Grab your purse or man-bag, a friend or two, and kick up your most comfortable boots on the west side. But hold your horses back a slight bit — if you start your adventure off in the Old Colorado City historic district (shopoldcoloradocity.com), you'll miss some of the area's best shops.
Just east of OCC, you'll find Eve's Revolution (1312 W. Colorado Ave., evesrevolution.com). Owner Eve Carlson sells stylish new clothes and accessories for women alongside top-quality resale items in her cute and cozy boutique. Just a few blocks to the west, you'll want to stop by SWISH (1816 W. Colorado Ave., 635-8375). Packed to the gills (in a good way), SWISH features vintage and vogue resale apparel, and if you tell owner Shelley Laur what you're looking for, she'll find you the perfect outfit. Across the street from SWISH is Recess (1721 W. Colorado Ave., recessconsign.com), which is a bit like Eve's but for kids, newborn to size 10.
If you're one to make your own clothes (or blankets, or whatever), check out the Yarn Outlet (416 S. Eighth St., 227-3665), offering knitters shelves of overstock and last year's remains at rock-bottom prices. You can accessorize a bit at Celebration Conscious Living Store (2209 W. Colorado Ave., celebrationstore.com); often labeled a book store, Celebration is that but also a place for crystals, jewelry, CDs, tarot cards, incense and wands. This shop is also the go-to place in town for psychic readings, rune divination classes, full-moon rituals and the like.
Finally, if your ideal full-moon ritual would involve zipping down the side of a moonlit mountain on a snowboard or skis, check out Blindside (293 S. 21st St., blindsidecolorado.com) for "retail, rental, repair and tuning." You can pick up some music for the road at Earth Pig Music (1953 W. Uintah St., 575-9847) and some snacks (salt-water taffy, anyone?) at Patsy's Candies (1540 S. 21st St., 633-7215; also 930 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, patsyscandies.com).
The main drag
OK, now you can hit Old Colorado City.
This historic strip melds arts, fashion, food and touristy trinkets. Ladies, don't miss Envi (2605 W. Colorado Ave.), Barracuda Bazaar (2603 W. Colorado Ave., barracudabazaar.com), and A Call to Life (2502 W. Colorado Ave., 471-8888), three shops that sell new and recycled clothing, art and won't-find-them-elsewhere gifts. At Nice 'N Naughty (2504 W. Colorado Ave., 633-7277) you'll find some sweet and sexy lingerie; at Yobel Market, (2528 W. Colorado Ave., yobelmarket.com) your dollars will support global, fair-trade products; and at Mountain Moppets (2532 W. Colorado Ave., mountainmoppets.com), you can dress your kiddos in the season's best. If you're looking for beautiful modern jewelry, fine art and furniture, head to the Squash Blossom (2531 W. Colorado Ave., squashblossom.com).
Oh, and if you're here on a growing-season Saturday, you're in luck: The OCC Farmers Market (24th Street and West Colorado Avenue, 574-1283) runs from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Saturdays, June 11 through Oct. 29. It's the perennial favorite of Indy readers.
That said, it's not the only market on the west side. Others include: Friday mornings in Woodland Park (corner of Center and Henrietta streets, woodlandparkfarmersmarket.com); Friday afternoons in Manitou Springs (Soda Springs Park, 1016 Manitou Ave., 635-0944); and the Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday morning "Pick and Pay" market for fresh, organic vegetables, herbs and flowers through Pikes Peak Urban Gardens at Harlan Wolfe Ranch (915 W. Cheyenne Road, ppugardens.org).
On your way out of OCC, but before you enter Manitou Springs, keep an eye out for the Westside Bargain Mart (3135 W. Colorado Ave., 685-4500) in the corner of a strip mall just past 31st Street. Bungled boxes, dented cans and ripped labels sit aside overstock clothing and personal care items — all at seriously discounted prices. Similarly, you can check out Community Foods (56 Park Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1314), sometimes referred to as "a tiny, bargain-priced Whole Foods." Just take note, weekend shopping warriors: The religious folk who run the place keep Sabbath on Saturday, so the store closes at 3 p.m. Friday and doesn't reopen until Sunday morning.
One more stop before hitting the main drag in Manitou: the locally-owned-since-the-1920s Garden of the Gods Trading Post (324 Beckers Lane, Manitou Springs, co-trading-post.com). Yes, it's touristy. But those in the know (now, you!) make a beeline to the back room for high-quality Southwestern art and jewelry.
The other main drag
At this point, we wouldn't stop you from taking a short break to give your energy a kick. We recommend one of two places for that, depending on your sensibilities. Pikes Peak Chocolate and Ice Cream (805 Manitou Ave., pikespeakchocolate.com) can give you a needed sugar and caffeine boost. (Try the Dark Salty Island Bark.) Or, you could pop by Kinfolks Mountain Shop (950 Manitou Ave., kinfolksmanitou.com) — it masquerades as an outdoor clothing store, but — surprise — it's also got a bar lined with microbrews, and musicians play there regularly.
The rest of Manitou Springs (manitousprings.org) will keep you busy a while; here's a sample of what you'll find.
Piramide Clothing Company (106 Cañon Ave, Manitou Springs; 2516 W. Colorado Ave.; piramidenf.com) specializes in eco-conscious clothing, accessories and jewelry, emphasizing natural fibers that are comfortable. Fare Bella Gallery and Step 13 (16 Ruxton Ave., 720/226-4315) offer art by locals and fun home décor. La Henna Boheme (801 Manitou Ave., 636-2626) not only carries "bohemian chic" clothing and gifts, but also henna body art. And if you don't mind a serious hunt, visit Safron (724 Manitou Ave., 685-5153). The place is packed, and we mean PACKED, with clothing and accessories.
If the kids have stuck with you this long, reward them with a trip to the American Toy Store (906 Manitou Ave., #104, Manitou Springs, americantoystore.com) or (supervised) the Dulcimer Shop (740 Manitou Ave., dulcimer.net). Then reward yourself with a bottle of wine at D'Vine Wine (934 Manitou Ave., winerymsprings.com), or Swirl Wine Emporium (717 Manitou Ave., swirlwineemporium.com). And finally, consider, just one more time, whether you might want one of Colorado's iconic chainsaw-carved bears from Nature of Things (347 Manitou Ave., natureofthingschainsawart.com).