30 Bucket List Events in Colorado Springs for 2020

    Top picks to put on your calendar now in Colorado Springs, from annual favorites to new classics and one-time celebrations.

    Colorado Springs bucket list events
    Bucket list events in Colorado Springs. Photos: MeadowGrass by Scott Majors, courtesy of MeadowGrass Music Festival; longhorns by pabrady63, stock.adobe.com; U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum rendering by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro; Green Box Arts by Jack Thompson, courtesy of Green Box Arts Festival.

    Maybe you’ve lived here for years. Maybe you’re a newcomer to Colorado Springs. Maybe you go every year to (fill in the blank for your favorite). Maybe you’ve just never made it to that one event despite your best intentions. No more excuses. Here are 30 of the best events during 2020 in the Pikes Peak region. Many are annual happenings that every local should go to at least once—if not year after year. Some will only take place this year. Put them on your calendar now, and we’ll see you there.

    WINTER

    Skate in the Park

    Acacia Park, through Feb. 23
    You’ve got even longer to skate outdoors this year. So lace up your skates, pull on your gloves, and hit the downtown rink in Acacia Park. Watch for special discounted events and themes, including a Y96.9 Teddy Bear Toss and Valentines Skate Date, or sign up for a fun 3v3 adult pond hockey tournament.
    downtowncs.com/skate

    Insider Pick—Cripple Creek Ice Festival

    Downtown Cripple Creek, Feb. 8-16
    Head around Pikes Peak to the historic mining town for two weekends of ice sculpting competitions on Bennett Avenue in the heart of Cripple Creek. Wind through the ice maze, slip down the ice slide, and be sure to see the sculptures at night when they’re lit up.
    visitcripplecreek.com

    NHL Stadium Series: Colorado Avalanche vs. Los Angeles Kings

    Air Force Academy Falcon Stadium, Feb. 15
    Pond hockey goes big time with the NHL Stadium Series, and this year the Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium plays host to an outdoor duel between the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings. It’s the perfect chance to see Avs stars Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog play locally with a spectacular mountain backdrop.
    nhl.com.

    Manitou Springs Carnivale Parade and Mumbo Jumbo Gumbo Cook-Off

    Manitou Avenue and Soda Springs Park, Feb. 21-22
    Ain’t no party like a Manitou party. Plan your costume—could be sunny, could be snow—and join the revelry and parade as Manitou puts its spin on Mardi Gras. Take your Cajun style a step further by tasting and voting on chef’s entries in the Mumbo Jumbo Gumbo Cook-Off.
    manitousprings.org

    CC vs. DU Hockey

    Broadmoor World Arena, March 6
    It’s one of the top rivalries in college hockey when these two archrivals square off in the annual Battle for the Gold Pan. The Tigers and the University of Denver Pioneers always bring their best to the long-running feud.
    cctigers.com


    SPRING

    U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum Grand Opening

    U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum, TBA
    Details are yet to be released, but this is the debut year for the long-awaited museum. With its stunning architecture and global appeal, the interactive collection of Olympic memorabilia, history and experience is sure to open with a splash.
    usopm.org

    Insider Pick—Colorado Springs Wine Festival

    The Broadmoor, April 22-25
    Love wine or want to learn about it? The Grand Tasting gives you the chance to sample more than 100 wines along with other local libations and foods. This year’s theme is Wines of New Zealand. Don’t miss seminars, a paired gourmet dinner and live auctions, all to benefit the Colorado Springs Conservatory.
    coloradospringsconservatory.org

    Meadowgrass

    La Foret Conference & Retreat Center, May 22-24
    The annual music festival, held over Memorial Day weekend, features an eclectic mix of performances from national, regional and local artists—all in the big yellow tent nestled in the Black Forest pines. There’s also yoga, kids activities, music workshops and, if you so desire, camping as well.
    meadowgrass.org

