The natural beauty of Colorado Springs is legendary. In fact, the view from the top of nearby Pikes Peak inspired Katharine Lee Bates to compose “America the Beautiful” over 100 years ago. Today, there is more access to the mountains and streams that the area is famous for, yet the “wild west” feel remains intact.
There are nearly 14,000 guest rooms in Colorado Springs. Nineteen area properties have meeting space; 5,000 first-class guest rooms in 17 properties are committable to meetings. The Colorado Springs World Arena offers 21,500 square feet of exhibition space for up to 142 booths and another 22,500 sq. ft. on the main concourse and fixed seating for 8,500.
There are over 300 days of sunshine to be enjoyed in Colorado Springs annually. Visit the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Olympic Complex, Royal Gorge, Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, Seven Falls or Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Golf on one of 21 courses (11 of them public), take a whitewater raft trip down the Arkansas River, explore Cave of the Winds or bike, hike or ride horseback through Garden of the Gods.
The Colorado Springs Airport receives approximately 100 flights per day on nine airlines and has one of the country’s best on-time records. Many hotels provide transportation to and from the airport. Scenic Interstate 25 provides direct north/south access between Denver (to the north) and Pueblo (to the south). Rental cars are available.
The Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau offers many complimentary services to its clients. The Bureau provides brochures, maps, and guides. In addition, it will help coordinate spouse programs and events for special functions, and will gather information for clients and act as a liaison between clients and service companies.
TOURISM INDUSTRY FACTS
Tourism is Colorado Springs' third largest industry, employing over 16,000 people and contributing over $1 billion into our local economy. This is why it is absolutely critical that the tourism industry maintain a high success rate in our community, a positive image locally, regionally and nationally and, most of all, support from the citizens of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region.
Tourism is Colorado’s second largest revenue producing industry and, according to the U.S. Travel Data Center, tourism in Colorado employs more people than any other industry, over 115,000 people.
Tourism provides Colorado with $6.4 billion in gross revenues each year. That means about $410 million in state and local tax that supports our communities.
Tourism supports over 500 restaurants, 150 hotels, 20 museums and hundreds of other recreational facilities, special events and activities in the city of Colorado Springs.
Tourism is the largest economic sector and largest employer worldwide.
Tourism is a $330 billion industry nationally.
Tourism accounts for 13% of consumer spending worldwide. Tourism is the largest expenditure after food.
COLORADO SPRINGS HISTORY
The Pikes Peak region’s first inhabitants were native Ute, Cheyenne, Kiowa and Arapahoe Indians. In the summer, these tribes gathered at their sacred grounds of what we now call the Garden of the Gods Park. In 1870, General William Jackson Palmer, a Civil War General from Pennsylvania, first came to the area. One year later, he founded the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad and the city of Colorado Springs. He laid out plans for the city, its streets and donated land for churches and schools. Palmer envisioned Colorado Springs as a resort destination, which is how Colorado Springs received its first nickname of “Little London.” Palmer’s home at the time was a 67-room castle called Glen Eyrie, which still stands today as a memorial to Palmer’s brilliant vision.
The gold mining rush of the 1890s led to the settlement of Cripple Creek, a mining town just west of Colorado Springs. At the turn of the 19th century, Colorado Springs was the leading mining exchange center of the world and was called “the city of millionaires.” By 1904, Colorado Springs had 35 of the nation’s 100 millionaires from gold mined in Cripple Creek. The sunny conditions and dry, mild climate of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs made this area popular for people suffering from tuberculosis. It was thought that the climate of this region significantly improved the health of TB patients, and thus numerous sanitariums were built during the early 1900s.
Another man of vision living in Colorado Springs during the 1800s was Spencer Penrose, who made his profits in gold and silver. He gave away parcels of land for community use, built the Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain Highways, established the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Will Rogers Shrine and the Broadmoor Hotel. He also set up a foundation for charitable purposes known as the El Pomar Foundation, which still exists and assists the needs of many worthy causes today.
In the 1940s, the Fort Carson Army installation was built, marking the beginning of what is now a strong military presence in this region. Today, Colorado Springs is home to several military installations including Peterson Air Force Base, NORAD (North American Radar and Air Defense), Shriever Air Force Base, the United States Air Force Academy and the US Space Command. The military is the largest employer in Colorado Springs. Tourism is ranked number three.
It seems appropriate that Colorado Springs, which annually draws more than 6 million visitors, was itself founded by a visitor. In 1870, General William Jackson Palmer, on first seeing the region, wrote to his wife: Could one live in constant view of these grand mountains without being elevated by them into a lofty plane of thought and purpose? Almost immediately, Palmer began planning the city of his dreams, one that would become a major resort community. Today, more than 130 years later, people by the millions continue to come from all over the world, drawn by the same beauty that forever changed Palmer.
Average number of visitors per year: 6 million
Major area attractions: More than 50
Area’s number one attraction: Garden of the Gods (1.7 million visitors per yr.)
