MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Coloradans known Manitou Springs is a gem of a small town, offering everything from hikes to rides to incredible views to some of the best fudge you’ll ever taste. Now Smithsonian Magazine is also taking note, calling it one of the 15 best small towns to visit in 2021.

Manitou Springs

A shop in Manitou Springs (file photo credit: John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The magazine put together the list, saying the pandemic has inspired us to value in-person connections and that’s what small towns offer. Manitou Springs makes the list of 15 communities the Smithsonian says “are prime examples of perseverance and preservation, and reminders of all that we love about small towns in the first place.”

The magazine notes the town with a population of 5,283 is tucked between Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods, making it perfect for anyone who loves the great outdoors. It offers easy-to-moderate trails in the Red Rock Canyon Open Space. Then there’s the recently renovated Manitou Incline which challenges users with 2,768 steps up on the bottom section of Pikes Peak.

Speaking of Pikes Peak, the new green Pikes Peak Visitor Center is now open with more expansive views views but you can still fill up on those world-famous donuts (they built the kitchen around the donut machine.) The historic Pikes Peak Cog Railway has also undergone a recent upgrade with new tracks and new cars plus a plow to break through those snow drifts.

If you’re a shopper, you’ll find plenty to buy as local artists fill up local galleries. And if you have a sweet tooth, look no farther than Patsy’s, which offers what many consider the best fudge in the area as well as caramel corn and salt-water taffy. If you prefer something more substantial, check out the Armadillo Ranch for dinner and live music.

For family fun, you’ll find an arcade filled with rooms and rooms of classic games at Arcade Amusements. The penny arcade offers classic games that dispense tickets and you’ll find plenty of prizes to delight players of all ages.

RELATED: For Second Year In A Row, Boulder Ranked Best Place To Live In America By U.S. News & World Report

Raetta Holdman