Downtown Colorado Springs Wrap-up Round-up

We love living in Chicago now. We appreciate all the things that big cities have to offer, including the progressive attitudes of the citizens and the people in charge. But Colorado Springs has its charms, and it was really hard to leave. The downtown area is very pretty with lots of trees and flowers (when the city can find it in the budget to water them) and beautiful historic homes and buildings (for now anyway). There are lots of little shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars, a couple of cute parks, a public library, some art galleries, and two museums. It’s flat so it’s easy to walk or bike around, and the views of the mountains are stunning.  Here are some of the things we loved about living in downtown Colorado Springs (along with some of our gripes, as usual).

You can walk or bike all over the place. It's flat and the drivers are cautious.

You can walk or bike all over the place. It's flat and the drivers are usually pretty cautious.

Smiley's was just a couple blocks from our house, and we went there many weekends for breakfast.

Smiley's was just a couple blocks from our house, and we went there many weekends for breakfast. Click this pic for their website.

Homespun handwritten menu at Smiley's

Homespun handwritten menu at Smiley's

Breakfast at Smiley's is delicious!

Breakfast at Smiley's is delicious! Probably the best bacon in the COS.

Tejon St. Music has been around a long time. Great place for all your guitar needs. Click this pic for their website.

Tejon Street Music has been around a long time. Great place for all your guitar needs. Click this pic for their website.

Pretty residential street in downtown Colorado Springs

Pretty residential street in downtown Colorado Springs

Our old apartment downtown. It's since been sold and the new owners "remodeled" it, basically ruining all its old history. Still, it's got pretty neighbors.

Our old apartment downtown. It's since been sold and the new owners "remodeled" it, basically ruining all its old history. Still, it's got pretty neighbors.

Lunch on the patio at Poor Richards. Best pizza in town! Click this pic for their website.

Lunch on the patio at Poor Richard's. Best pizza in town! Click this pic for their website.

Cocktails and coffee at Poor Richards.

Cocktails and coffee at Poor Richard's.

Paris Crepe- one of our all-time faves. Click this pic for their website.

Paris Crepe -- one of our all-time faves. Click this pic for their website.

The best crepes are at Paris Crepe. Don't they look delish?

The best crepes are at Paris Crepe. Don't they look delish?

Paris Crepe is across the street from Acacia Park and it's nice to spend a summer evening eating crepes on their sidewalk cafe.

Paris Crepe is across the street from Acacia Park and it's nice to spend a summer evening eating crepes on their sidewalk cafe.

The weather is gorgeous and the views are stunning from downtown.

The weather is gorgeous and the views are stunning from downtown.

In the summer there are free concerts in Acacia Park on Saturday evenings.

In the summer there are free concerts in Acacia Park on Saturday evenings.

There's also a farmers market there on Mondays.

There's also a farmers market there on Mondays.

Acacia Park and Monument Valley Park are fun places to sit and have a picnic.

Acacia Park and Monument Valley Park are relaxing places to sit and have a picnic.

You can walk everywhere downtown.

You can walk everywhere downtown.

 

Terra Verde and Sparrowhawk Cookware are little locally owned shops with neat items for sale. Click this pic for Terra Verde's website.

Terra Verde and Sparrowhawk Cookware are great locally owned shops with neat items for sale. Click this pic for Terra Verde's website.

The Rodeo Days parade takes place every July down Tejon St. There's also  St. Patrick's Day parade, and a Christmas parade.

The Rodeo Days parade takes place every July down Tejon St. There's also St. Patrick's Day parade, and a Christmas parade.

Tony's Bar. The bar we love to hate. Click the pic for Tony's website.

Tony's Bar. The bar we love to hate. Click the pic for Tony's website.

Zeezo's is the place for all things magic and costume. Click this pic for their website.

Zeezo's is the place for all things magic and costume. Click this pic for their website.

If you're young and preferably in the military, you'll love weekends at downtown's pseudo honkeytonk, Cowboys. They also have bowling upstairs.

If you're young and preferably in the military, you'll love weekends at downtown's faux honkeytonk, Cowboys. They also have bowling upstairs.

The sidewalk cafes at Il Vicino, The Ritz, and Jack Quinns are nice places to have a meal.

The sidewalk cafes at Il Vicino, The Ritz, The Olive Branch, and Jack Quinns are nice places to have a meal.

Catch a movie at The Peak (but be aware they don't take credit or debit cards). They also have a small bar where you can grab a cocktail, glass of wine, or a beer to take into the theatre.