    Territory Days

    Old Colorado City, May 23-25
    Since 1975, Territory Days has taken over Old Colorado City on Memorial Day weekend with live music, craft vendors, beer gardens and a host of Old West traditions, including gold-panning, Native American dancing, Wild West gunfight reenactments and more.
    shopoldcoloradocity.com

    Art on the Streets Annual Debut

    Downtown Colorado Springs, May and continuing
    For more than two decades, jurors with the city’s Art on the Streets program select about a dozen new sculptures or murals to install around downtown for a one-year display. Watch for the new collection to debut in May; then download the app for a mobile guided tour of unique public art.
    downtowncs.com/aots


    SUMMER

    Insider Pick—Colorado College Summer Music Festival

    Colorado College, June 7-27
    The intensive three-week program provides 50-some student musicians opportunities to work with world-class faculty, and it gives the Colorado Springs community about 30 concerts, many of them free. The musicians perform classical, contemporary, a children’s concert and more.
    coloradocollege.edu

    Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

    Pikes Peak, June 28
    The last Sunday in June is Hill Climb day, and has been for nearly 100 years. It’s known as the Race to the Clouds for a reason. High-speed competitors race up the Peak, around 156 turns, to the finish line at 14,115 feet. Don’t miss the practice runs and other festivities of Race Week, including the chance to meet drivers and watch acrobatic motorcycles at Fan Fest in Downtown, June 26.
    ppihc.org

    Insider Pick—Shakespeare at the Ranch

    Rock Ledge Ranch, typically late June – July
    For decades, Theatreworks has been bringing Shakespeare to the great outdoors with Garden of the Gods as a majestic backdrop. It’s a magical setup for the standout company’s adaptions of the Bard’s classic works.
    theatreworkscs.org

    Summer Symphony and Fireworks

    Memorial Park, July 4
    When the sun goes down on July 4th, the place to be is Memorial Park. Food, fireworks and the Philharmonic. What else can we say? Oh yes, free.
    csphilharmonic.org

    Green Box Arts Festival

    Green Mountain Falls, June 26 – July 4
    The tiny town of Green Mountain Falls makes a big arts impact in the region. Each year, the Green Box Arts Festival draws world-class talent and features more than 50 innovative concerts, workshops, dance performances, art installations and more in intimate mountain settings.
    greenboxarts.org

    Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo

    Norris Penrose Event Center, July 8-11
    For four days each July, the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo—heading into its 80th year in 2020—is a priority for top talent on the competitive rodeo cycle. Cheer on bull riders, steer wrestlers, barrel racers—and the always cute mutton busters.
    pikespeakorbust.org

    Rocky Mountain State Games

    Locations vary, July 17-19, 24-26
    Colorado’s largest multisport festival is open to athletes of all ages and abilities, including those with physical disabilities or visual impairments. And the range of games is impressive, from team sports to individual, popular to obscure. Competitions take place at the Olympic Training Center, UCCS, Colorado College, Memorial Park and more locations.
    coloradospringssports.org

    Olympic Downtown Celebration

    Downtown, July 24
    If you can’t be in Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Games, then you want to be in the heart of Olympic City USA for this Olympic party. You can expect the lighting of an Olympic flame, the Opening Ceremonies on a big screen, live entertainment, games, food vendors, a beer garden, kid zone and more.
    coloradospringssports.org

    Longhorn Cattle Drive and Ride for the Brand Ranch Rodeo

    Tejon Street, Norris Penrose Event Center, July 31-Aug. 1
    Every year, cowboys on horseback herd massive longhorn steer straight down Tejon Street at high noon. It’s a sight worth seeing, and a glimpse of Colorado Springs’ Old Western days. The cattle drive signals the Ride for the Brand Ranch Rodeo, where working cowhands compete in the likes of roping, steer wrestling, bronco busting and more. Don’t miss the following concert when you can dance in the dirt on the arena floor.
    rideforthebrand.org

    Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon

    Manitou Springs, Pikes Peak, Aug. 22-23
    Get from the bottom to the top. Simple, right? Beginning at an elevation of 6,300 feet and ending at 14,115 feet, runners brave the countless switchbacks and thinning air of Barr Trail. The Ascent covers 13.32 miles, but the summit is only the halfway point for marathoners. There’s a reason they all this America’s ultimate challenge, but oh what an accomplishment!
    pikespeakmarathon.org

