Ten Reasons to Visit Colorado Springs in the Winter

Most people know about how entertaining Colorado Springs can be during the summer months, but here are ten reasons to visit Colorado Springs in the winter.

  1. The Festival of Lights parade. The parade features local high school and college marching bands as well as non-profit and civic organizations, all decked out in lights, since the parade starts at 6pm. This year’s parade was marshaled by Retired Navy Lt. Jim Downing, who at age 101 is Pearl Harbor’s oldest survivor.
  2. The Broadmoor Hotel. Carrying on an almost hundred-year tradition, The Broadmoor boasts one of the best-lit scenes of holiday lights. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Santa makes his appearance to “throw the switch” to light up the entire complex with over a million white lights. Holiday festivities for guests include many family-friendly crafts and activities from ornament-making, to breakfast with Santa, to hay rides in Cheyenne Canyon.
  3. With free parking, outdoor ice skating in Acacia Park, and lots of quirky shops, you can get all your holiday shopping done in one place. Don’t forget to stop at the King’s Chef Diner for some of the best green chili and French fries around (but bring cash—they don’t take credit cards, although they do have an ATM).
  4. Garden of the Gods. With weather in the winter staying mostly dry and in the mid 50s, “America’s Number One Park” is a great place to hike or photograph, with lingering snow on the formations and Pikes Peak in the background. And if it’s cold, you can always go to the Visitor’s Center or next door to the Rock Ledge Ranch.
  5. Pikes Peak. Some of the best pictures of the Peak are taken in the wintertime. Bright white snow contrasts with the dark green of the pines, and with brilliant orange clouds against a vivid blue sky, sunrises and sunsets are amazing at this time of the year.
  6. Woodland Park and Manitou Springs. Both these satellite cities offer unique shopping and holiday events throughout the season. Flood mitigation continues to improve Ute Pass, so there is no reason to avoid travel in these areas.
  7. Tuba Christmas. Occurring just before the festival of lights parade, and ongoing throughout the holiday season, tuba and euphonium players get together to play seasonal classics. Volunteers stroll among the shops of downtown, stopping to play and encourage a singalong. You’ve never experienced bass like this!
  8. The Nutcracker at the Pikes Peak Center. An event every child should experience, The Nutcracker has brought joy to thousands since its premiere on December 18, 1892. Nothing inspires the holiday spirit like Tchaikovsky, and the Colorado Springs Philharmonic does it with style.
  9. The Air Force Academy. Celebrating its sixtieth year, the AFA is a great place to visit in the wintertime. Tourist count is low, so visits and tours are easier to book. Plus, end-of-season tickets to Falcon Football games are cheap and still available.
  10. Colorado Springs is within an hour to two-hour drive to many local ski areas like Monarch, Copper Mountain, and Breckenridge. Season passes are the cheapest way to go, and lodging offsite is recommended. With an early snow in October creating a substantial base in most areas, the mild weather makes skiing a great way to burn off those calories from Thanksgiving dinner.