Catch a movie at The Peak (but be aware that they don't take credit or debit cards). They also have a small bar where you can grab a cocktail, glass of wine, or a beer to take into the theatre.

Then go over to the nightclub compound on Tejon St. and have a drink at the bar with the fire on the roof.

Then go over to the nightclub compound on Tejon St. and have a drink at the bar with the fire on the roof.

La Baguette has delicious french fare. Click this pic for their website.

La Baguette has delicious french fare. Click this pic for their website.

A brewpub whose building was saved from the wrecking ball by Governor Hickenlooper (way before he was governor), Phantom Canyon.

A brewpub whose building was saved from the wrecking ball by Governor Hickenlooper (way before he was governor), Phantom Canyon.

The Pioneers Museum is a neat place to spend an afternoon.

The Pioneers Museum is a neat place to spend an afternoon.

Labor Day weekend is the Balloon Festival, we could see them from our bedroom.

Labor Day weekend is the Balloon Festival, we could see them from our bedroom.

Slightly north of downtown is the well-stocked nursery, The Good Earth Garden Center. Click this pic for their website.

Slightly north of downtown is the well-stocked nursery, The Good Earth Garden Center. Click this pic for their website.

The Good Earth Garden Center is a nice place to walk around or pick something out from their vast selection of plants and garden art.

The Good Earth Garden Center is a nice place to walk around or pick something out from their vast selection of plants and garden art.

Slightly south of downtown is Bristol Brewing. They make their own beer and have a tasting room. Click this pic for their website.

Slightly south of downtown is Bristol Brewing. They make their own beer and have a tasting room. Click this pic for their website.

Beer flight at Bristol Brewing.

Beer flight at Bristol Brewing.

 

We’ve devoted a lot of space on this blog to downtown, and this post is not at all comprehensive (we didn’t even mention Shuga’s!). So please check out our other posts for tons more things to do. And be sure to let us know what your favorite downtown things are and when new shops and restaurants open up! We might not live there anymore, but we still care. And of course we’ll be back at some point. Hell, maybe we’ll even come back and get that coffee truck we’ve been dreaming about rolling.

 

Il Vicino and Phantom Canyon, root beer floats

For lunch the other day we went to Il Vicino. It’s a yummy woodfired pizza place. It’s a chain, there are lots of them, but it’s good. Even better we had a coupon from The Indy so we got one of the entrees for free.

I love their pizzas but I always have them so this time I tried a sandwich (panino spuntino). It was good but I should have had a pizza!

Penne alfredo at Il Vicino

DM had the penne alfredo which was also baked in the oven. MMMMM. Now THAT was tasty! There’s nutritional info on the website but I’m scared to look at it!

If we ever go for dinner, I’ll have a glass of wine. It looks good and well priced. I think my days of drinking during the day are over, though, which is why I didn’t have any this time. Boo hoo, poor me.

We were also too full for dessert but wanted to bring some of their root beer home to make root beer floats later. But they were out of the to-go jugs. Doh.

Luckily Phantom Canyon is right around the corner. They also make their own root beer. We got a growler of it for like $9 including the jug.

Yummy!


Got any other places you like for their house-made root beer? I hear you can also make it yourself at home. Have you ever done this!?
View Larger Map
View Larger Map

Phantom Canyon Road, Phantom Canyon Brewery, Home Cookin’, and Lots of Drinks

As you probably know, the weather in Colorado is crazy. It’s been in the 70’s for awhile and today it’s 27 degrees. Supposed to be in the low 70s again next week for a day or two, so we’ll see. Having a hard time getting my summer list done with this flakey weather! Anyhow, lots of pics behind the cut, including one that is not work safe.

The trees are changing color so we went up some elevation a couple weeks ago to Phantom Canyon Road. They’re changing down here now and are really pretty. I’ll get some shots if they’re still doing their thing when the weather gets nicer.




A mama cow on the side of the road (random!)

And her baby on the other side. Cuuuuuuute. I love baby cows.

Victor, Colorado is an old mining town that’s all decrepit and falling down, I think this building is for sale for like $40,000.

This one is also for sale but it’s like $200,000.

My old elementary school pal lives in Castle Rock now, which is about 30 minutes north of here so she came down and we went for drinks at Metropolitain the other night.

Homemade pasta fritatta. I made it up myself, too and it was tasty!

