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The first time I flew out west and saw the Rocky Mountains in person for the first time, it was hard to express my awe! The mountains closer to the East Coast are impressive, but the scope and scale of the Rockies is difficult to put into words. For that reason, it’s a popular spot for many travelers, and because of the climate and the natural beauty all around, there are so many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Best of all, there are great ways to explore this area without breaking the budget! Today I’m sharing my top 25 free things to do in Colorado Springs, several of which were shared with me by a Southern Savers reader (thanks, Tanya!).
Top 25 Free Things to Do in Colorado Springs
Explore the Garden of the Gods
This amazing outdoor experience has free admission as long as you drive yourself (there is a cost to use a shuttle). You can spend hours here taking pictures and exploring nature!
Tour the Air Force Academy
The academy is free to tour, although you may need to provide your drivers license at the gate as well as expect a trunk inspection. There may be some restrictions at times due to events, so make sure you call ahead if you want to plan a tour.
See the swans at the Broadmoor Historic Hotel
This huge hotel is free to walk around and take pictures. They even provide free valet parking! There is a beautiful lake in the back with swans, and you can’t beat the views.
Play horseshoes at Bear Creek Regional Park
In addition to a horseshoe pit, there is also a playground and fields where you can play different kinds of sports. Pack a picnic for a frugal outing!
Visit the Penrose Heritage Museum
This museum shows lots of neat historic items from Indian headresses to race cars and focuses on the history and heritage of the Pikes Peak region.
Wander Manitou Springs
Manitou Springs is a mountain community with mineral springs. You can find a swing or bench and sit and relax or stroll through artist galleries and other unique things in the town.
Explore North Cheyenne Canon Park
There are, as you might expect, tons of parks in the Colorado Springs area. I’m including many of them on this list because they all have unique things to draw you in, even if you can’t visit them all on one trip.
Climb the Manitou Incline
This climb used to be illegal, but there have been renovations that now allow people to climb this steep incline. There is a free parking lot with a free shuttle to the trailhead.
Hike a trail at Red Rock Canyon
This outdoor area has tons of trails, all of which will give you breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains.
Visit the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum
This area of the country was part of the journey of those early pioneers setting out to settle the West Coast. Touring this museum could be a great supplement to your kids’ education!
Visit the Cripple Creek Heritage Center
There are lots of things in the Cripple Creek area that are NOT free, so you’ll have to decide if you can resist the temptation. But if you want to explore this spot, you can visit the heritage center, which is almost like a museum, at no charge.
Drive the Gold Belt Scenic Tour
This will take up most of the day, but could be worth it if you’re in the area for a while and have your own car. It will take you about 5 hours to drive the 130 miles of this circular loop, but you’ll see views you can’t see anywhere else in the country.
Visit the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum
If wheels are your (or your kids’) thing, then you might enjoy visiting this motorcycle museum.
Explore the Fountain Creek Nature Center
This nature center is only about 15 minutes outside of Colorado Springs that has wetlands and many other habitats that showcase a variety of wildlife.
Visit the Dr. Lester Williams Fire Museum
This museum showcases the personal collection of fire-related memorabilia of local man Dr. Lester Williams. If you have a kid who loves fire trucks, this is the place to go!
Try out your wheels at the Memorial Park Skate Park
This park has not only an enormous skate park, but also playgrounds and other fun stuff to do.
Walk over the Royal Gorge bridge
This area near Colorado Springs has expensive activities, but you can also just walk or ride over the bridge, which is one of the highest suspension bridges over water in the country.
Tour Focus on the Family
There is a special kids’ play area and Narnia Adventure Room, as well as a short video you can watch. You can also take a guided tour.
Whether you’ve ever sponsored a child through Compassion International or not, a tour through this building will help you empathize with the plight of children in poverty around the world.
Find Art on the Streets
There is an intentional public arts display in Colorado Springs which you will spot just walking around, but you can also download an audio tour on your phone if you want to enhance your experience.
Hike the Santa Fe Regional Trail
Any hike in this area is going to give you extraordinary views of the Rockies, and this trail looks especially good for families.
Explore America the Beautiful Park
Here’s another park that promises to highlight the most beautiful parts of this area.
Play at Acacia Park
The first park in Colorado Springs, this park is downtown and would be a great place to stop off in the middle of your day for a picnic.
See natural beauty at Paint Mines Interpretive Park
If I ever make it to Colorado Springs, this park is definitely at the top of my list of places to go! The colors on exhibit here—all a result of components within the earth working together—seem like they couldn’t even be real!
Explore Fox Run Regional Park
Yes, another park! It seems like the opportunities to experience green space in this area are endless—hopefully you can take advantage of at least one of them!
Headed somewhere else in the Midwest? Check out our top 25 free things to do in Minneapolis!