Back to top

11 Thrifty Attractions in Colorado Springs

Pinch your pennies in the best way possible — on a vacation in Colorado Springs

Pikes Peak Lookout
Pikes Peak Lookout
Space Foundation Discovery Center
Space Foundation Discovery Center
Donkeys in Historic Cripple Creek
Donkeys in Historic Cripple Creek
Miramont Castle
Miramont Castle
Wild West Ghost Town Museum
Wild West Ghost Town Museum
May Natural History Museum
May Natural History Museum
ProRodeo Hall of Fame
ProRodeo Hall of Fame
Manitou Cliff Dwellings
Manitou Cliff Dwellings
Old Colorado City
Old Colorado City
Downtown Manitou Springs
Downtown Manitou Springs

Historic towns, a massive mountain and access to off-the-beaten-path museums are just some of the things that await you in the Springs. The best part? The whole family can find something to do for less than a Hamilton.

1. Pikes Peak — America’s Mountain

As one of the most visited mountains on the planet, Pikes Peak is kind of a must-see if you’re in the area. Sitting at 14,115 feet tall, this behemoth actually has a road so you can drive to its peak. And if you happen to be visiting between December and May, tickets to drive yourself up are only $10 for adults. Make sure to grab a freshly fried doughnut from the Summit House while you're there.

2. Manitou Cliff Dwellings

The kiddos in the group will adore this attraction. Why, you ask? Because they can climb all over these things. Plus, they get to learn about the history of these structures in Colorado. It’s a win-win. If you download this mobile coupon, your admission will drop to $10.

3. Space Foundation Discovery Center

Shoot for the stars — or just see them from the Space Foundation where your admission is less than a tenner. And what comes with the price of admission? Science on a Sphere, where you’ll peruse space artifacts and Mission to Europa where there’s hands-on fun for the whole family. On especially dark nights when the stars are sparkling, enjoy free Family Star Parties, an educational event on stars and space phenomena. 

4. Old Colorado City

Old Colorado City is a fantastic place to spend the day with your family unit in tow. Grab an affordable breakfast at Bon Ton's Cafe before popping into an eclectic mix of shops — anyone need a customized paperweight? Check the event calendar before you head out as, they usually have something going on, including Mad Hatter Day — where the town is transformed into a wonderland with activities for kids of all ages. 

5. Miramont Castle

Feel like you're walking onto the "Downton Abbey" set at Miramont Castle. This over-the-top building is made up of architectural styles from all over the world and includes nine different techniques. In the summer, pop into the magical garden to see flowers bursting with vibrant colors. If you have some spare change jingling in your pocket, have high tea at the Queen's Parlour Tearoom — you'll get $1 off your admission if you eat the scone (covered in the freshest cream and smoothest jam) first.

6. Garden of the Gods Trading Post

This is the largest shop and gallery in the Centennial State, and they are not playing around when it comes to living up to the hype. With some 90,000 items, there is truly something for everyone. Rock a Garden of the Gods novelty tee, snap up some coffee mugs for the aunts in your family that collect them or maybe get a block of homemade fudge that's so sweet your dentist will thank you.

7. Historic Cripple Creek

One of the best parts of visiting this historic mountain town is the winding drive it takes to get there. You'll make your way around bends and through curves until you arrive in downtown Cripple Creek, which played a significant role in Colorado's Gold Rush history. Saunter through the streets looking for the wild donkeys that roam the hills. Then take the tykes on an open-air train ride, perfect when the leaves are changing color, or send them down in a real gold mine — they might get a bit dirty!

8. Wild West Ghost Town Museum

Reconstructed historic structures from the state's beginning days are the star of this museum. Take your shot at the shooting range, grab a pan and look for gold or play a game at the museum's antique arcade. The little ones can also try their hand at butter churning — it’s harder than it looks. The sore arms they develop will make them thankful for modern technology!

9. Historic Manitou Springs

Drink your way through this adorable hamlet, less than 15 minutes from downtown Colorado Springs. But how is it family-friendly if you're drinking? You'll be sipping on water from eight mineral springs found around town. Each one has its own flavor, determined by the water interacting with different minerals — some even come with bubbles.

10. ProRodeo Hall of Fame

Learn about the history of the American cowboy and rodeo’s evolution at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. You’ve never seen a belt buckle that fancy or just how much equipment — think saddles, ropes and clothes — go into being a rodeo star. Follow the neighing to the livestock exhibit in the summer, where retired horses wait to meet their adoring fans. 

11. May Natural History Museum

Decades of work went into creating the May's collection, and it consists of insects from all over planet Earth. Thousands upon thousands of insects are safely mounted under glass just waiting for your perusal. Look for the beetles the size of your fist if that sort of thing doesn’t terrify you.

Want more?

Check out Garden of the Gods Trading Post >>
Make Manitou Springs your basecamp for adventure >>
Check out our pre-built itineraries >>