Wednesday night we went to see Lyle Lovett here in town. It was pretty warm so we walked. I had to take the jacket off when walking there and back cuz I was actually too warm!
We went to Phantom Canyon for dinner first, then to MacKenzies for drinks, then on to the show, which was really entertaining.



I was in LA last weekend and we went to a really good Italian place- Amici in The Americana At Brand in Glendale-  and I’ve been wanting to try and copy their spaghetti with red sauce, so I did last night. I think it was pretty darn close.

DM’s mom came over cuz she was in the neighborhood and wasn’t going to stay long. But we got her drunk so she hung out awhile and we LOLed at a bunch of stupid drunk person things. Then I paid for it with a splitting headache all night that I thought I was going to have to go to the ER for. I’ve been getting really horrible horrible headaches lately for all kinds of reasons: drinking, weather, flying, restaurant food. Sheesh. It’s super annoying.

Family Vacation Part Two

Friday I took my nephews on four mile bike ride to the ice cream stand and back. It was really hot so we had strawberry milkshakes when we got there.

We had to hurry to get back because we were headed to the Cog Railway that goes to the top of Pikes Peak.

My parents live in a town where if you take a picture of yourself in an unusual location holding the local newspaper, they’ll publish that picture in the newspaper. So that’s why there’s always a newspaper in these pictures!

My brother wanted to drive his Bronco up to the top. So he took his son and DM with. They had car trouble on the way up and they arrived JUST as we were about to get back on the train to go back down. Since I wasn’t there, here’s DMs recap of the car trouble, in typical DM style:

“So T7’s brother, his kid Red, and I drove this thing up Pikes Peak. At some point, the transmission goes out, or so we think, so we turn around and coast back down a little ways until people start shouting at us and parts are falling off under the car and onto the road. Transmission? No, no, it’s the axle. The motherfucking AXLE is coming out of the car and the wheel is like a foot-and-a-half away from the car at this point. Well, I just figured the car was broken beyond repair and we were going to have to call a salvage yard to come get it. But holy shit, T7’s brother just jacked up the car and shoved it all back together. And in the true can-do spirit of the American West, we turned that Bronco around and conquered that hill. Where would we be today if the pioneers had gone home when things got rough? The U.S. would end at Kansas. We are pioneers. And survivors.”

DM: Like other pioneers did when they reached their destinations, we parked the car and ate donuts.

Then we ate donuts- the donuts from the top of Pikes Peak are oddly famous.

Then we took more pics. There’s that pesky newspaper again!

DM took these pics on the way back down the mountain.

DM: Death at every turn.

DM: Red holding up the rear, checking periodically overboard to make sure the tire’s staying on. “How’s that tire looking, Red?” “Still on!” “Good.”

DM: You’re seeing this right: This is not an invisible door. No, there’s no door at all. All you sissies can have all the doors you want on your cars. Me, I’m going doorless from now on. (Unless it’s a DeLorean or Lamborghini, with doors that open in a cool way.)

After all the excitement of the day we had drinks and dinner at Phantom Canyon. Kid was drinking their homemade root beer. Yum

The Pioneers

I had a heffeweizen- sorry, I can’t spell it and I’m not going to look it up.
More later!

Phantom Canyon

OK, we’ve been here a few times, and it’s never really been terrible. Something, though, prevents it from being a favorite place. Not sure why. The beer is good. The food is good. Outstanding, even. There’s pool. It’s hardly ever crowded or obnoxious. Not too loud. On paper, this is the best place on earth. But it’s just OK to me. Wonder why.

Today, we had the chicken fingers. Very tasty. She had a hefeweizen, and I had some sort of other beer that resembled a lager. We played pool and had a decent time overall. A couple looked like they were on a first date, and so we talked about them quite a bit. What’re first dates all about, really? Are you trying to sell yourself to the other? Or is it more of a feeling-out process? At any rate, this chick didn’t look like she was all that into the guy, and to be honest, she was a little out of his league. Tough luck, pardner. Have another beer.

Edit by Adrienne: I LOVE Phantom Canyon! Not sure why it isn’t a fave for DM. The chicken strips were super delish. They had some sort of sticky spicy sauce on them and were served with a creamy dipping sauce. They were too messy to pick up, for sure had to use a fork. It was Happy Hour when we went (from 3-7  I think- they also have a late night Happy Hour) so the beers were only $2.50 each. Also since we had “lunch” the pool was free. The whole thing was only about $15.00 which was not bad for an hour and a half of entertainment, 3 beers, and a snack. Oh and also, I won at pool….:)

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