Also visit the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, 515 S. Cascade Ave., 635-7506. On the Web: experiencecoloradosprings.com.
Big Cats of Serenity Springs
By reservation only, 719/347-9200
It's a drive out east on the plains, but you'll see animals worthy of a big-city zoo. No kidding about calling in advance.
The Broadmoor Hotel
1 Lake Ave., 634-7711, 866/837-9520
Best Of 'o8
Our own famous resort, complete with luxury accommodations, world-class golf courses, upscale restaurants and bars, a spiffy spa and plenty of people-watching. Other than the drinks and cuisine, though, you can't do much more unless you're a hotel guest (or with someone who is).
Buckskin Joe Frontier Town and Railway
1193 Fremont County Road 3-A, Cañon City, 719/275-5485
They've made shoot-'em-up westerns here, if you care about that sort of thing, and it's just up the way from the Royal Gorge.
Cave of the Winds
Six miles west of Interstate 25 and Highway 24, Manitou Springs, 685-5444
Lots of folks like caves, especially tourists, partly because they're cool on a hot summer day. This one ain't Carlsbad, though, so if relatives come visiting, don't raise the expectations too high.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road, 633-9925
Even if the spread up above The Broadmoor didn't have such a picturesque view, you could still spend all day feeding the giraffes, laughing at the monkeys, shuddering at the lions and tigers, and generally appreciating what makes this one of the best zoos for a city of our size.
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
30 W. Dale St., 634-5581
Best Of 'o8
For so many years, this wasn't the first place you'd take visitors you were trying to impress. But since the FAC's ambitious renovation and addition in 2007, there's much more room for the impressive permanent collection and if there's a special show when you go, all the better.
Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad (seasonal)
Fifth and Bennett avenues, Cripple Creek, 719/689-2640
Some might think it looks rinky-dink, but the small train that makes a short out-and-back trip from near the casinos out toward Victor always goes over well with the kids, and the views of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range are excellent.
Cripple Creek gambling
Check out the slick new Wildwood Casino, the big Double Eagle, or the ones that have character down Bennett Avenue, from the Imperial Hotel to Bronco Billy's and the Brass Ass. Come July, they'll be open 24/7, with craps and roulette.
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
15807 Teller County 1, Florissant, 719/748-3253
Fossil beds don't thrill everyone, and the drive up U.S. 24, turning south from Florissant, is neither short nor relaxing. But if you are into our prehistoric roots, check it out and go. You won't be disappointed.
Flying W Ranch Chuckwagon Supper and Western Show
3330 Chuckwagon Road, 598-4000, 800/232-3599
Yee-hah, we're gonna live like the cowboys tonight! The shtick has been working for decades, with thousands of outsiders (and more locals than you'd expect) flocking to have their steak and beans, and to see the Flying W Wranglers do their country music/culture thing.
Focus on the Family Welcome Center
8605 Explorer Drive, 531-3400
People really do come by the thousands to see the ministry's headquarters with free admission, including a theater with special family-oriented films, play area and even a throwback soda fountain. It's closed on Sundays, so everyone can go to church. Naturally.
Garden of the Gods Trading Post
324 Beckers Lane, Manitou Springs, 685-9045
One of the region's best-kept secrets: The post is locally owned, with far more than just touristy junk. In fact, lots of area residents sneak in to buy gifts here. (And the snack bar isn't bad, either.)
Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center
1805 N. 30th St., 634-6666
Best Of 'o8
Of all the things you can do in the Springs without spending a cent, driving through Garden of the Gods (and stopping, wherever you want) has to be the best. But surely you or your cousins from Indiana have questions. How and when did the rock formations form? And what about the park's biology and botany? You can find all the answers here.
3820 N. 30th St., 634-0808, 800/944-4536
It's a beautiful area to visit, but you need to know the rules (such as no visiting Friday through Sunday, because of all the Christian retreats and special groups). There are limited hiking passes for designated trails, and tours of the castle. As long as you educate yourself ahead of time, it can be a fascinating experience.
Helen Hunt Falls Visitors' Center (seasonal)
4075 N. Cheyenne Cañon Road, 633-5701
We can't guarantee the actual center will be open; that depends on city budget cuts and how creative the parks folks can be with attracting private help. Regardless, you can park at the base of the falls and hike to your heart's content.
Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo
Main Street and Union Avenue, Pueblo, 719/595-0242
Definitely not an amusement park or a destination, but if you're down that way, on the southeast side of downtown, it's interesting to see and walk along the peaceful channel. Not far away, there are plenty of good places to eat or have a drink. Starting in May, boat rides and farmers markets (on Thursdays) add to the options.
IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial
Memorial Park, 1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 442-2014
Not a mecca for huge crowds, but those wanting a dose of sobering reality, go to the site at Memorial Park and see the names of more than 2,000 union firefighters who have died in the line of duty. Or, come September, plan to attend the annual ceremony when more names are added and honored.
Manitou Cliff Dwellings
U.S. Highway 24 West, Manitou Springs, 685-5242, 800/354-9971
If you want the full monty of Native American culture, go to Mesa Verde National Park, near the Four Corners west of Durango. Otherwise, here you can check out how the Anasazi Indians lived centuries ago. Just be aware: Unlike many of our natural wonders, this one isn't free.
Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine
One mile north of Highway 67, Cripple Creek, 719/689-2466, 888/291-5689
This one isn't for the claustrophobic. But it's a can't-miss for anyone fascinated by mines, and a willingness to go down 1,000 feet underground in a partially caged train. You'll learn some history along the way.
Pikes Peak Highway (weather permitting)
You can drive to the summit of America's most famous fourteener (at 14,115 feet above sea level) and get doughnuts at the Summit House. It's paved much of the way, hard-packed gravel on to the top. Just make sure your brakes work well, because you'll ride them hard on the way back down.
Pikes Peak Cog Railway (seasonal)
515 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-5401
All you have to do on this route up Pikes Peak is look at the magnificent scenery and hear the narration. Not cheap (a little more than $30 per adult, less for kids), but damn well worth it.
Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
4218 County Road 3-A, Cañon City, 719/275-7507, 888/333-5597
Only about an hour away from Colorado Springs, the world's highest suspension bridge (1,178 feet above the Arkansas River) truly is breathtaking. So is the admission $24 for adults, a little less for seniors, $19 for kids under 12. If you ride the aerial tram or the incline railway to the bottom, though, the memories never fade.
Royal Gorge Route Railroad
401 Water St., Cañon City, 888/724-5748
Take the 24-mile trip out of Cañon City, under the Royal Gorge Bridge and beyond, then back. Make it better (and more costly) with a dinner trip; some even offer a wine tasting or murder mystery.
Santa's Workshop / North Pole
5050 Pikes Peak Hwy., Cascade, 684-9432
Just off U.S. 24, you (hopefully with kids) will find this compact but very enjoyable amusement park open from Memorial Day to Christmas Eve. Attractions include the world's highest (altitude) ferris wheel, and of course, the chance to sit down with Santa.
2850 S. Cheyenne Cañon Road, 632-0765 (information), 632-0752 (main line)
This one's most special around Christmas, with its holiday lights along the canyon drive in to the falls. Be prepared for exertion, if you plan to climb the 224 steps to the top. Prices always go up slightly at night, when the falls are lit.
Starsmore Discovery Center (seasonal)
2120 S. Cheyenne Cañon Road, 385-6086
At the entrance to North Cheyenne Cañon Park, this relic offers maps, information, programs and more, especially for bird-watchers. But it's been threatened by the city's budget chopping, so be sure to confirm it's open before you go.
United States Air Force Academy
2346 Academy Drive, 333-2025
Something about the "big three" service academies really magnetizes most everyday Americans. You can't go inside the living and classroom areas, but the Cadet Chapel is an architectural marvel, and the visitors center is worth the drive.
United States Olympic Complex
1 Olympic Plaza, 866-4618, 888/659-8687
At first it was just a training center, until the Olympic Committee realized the value of opening it up to the public. It's free, and visitors learn about Olympic history and traditions. Many tours include resident athletes as guides, and you can watch swimmers, gymnasts and others going through their workouts. The gift shop is awesome, too.
Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun
4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road, 578-5367
No equally convenient view in the area can top this. The 114-foot-tall memorial to the legendary comedian was erected in 1937, two years after Rogers' death, paid for by his friend and Broadmoor founder Spencer Penrose. You just drive up to the zoo, pay a toll at the gate, and continue on to the shrine.
Chapel Hills Mall
1710 Briargate Blvd., 594-0111
Multi-level array of commerce, with theater included, at the north end of town.
750 Citadel Drive East, 591-5516
City's oldest surviving mall, with some vacant storefronts but still plenty of choices.
The Promenade Shops at Briargate
Located off exit 151 on I-25 at Briargate Parkway, 265-6264
Newer, open-style complex, with upscale stores and nicer chain eateries (P.F. Chang's, Ted's Montana Grill, etc.).
Cherry Creek Shopping Center
3000 E. First Ave., Denver, 303/388-3900
Including many of the urban-staple stores that you wish we had in Colorado Springs.
