5 Things You Must Do in Colorado Springs, Colorado

My husband and I recently spent 5 days in beautiful Colorado visiting my best friend, her family and several other close friends. Colorado is one of my favorite states to visit because I feel most at home among the majestic Rocky Mountains. If you're planning a short trip to Colorado and will be in the Colorado Springs area, here are five things you must do:

1. Hike the Manitou Incline:  The Manitou Incline is the hardest mile you'll travel in your life, especially if you're from the East Coast. The trail is one mile long with 2,000 feet of elevation gain via a trail of wooden stairs into the sky. I've completed this hike twice (in 2015 and 2017) and both times it was super tough, but the views along the way are well worth it. Plus, the Barr Trail back down provides additional views and is not as challenging.

2. Ride the Cog Railway to Pikes Peak: Normally, I would advocate for summitting the famous Colorado 14'er, Pikes Peak. However, unless you have a full day or a few days to hike the 13 miles to the summit, or you're not in any shape to summit a giant mountain, I would suggest shelling out the $40 to take the Cog Railway to the top of Pikes Peak. The views are breathtaking and you don't have to test your physical limits. Tips: Ask to sit on the side with three seats - the employees will tell you there is not a better side but unfortunately, they are liars. Also, take a jacket and a hat because it gets pretty darn cold at the top of Pikes Peak.

3. Hike Garden of the Gods: If hiking The Incline and summiting a 14-er aren't your things, then you should at least take a stroll through Garden of the Gods. The red rocks are beautiful, the trails are well-marked and well-kept and the "hiking" is not strenuous at all.

4. Order "The Sloppy Pig" from Front Range Barbeque: Besides hiking and being super outdoorsy, what else is there to do in or around Colorado Springs? Eat, of course! If you are a meat eater (or better - a meat lover), do yourself a favor and go order "The Sloppy Pig" from Front Range Barbeque. This sandwich - which my husband smartly ordered - was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives and is one of the best BBQ/meat sandwiches we have ever tasted in our lives. If "The Sloppy Pig" is a little too meaty for your tastes, the pulled pork sandwiches are also really great.

5. Visit a Local Coffee Shop: We went to a new coffee shop every day for breakfast in Colorado Springs and none of them disappointed us. Since we have a serious lack of good coffee (sorry Starbucks) in Northern Virginia, we loved experiencing the plethora of local coffee shop options. Two of our favorites were Peak Place and Kawa Coffee.

We had a great time in Colorado Springs and the people were SUPER nice. This is certainly not a list of all of the things Colorado Springs has to offer (e.g. we skipped the Olympic training facility), but these were five of the things we enjoyed most about visiting the city.

Have you been to Colorado Springs and have additional activities to add? Comment below!

Here are some photos from our trip (Row 1: Garden of the Gods, Row 2: Cog Railway, Row 3: The Incline):