As a Colorado native, I've always been fond of the summer months. From the Rocky Mountains to the plains out east, there is more to do than you can imagine. The smell of the lilacs in late spring let you know that the warmer days are ahead. Its a place where nature lovers will thrive and have endless options.
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Where to stay In Colorado
Garden of the Gods Resort and Club
Complete with ample wellness offerings, this mountain escape in Colorado Springs is the ideal home base from which to explore the surrounding natural playground.
A vibrant and community-driven boutique hotel in Colorado Springs, where adventure-seeking travelers come together to connect, explore and create meaningful experiences in a lively and welcoming atmosphere.
The Ramble Hotel
A chic boutique stay in Denver's RiNo neighborhood with a theatre, Pan-Latin restaurant and lively bar.
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Things to do In Colorado
Natural Waterslides in Rye, CO: Imagine foraging for wild blueberries while hiking along the river and ending at a waterfall. Then getting to slide down the waterfall! It sounds dangerous, but it felt completely safe and is the most fun with a group of friends. Don't forget to pack your trash and keep it as nature intended.
Bishop Castle: I grew up going here, and every time I've been, it changes. The man behind the giant castle has an inspiring story. There is even a fire-breathing dragon, but enter at your own risk. While there are no caution signs, some of the skywalks leave you dangling above the castle. If you have acrophobia, it's best to stay on the lower levels.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space: Everyone has heard of Garden of the Gods (which is still a must-see,) but if you want to feel like a local, head to Red Rock Canyon for a bike ride or hike. Section 16 is a challenging trail there, but the views are peaceful and breathtaking.
The Incline: No trip to Colorado could be complete without an extreme outdoor workout. One mile long and with a 2,000 ft elevation gain, your heart will be pumping by the time you're done. There's a halfway bailout, which, if you made it there, you still deserve a pat on your back. Pro tip: You need reservations to hike the trail. Take it slow and steady, pack lots of water, wear good hiking shoes and it's best to go earlier in the day before the afternoon storms come in.
Manitou Penny Arcades: Manitou is a sight to be seen on its own. Hippie vibes around every corner, rock shops, local artisans and quirky restaurants. But what lies at the heart of the town are the Penny Arcades. While most games now cost a quarter or more, $10 can get you a few games of skee-ball, air hockey, pinball and my personal favorite: the horse races. But there are still some original games dating back to the 1900's that take pennies and dimes.
Paint Mines Interpretive Park: Four miles of trails through colorful clays that were collected by the American Indians to make paint. There is evidence of human life as far back as 9,000 years ago here. Note that pets are not allowed in the park, so keep your fur babies at home.
Daniels Gate Park: A buffalo sanctuary in the middle of the city. You can park and hike through, or just take a slow drive as you keep heading to Denver. It's free, and sometimes it's hard to spot them, but if they are close to the fence, it's awesome to be so close to such a large animal.
Urban Putt: Start the day with the most unique game of mini-golf at Urban Putt. Try to get a hole in one at Red Rocks Amphitheater to get a real treat!
Rockies Game: Head to a Rockies game and enjoy the baseball atmosphere.
Meow Wolf: Top your fun day with a visit to Meow Wolf. Let your inner child out. You can touch, crawl, poke and open mysterious doors to see a whole new realm. Google before you go "how to play" if you want to spend a full day in there trying to solve the mystery.
Places to eat & drink In Colorado
Colorado Springs vicinity
Adams Mountain Cafe: Locally sourced, healthy options. Great for all meals of the day.
Poor Richards: Best house salad that is MASSIVE! Ask how to get to the back patio for a quaint experience. Head on over to their bookstore and gift shop that has been around since 1977.
Burrowing Owl: All vegan bar with 100% organic food. They don't use fryers, only air fryers. So even though it's bar food, you're not leaving feeling weighed down. I recommend the Sasquatchos with a side of ranch.
Stelina Pizza Cafe: Adorable little old market that's gone from a neighborhood grocery store to an Italian pizza parlor over the years. The pasta is handmade and everything is made from scratch. The vegan options are unique and full of flavor!
Ephemera: This place is a splurge, but you won't be disappointed. The menu rotates and I've never had a bad meal here. If there aren't a ton of vegan options listed, they are more than happy to create something for you. Try their 7-course dinners or order à la carte (can be done with a wine pairing.)
Watercourse: The OG of vegan food. No trip is complete to Denver without a stop at Watercourse. The buffalo cauliflower is a must!
City o city: The cool place to be. More vegan options than you can imagine. Take a non-veg there and don't tell them about the food. They won't be able to tell a difference. Make sure to save room for Make Believe Bakery's desserts. You can order them from Watercourse or COC as their storefront is being built out currently. But when it opens back up, you better bring your stretchy pants.
Barcelona Wine Bar: Tapas in the heart of the RINO district in Denver. It's packed and lively all the time. But the best part of tapas is that you can sample and try so many different items.
Stowaway Kitchen: I'm not a breakfast person, but this place makes me want to get up and go! It's not a traditional menu for breakfast, and that's what I love about it! Try something out of the norm here and check out their tea menu! Only open Thursday to Mondays.
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Awilda Rivera's guide 3-Day Itinerary for Exploring Colorado in September.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Colorado.