Outlets at Castle Rock
5050 Factory Shops Blvd., Castle Rock, 303/688-4495
The concept isn't as fresh anymore, but you can still choose from 120 or so stores, many with decent discounts.
8401 Park Meadows Center Drive, Lone Tree, 303/792-2533
Biggest and most convenient (from here) of Denver's shopping meccas, surrounded by big-box stores and many choices in restaurants and bars.
3429 Dillon Drive, Pueblo, 719/544-3454
Reminiscent of the original Citadel: Dillard's, JCPenney, Sears and plenty of smaller stores.
Old-fashioned shopping districts
Downtown Colorado Springs
Bordered by Cascade Avenue and Boulder, Weber and Costilla streets, 886-0088
The specialty stores are still in good supply, and the restaurant and bar scene is bustling. Don't forget the free shuttle up and down Tejon Street.
Old Colorado City
Colorado Avenue, beginning at 21st Street, 577-4112
This low-key, comfortable, historic area is dotted with plenty of art galleries, decent bars and restaurants (from Mexican and barbecue to top-quality pizza and more). A little touristy, but definitely worth exploring.
Encompassing all of downtown Manitou Springs, 685-5089, 800/642-2567
Best Of 'o8
Funky downtown, mixing touristy stores with the throwback arcade and the full spectrum of places to eat and drink. Check out the restored Manitou Spa building, anchored by Adam's Mountain Caf, a perennial local favorite. Or go bar-hopping from the Mariner to the Keg, Townhouse and Royal.
Consignment & thrift
Arc Thrift Stores
2780 S. Academy Blvd., 391-7717
4402 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., 522-1203
1830 W. Uintah St., 473-0502
Best Of 'o8
According to many people in the Springs and statewide, Arc stores rate as the best in terms of selection and sale prices. The clothing, especially, tends to be of good quality. Sales support advocacy and services for children and adults with developmental disabilities.
Disabled American Veterans Thrift Store
2444 E. Platte Ave., 636-2537
Purchases here support a significant, and growing, population in the Colorado Springs community. Conveniently located at Platte Avenue and Boulder Street, the DAV store sells the typical thrift-store stuff: clothing, housewares, furniture, linens and loads more.
Local variations of this stalwart of the thrift-store scene include the Garage Sale Store on West Cucharras Street, an outlet store on North El Paso Street, and a brand-new location on South Circle Drive.
Habitat for Humanity's ReStore
411 S. Wahsatch Ave., 667-0840
The "discount" building materials here, checked for quality upon intake, are really worth a closer look for those into do-it-yourself home repairs and updates.
937 N. Academy Blvd., 622-8933
Take the environment of a suburban 15-year-old girl's walk-in closet, and multiply it by 20 or 30 times. You've basically got our local Plato's Closet franchise. It teems with "gently" used Gap, Aropostale, Old Navy and the like. Great deals here, if you can handle occasional squeals and wayward elbows.
1721 W. Colorado Ave., 635-9725
A new children's clothing boutique specializing in name brand item in new or good condition. All garments run between $3.50 and $25 and suit newborns to kids size 10.
109 S. Sierra Madre St., 632-6693
In the (discount) market for an Oriental rug? A lawn mower? An Elvis cookie jar? All three, and a van to put them in? You'll want to walk through Ross Auction. On Fridays, bid on household items, tools and other little things; Saturdays, it's art and collectibles, furniture and appliances and, occasionally, vehicles. Sign in, get your own number and try not to look too interested as the fast-talking auctioneer makes his way to the apple(s) of your eye.
Salvation Army Thrift Stores
2730 E. Platte Ave., 634-5506
501 S. Weber St., 473-6161
Purchases at Salvation Army stores support community adult rehabilitation centers. And if you've got clothes you'd like to donate, bins are dotted through town.
511 N. Union Blvd., 630-3271
It's not taking as many toys as it used to, thanks to those lead-paint scares of recent years. But Tantrums still sells lots of kids' furniture, swings, books, shoes, DVDs ... and lots of itty-bitty outfits that'll make even the most unsentimental dad say, "Awww ..."
Secondhand & vintage
708 N. Weber St., 634-3675
Best Of 'o8
Adam Leech musician, entrepreneur, family man and Indy music columnist buys all the great vintage clothing, records, jewelry and other trinkets that literally spill out of his shop just north of downtown. While he's proclaimed the Leechpit "cooler than Jesus" and offers the goods to make an argument for it un-hipsters can feel welcome enough to make it a regular stop.
