Top 10 Free Things to do in Colorado Springs

I always think Colorado Springs is the perfect city to visit. It has a great city-nature balance, making it great for all interests. While this city is fairly affordable compared to other destinations in Colorado, there are still plenty of free things to do in Colorado Springs to make your visit even more budget-friendly.

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We have visited here many, many times and enjoy finding something new each time. And finding free activities in Colorado Springs is even more fun! From popular and beautiful nature locations to fun museums that don’t charge anything, here are the best free things to do in Colorado Springs.

Free things to do in Colorado Springs pinnable image with 4 pictures: stairs climing up a mountain; a unique, tall chapel; tall red rock wall against a gray cloudy sky; a boy climbing up stairs carved into red rock
Garden of the gods is one of the best free things to do in Colorado Springs.  Tall, red rock walls agains a crisp blue sky, dry shrubbery on the ground.

1. Garden of the Gods

1805 N 30th St

Garden of the Gods is a magical place! It seems like it should cost a fortune to visit the incredible formations this park has evolved into, but it doesn’t.

It’s completely free to visit and roam through Garden of the Gods. And, it’s easy to visit with kids thanks to the paved trail through the Central Garden area.

Enjoy formations, watch rock climbers, and make sure to check out the exhibits at the visitor center on your way out.

Tip: Garden of the Gods is a great activity any time of year in Colorado Springs!

👉🏼 Garden of the Gods vs Red Rocks near Denver

Quarry Pass Trail stairs red rock canyon: stairs carved into the mountain

2. Red Rock Canyon Open Space

3550 W High St

If you want great red rock formations with more trail options and less crowds, Red Rock Canyon open space is a great choice. In fact, you’ll even get a glimpse of Garden of the Gods in the distance.

This open space area is free to visit. Just park and get going!

Your dog is welcome and there’s even a special area where your dog can go off-leash for the hike.

Our favorite part was climbing up the stairs built into the rock and finding fun places to explore.

Most trails all interconnect, giving you the choice of distance and terrain. Don’t miss hanging out at the small reservoir.


3. North Cheyenne Cañon

2120 S Cheyenne Canyon Rd

While Red Rock Open Space is just that (very open and a bit bare), North Cheyenne Cañon is covered in trees, making for nice shaded areas in the summer.

For one of the refreshing, free things to do in Colorado Springs, head to north Cheyenne Cañon for a waterfall, rivers, hiking, and great scenery.

Seven Bridges Trail is a great one to walk along a stream and across (you guessed it) seven bridges. This makes for a great countdown when the kids wonder how far you’ve gone.

And don’t miss Helen Hunt Falls, the famous waterfall in the park that’s right off the road (no hiking required).

kids looking over the edge of a sandstone floor into the distance at mountains at Palmer Park, one of the free activities in Colorado Springs

4. Palmer Park

3650 Maizeland Rd

Palmer Park is a great, free area to hike in Colorado Springs. It’s a bit of a surprise as you drive through town and all of a sudden encounter a huge hiking area in the middle of all the residential homes and stores.

But you forget you’re still in town as you begin driving into the park.

Find your perfect trail and spend the day in the trees and and great lookout points.

When you’ve had your fill of hiking, head to the park at the bottom and relax with a picnic.

a few cadets walking around campus on cement plaza, flagpole in the back, cadet chapel and mountains in the back

5. Air Force Academy

Colorado Springs is home to the Air Force Academy. Visitors are welcome to check out the visitor center which displays the cadet life. Watch a movie about the experiencing the academy, find exhibits about day-to-day life for cadets, and check out the cadet chapel exhibit.

You can also typically visit the cadet chapel, but it is currently closed for repairs (2024). The chapel is designed as a tetrahedron (pyramid shape) with 17 spires. It’s the most visited man-made attraction in Colorado.

Also at academy are the US Air Force Academy Stairs, aka, a miniature version of the famous Incline. Have your ID ready and bring some water, then enjoy less than .15 miles going up the stairs as many times as you’d like.

6. Local Historic Districts

If you are looking for great, free activities in Colorado Springs, then head to one of the neighboring historic districts.

Manitou Springs- Just a short drive away is Manitou Springs. This is a small, but fun town filled with activities. For something free to do, take a little tour of the actual springs of Manitou Springs.

