Ten Reasons to Visit Colorado Springs for the Holidays

Colorado Springs is known to be a tourist hotspot anytime of the year, but here are a few reasons to visit during the holidays:

  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. This year’s parade, “Through the Eyes of a Child,” will kick off the holiday season next Saturday, December 2 at 5:50 pm. Pat Tillman award winner Israel Del Toro will be Grand Marshall.
  2. The Broadmoor Hotel. Carrying on a one-hundred-year tradition, The Broadmoor boasts one of the best-lit scenes of holiday lights. Tonight at 6pm, Santa makes his appearance to “throw the switch” to light up the entire complex with over a million white lights, and then kids can tell Santa what they want for Christmas afterward. Festivities for guests throughout the holiday season include many family-friendly crafts and activities from ornament making, to breakfast with Santa, to hay rides in Cheyenne Canyon.
  3. Outdoor Ice Skating. From November 14 through January 15, enjoy ice skating in Acacia Park for only $10, including skates. Kids get in free with a paid adult, and there is a military discount.
  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 and explore, with lingering snow on the formations and on Pikes Peak in the background. If it’s cold, you can always go to the Visitor’s Center or next door to the Rock Ledge Ranch which has a wonderful “Holiday Evening” scheduled for December 16 from 4-8pm. Food, hot cider, demonstrations, dancers, crafts, music and shopping are a great reason to visit the ranch for this holiday event.
  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; with brilliant orange clouds against a vivid blue sky, Springs residents are gifted with a vivid sunset almost every night of the fall and winter seasons.
  6. Woodland Park and Manitou Springs. Both of these satellite cities offer unique shopping and holiday events throughout the season. Parking in Manitou can be an issue due to ongoing infrastructure improvements, so plan ahead.
  7. Tuba Christmas. Occurring at 4pm before the festival of lights parade, and ongoing throughout the holiday season all over the state, tuba and euphonium players get together to play seasonal classics. Volunteers stroll among the shops, stopping to play and encourage a singalong. If you’re a player, there’s still time to register and get in on rehearsals! More information here.
  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. Tickets can be found here.
  9. The Air Force Academy. Celebrating its 61st 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. Skiing. Season passes to local ski areas are the cheapest way to go, and the drive is not bad to places like Monarch and Copper Mountain. Mild weather makes skiing a great way to burn off those calories from Thanksgiving dinner!