    Labor Day Lift-Off

    Memorial Park, Sept. 5-7
    Rise early at least one morning during Memorial Day weekend, head to the park, and enjoy more than 70 hot air balloons as they fill up with air and float above your head. Grab a nap, and head back to the park in the evening for concerts and locals’ favorite balloon glow. It’s a true Colorado Springs classic!
    coloradospringslabordayliftoff.com


    FALL

    Insider Pick—Pikes Peak APEX

    Various trails, Sept. 24-27
    With a $50,000 purse and backing by locally-based bike suspension company RockShox, this new four-day, multistage mountain bike race is set to be big. Courses will include trails showcasing the variety of the region, potentially including Palmer Park, Cheyenne Canon, Rampart Range, the Air Force Academy and more. The competition is open to amateurs as well as pros, so get ready to ride.
    pikespeakapex.com

    Insider Pick—Artini

    The Mining Exchange Hotel, Oct. 1
    Mix and mingle, sip and dance at the arts party of the year. The free annual soiree features live music and signature martinis crafted by the area’s top mixologists. It also marks the launch of Arts Month, the October-long celebration of the region’s artistic culture that encourages everyone to try at least one new cultural experience.
    peakradar.com/artsmonth

    Emma Crawford Coffin Races & Festival

    Downtown Manitou Springs, Oct. 24
    Manitou resident Emma Crawford died in 1891. She was buried at the top of Red Mountain, and in 1929, her coffin came sliding down the mountainside during a rainstorm. Since 1995, Manitou has honored her memory by racing coffins through town. Costume up to race or cheer on the competitors.
    emmacrawfordfestival.com

    Air Force vs Navy Football

    Falcon Stadium, Nov. 7
    Each year, the Air Force Falcons battle either either Army or Navy at home with the Commander in Chief’s Trophy on the line for service academy supremacy. This year the Navy Midshipmen pay a visit. You can always expect a full show of force from Air Force—on the field and with an impressive full array of aircraft flyovers.
    goairforcefalcons.com

    Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Fest

    Colorado College, mid-November
    It’s the longest-running women’s film festival in North America, and RMWFF has featured films honoring “the female lens” for more than 30 years. It typically sells out doing so. Events open with a gala and include filmmaker discussions along with a full schedule of film screenings.
    rmwfilminstitute.org


    HOLIDAYS

    Festival of Lights Parade

    Downtown Colorado Springs, Dec. 5
    Bundle up and head Downtown to join thousands of your neighbors as you cheer on brightly lit floats, bands and the arrival of Santa Clause right down Tejon Street.
    coloradospringsfestivaloflights.com

    Electric Safari

    Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Dec. 4-6, 11-23, 25 – Jan. 1 (closed Christmas Eve)
    The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo gets all decked out with light sculptures and more for the holidays. Warm up at bonfires, and see the wildlife at night.
    cmzoo.org

    The Nutcracker

    Pikes Peak Center, Nov. 27-29
    It’s Thanksgiving weekend tradition for the Colorado Springs Philharmonic to perform The Nutcracker with the Oklahoma City Ballet and Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale. as a kickoff to the holiday season. The professional performance always brings a dash of magic to launch the holiday season.
    csphilharmonic.org

    AdAmAn Club New Year’s Eve Fireworks

    Pikes Peak, Jan. 1
    It’s more must-see than a must-do, but find your spot anywhere in the city where you can see Pikes Peak and watch for fireworks shot from the summit by the AdAmAn Club. Bonus if you’re in a spot where you can see Garden of the Gods in the foreground. It’s the Springs quintessential welcome to the new year.
    adaman.org


    Not enough to fill your calendar? Don’t worry. There’s plenty more going on in Colorado Springs. Check out Your Best of Colorado Springs Bucket List Events for more annual favorites and insider picks.

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