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.

 

Some places to get happy hour drinks and snacks in Colorado Springs

Another wrap-up post- where to get some drinks with your food.

Judge Baldwin’s: another brewpub

Judge Baldwin's in The Antlers Hotel

Judge Baldwin's in The Antlers Hotel

MacKenzie’s Chophouse: great vintage decor, excellent food, and pretty good happy hour specials.

MacKenzie's Chophouse

MacKenzie's Chophouse

MacKenzie's has some nice drinks.

MacKenzie's has some nice drinks.

Johnny’s Navajo Hogan: Johnny, of Southside Johnny’s, did an excellent restoration of this historically landmarked building. Service is fabulous, and the drinks are good too.

The Navajo Hogan is an historic building.

The Navajo Hogan is an historic building.

Johnny's Navajo Hogan

Johnny's Navajo Hogan

Johnny restored the original neon sign

Johnny restored the original neon sign

Red Martini:

The cozy bar at Red Martini

The cozy bar at Red Martini

A blurry picture of their happy hour menu, which is pretty extensive.

A blurry picture of their happy hour menu, which is pretty extensive.

Not sure if anyone ever plays the piano at Red Martini

Not sure if anyone ever plays the piano at Red Martini

Red Martini snack menu, lots of good happy hour specials.

Red Martini snack menu, lots of good happy hour specials.

Happy hour cocktail

Happy hour cocktail

Happy hour cheese plate

Happy hour cheese plate

Happy hour coconut chicken fingers- these are really really good!

Happy hour coconut chicken fingers- these are really really good!

Sonterra Grill:

The very pretty Sonterra Grill

The very pretty Sonterra Grill

Happy hour!

Happy hour!

They have a few really good happy hour food items, including free chips and salsa.

They have a few really good happy hour food items, including free chips and salsa.

Springs Orleans: Good happy hour specials. Don’t forget to go next door to the new hotel, they have a beautiful lobby bar.

Springs Orleans

Springs Orleans

Springs Orleans

Springs Orleans

I love happy hour!

I love happy hour!

They kept tons of the original features when they renovated the hotel (Wyndham at the Mining Exchange) and restaurant

They kept tons of the original features when they renovated the hotel (Wyndham at the Mining Exchange) and restaurant

The original tin ceiling

The original tin ceiling

Springs Orleans has a very long wine list- almost all of them are available for happy hour.

Springs Orleans has a very long wine list- almost all of them are available for happy hour.

Swirl Wine Bar:

Nice atmosphere to go with your wine and cocktails at Swirl Wine Bar

Nice atmosphere to go with your wine and cocktails at Swirl Wine Bar

The Famous: if you want to spy on Colorado Springs movers and shakers, you have to go to Friday night happy hour at The Famous.

Hob-nobbing with Oinkety nemesis, John Hazlehurst at The Famous

Hob-nobbing with Oinkety nemesis, John Hazlehurst at The Famous

Snacks at The Famous

Snacks at The Famous

A gigantic plate of french fries at The Famous

A gigantic plate of french fries at The Famous

The Loop: great Mexican food and fab margaritas.

A huge margarita at The Loop

A huge margarita at The Loop

Rico’s Cafe and Wine Bar:

Rico's Cafe and Wine Bar

Rico's Cafe and Wine Bar

Delicious hummus and happy hour wine on the sidewalk at Rico's

Delicious hummus and happy hour wine on the sidewalk at Rico's

Rico's offers 3 and 6 ounce wines by the glass, so you can try a few at a time. And their food is interesting and tasty, too.

Rico's offers 3 and 6 ounce wines by the glass, so you can try a few at a time. And their food is interesting and tasty, too.

 

Shuga’s: Of course, Shuga’s. My Fave. Great food, great atmosphere, great happy hour.

Happy hour!

Happy hour!

Special cocktail for happy hour at Shugas

Special cocktail for happy hour at Shugas

Now go to happy hour somewhere and come back and tell us all about it!

 

Our favorite Colorado Springs restaurants

We got so busy in the last few months we were in Colorado Springs that we didn’t have time to do very many posts. So I’m going to do a few Colorado wrap-up posts in the next few weeks before embarking on full force Chicago entries.

These are some of our favorite restaurants in The Springs. Give them a try if you haven’t been.

Adam’s Mountain Cafe:

Honey pot at Adam's Mountain Cafe

Honey pot at Adam's Mountain Cafe

Adam's Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs, CO

Adam's Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs, CO

Veggie Enchiladas at Adam's Mountain Cafe

Veggie Enchiladas at Adam's Mountain Cafe

Insanely good brownie from Adam's Mountain Cafe

Insanely good brownie from Adam's Mountain Cafe

Borriello Brothers Pizza: 

Veggie Pizza from Borriello Brothers

Veggie Pizza from Borriello Brothers

Downtown Burrito Company:

Downtown Burrito Cart Man!

Downtown Burrito Cart Man!

Mediterranean Cafe:

Mediterranean Cafe

Mediterranean Cafe

Mediterranean Cafe's food is good if you can abide their idiotic hours.

