Colorado Springs is a fast growing city located at the foot of Pikes Peak. The metropolitan area has more than 500,000 people, so it has some characteristics of a good sized city without being too large.
Residents of Colorado Springs will notice the area has a conservative bent as the home to a number of military bases, evangelical Christian organizations like Focus on the Family, and libertarian thinking. Issues like school vouchers, gay rights, taxes, and military involvement can create a lot of community dialogue as a result.
The Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs areas are havens for artists, tourists, and progressives. While in Manitou Springs be sure to bring a cup to sample the bubbling springs that come up out of the ground and designated fountains. After walking around, consider eating at Adams Mountain Cafe, which has great food.
Hiking places abound. For a good view of the Colorado Springs area, head for the overlooks at Palmer Park. Garden of the Gods, Cheyenne Canyon, Bear Creek Park, and the Barr Trail going up Pikes Peak are just a few other hiking areas.
The weather in Colorado Springs is moderated by the mountains and elevation. The overall climate is dry, with cool nights balanced by lots of clear days and a warming sun.
Once you've explored Colorado Springs, head west on highway 24 to get to the Rocky Mountains, and then south to the Great Dunes National Park. Denver is also a short drive to the north.