There is no shortage of things to do in Manitou Springs, the area is in a constant state of activity. This makes choosing our favorite local businesses really difficult, there are so many potential choices. At the end of the day, we boiled it down to our favorite five. Here we go:
Outside – Barr Trail is the trail that leads to the top of Pikes Peak. The trail is a little over 12 miles and access is free but you may have to pay for parking. The trail is 7,800 ft. of elevation gain and 14,115 ft. at the summit. Located close to the heart of Manitou Springs, you take Ruxton Ave. to the parking area at the trailhead.
Barr Camp is a popular place to stop and many choose to camp here for the night before ascending to the summit of Pikes Peak. Barr Camp is 6.5 miles from the trailhead and provides picnic tables, clean restrooms, and indoor seating for hikers.
You can bring your dog to Barr trail just make sure you keep them on a leash and make sure you bring plenty of food and water, as there are not many water resources along the trail.
If you plan on hiking to the top of Pikes Peak, plan on 6 to 10 hours depending on your pace. The trail is well marked and well-traveled but make sure you dress appropriately for the weather and bring food and water.
Eat – Adam’s Mountain Cafe has been a Manitou Springs destination since 1985. While this restaurant serves mostly vegetarian dishes their menu does accommodate a wide range of dietary choices. Either way, the food is delicious and the setting is very comfortable.
The staff is very friendly and well versed in vegetarian and vegan diets and are trained to assist guests in navigating the menu. Adam’s also has a great dessert menu which changes weekly. There are a few favorite desserts they always have on hand like flourless chocolate cake, vegan cake, and sticky toffee pudding.
Adam’s also has a full bar, wine list, and a great selection of beers. If you are looking for a great meal in a laid back setting, you will love Adam’s Mountain Cafe.
Pets – RedDog Coffee and Cafe as the name suggests is a Dog-friendly cafe and coffee place. This is a really popular place to grab a coffee and a bite to eat before heading up to Pikes Peak or Barr Trail. The cafe is located in the heart of Manitou Springs so it’s a great place to hang out and watch all of the action. The environment is very friendly and laid back as well.
The menu offers something for everyone featuring a nice selection of burritos, sandwiches, wraps and quesadillas, as well as a children’s menu. Of course, they have a wide range of coffee drinks as well as a variety of cocktails, sodas.
Finally, the RedDog offers some delicious baked goods like muffins, cupcakes, brownies, and of course treats for your dog as well. So, if you’re looking to fuel up before taking on Pikes Peak, this is a great place to stop.
Drinks – Like their website claims “Lulu’s Downstairs is a warm and inviting cocktail bar and vegan kitchen specializing in poor man’s pizzas with a separate music venue for concerts and performances. Lulu’s is a 100% vegan bar and restaurant”. The decor is original, very 70s, very wild. The cocktail list is creative and the beer list is over the top. If you can’t find a beer you like here, you don’t like beer.
The building used to be a part of the Castaways Hotel, a favorite destination for Manitou Springs tourists. There is a small concert venue in the basement that has been resurrected and now features local bands and comedians.
Lulu’s is a lot of fun and something completely different, so if you’re up for some funky fun, Lulu’s is your place.
Family – The Penny Arcade in Manitou Springs is a must-see and fun for the entire family. This place has been here for decades and has over 400 games dating back to the 1930s and many of the games cost the same price they did back then.
This penny arcade consists of several older rooms, each offering different games grouped by era. The most impressive room is the horse racing room, a huge game where 12 horses are poised at the starting line. Horses are moved by rolling a ball into different colored holes which translate into different values. The first horse to be propelled across the finish line is the winner. Yes the game is fun to play, but it’s almost more fun to watch.
There are even rides for the kids, this place has a little something for everyone. Even if you are not into games this place is worth checking out simply based on nostalgia and sensory overload.
Manitou Springs is clearly popular with tourists, and many locals avoid the city for this reason but that is a mistake. Manitou Springs is a great place for locals who know where to go.