there when you reach the giant circle statue which is also a water feature you can play in.

Bristol Brewing Company

To this day, Bristol Brewing Company remains the coolest brewery I have ever been to. Bristol is located inside of Ivywild School, which is also home to a coffee shop, office space and bakery. Bristol has gone along with the school theme and incorporated composition book menus and clipboard check holders. Grab a spot on the patio for a sweet view of Pikes Peak.


Manitou Springs Incline

The Manitou Springs Incline is hardly a hidden gem at this point, because it is becoming so well known. Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning because it should make your list of non-touristy things to do in the city. This hike is not for the faint of heart, as it’s over 3,000 steps up to the top, but the view is great and the locals cheer you on each step of the way.

Gold Camp Road

Yeah, it’s haunted… but this hike is perfect for those that get bored easily! If you’re looking to park closest to the collapsed tunnel, use the upper lot past Helen Hunt Falls on Cheyenne Canyon Road and head northwest down Upper Gold Camp Road. This hike is a little dangerous due to the loose rock and ghosties.

Gold Camp Road Colorado Springs Colorado Springs trails Haunted hike Colorado Springs

I’m really going to miss being a short drive from Colorado Springs. It’s such a fun town with so much to explore. I’m thrilled that Colorado Springs is becoming more of a tourist destination, and that people are journeying away from Denver to see more of beautiful Colorado. Enjoy your journey!

Thanks for reading,


4 thoughts on “Hidden Gems In Colorado Springs

  1. Hi I just read your post which I found on Pinterest because my husband and I are going to C.S. In September 😃 my question is we will be driving from Iowa and looking to stay in a place that will be easy and close to places we would like to see and do, mist if what you posted, have you heard anything about Hampton Inn C.S. Center Air Force Academy 7245 Commerece Drive? Staying 4 nights! And would like a clean place, breakfast and easy to get around and close to! We’re old 62 lol! But we still can hike! Thanks for any help

    1. Hi Fran! Thanks for commenting! How exciting, I think you’ll love Colorado Springs! Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the Hampton Inn’s breakfast or cleanliness, but I can tell you that you’re in an excellent location off of I-25 and Woodmen. I used to live off of Woodmen when I was in college. You won’t have much within walking distance to your hotel, but you will be a short drive from attractions and hikes. I hope that helps!

  2. Thanks for your information. Staying in Colorado Springs for the first time in September. I am most concern about how I should pack for the family but I will make plans to visit a few that you listed.

    1. I hear ya, Marlene! Packing for September is tricky because it could be warm or it could be chilly! I’d opt for jeans, short sleeves and light jackets. You will be just in time for some gorgeous fall colors though. I hope you’re able to make it to higher elevation for some variety in foliage!

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