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Often dwarfed by the US Air Force Academy, this private college has been a part of Colorado Springs since 1874. The campus sports a classic college setting, accented by a Rocky Mountains backdrop. Cutler Hall, the school's original building, still stands as the landmark structure of the campus, and Bemis Hall resembles something from the Swiss Alps and will make you wish your school had offered such dorms. The hockey program enjoys a huge local following and ranks as one of the top collegiate teams in the nation.
This three-block historic district of restored brick buildings once served as Colorado's original capitol back in 1861. Today it is both a shopping and dining magnet. Old brick buildings and thick towering trees hem both sides of Colorado Avenue to create a visually appealing throwback feel, without relying upon touristy gimmicks and campy decorations. The district is jammed with 113 shops, galleries and restaurants that all have the refreshing distinction of not being chains. Special events such as Territory Days draw big crowds.
A heavy indicator that this historical center offers an authentic experience can be gauged by the simple fact that it offers sarsaparilla as a beverage. While most such attractions focus on Colorado's "Wild West" days, this center, which is listed on the National Register of Historical Places, underscores the state's homesteading past with renovated buildings, including a Blacksmith shop, and characters in period clothing. Lectures, military re-enactments and a live 1880s baseball game are some of its educational features.
After a day at the The Broadmoor, take a scenic 1.4-mile drive up the narrow mountain road for a self-guided tour of this popular shrine. Built in the 1930s in honor of the American actor, writer and humorist Will Rogers, the shrine is full of historic information and colorful artwork painted on the walls, taking you back in time. Climb several winding flights of stairs to the top floor of the shrine, located at an elevation of 8136 feet, for a breathtaking view of the city and the surrounding mountains. Admission is included with zoo ticket purchase.
Dating back to 1100 CE, these well-preserved Anasazi cliff dwellings are a must visit for anyone interested in history and ancient cultures. The dwellings feature over 40 rooms, including a revered ceremonial kiva. All the tours are self-guided and require some ladder and stair climbing to enter the structures. Two on-site museums, which feature Anasazi artifacts, offer sharp insight on the how, where, when and why of this cliff-dwelling culture. Visit from June to August and witness traditional Indian dancers.
This 1895 castle looks like the work of a restless architect with decision problems. It boasts nine distinct architectural styles, including English Tudor and Byzantine. Built as a home for a wealthy priest, it features 46 rooms, including an eight-sided chapel, and the famed Drawing Room that features a gold ceiling and a massive 200-ton sandstone fireplace. Another remarkable feature is its walls, which are two-feet thick. The Tearoom offers a modest menu. Visit in December and be awed by the outdoor Christmas lights. Guided group tours need to be reserved in advance.