1312 W. Colorado Ave., 633-1357
Best Of 'o8
Eve Carlson's west side boutique embodies all that is good in the women's shopping world. The used clothing and accessories are classy, and the new stuff often procured by Carlson herself from shows in New York and L.A. you won't find anywhere else around here. Add to the equation reasonable prices, honest opinions on outfits, and a laid-back vibe that will stay with you all day.
1812 W. Colorado Ave., 685-3311
While the store recently has increased its stock to all sizes, Personal Velocity features resale clothing for full-figured women. You can find everything here from jeans, tops, shoes and purses, to lingerie and cocktail dresses.
1816 W. Colorado Ave., 635-8375
Swish is stuffed from front door to back with vintage and vogue apparel. Owner Shelley Laur describes the shop as "wacky," but there's nothing wacky about her unique second-hand deals and 50-percent-off Clearance Closet steals.
African American Voice
P.O. Box 25340, 528-1954
The Voice has reached out to the area's black community for many years, promoting issues and events. It's guided by publisher James Tucker, former head of the local NAACP branch and longtime educator in the city.
Colorado Springs Business Journal
31 E. Platte Ave., #300, 634-5905
This weekly newspaper provides a thorough variety of intensive coverage across the Springs business community, and has for 20 years.
Colorado Springs Independent
235 S. Nevada Ave., 577-4545
Colorado Springs' largest locally owned newspaper, distributed weekly, is 15 years old and going strong with 112,000 regular readers (according to unbiased market research). The Independent is recognized nationally among the leading altweeklies of its size, and known for regional activism on issues such as elections, trails and open space, outreach to the military and religious communities, diversity and sustainability. Oh, and if you hadn't already noticed, its staff put together the InSider you're reading right now.
101 W. Colfax Ave., Denver, 800/336-7678
Denver's only remaining daily newspaper is a great source of state-level coverage, but the early edition that comes here doesn't include nighttime events or sports results. The Sunday Post can be home-delivered as part of a package deal along with the Independent each Thursday.
30 S. Prospect St., 632-5511
The daily newspaper that's served Colorado Springs for 137 years is owned by Freedom Communications Inc., and known for its libertarian editorial philosophy. Its online presence features lots of inconsistently updated blogs. Former reporter Dave Curtin won a Pulitzer Prize at the Gazette in 1990, for feature writing.
1715 Monterey Road, #220, 540-0220
This lively weekly newspaper serving the Springs' Hispanic community maintains a visible presence in the Pueblo area, too, thanks to the energy of publisher Bob Armendariz.
825 W. Sixth St., Pueblo, 719/544-3520, 800/279-6397
Pueblo's family-owned daily newspaper covers more of southern and southeastern Colorado than any other daily. It's made its own headlines in recent years for bold opposition to Colorado Springs' growth and water plans.
Look for the Black Forest News & Palmer Divide Pioneer, Cheyenne Edition, El Paso County Advertiser and News, Fort Carson Mountaineer, Mountain Jackpot, New Falcon Herald, Pikes Peak Bulletin, Pikes Peak Courier View, Tri-Lakes Tribune, Westside Pioneer and Woodmen Edition. Many are free, some cheap, at various distribution points (restaurants and bars, convenience stores, markets, etc.).
Colorado Springs Real Estate Blog
Sporadically updated with news, statistics and trends in the local real-estate market.
Freethinkers of Colorado Springs
Web site that helps promote the organization, its events and agenda based on tolerance, equal rights for all and clear separation of church and state, specifically that "beliefs must be formed on the basis of science and logic."
The online adjunct to a monthly paper that stopped publishing in 2008, Newspeak! now is a continuous blog that watches and reacts to the local arts scene as well as to politics and national issues.
Topical, edgy, occasional posts regarding different subjects and people, often related to breaking news.
Greatest pop hits
KKMG-FM 98.9 Magic
Hot adult contemporary
Classic rock, Colorado College hockey
Soft adult contemporary
KNKN-FM 107.1 Radio Lobo
KDZA-FM 107.9 Jet
News, talk and sports in and around Pueblo
Best Of 'o8
Local news, conservative talk (as in Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc.), flagship for Air Force sports
Local news, sports and weather (tied to Channel 13), national talk
KGHF-AM 1350 The Zone
Pueblo, sports and more
"Legendary" music and talk
Colorado State University-Pueblo
Pikes Peak Community College
Best Of 'o8
Colorado College, National Public Radio and Public Radio International affiliate
KGFT-FM 100.7 The Gift
KOAA-TV Channels 5 & 30
Best Of 'o8
KTSC-TV Channel 8
Rocky Mountain PBS
KKTV Channel 11
KRDO-TV Channel 13
KXRM-TV Channels 21 & 57
FOX and CW affiliate
Road information hotline
Front Range Express
1015 Transit Drive, 636-3739, 877/425-3739
FREX services the Interstate 25 corridor from Fountain to Denver, including a DIA transfer, Monday through Friday, 3:45 a.m. to 9:50 p.m. Wireless Internet provided. One-way fare to or from Colorado Springs to Denver is $7.