There are 8 mineral springs around town and you can take a self-guided walking tour to sample them all! Make sure to stop by the Manitou Springs Visitor Center for a map and sampling cup.

Walk through Manitou Springs to appreciate this historic district, filled with architecture that runs from Victorian to modern styles.

Old Colorado City- Along highway 24 sits Old Colorado City, a charming area to take you back in time. Stop by the History Center (free) for photos and exhibits or set up a walking tour of this historic area.

Incline stairs in colorado things to do in Colorado Springs

7. Manitou Incline- for challenging free things to do in Colorado Springs

The Manitou Incline is a bucket list item for many. If you are visiting Colorado for the first time, make sure you are well acclimated before attempting this.

The Incline is basically one giant staircase on the eastern flank of Pikes Peak. In under a mile you’ll ascend 2,000 feet, making this a quick elevation gain.

The stairs are made of old railroad ties and aren’t always very even. It takes patience, perseverance, and motivation to make it up this mountain. But when you do, it’s quite rewarding.

Make sure to make your free reservation before your climb.

color streaked white rock formations

8. Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Spending a morning at the Paint Mines is quite a treat and definitely one of the top free activities in Colorado Springs.

You’ll have to make a short drive over to Calhan to access the mines, but it’s totally worth it.

The Paint Mines were once just land covered in soil. That was 10 million years ago until the white sandstones and granite started covering the area. Over time, wind and water have shaped the mines into what they are today.

Oxidized iron compounds provides the colorful streaks you see throughout the park.

This place is pretty unique and worth the drive over, especially for being free!

9. Museums

Colorado Springs is crawling with museums. While many of them have a small fee to enter, there are a few that are totally free to visit.

Peterson Air and Space Museum- This museum is located at 150 Ent Ave at the Peterson Space Base. It’s full of military and space vehicles and kids young and old will love walking through the air park.

It’s free to visit, but as it is on a base, you’ll need to reserve your time and get clearance at least 3 days ahead of time.

Penrose Heritage Museum- Many of the popular attractions people enjoy in Colorado Springs are a product of Spencer and Julie Penrose’s support. Among a long list of their supported projects include the Pike’s Peak Highway and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

You can visit and get a glimpse into their history and story at the Penrose Heritage Museum with a free visit (10 Lake Circle) . Check out carriages, race cars, and other pieces of the couple’s past.

Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum- Visit this unique museum at 19 N Tejon St. The RMMM offers antique motorcycles from the early 1900’s on display. You can see plenty of motorcycles, including a Harley from 1956 that only ever had one owner and is still in incredible shape.

dry grass with pine trees on sides, toddler in red dress in distance with a playground beyond her

10. Public Parks

Colorado Springs is home to over 9,000 acres of parks and open spaces. If you’re looking for free things to do in Colorado Springs, you have a great amount of options just in the park system.

Here are a few of the more fun parks (that are more traditional “parks”):

Bear Creek- Bear Creek Regional Park is one of the larger parks in the area. At 545 acres, there are plenty of fun options like walking the trails, hanging out at the creek, playing basketball or volleyball, or just enjoying the playground area. There’s even a dog park so you can bring your furry friend.

Fox Run Regional Park– Fox Run is a fun park on the northern end of Colorado Springs. It has a great amount space to run around for a pick up game, a play ground, trails through the trees, and even some great ponds to walk around. Make sure to watch for the large, bright fish swimming below!

Cottonwood Creek- Cottonwood Creek is another great park area in northern Colorado Springs. Enjoy a disc golf area, roller hockey rink, baseball field, and even a trail that follows Cottonwood Creek.

Where to Stay in Colorado Springs

For a great, central location at a low/mid-level price, stay at the Hyatt Downtown. For a less hotel-feel and more of a resort feel that still doesn’t break the bank, check out the Cheyenne Mountain Resort.

Best Free Things to do in Colorado Springs

If you are looking to leave your money at home, then enjoy this list of free things to do in Colorado Springs. Whether you are looking for an outing to a museum you haven’t seen before, a fun trip to test mineral springs, or just a day in the park, you can stay busy without opening your wallet.

These free activities in Colorado Springs are great for families or anyone looking for a fun time without having to spend anything!

Free things to do in Colorado Springs pinnable image with 4 pictures: stairs climing up a mountain; a unique, tall chapel; tall red rock wall against a gray cloudy sky; a boy climbing up stairs carved into red rock

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