December 9. 2022 | CULTURE | By Beatrice Roussell | Illustration by Iris Guo

Growing up, my family had several holiday traditions that we did year after year. We would cut down a tree at Huber’s orchard, watch “Elf” at least three times, drive through the Mega Cavern light show, and do it again the next year.

Now that I am a junior in college, my friends and I have created our own traditions, but I often find myself longing to spend the December month in my hometown. I miss the city-wide events that were so integral to the Louisvillian holiday experience and fostered the nostalgic love that I have for the month. In order to remedy a bit of this longing, I decided to do some research and find out what holiday activities Colorado Springs has to offer on a college-student budget.

Lights

The first thing I discovered is that Colorado Springs is not shy of light shows. The Broadmoor Hotel puts on a light display for $17 at Seven Falls, a 180-foot waterfall located in South Cheyenne Cañon.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo also hosts an Electric Safari light show for $24. And if you are looking for a scenic drive, the Royal Gorge Bridge presents the Bridge of Lights – a drive-through experience for those who want to stay in the warmth of their car. This event goes for $35 online, so grab a big group of friends and split the cost!

A completely free option is at the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum. The CSPM hosts a light show that starts at its Tejon Street entrance, open for anyone to drive or stroll by.

Workshops, Markets, and More

Every year, Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs sets up an outdoor ice-skating rink. Free to the public, this rink is only a 10-minute walk from campus and is a great place to practice your broomball skills for the upcoming season.

On Dec. 18, the Lost Friend Brewing Company is hosting a Winter Market, which is the perfect opportunity to finish up some holiday shopping while also supporting numerous local vendors, artists, and makers. If you need more convincing, the event is incredibly “dog friendly,” and you receive a free awkward holiday portrait with any vendor purchase.

Another market option is the Holiday Springs Vegan Market, which targets local vegan businesses and organizations. This market takes place this Sunday, Dec. 11 at the Hillside Community Center .

For those of you who enjoy the flavors and food that the holidays bring, Sweet Addict Bakery offers classes on how to cook, bake, and decorate several holiday-themed foods. Among these foods are gingerbread cake rolls, English toffee, eggnog crème brulee, Linzer cookies, Christmas pies, and more.   However, these classes do land on the more expensive side, with prices ranging from $40-50 per class.

Events

Colorado Springs has an eclectic set of annual events that it hosts around the holidays. A lot of them occur towards the beginning of December, but a few are saved for later in the holiday month.

One is the Annual Holiday Audubon Christmas Bird Count, which takes place on Dec. 17 at Garden of the Gods. This event is $5 and includes hiking and bird counting for the nation’s longest-running community science bird project.

If you happen to be here for the New Year, the Springs puts its own twist on the “Times Ball Drop” to include its most iconic landmark: Pikes Peak. Every year, fireworks are launched at the top of Pikes and can be seen from anywhere in town – including your cozy Loomis dorm.

Another annual event is the Manitou Springs Fruitcake Toss, which is compiled of four different events: distance, accuracy, balance, and basket toss. The toss requires a $1 entry fee and will take place on Jan. 28 – a great way to kick off the New Year and beginning of second semester.

This time of year brings several opportunities to engage with our Colorado Springs community, and what I have presented here does not include them all. If none of these ideas piqued your interest, I encourage you to see what else our college town has to offer to make the Springs feel a bit more festive. Happy holidays!

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