1015 Transit Drive, 392-2396, 520-3313 (tty)
Complimentary curb-to-curb service for those eligible under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Mountain Metropolitan Transit
1015 Transit Drive, 385-7433 ext. 4
This regional bus system runs Monday through Friday from 5:10 a.m. to 10:45 p.m.; Saturday from 5:30 a.m. to 10:45 p.m.; Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:35 p.m. Basic fare is $1.75; 31-day passes are available for $63 to $75. Exact change required when boarding.
TNM&O Coaches Inc. (Greyhound)
120 S. Weber St., 635-1505, 800/231-2222
As you know, Greyhound provides nationwide bus travel.
Bus tours and shuttles
Colorado Springs Shuttle
3002 E. Gunnison St., 687-3456, 877/587-3456
This shuttle runs from the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport to Denver International Airport with stops in between. One-way fare is $50. Curbside pickup and charter to ski areas available. Discounts for two or more and group rates for parties of three or more. Luxury services also available.
Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH)
Featuring cute little shuttles, this city-sponsored service provides free rides through the downtown corridor.
Gray Line Tours
132 E. Las Animas St., 633-1181, 800/345-8197
Gray Line offers regional sightseeing tours.
3465 Astrozon Place, 590-8687
Ramblin runs motorcoaches, mini-buses, vans, sedans and limousines for charter, chauffeured or tour services.
Rides on demand
Designated Driver in Colorado Springs
For the next time you're out drinking: A team of two volunteer drivers picks you up, you sign a release form, and one volunteer drives you home in your car while the other follows. No joke, it doesn't cost a thing. (Though gratuities are welcome.)
512 W. Gunnison Ave., Woodland Park, 687-8222
4625 Town Center Drive, 634-5000
Criterium Bike Shops, Inc.
6150 Corporate Drive, 599-0149
Best Of 'o8
615 S. Baldwin St., Woodland Park, 687-6165
3016 N. Hancock Ave., 473-6915
Biking Colorado Springs sure doesn't sound as exotic as bicycling, say, Africa, but this local company does both and makes it work. It was the first to offer downhill rides of Pikes Peak, and also does rides of Gold Camp Road. Bikes and all equipment available. If you're here in September, look into the Tour des Aspens, which runs from Aspen to Crested Butte.
Dream Cycle Tours (seasonal)
Dream Cycle runs a five-day tour in June and a seven-day tour in July. Tours include bike shipping and setup, lodging, meals, post-ride celebrations and van support. More helpful to most people, though, are the custom tours now offered: You pick the dates and destinations, and Dream Cycle sets up the route for you.
Pikes Peak Mountain Bike Tours (seasonal)
Don't worry, you ride down the 14,000-plus-foot peak, with guides, bikes and vans supporting you. Season starts in May and runs into late summer; for a stretch in the middle, you also can arrange to ride the cog railway up the mountain and bike back down. Tours offered through this company also now include a "20 Mile High Tour," a three-hour downhill route you can do on your own (with bikes and map provided).
The Broadmoor Hotel
1 Lake Circle, 577-5775, 866/837-9520
Best Of 'o8
For decades a scenic escape for the rich and famous, this remains our designated five-diamond (AAA) and five-star (Mobil Travel Guide) crown jewel, enhanced by many ambitious updates and renovations in recent years. Besides the golf courses that have regularly hosted national championships for a half-century, there's the world-class spa, tennis, restaurants, specialty shops and, of course, the luxurious rooms and suites.
Cheyenne Mountain Resort
3225 Broadmoor Valley Road, 538-4000, 800/428-8886
Perched on a hillside south of downtown with panoramic views of Cheyenne Mountain, this modern resort takes advantage of the nearby recreation at Country Club of Colorado while catering to everyone from small families to large convention groups. Also, for the locals, it's a picturesque spot for Sunday brunch.
Emerald Valley Guest Ranch
7855 Old Stage Road, 635-2468
Eight miles up Old Stage Road from The Broadmoor, in a high mountain valley, Emerald Valley can provide the perfect retreat for groups of 10 to 28 people, with cabins, hiking trails, fishing and accommodations for meetings or even smaller wedding parties.