With plenty of galleries, events and unique public art installations, Manitou Springs is the perfect place to explore your creative side on the Western edge of Colorado Springs.
Manitou Springs lies on the Westside of Colorado Springs nestled at the literal base of Pikes Peak. This is where the Barr Trail and the Broadmoor Pikes Manitou and Peak Cog Railway lead to the top of America’s Mountain, but there’s more to the small mountain town (population nearly 5,500) than its gateway location. Manitou, as it’s known to locals, has a big heart and an impressive arts scene to match, and it has long been a haven for artists and creators. So it should come as no surprise that Manitou Springs has ranked among the Top 5 Best Small Town Arts Scenes in America by USA Today 10Best.
To determine the rankings, USA Today 10Best editors and travel experts evaluated Manitou Springs’ museums, art galleries, performing arts and busy event calendars, and final rankings were earned by a popular vote by readers.
“The original nomination came from an expert panel, but I don’t think you have to be an expert to enjoy everything that our creative community has to offer,” said Becca Sickbert, executive director of Creative Alliance Manitou Springs. “This is a town that incorporates art into everyday life, whether we’re solving big problems or celebrating key moments together.”
As a certified Colorado Creative District, the arts scene in Manitou Springs is buzzing with galleries, theater performances, museums, and arts organizations, such as the Creative Alliance, which facilitates Art on the Avenue: an arts program that acquires and installs public artwork on and around Manitou Avenue, the main street through town.
In addition, Manitou Springs hosts many signature events that showcase the town’s creative spirit, such as First Friday Art Walks, the Commonwheel Arts Festival, the Emma Crawford Coffin Races, Carnivale Weekend and Manitou Paints. These events help to bring locals and visitors together to enjoy the richness of the town’s arts culture.
“It is an honor to be recognized alongside these other creative communities,” said Manitou Springs City Councilor Natalie Johnson. “The City of Manitou Springs flourishes because we continue to prioritize the arts in all that we do. We work hard to make creativity inclusive and accessible to everyone. Art transcends barriers and is a catalyst for unity.”
The honor comes as Manitou celebrates its 150th birthday this year. “It’s fortuitous timing given our sesquicentennial,” said Leslie Lewis, Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce executive director. “Here we are, celebrating 150 years of city life, and the arts have been vital to the ways this community developed.”
Manitou Springs, which ranked 9th on the Best Small Town Arts Scenes in America list last year, has jumped up four spots to No. 5 for 2022. For more information about the contest and to see what other small towns accompany Manitou Springs on this list, visit USA Today 10Best.
Find more info about events, galleries and more at ManitouSprings.org.