Spring. It's a time of awakening and anticipation for the excitement of Summer and the activities that abound for everyone. There are so many, in fact, that it can be hard to decide what to do. For every decision to participate in one activity, there is a dozen more to miss out on. The beautiful thing is next year you can choose all new festivities!
Need help deciding what to do? Here are my suggestions for summer activities, by category, for those living in or visiting the Colorado Springs area.
Note: Each bold header is a clickable link.
BEER, WINE, AND FOOD
By far, the most popular events are the beer and wine festivals. If where the golden and purple hues of fermented drinks flow freely are more your style, then you'll want to get all these events on your calendar. Of course, where's there are drinks...there's fabulous food!
Rocky Mountain Food Tours (Now through June): Every weekend through June, participate in the taste and tour of five eateries in Downtown Colorado Springs or Manitou. Get to know your locally owned and operated restauranteurs! A great value at $55 per person with the option to add a wine pairing for an additional $15 each.
Fiddles, Vittles, and Vino (Rock Ledge Ranch. July 30, 2017): A full evening of music and local food on the stunning grounds of Rock Ledge Ranch, next to Garden of the Gods.
Vino and Notes (Woodland Park. August 5, 2017): Wine and Jazz Festival that benefits Habitat for Humanity of Teller County. Only a 20-30 minute drive from I-25, the small community of Woodland Park hosts this yearly festival, and this year can be enjoyed at the newly renovated Memorial Park.
Springs Beer Festival (America The Beautiful Park, Aug. 5, 2017): Colorado has the largest number of microbreweries per capita of any state in the nation. Colorado Springs sure lives up to that title, and this is the day to sample 55 of the best craft beers in the area. Get your tickets early!
Bines & Brew Hopfest (Monument. September). Your favorite Pikes Peak regional breweries. Cost: $30 per person.
Harvest Fest at The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey (Cañon City. September): Every Fall I make sure I have this festival on my to-do list. Lounge in the cozy grounds of the winery situated a stone's throw from the beautiful Benedictine Monastery and Abbey. Relish the aroma of fresh roasted chile's, taste multiple delicacies from the vendors, but most of all, pack your favorite lounge chair and soak in the tunes of live music while swirling luscious wines in your commemorative wine glass.
Whether you're pitching a tent, riding down the rapids, casting a lure, or climbing the tallest peak, there is something for everyone to do. Here are a few suggestions for enjoying the Great Outdoors.
PEAK BY BIKE: Anyone can drive a car up to the top of the mountain and back down. But why not experience the thrill of flying down the famous Pikes Peak Highway on a bike? Dress warm because it's down-right freezing when you start your journey, but oh-so-worth the exhilaration of the views. Luckily, it's not too hard to do as they drive you to the top and coach you down the mountain. Waiting at the end of the ride is a yummy lunch creekside at Colorado Wines.
Cost: $125 per person
STARLIGHT SPECTACULAR (Colorado Springs, June 17, 2017): Better than ComicCon. This year, dress up as your favorite superhero, hop on your bike and have a blast riding through Garden of the Gods and all over the city by lights and under the stars! Prizes, games, and entertainment! Most ages and abilities welcome. Register here.
HOT AIR BALLOONS RIDES, GUFFEY: As you drive over the Continental Divide at Wilkerson Pass, a vast valley opens up before you, along with splendid views of the Sangria de Cristos and Collegiate Peaks. On most summer mornings you also have the privilege of seeing a Hot Air Balloon or two floating through the valley. Even better, climb into that basket and soak in the view from high above!
PADDLEFEST (South Main, Buena Vista. May 2017): Have you heard of river surfing? I hadn't either until I took a trip to South Main in Buena Vista. There you'll find a River Park where you can river surf. Paddlefest offers events for all ages and skill levels to try out the growing water sports of the Rocky Mountains. Try SUP Yoga, river kayaking, rodeo kayaking, paddleboarding and more.
KAYAKING ON THE PEAK AND RAMPART RESERVOIR: Our family loves that Pikes Peak is such a short drive from the city. We pack our kayaks, head up the mountain and enjoy a couple hours on the Catamount Lakes. Perfect for beginners or those wanting to take it easy. Don't mind a little wind and want more space to kayak? Drive another 20 minutes or so west to Rampart Reservoir. Camping is available as well.
