Favorite

North Colorado Springs: InSider 2016 

From Rockrimmon, tucked in the foothills, to the plains and Black Forest, the north region covers a massive area. Pickings seem sparse at first glance: but don't be fooled — plenty of good happens up here, and if you're exploring by car, it's even easier to find. Streets that twist, turn and change manes, along with increased speed limits, can be puzzling to navigate. Be sure to fuel tour map app with enough cellular data.

University Village

Though UCCS started as a commuter college, its growth trends more towards traditional campus life. A swathe of hip businesses and eateries have popped up to serve the student population, drawing further crowds from across town for convenient shopping and a little off-the-beaten-path hiking. With easy access to I-25 and Academy for drivers and the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail for bikers, it's convenient.

University Village Colorado

4880-5342 N. Nevada Ave.

uvcshopping.com

This shopping center features a running club and a farmer's market, as well as a swathe of shops and eateries, both chain and local.

click to enlarge Cowboy Star Restaurant and Butcher Shop - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Cowboy Star Restaurant and Butcher Shop

Cowboy Star Restaurant

and Butcher Shop

5918 N. Nevada Ave.

cowboystarcs.com

With a mandatory happy hour that makes a spendy menu more accessible, this cattleman couture restaurant and butcher shop serves game-changing steaks.

Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum

5867 N. Nevada Ave.

themotorcyclemuseum.com

Occupying the upstairs of Pikes Peak Harley-Davidson, the motorcycle museum features antique motorcycles both international and domestic.

Venice Olive Oil Co.

5214 N. Nevada Ave.

veniceoliveoil.com

University Village has its own gourmet tap-house of monounsaturated goodness, which also features a wide array of vinegars.

click to enlarge TheatreWorks at the DustyLoo Bon Vivant Theater - T. CHARLES ERICKSON
  • T. Charles Erickson
  • TheatreWorks at the DustyLoo Bon Vivant Theater

TheatreWorks at the DustyLoo Bon Vivant Theater

3955 Regent Circle

theatreworkscs.org

Now in business for over 40 years, TheatreWorks is known for compelling staged works, often with prologue lectures to provide context.

UCCS Gallery

of Contemporary art

1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy.

uccs.edu/~goca

Known better as GOCA 1420, this half of UCCS's energetic gallery program draws local and national artists for conceptual shows.

Sport Climbing Center

4642 Northpark Dr.

sportclimbingcenter.com

This traditional climbing venue offers 50 top ropes and 25 lead climbs, plus a supportive, student-heavy community.

Austin Bluffs Open Space

University Park Blvd. and Rockhurst Blvd.

parks.coloradosprings.gov

Separate from but connected to Pulpit Rock Park, this hiking- and biking-friendly space features some unique and ancient rock formations.

click to enlarge Peak Place Coffeehouse - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Peak Place Coffeehouse

Peak Place Coffeehouse

2360 Montebello Square Dr.

peakplacecoffeehouse.com

Located behind everything and tucked in the corner of a strip mall, this cool spot serves local coffee, beer and wine to compliment frequent live music.

Heroes & Dragons

5751 N. Academy Blvd.

388-9542

This store offers an impressive selection of nerdy print media, with occasional special events.

India Palace Restaurant

5644 N. Academy Blvd.

indiapalacecos.com

This Academy destination is a long-standing Springs favorite for Punjabi cuisine, featuring an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet and a wide array of vegetarian options.

Academy of Children's Theater

2314 Vickers Dr.

actcolorado.net

Students from 4 to 19 can learn about every aspect of theater at this Springs institution. And anyone can pick up a ticket to one of their productions to see the results.

Toy Station at School Crossing

5540 Library Lane

etoystation.com

It's inconceivable, how much stuff this place packs in. Expect toys, gifts, teaching and learning aids and a sweets shop with light meal options.

Dublin House Sports Bar

1850 Dominion Way

265-8820

Cheap pours? Check. Brunch buffet? Check. Karaoke? Oh, you'd better believe it. This Irish bar sounds like home to me.

Silver Pond Chinese Gourmet

6523 N. Academy Blvd.

bestsilverpondchinese.com

Be liberated from the typical ubiquitous brown sauce at this 18-year-old restaurant, named as one of the Top 100 in the U.S., Canada and Australia by Chinese Restaurant News

Jun Japanese Restaurant

& Sushi Bar

1760 Dublin Blvd.

jun-japanese.com

The northern location of the well-loved Japanese restaurant is the original. Drop by and celebrate 25 years of killer sushi, ramen and teriyaki this year.

Lemongrass Bistro

6840 N. Academy Blvd.

restauranteur.com/lemongrassbistro

Here you'll find standout Vietnamese in an area largely dominated by chain outfits.

Chapel Hills

If shopping malls seem a little passé, worry not. The shops along this stretch of North Academy have everything the hot spot's namesake mall had at the height of its glory days — and more. The resulting variety of apparel, electronics, media and athletics retail options comes with a rainbow of largely family-friendly dining possibilities and activities. Busy parents are a common sighting in this area for that very reason.

