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Welcome to the only Colorado Springs guide that matters.

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Thank you for picking up the 2009 InSider. All of us at the Colorado Springs Independent sincerely believe that this publication, more than any other, can help you make the most of life in Colorado Springs — be it for a day or a decade.

We didn't put this book together to talk up every little tourist trap or chain restaurant in the Pikes Peak region. Nor did we seek to outdo the Yellow Pages as the source for local phone numbers and addresses.

What we've assembled, rather, is a cultural crib sheet for Colorado Springs. We're focusing on what we, the writers and editors at this city's longtime alternative newsweekly, know best: How to show visitors a good time. Where to find the hottest green chile and hoppiest craft beers. Best bets for live music, inspired art, deserted mountain trails, and help when you need it.

Through a combination of institutional knowledge, lots of research and lively discussion, we've put forth what we think is a true insider's guide to Colorado Springs. It is not comprehensive, but it is informed. And if a business or attraction scored a glowing write-up in here, that's not because someone bought an ad; it's because, quite simply, we just dig it.

Or, in some cases, because our readers dig it. The vast majority of Best Of 'o8 icons (or blue-colored words) you'll see in these pages denote people, places or things that more than 5,000 Independent readers voted to the top of our annual readers' poll last fall. (A few staff picks for "Best Of 08" sneaked in there, too.) If you want to see the complete "Best Of" lists, which also include second- and third-place winners in more than 200 categories, visit csindy.com and click on the "Best Of" cover.

The loose theme running through this year's InSider is that of the "Wild West." While the Springs was never really a gunslinging kind of town, there are plenty of ways in which it fits the "wild" description today. We hope that at least a few come through in the words and pictures herein.

Thanks again for reading.

— Kirk Woundy

  • Our cultural crib sheet for Colorado Springs.

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