AOL PICK from our Editors
The mall once ruled shopping in Colorado Springs. No longer. Now, it’s gone outdoors again. The city still has two major indoor malls: The Citadel, which dates back to the '70s, and Chapel Hills Mall, which followed a decade later. Unfortunately, both now have empty spaces. Macy’s closed its store at The Citadel. Burlington Coat Factory now occupies anchor store spots at both malls. With Colorado’s mostly great weather, shoppers don’t mind wandering from store to store outside—in fact, they prefer it. Most of the city’s best shopping is in neighborhood enclaves, like Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs.
Neighborhood: Manitou Springs
While other shopping areas are struggling to stay alive, Manitou has exploded with unusual and fun stores. There’s BearWorks & Wearhouse, where you can design your own teddy bear; RetroMoto Toys, with unusual and creative gifts for kids; Ruxton’s Trading Post, with cowboy and Indian antiques; the Olive Tap, where you can sample olive oils from all over the world; D’Vine Wine, where you can do wine-tastings; and Commonwheel Artist’s Co-op, featuring locally made pottery. We especially enjoy a visit to the Business of Art Center to watch local artists at work. There’s also a great candy shop or two. Dozens of other shops sell everything from fine art to silly souvenirs. Even non-shoppers are amused and entertained.
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While “the mall” gave way to “lifestyle centers” that are really just glorified strip malls, the Promenade Shops at Briargate nevertheless brought some new stores to Colorado Springs, including Pottery Barn, Coldwater Creek, Chico’s, and Williams and Sonoma. There’ also a White House/Black Market, an Eddie Bauer store, Ann Taylor, J. Jill and Loft. Chain restaurants here include California Pizza Kitchen, P.F. Chang’s, Biaggi’s and Ted’s Montana Grill.
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Neighborhood: Castle Rock
About 45 minutes north of Colorado Springs, the Outlet Shops at Castle Rock were once the Springs’ answer to bigger, better shopping, but many of its stores have closed in recent years. Still, there are some good choices of stores not in the Springs—including Eddie Bauer, Calvin Klein, Gap, Coach, Jockey, Bass, Adidas, Guess and Van Heusen. There’s a puny food court and a few nearby chain restaurants, if you visit during lunchtime. (Or you can go into town and dine at several excellent local restaurants.) There’s tons of free parking and prices are often good, but sometimes not—it pays to know what things cost elsewhere.
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Neighborhood: Old Colorado City/West Side
Old Colorado City, on the west side of Colorado Springs, offers unique stores including the Michael Garman Gallery, featuring the local artist’s world-famous sculptures of cowboys and airmen, sports figures and bums. Garman also has created a Magic Town full of these very characters. Boutiques here include Mountain Moppets and Piramide Boutique. Meadow Muffins features burgers, brews and bands, and then there’s the Colorado City Creamery, a favorite place to stop for an ice cream cone on a hot afternoon. Southwestern art and jewelry, and antiques and imports from Mexico offer treasures that are much more than souvenirs.
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Though downtown’s major department stores are long gone, there are some fun and unusual shops worth visiting. Poor Richard’s combines a restaurant, a packed used-books store, a coffee and wine bar and a wonderful toy store with a delightful array of games and the best hand puppets this side of “Sesame Street.” At the Savory Spice Shop, the smells alone will entice you to cook. One-of-a-kind clothing stores, such as Regina’s Unique Boutique, and Kirk and Hill are among the mix, as are a few kitchen shops and import stores with exotic goods. Coffee roasters, bars, clubs and good restaurants can also be found here. When shopping here we make sure not to miss CJ Kard irreverent greeting cards.
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