Located in the heart of Colorado Springs, the Mining Exchange is a vestige of the town’s opulent past, when mining for gold and other minerals in the region flourished. Now operating as a hotel, this Italian Renaissance-inspired building makes the most of its original 1902 architectural details: a Diebold vault door in the lobby, safes on each floor, restored brick walls and Palladian windows in the suites. Check out the wrought-iron staircase railings recovered from the cellar during the renovations; you’ll spy the inspiration for the hotel’s logo on them. At Spring Orleans, the on-site Cajun restaurant, order a Breckenridge Manhattan and soak up some jazz, courtesy of pianist Thomas Dawson.8 S. Nevada Ave., 719-323-2000
Here’s a (former) school that you won’t mind attending, even on weekends. In the morning, pick up a sticky pecan brioche at the Old School Bakery, then head across the hall to the chalkboard counter (chalk included) at the Principal’s Office for coffee brewed in a set-up reminiscent of chemistry class. In the evening, return to the other end of the school, where the Bristol Pub serves pints of the Bristol Brewing Company’s award-winning Laughing Lab Scottish Ale.1604 S. Cascade Ave., 719-368-6100
After a hike up Pikes Peak, admire another local high point – this one man-made. Dreamed up by interior designer Adam D. Tihany, Summit restaurant in the Broadmoor hotel complex features a spectacular rotating wine tower behind the bar. Chef Mark Musial’s dishes are as stunning as the decor; order the Angry Trout, served with its tail tucked through its mouth, then whet your own whistle with a Val de Mer white from Burgundy.19 Lake Circle, 719-577-5733
Photo: Courtesy of The Broadmoor
Get up close and personal with rock spires that seem to spring from the earth at the Garden of the Gods, a 5.5-square-kilometre public park. Climbing guides with an almost simian agility will take you through the basics, then rig you up and help you scale the rough 300-million-year-old red sandstone faces. At the top, catch your breath (and steel yourself for the descent) while observing the playful rock formations in the distance: two kissing camels, hands raised in prayer and a gigantic gravity-defying boulder.1370 Windmill Ave., 719-632-5822
A real camera fanatic – she owns 50 of them – Kathleen McFadden captures the landscapes of the American West with sensitivity and humour. On the charcoal-grey walls of her gallery in über-Western Old Colorado City, she exhibits oversize images of broken-down trailers, livestock corrals, solitary motels and more local iconography. Pick up a luminous panoramic landscape of rocky Colorado peaks, shot using a modified rotating camera mounted on a curved frame.2428 W. Colorado Ave., 719-685-1201
3 Places to Get Your Daily Mineral Intake
Ignore the slight sulphur smell and take a big gulp: Shoshone Spring has the highest concentration of minerals in the area. Manganese, which has antioxidant properties, is in abundant supply in this naturally carbonated water.
The slightly salty, calcium-rich waters flowing from the ceramic fountain at Navajo Spring were highly prized by both Native Americans and settlers. In the early 20th century, this spring supplied the local public baths.
Pamper your muscles and your kidneys by drinking your fill at Iron Springs Geyser, where the water is rich with iron and potassium. The spring was so popular a hundred years ago that a well had to be dug to increase output.
Air Canada offers daily year-round non-stop service from Toronto to Denver International Airport, with convenient connections to the rest of our domestic and international network. Colorado Springs is an 80-minute drive from the airport.