Mediterranean Cafe's food is good if you can abide their idiotic hours.

Falafel at Mediterranean Cafe

Falafel at Mediterranean Cafe

The fries at Mediterranean Cafe are good but not as good as Taste Of Jerusalem's

The fries at Mediterranean Cafe are good but not as good as Taste Of Jerusalem's

Cucuru Gallery Cafe:

The outdoor space at Cucuru Cafe and Gallery

The outdoor space at Cucuru Cafe and Gallery

A tasty veggie sandwich from Cucuru

A tasty veggie sandwich from Cucuru

Lemon cake and cheesecake from Cucuru- yum!

Lemon cake and cheesecake from Cucuru- yum!

Detz Cafe: (not sure what’s going on with the pictures on this website, they’re for sure not of their food):

Everything is good at Detz Cafe

Everything is good at Detz Cafe

Calicrate beef burger from Detz Cafe

Calicrate beef burger from Detz Cafe

Perfect french toast from Detz Cafe

Perfect french toast from Detz Cafe

Mmmm grilled cheese from Detz Cafe

Mmmm grilled cheese from Detz Cafe

Gold Hill Java:

Egg salad sandwich lunch special from Gold Hill Java

Egg salad sandwich lunch special from Gold Hill Java

Healthy Mediterranean wrap from Gold HIll Java

Healthy Mediterranean wrap from Gold HIll Java

Go right away to have the most amazing affogato at Gold HIll Java!

Go right away to have the most amazing affogato at Gold HIll Java!

Heart Of Jerusalem:

Falafel from Heart Of Jerusalem

Falafel from Heart Of Jerusalem

Heart of Jerusalem

Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Jake and Telly’s:

Soup and appetizers at Jake and Telly's

Soup and appetizers at Jake and Telly's

Janel enjoying some apps at Jake and Telly's

Janel enjoying some apps at Jake and Telly's

Lofty’s:

Chicken salad from Lofty's

Chicken salad from Lofty's

Reuben sandwich and pasta salad from Lofty's

Reuben sandwich and pasta salad from Lofty's

 

McCabe’s Tavern:

Cheeseburger and cider at McCabe's Tavern

Cheeseburger and cider at McCabe's Tavern

French dip from McCabe's Tavern

French dip from McCabe's Tavern

The Melting Pot:

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

Paris Crepe: (You must go to Paris Crepe. Check out our official review with more pics)

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Pizzeria Rustica:

My parents enjoying Pizzeria Rustica's patio

My parents enjoying Pizzeria Rustica's patio

Locally sourced antipasto tray

Locally sourced antipasto tray

Shuga’s: By far my favorite restaurant in Colorado Springs, or really, just about anywhere. We’ve written a ton about them on this blog.

Shuga's has an excellent happy hour

Shuga's has an excellent happy hour

Fabulous sandwiches at Shuga's

Fabulous sandwiches at Shuga's

One of the daily pasta specials at Shuga's

One of the daily pasta specials at Shuga's

Fancy roast beef sandwich at Shuga's

Fancy roast beef sandwich at Shuga's

Smiley’s:  Another place we’ve written about before, here and here.

Breakfast at Smiley's

Breakfast at Smiley's

Smiley's cute decor. They've recently expanded to the space next door, doubling their size- shorter lines now!

Smiley's cute decor. They've recently expanded to the space next door, doubling their size- shorter lines now!

 

So there you have it, the first of my Colorado Springs wrap-up posts. Be sure to visit these places and let me know what you think!

 

 

 

Jack Quinn’s- the best Irish Coffee

It’s the perfect time of year for an Irish Coffee- why not go downtown, where the parking is free all day on Saturdays and Sundays during December. Do some Christmas shopping (buy local!) and then reward your virtuous self with a delicious, authentic, hot Irish Coffee at Jack Quinn’s.

Irish Coffee at Jack Quinn's, Colorado Springs

Irish Coffee at Jack Quinn's, Colorado Springs

 

Festival of Lights Parade and other free downtown Colorado Springs events

The Festival Of Lights Parade is a super cheezy small town affair. But it’s fun to sit wrapped in a blanket on a lawn chair in the cold drinking spiked hot chocolate out of a thermos (bring your own supplies). The parade starts at 5:50 on Saturday December 3rd at Tejon and St. Vrain.

The Festival Of Lights Parade, downtown Colorado Springs, December 3rd 5:50PM

The Festival Of Lights Parade, downtown Colorado Springs, December 3rd 5:50PM

Before the parade there’s a kind of neat concert called Tuba Christmas which is a band made up of tuba players! They’ll be in Acacia Park at 4:00.

In the afternoon on Saturday, you can go to The Pioneer’s Museum at 215 S. Tejon St. for Children’s Holiday Magic — There’s music and entertainment, including the Springs Singers, a magician, crafts, activities for kids and more, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

And don’t forget, there’s free parking every Saturday and Sunday downtown at all the meters during the month of December. Shop local!