It's not easy being a stranger in a strange land. So we've set down a few chestnuts that those passing through might be able to put to good use. There are far more quirks to C-Springs than listed here, though, so let us know what we missed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colorado Springs Marijuana
• You're seeing green crosses everywhere because this is the land of medical marijuana, but don't go running inside with your lighter lit just yet. You've got to be a red-card-carrying patient, listed on the state's registry, to buy from an MMJ center. Yes, Colorado voters legalized recreational marijuana last November, but as of press time the stateLegislature was working out the details. Expect some movement late in 2013.
• Though things used to be weirder, there's still at least one noteworthy idiosyncrasy to Colorado's alcohol system: All the brews you see in grocery stores and gas stations are low-alcohol, 3.2-percent beer. If you want to get a taste of our famous microbreweries — or you just want something with more kick to it than milk — you'll need to hit the liquor store. (Hey, at least now they're open on Sundays.)
• The riotous among us start being sent home around the city's 2 a.m. closing time. Some late-night restaurants and establishments of a more prurient nature might take you in, but as far as the bar's concerned, it's as the song says: "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here."
• There are roughly 2,400 metered-parking spaces in Colorado Springs, the majority being downtown. A locally reviled evil, the meters are active Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will cost you 75 cents per hour except in the downtown core, where it's a dollar. If you're not the loose-change type, snag a prepaid Easy Park card at any of the city's three parking garages or online at springsgov.com.
• Though the Mile High City gets all the glory, Colorado Springs is actually some 750 feet higher in elevation than Denver. With those 6,035 feet in mind, the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau says newcomers should limit their alcohol intake; drink lots of that Rocky Mountain water; and avoid strenuous exercise the first day.
• Technically, there is public transportation in Colorado Springs. However, our system's pretty abysmal compared to any place doing it for real. So while it's possible to take a bus most places for $1.75 — on some routes, even after dark! — look closely at maps and schedules (at springsgov.com) before you board.