Library 21c

1175 Chapel Hills Drive

ppld.org/library-21c

The newest branch of the PPLD feature 3D printing, maker spaces, 3D animation and basic audio and video recording. Oh, and a whole mess of books, movies and music for borrowing, too.

Chapel Hills Mall

1710 Briargate Pkwy.

chapelhillsmall.com

This storied north-end standard is full of shopping opportunities, quick eats and cheap movies. Check online for events and coupons.

Springs Rhythm

Dance and Event Center

1414 Kelly Johnson Blvd.

springsrhythm.com

Check out begenning and intermediate classes on a variety of dance styles, from Salsa to Ballroom Waltz with plenty of Rumba in between. Check for private lessons and events.

Paint the Town

Paint & Party Studio

7844 N. Academy Blvd.

paint-the-town.com

When the artistic mood strikes, this store, tucked behind The Egg & I, has the supplies and support to make your vision turn into reality.

Chaang Thai

7525 N. Academy Blvd.

chaangthaicos.com

The food at this spot is in fine form, whether you want soup, salad, curry or stir-fry. Fear no MSG here, but be warned: hot means HOT.

Crave Real Burgers

7465 N. Academy Blvd.

craverealburgers.com

This small Colorado chain has won huge accolades at the Denver Burger Battle, always embracing its signature giant-crazy-burger mentality. For example: a burger with bacon and a fried egg, served on a halved donut. Dig in.

Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park

1750 E. Woodmen Road

skyzone.com

For adrenaline junkies of all ages and stripes, trampolines and the like stretch as far as the eye can see at this chain. They even offer guided workout classes.

REI

1376 E. Woodmen Road

rei.com

REI has almost every single outdoor product known to man, and the return policy is the best in the business. Plus, members get 10 percent back on eligible purchases.

Wag N' Wash Healthy Pet Center

1234 E. Woodmen Road

wagnwash.com

Bring your pup here when they're dirty, and they'll go home clean and happy. While waiting, check out a selection of gourmet treats, accessories and specialty food.

click to enlarge The Margarita at Pine Creek - MATTHEW  SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The Margarita at Pine Creek

The Margarita at Pine Creek

7350 Pine Creek Road

margaritaatpinecreek.com

With near-constant themed dinners and an ever-shifting menu that emphasizes ultra-fresh, local ingredients, there's always something new and delicious happening at this gorgeous, gourmet outpost.

The Promenade Shops at Briargate

1885 Briargate Pkwy.

thepromenadeshopsatbriargate.com

This outdoor shopping center with wide sidewalks, sunny storefronts and outdoor speakers blasting peppy music features scores of hip stores and eateries.

Rampart Park

8270 Lexington Drive

coloradosprings.gov

With a fenced-in dog park, a BMX course and plenty of green-space, this little park is a big deal. It also connects to the Skyline trail for easier access.

Rockrimmon

Not everything is on a hill in this neighborhood, but it's not always easy to go more than a few hundred feet without going up or down. It's not San Francisco, it's just the foothills. But that means there's plenty of great hiking spots throughout this neighborhood, all largely neighborhood secrets. Once you're done wandering in the woods, look around for tasty bites, good coffee and, for those who partake, a brewery and a cannabis club.

Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame

101 Pro Rodeo Drive

Prorodeohalloffame.com

A trip to the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame makes for a quintessential Western afternoon (if you like looking at photographs of horses more than you like riding them, that is.) The museum features rotating exhibits that showcase the history of the American cowboy and the impact rodeo culture has had in Colorado. Wander the halls to learn about iconic cowboys, stock contractors, clowns, announcers, artifacts, memorabilia and artwork, then venture outside to Priefert Arena where rodeo events are held throughout the year.

Adventure Miniature Golf

6550 Corporate Drive

adventuregolfandbattingcages.com

Ever visible from I-25, this 23-year-old Springs establishment hosts three themed mini-golf courses, each a robust 18 holes long, plus batting cages.

My Club 420

6628 Delmonico Drive, Suite A

myclub420.com

This cannabis club provides a safe place to smoke with a sports bar vibe, featuring movies, trivia, poker, video game tournaments and a long dab bar. This club also carries menus from neighboring restaurants — goodbye, munchies!

Cleats Bar and Grill

6624 Delmonico Drive

Cleatsbarandgrill.com

With over 30 televisions, this revamped sports bar is obviously a good place to go watch the game. What's not so obvious is that the pub fare here goes well beyond frozen and generic bar food. A lot of ingredients are made in-house, and the ones that aren't are sourced with quality in mind.

NaRai Thai Restaurant

805 Village Center Drive

narai-thai.com

From stir fries like the garlic chicken noodles to complex curries like a superb massaman, NaRai's menu is full of winning dishes. Also visit the gorgeously decorated south location.

Ute Valley Park

1705 Vindicator Drive

Parks.coloradosprings.gov

This off-the-radar spot on the northwest side is full of rock formations that'll make you question whether you're really in Utah. An open space full of small loops, you can ride up and down Ute Valley Park's steep surfaces for a half hour or all day.

