Destination Spotlight: Colorado Springs

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Nestled at the foot of Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs has come a long way from its mining town days. With a population of 416,427 as of the 2010 Census, it is the second most populous city in the state of Colorado, behind Denver, and the 41st most populous city in the United States. The city covers 194.7 square miles, making it Colorado’s largest city in area. With the city’s location close to the Rocky Mountains, it is a popular destination for visitors, offering a multitude of trails, parks, and open spaces. They include Pikes Peak, Seven Falls, and Cave of the Winds, to name a few.

Colorado Springs has more than 55 attractions and activities to offer visitors. They include the ProRodeo Hall of Fame & Museum of the American Cowboy, Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, the American Numismatic Association Money Museum, Peterson Air and Space Museum, and the Cheyenne Mountain Heritage Center.

The city thrives on culture, with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and Pikes Peak Center for performing arts. But there’s even more to attract and hold visitors’ attention. One of the nation’s three U.S. Olympic Training Centers is located here, where visitors can watch top athletes in action. Another world-class attraction is the U.S. Air Force Academy, an elite military training academy located just north of the city. You can visit several areas of the academy, including the Cadet Chapel and the Honor Court.

One of the nation’s most beautiful city parks, Garden of the Gods, is nestled in the foothills of Pikes Peak. The stunning red rock formations draw tourists to try and capture their beauty.

If you want to take a break from the outdoors, then check out Colorado Springs Downtown, the oldest part of the original city, which has many shops and interesting buildings, including the city’s oldest high rises. The Lon Chaney Theater, housed in the Colorado Springs City Auditorium, is another must-see on the National Register of Historic Places. The Pioneers Museum, originally the county courthouse, offers an extensive collection of early city history. Giuseppe’s Depot Restaurant is an eatery located in the historic downtown 1880s railroad depot. The Pikes Peak Center houses traveling and local musical and theatrical performances. Just south of downtown is the Bristol Brewing Company, a prized microbrewery that offers tours and tastings.

Then there is Old Colorado City, a National Historic District with many art galleries and boutiques. It is home to the Michael Garman Museum, which housed Magic Town, a 3,000-square-foot sculptural theater paying homage to Garman since 1975. One of the country’s many Carnegie Libraries is located here as well. Tourist attractions north of Old Colorado City include Flying W Ranch, a cowboy ranch. The Old North End of the city is home to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the American Numismatic Association, and Colorado College. The Van Briggle Pottery kiln works, founded in 1899 and specializing in art nouveau vases and decorative tiles, was originally housed here in a building now owned by Colorado College.

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