48 Hours in Manitou Springs, Colorado

by  Tyra Sutak | Mar 10, 2016

History, adventure, and relaxation collide in the quaint town of Manitou Springs, Colorado. Located just 70 miles south of Denver, it’s the perfect destination to recharge and soak in the comfort of Colorado’s natural beauty. Here’s how to see it in a weekend's time.

Day 1
Start your morning off with a relaxing yoga class ($15 for a drop-in session) at the SunWater Spa. If yoga isn’t your thing, a 60- to 90-minute restorative open air massage from $85 -- complete with stunning views of Pikes Peak and native sage oil -- will definitely relax your body and mind and ease you into vacation mode.

Next, make your way to Manitou Springs Brewing Co. to fuel up for the day’s activities. Located along the small town’s main drag, it offers a selection of house-brewed craft beers, guest taps, and a handful of wine and spirits -- all of which pair nicely with the hearty and tasty dishes that the kitchen serves. Whether you’re craving small bites (from $6) or mains (from $11), the menu is full of comfort dishes -- from burgers and fried pickles to a different homemade macaroni and cheese offering each day.

After lunch, take a ride to the top of Pikes Peak on the historic Pikes Peak Cog Railway ($29-$38). The train is open year-round, but runs on a limited basis in the winter, and seven days a week between mid-March and late October. The ride will take you on a three-hour scenic tour from the depot at the base of the mountain to the very top of Pikes Peak -- the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the North American Rocky Mountains.

If you’re staying at the charming Avenue Hotel Bed and Breakfast -- located a stone’s throw from the restaurants and shops in downtown -- finish your night with a glass of wine on the inn’s wrap-around deck. Originally built in 1886, the Queen Ann-style Victorian inn is a welcoming lodging option in town, with nightly rates from $125.


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Day 2
Start your day with an adventure on foot by taking on the challenging Manitou Springs Incline. Originally built as a track for cable cars traveling up Pikes Peak, the Incline now serves as a destination for outdoor fitness and sightseeing. With the rails removed and the railroad ties remaining, this is a 2,000 vertical-foot climb that spans one mile.

After all that climbing, reward yourself with a filling breakfast at the Good Karma Coffee Lounge & Deli. We like the Karma Bowls ($7-$9), some which are served with eggs and potatoes along with savory toppings like melted cheese, pork green chili, or sausage. There are also bagel sandwiches, omelets, and the huge portion of biscuits and peppered country gravy (from $6).

With a full stomach, venture on a walking tour of Manitou Springs’ eight public mineral springs. Stop by the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce for a map and tasting cups to take on the expedition. Along the way, be sure to explore the town’s vibrant art community, whether it’s in the various art galleries or shops along Manitou Avenue.

Wind down the night at Crystal Park Cantina for some home-style Mexican cooking (think: sweet potato nachos for $10) and one of its 11 margarita offerings ($7-$10).

Finally, have a nightcap wine tasting at D’Vine Wine. Sample three wines for $5 or four wines and a full glass for $10. Look out for Maya, the winery’s adorable dog mascot.

Bonus: Plan your visit around one of the many town-run events, including the 2016 Manitou Springs Colorado Wine Festival on June 4, which features wine tastings from 25 Colorado wineries, food vendors, and live music.


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