Average gross revenue of visitor dollars: $1.2 Billion
Tourism-related employment: 16,000
Approximate attendance figures for major local attractions:
Garden of the Gods: 1.7 million
Air Force Academy: 1.4 million
Garden of the Gods Visitor Ctr.: 1 million
Pikes Peak-America's Mountain: 246,363
Royal Gorge Bridge: 329,118
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo: 366,944
Seven Falls: 255,066
Focus on the Family: 237,318
Olympic Training Center: 138,000
ProRodeo Hall of Fame: 50,000
Pioneers Museum: 52,771
COLORADO SPRINGS CONVENTION AND VISITOR BUREAU’S
DIRECT CONTRIBUTION IN 2002: $414,112,802
2004 SPECIAL EVENTS
Annual city celebration featuring food, crafts, gifts, entertainment and more.
June 26: Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb
Now in its 82nd year, this is the second-oldest car race in America (behind Indianapolis 500).
July 21—July 25: Pikes Peak Invitational Soccer Tournament
One of the highest acclaimed sporting tournaments in the nation.
August 11–15: 63rd Annual Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo
Ranked number 16 of all rodeos in North America, with top cowboys and cowgirls in the country.
September 4-6: 28th Annual Colorado Balloon Classic
Oneof the top five balloon festivals in the country offering over a hundred balloons and more.
November 5-7: Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival
A three-day long festival for women, about women, produced and directed by women.
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL
“O beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain. For purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain. America! America! God shed His grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.”
While this anthem is one most Americans know by heart, many may not be familiar with the poem’s author or the inspiration behind these words. The year was 1893 and Katharine Lee Bates, a professor and poet invited to lecture at the summer session at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, agreed to join a wagon expedition to the summit of Pikes Peak. Once at the summit of the mountain, the view she saw left her in complete awe and admiration. With pen in hand, she immediately wrote the poem that was years later set to the music for “America the Beautiful.” For these reasons, Pikes Peak is known today as “America’s Mountain.”
COLORADO SPRINGS IN A NUTSHELL:
Founded in 1871, Colorado Springs, Colorado’s second-largest city, has evolved from a quaint, Victorian spa resort to a sophisticated city, with a charming “small town” ambiance. With over 50 attractions, Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region are the gateway to Southern Colorado’s “Outdoor Adventure Play Land.” Located 80 miles south of Denver’s International Airport and 1 ½ hours east of world-class skiing, Colorado Springs is a vacation mecca, drawing over 6 million visitors annually.
MAIN TOURISM ATTRACTIONS
United States Air Force Academy
Flying W Ranch
Garden of the Gods
Cave of the Winds
Focus on the Family
U.S. Olympic Complex
Pikes Peak Highway
Pikes Peak Cog Railway and Summit House
Old Colorado City
Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
Manitou Cliff Dwellings
ProRodeo Hall of Fame
Royal Gorge Route Railroad
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Manitou Springs Historic District
Cripple Creek/Victor Historic Districts
Pikes Peak International Raceway
Biking (tours, paths, mountain)
Hot Air Ballooning
Gold Mines and Panning
HOW TO GET HERE
Located directly off of Interstate 25, a 1½ hour drive by car from Denver’s International Airport or a 20 minute drive to downtown from the Colorado Springs Airport. Shuttle service and ground transportation available at both airports. The Colorado Springs airport serves 9 airlines with non-stop flights to many major hub cities, with easy connecting flights to destinations all over the world.
At an altitude of 6,053 feet, the climate of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region is warm in the summer and moderate in the spring, fall and winter, with over 300 days of sunshine each year. Classified as an “alpine desert,” the dry, clean air was once a destination to heal tuberculosis patients. Today, visitors enjoy the climate because it allows for year-round outdoor recreation. Summers are dry with temperatures in the 80s to mid 90s, with cool nights in the 60s. Spring and fall temperatures range from the mid 50s to the low 70s and winters here can be white, but normally the snow that does fall melts quickly and reveals a sunny sky again. Winter temperatures range from the low 30s to upper 40s.
ADVERTORIAL COPY OPTIONS
Enjoy a scenic, exciting, affordable Colorado Springs adventure! Call 1-877-PIKESPEAK for a FREE visitor guide.
Take your family on a scenic, exciting, affordable adventure in Colorado Springs, Colorado! Call 1-877-PIKESPEAK for a FREE visitor guide.
Enjoy an unforgettable Colorado Springs family adventure, with breathtaking mountain scenery, exciting attractions, affordable accommodations and more! Call 1-877-PIKESPEAK for a FREE visitor guide.
Enjoy an affordable, unforgettable family adventure in Colorado Springs, Colorado! Enjoy breathtaking mountain scenery, exciting attractions, wonderful accommodations and much more at the foot of Pikes Peak! Call 1-877-PIKESPEAK for a FREE visitor guide, or online at www.coloradosprings-travel.com.
Take an affordable, unforgettable family adventure in Colorado Springs, Colorado! Enjoy breathtaking mountain scenery, exciting attractions, wonderful accommodations thrilling recreational opportunities, dining, shopping, entertainment and more at the foot of Pikes Peak! Call 1-877-PIKESPEAK for a FREE visitor guide, or online at www.coloradosprings-travel.com