MT. PRINCETON HOT SPRINGS SLIDE AND POOL: In the winter months, soaking in the hot springs pools and naturally hot water of the creek is delightful. But in the summer, Mt. Princeton opens up their mountain-side slides and pool. The view is unbelievable, and the kids love the 400 ft. slide and lazy river!
MUSIC TO YOUR EARS
This is my favorite category. You know it's summer when you can hear the live music playing almost everywhere you go. Pack a picnic basket, grab a bottle of wine and some chairs, blankets and search for your favorite outdoor concerts.
MEADOWGRASS MUSIC FEST (Black Forest, Memorial Weekend): Camping, live music, loads of activities for kids. Sounds perfect!
JAZZ IN THE GARDEN (Downtown Colorado Springs, Friday nights): A Colorado Springs tradition. Fridays nights are best at the historic St. Episcopal Church in downtown Colorado Springs. Incredible talent!
BLUEGRASS ON THE ARKANSAS (Salida. May 27 & 28, 2017): Bluegrass, food, drink. I'm so there!
WOODLAND PARK MUSIC SERIES: Just off Highway 24 is a large concert pavilion for the city's summer music series. Situated between the beautiful library and the Ute Pass Cultural Center. Cozy up with your partner on the grass while listening to quality talent with a sensational backdrop of Pikes Peak.
SYMPHONY ABOVE THE CLOUDS (Woodland Park, JULY 5): A long-standing tradition in Woodland Park takes place every July 5th. The Colorado Springs Philharmonic travels up Ute Pass, along with soldiers of Ft. Carson with cannons in tow, to dazzle the ears of residents in Teller County. Together they provide one fantastic evening of live music, ending with a synchronized version of the 1812 Overture, Fireworks, and cannons. A spectacular night of Patriotism.
HISTORICAL/HERITAGE EVENTS AND LOCATIONS
TERRITORY DAYS (Memorial Weekend, Old Colorado City): THE classic festival of the year. Over 20% of the city's population packs themselves along Colorado Ave. for three fun days of celebrating our pioneer past. Turkey legs, funnel cakes, gunfight shows, and loads of vendors. Don't miss out on the best festival of the year!
WESTERN STREET BREAKFAST (Tejon St., downtown Colorado Springs. June 21): A Colorado Springs tradition. Flapjacks, Range Riders, Native American dancers, live music, Flying W Wranglers, and loads of fun!
SUMMER RODEO SERIES (Norris-Penrose Stadium. June 21 - Aug. 9): There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the rodeo this summer, including the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo.
(NEW!!) GEOCACHING JOURNEY-High Tech Treasure Hunt (All over Colorado): Forget Pokemon GO...all the technology-loving folks will soak up this new kind of adventure! Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunt that utilizes the GPS functions on your smartphone. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. The treasure hunt takes you on a vast journey of the mountains! Sign up here then visit the link above for specific details for the Buena Vista hunt.
TRI-LAKES 4TH OF JULY (Downtown Monument): This year make a plan to capture and take in the festivities in Monument. The have a fabulous parade that attracts folks from all over - so make sure to arrive early!
COWBOY BREAKFAST BUFFET (The Pantry, Green Mountain Falls. May - September): Pulling up to this little diner in Green Mountain Falls, you would never know that tucked behind the ivy-covered fence is a darling backyard oasis. A small creek runs through a beautiful garden protected by large trees. Every Saturday and Sunday from May through December, enjoy an all-you-can-eat cowboy breakfast with live music. It's a favorite for our family!
SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK (Rock Ledge Ranch, July 19 - Aug. 19, 2017): Enjoy a modern twist to popular Shakespeare plays among the stunning views of Rock Ledge Ranch. Presented by Theatreworks of UCCS. This season they are performing Much Ado About Nothing.
PUEBLO MESA DRIVE-IN: (April - September)While the comforts of the amazing new recliners at Tinseltown is hard to pass up, there's also nothing like enjoying a double feature under the stars from the back of your pickup or car. A fun place to go for a memorable summer evening. A great selection of movies as well!
I sincerely wish I could go on and on regarding every adventure there is to have. The hiking trails, camping grounds, ATV trails, more festivals, museums, and our amazing Farmer's Markets and Art Festivals! Hopefully, this gets you started with ideas of how to make the most of your Colorado Summer!