Wilson Ranch Park

2335 Allegheny Drive

ppymca.org

While this space does have great views, a playground and tennis courts, it's all about the pool. Think kid-friendly water park, with a water-pumping playground and water slide, guaranteed to make summers unforgettable.

Blodgett Peak Open Space

3898 W Woodmen Road

With a friendly trail up to a fine overlook of the Springs above a big green water tower, Blodgett Peak Open Space is fine for a light hike. But smaller, less-traveled trails to the south of the parking lot lead through foliage growing from land scorched by the Waldo Canyon fire — a very different kind of beauty than most trails offer.

3.14 Sweet and savory pi bar

5152 Centennial Blvd.

314sweetandsavorypi.com

Butter and grandma: that's how it's done at this quaint little pie shop. With savory pies, quiche and creative takes on sweet pie standards, diets run away scared. Wash down your slice of heaven with sommelier-picked wine or craft beer.

Momma Pearl's Cajun Kitchen

6620 Delmonico Drive

964-0234

Chef Robert "BB" Brunet cooks his mom's authentic Cajun recipes, including delightful Coco Rice, crawfish étouffée, Cajun Dirty Rice, and po-boy sandwiches. A beer and wine list complete with Louisiana's Abita Beer was just added to offerings. Finish with beignets.

click to enlarge Red Leg Brewing Company - COURTESY CSBJ
  • Courtesy CSBJ
  • Red Leg Brewing Company

Red Leg Brewing Company

4630 Forge Road, Suite B

Redlegbrewing.com

Named for the cardinal stripe on Civil War artillerymen's pant legs, Red Leg is a veteran-owned brewery that aims to serve beer that honors servicemembers past and present. And with great beers on tap ranging from a light pils to a hefty stout, it's safe to say: mission accomplished.

Kairos Coffee

505 Popes Bluff Trail

Kairoscoffeehouse.com

Housed in what used to be a sports bar, now part of Youth With A Mission's offices, Kairos serves up some socially conscious coffee sourced from Serranos Coffee Company. The menu is nothing crazy, but covers all your bases. Go to work, socialize and enjoy a top-notch mountain view.

More Up North

Legends Miniature Golf & Batting Cages

6655 Dalby Drive

legendsminigolf.com

This cash-only business offers batting cages to let your inner David Ortiz out. Or, play one of the three 18-hole mini golf courses. Or play all three — this place is affordable!

Colorado Mountain Brewery

1110 Interquest Pkwy.

600 S. 21st St

cmbrew.com

CMB manages to keep switching things up while also sticking with some tried-and-trues. With dishes like duck poutine, Colorado lamb Bolognese and venison egg rolls on the menu, don't forget this place is really about the beer.

click to enlarge United States Air Force Academy - COURTESY USAFA
  • Courtesy USAFA
  • United States Air Force Academy

United States Air Force Academy

3120 Academy Drive

usafa.af.mil

Once you clear the gate, head for the iconic Cadet Chapel and the Barry Goldwater Visitor Center. Then get back outside where awesome trails, the expansive Eisenhower Golf Course, and horseback riding at the USAFA Equestrian Center await.

Mikado Asian Bistro

13141 Bass Pro Drive

mikadoco.com

Glitzy decor in this standalone restaurant gives Japanese fusion dining a Las Vegas feel. But if you can peel your eyes away from the red-eyed dragon chandelier overlooking the place, the plates here are also a sight to behold.

Western Museum of Mining and Industry

225 North Gate Blvd

wmmi.org

More than 27-acres consisting of a reclamation exhibit, 10-stamp mill, historic buildings, theater and 5,000-volume research library. Release your inner geek for a day of learning about geology, technology and the environment.

O'Malley's Steak Pub

104 Highway 105, Palmer Lake

omalleys.biz

This year will mark the beloved restaurant's 30th anniversary. Enjoy cooking your own sized-to-order steak or burger, then wash it down with craft beer or one of 30-plus tequilas.

Tri-lakes Center for the Arts

304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake

trilakesarts.org

This little town brings in a swathe of talented artists both local and not. Keep an eye on the calendar for the occasional lecture or live musical performance.

click to enlarge La Rosa Southwestern Dining - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • La Rosa Southwestern Dining

La Rosa Southwestern Dining

25 Highway 105, Palmer Lake

larosasouthwesterndining.com

Aside from some of the most excellent Mexican and New Mexican bites in the region, this restaurant also offers fresh-juiced margaritas made with fine tequilas. We highly recommend the carne adovada.

Black Forest Meadery

6420 Burrows Road, Unit A, Black Forest

blackforestmeadery.com

This little meadery is nestled into the trees of Black Forest like a nursery rhyme, producing mead, wine and melomel - mead with fruit - in a range of styles.

click to enlarge Pikes Peak Brewing - LAUREN MCKENZIE
  • Lauren McKenzie
  • Pikes Peak Brewing

Pikes Peak Brewing

1756 Lake Woodmoor Drive, Monument

pikespeakbrewing.com

Neighborhood equals community, and this brewery knows it well. They often brew special ales for charities from cancer to conservation to fallen firefighters. Sip some suds and feel good.

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