Ready for a night out with someone special? After living in Southern Colorado for two years, my husband and I are always looking for new places for an evening on the town. Check out some of our summer favorites!

The Historic Arkansas Riverwalk, a 32-acre urban riverfront in downtown Pueblo, is a great place to spend a summer evening with your date. Though smaller than its San Antonio counterpart, you’ll feel the same upbeat vibe as you walk the banks in downtown Pueblo just 45 minutes south of Colorado Springs. Restaurants and craft breweries line the walkways until the sidewalk opens onto a grassy slope and band shell which hosts summer concerts. Regular summer festivals include Summer Kickoff; Boats, Bands, and BBQs; Rollin’ on the Riverwalk with fireworks; and the Romoboco Rail Jam. Summer nights after dusk, enjoy a free movie on a large screen under the stars, or book a seat on an excursion boat. For a more personal or romantic venture, rent a pedal boat or try a sunset cruise on a gondola.

This walkable section of downtown Colorado Springs boasts small concert venues, indie coffee shops, craft breweries, and a great variety of restaurants. Tejon offers the works: steakhouses, bistros, pubs, and even a tiny burger joint featured on Food Network’s Dives, Diners and Drive-Ins. We’ve come back to this neighborhood again and again. In the summer, we ask for a table on the patio, hoping for a seat with a view of Pikes Peak.Street parking on North Tejon is free after 6:00 p.m.

Check the Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts, a concert auditorium that seats 2000, for a variety of shows including Barenaked Ladies, Stomp, and the Broadway in Colorado Springs Series. You can also book tickets to the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, which is performing its 90th season in 2017. Look for music ranging from Tchaikovsky to 007: The Music of James Bond.

Next, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs has plays and musicals as diverse as Anthony and Cleopatra, Pride and Prejudice, and original works. After you take in a play, hop across Nevada Avenue to University Village, a multi-use commercial district that’s the vibrant home of dozens of restaurants and pubs for an après-show experience.

A third artsy spot to take your date is the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center in the near north. Colorado College recently took over all the operations and collections of the CS Fine Arts Center. This symbiotic relationship strongly positions the visual and performing arts for residents, visitors to the region, and CC students. Book tickets for live theater or a musical performance, take a two-month ceramics or painting class together, or spend an afternoon at the gorgeous art museum to see Western, Native American, and textile artworks plus internationally traveling exhibits. We recently saw pieces by renowned glass artist Dale Chiluly. When you have finished with a show or a tour of the CSFAC galleries, head a few blocks south to find restaurants and night spots.

If you’ve never heard of the Incline, sit down. The Incline is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes called “the Holy Grail of Colorado cardio,” this trail is located in Manitou Springs, a quaint mountain town six miles west of Colorado Springs. Locals repurposed the patch of bare mountain (originally carved for a cable car carrying pipeline up the mountain) for a workout like none other. If you and your significant other are fitness buffs, hiking the Incline is
for you.

Imagine a 1-mile climb up stairs made of over 2,700 railroad ties… with a 2,000-foot elevation change… and an average grade of 41%. When you think you’ve reached the top, you’ve only crested another hill. The Incline merits its “difficult” trail rating even though world-class athletes using the Incline for training complete it in 30 minutes. Don’t let that scare you! Locals who are fit and accustomed to the altitude reach the summit in an hour, but if it takes you and your date three or four hours, so be it. You’ll be able to say you conquered the Incline, and the view from the top is so worth it.