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Colorado Springs vacation tips

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Offline  Colorado Springs vacation tips
#1

Posted: August 14, 2017, 9:39 AM Post
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Wife and I are taking a little vacation in Colorado Springs in mid-September and looking for some hints regarding restaurants, bars, and site seeing. We are already planning the obvious stuff like Garden of the Gods, Pike's Peak, etc. We will have a rental car and don't mind driving a few hours to see something that is worth seeing. I see that you can actually drive up to the top of Pike's Peak, but it seems like if the weather is not great and you don't have 4 wheel drive it could be a challenge and slightly dangerous. Even with good weather, checking out the route on street view on Google Maps seems a bit terrifying. I would probably be ok, not sure the better half would handle it too well. So we will probably take the train/rail-car up to the peak. While we don't mind getting some walks in, we are not big hikers, climbers, or into back-packing type stuff. More just looking to site-see.

We are renting a house a few blocks north of the Old Colorado city area in Co. Springs (so any good bars/restaurants in that area on or near Pike's Peak or Colorado Avenues would be ideal). We are not big beer drinkers so not too much into brew pubs unless they also serve cocktails (most do I guess).

Thanks for any advice!


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Offline  Re: Colorado Springs vacation tips
#2

Posted: August 14, 2017, 9:54 AM Post
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I actually went half way up Pikes Peak on a tour bus with a group in high school. On the way down I was on the cliff side of the bus. Scary as hell. I would guess a normal sized vehicle shouldn't be a problem for most people.

Wings over the Rockies aircraft museum (I think that's what it's called was kind of cool. The Olympic Training Center may be of interest, especially with the Winter Olympics coming up there will probably be some athletes training there to see.


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Offline  Re: Colorado Springs vacation tips
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Posted: August 14, 2017, 10:48 AM Post
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We went white water rafting at the Royal Gorge. The water will be down compared to the spring. Even if you don't go rafting, it is a cool place to visit. It is about 90 minutes from Colorado Spring.


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Offline  Re: Colorado Springs vacation tips
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Posted: August 14, 2017, 2:11 PM Post
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There's a cog railway up Pike's Peak, so you don't have to drive. But if you do make frequent stops because your breaks will be overheating.

A drive west on I-70 will run you into a lot of little touristy mountain towns. I tended to stop before I hit the tunnel only because the weather can get monstrous on the other side in an instant.

I've done the rafting trip down Royal Gorge and it was fine. Your standard rafting trip, not much for rapids or anything but the cliffs are pretty if you don't mind the rafting guide making you do that stupid paddle-clap thing. The bridge is fun to walk across.

Just west of Denver is a drag race strip which is cheap to go to and a really fun time.

If you're thinking of heading to Boulder and its Pearl Street, your reaction is guaranteed to be "Oh, this reminds me of State Street in Madison." Not exactly in that "Oh, cool!" way but in the "Eh, I've seen this same thing before" way. Don't know why, but I absolutely loved walking around Golden.

Can't beat a day in Rocky Mountain National Wildlife Refuge.

Garden of the Gods is pretty nice.


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Offline  Re: Colorado Springs vacation tips
#5

Posted: August 21, 2017, 11:02 AM Post
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If you're into Breweries, brewerymap.com is a great resource.

They have a solid food truck culture out there, lots of Breweries will have them, making them a solid spot for dinner and a beer.

"I wasted so much time in my life hating Juventus or A.C. Milan that I should have spent hating the Cardinals." ~kalle8

Twitter: @MKEHiker
Website: http://www.mkehiker.com


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Offline  Re: Colorado Springs vacation tips
#6

Posted: August 21, 2017, 7:33 PM Post
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My wife and I were just there up until Saturday. Colorado Springs was really nice. We drove up Pikes Peak and if heights don't bother you it's amazing at the top. We rented a Hyundai and it was just fine getting to the top. Garden of the gods was nice too. One place we ate that we both really liked was Colorado Mountain Brewery. Try their buffalo chili it was amazing.

If you like breweries then head up to Ft. Collins. The New Belgium brewery was awesome but if you want to do a tour book it ahead of time. We also went whitewater rafting near Ft. Collins. The river was getting pretty low and the guide thought the season would close in a week or two so you may be out of luck there. College Avenue in Fort Collins was really nice too, a lot of shops and read nice restaurants.


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Offline  Re: Colorado Springs vacation tips
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Posted: August 23, 2017, 11:09 AM Post
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I lived about 30 minutes from Colorado Springs for five years (just moved back to Wisconsin this past May). Here's my advice:

1. Colorado has tons of breweries. Colorado Springs has a half dozen or so. I would just look them up online and see which ones appeal to you.
2. For an easy visit, go to Garden of the Gods. It's free, and one of the most beautiful places in the area. You don't have to hike - you can just wander around the main area of the Garden (which is paved, so it's really easy).
3. I did not drive up Pike's Peak - but I did drive up Mount Evans - which is similar. It didn't bother me, but my wife was pretty freaked out by it. The roads can be kind of unnerving. We took the Cog Railway up the mountain. That was pretty cool - much calmer than the drive. The Cog Railway is located in Manitou Springs - not far from Colorado Springs. Manitou Springs is interesting. It's a bit cheesy tourist destination with crappy nicknack stores and gift shops, but there are some nice restaurants and nice shops. Lots of distracting things.
4. For shopping and wandering, Old Colorado City is pretty nice. It's got lots of boutique shops, galleries and little restaurants. It has a historic, wild west feel to it.
5. If you want a fancy meal, you can go to the Broadmoor Hotel. Be warned - quite expensive.
6. I never went, but people say that the Cheyanne Mountain Zoo is really nice (if zoos are your thing).
7. You can drive to Canon City and see the Royal Gorge. There is a suspension bridge over the Arkansas River - a 1000 foot down. It's pretty cool (and really disconcerting). I think it's about 30 minutes from CS.
8. If you like Zip Lining - there's tons of places in Colorado for it. You can even zip line over the Royal Gorge. Yikes.
9. Water rafting is all over the place. Just have to find out the good ones. And the water can be quite cold.
10. Train rides. There are some wonderful train rides in the mountains. I'd just look around and figure out what you want to see, and the time you want to commit.

Have fun.


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Offline  Re: Colorado Springs vacation tips
#8

Posted: August 24, 2017, 10:13 AM Post
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I did the Coors Brewery tour some years ago. When I got there they said they were booked up, and so they sent me through their short display/history museum and then right to the tasting room. That was the only part of the tour I really wanted to attend, anyway.


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Offline  Re: Colorado Springs vacation tips
#9

Posted: August 28, 2017, 7:36 AM Post
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Thanks for all the tips everyone. Very helpful!


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