Begin your day in Castle Rock, a short 30 minute drive north of Colorado Springs. Take exit 184 to the Outlets
of Castle Rock. The outlets are open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (800-245-8351). Return to Colorado Springs and take exit 149 at Woodmen Road and go east to the second stop light, turn right into the Current Catalog Store, 1025 E. Woodmen Road. This outlet offers cards, gift wraps, stationery, kid's activity products, cookbooks, crafts, and many other gift items which are featured in their popular mail-order catalogs. Current's cards and gift items have been designed and manufactured in Colorado Springs since 1950. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m., Sundays (719-531-2555). While in the shopping mood, you may want to go to Chapel Hills Mall at Briargate & Academy Blvd. or travel to the eastern part of Colorado Springs to The Citadel Mall.
Travel west towards the mountains on Hwy 24 to 21st Street where Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs' oldest historic district is located. Take a right at 21st Street and then a left onto West Colorado Avenue. Turn right onto Colbrunn Court then right onto Pikes Peak Avenue and another right onto 24th Street, park on the east side of Bancroft Park. Enjoy lunch on own at Meadow Muffins, 2432 W. Colorado Avenue, (719-633-0583 for group coupons). Visit the numerous art galleries such as Michael Garman Gallery featuring Magic Town and figure sculptures, located at 2418 W. Colorado Avenue (719-471-9391) and Simpich Character Dolls at 2413 W. Colorado Avenue (719-636-3272) featuring original figure designs handmade in Colorado since 1952. Choose from a variety of collectible elves, angels, story book classics, and Christmas and Santa figures. You might take a guided tour of the workshop, hours are Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy the holiday decorations and festive lights while strolling along the streets of this historic area designated in 1861 as the first Capitol of the Colorado Territory. Allow 2 hours for lunch and shopping in Old Colorado City.
Next, travel west on Hwy 24 to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. Open seven days a week, weather permitting, these ancient Anasazi ruins overlook the historic town of Manitou Springs and offer many opportunities to experience Native American culture. Entry during the holidays is complimentary if shopping for gifts. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in November and December (800-354-9971 for summer hours and group rates).
The next stop should be the Garden of the Gods Trading Post located at 324 Beckers Lane in Manitou Springs on the west side of Garden of the Gods Park near Balanced Rock. The Trading Post is Colorado's oldest and largest gift shop and southwestern art gallery. Motor coach tours are welcome (800-874-4515 for lunch rates). Travel into the heart of Manitou Springs to enjoy more shopping at the unique art galleries, boutiques, and novelty shops that this historical town has to offer.
The Garden of the Gods Visitor Center, located on the east side of Garden of the Gods Park at 1805 N. 31st Street, is the next stop. Find out "how those red rocks got there" from the dynamic, 12-minute, multimedia presentation. There is a nominal charge for this presentation. Enjoy educational exhibits, dining and refreshments, and two gift shops. Motor coaches are welcome and there is ample parking. Each bus is greeted by a staff member who will explain what the center has to offer. Someone from the center will also clean the windshield of the bus and gather up any trash there may be to discard. After leaving the center, take a drive through the park itself. Summer hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and winter hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (719-634-6666 for group rates).
At the end of the day, enjoy a chuckwagon supper and western show, featuring the Flying W Wranglers, at the famous Flying W Ranch. Arrive early and tour the old western village before dinner and show. The ranch is located just north of the Garden of the Gods off of 30th Street at 3330 Chuckwagon Road. Open throughout the year except January and February. (800-232-3599 for hours and group rates).