6 Reasons To Visit CityRock (Even If You Don’t Climb)

This scene is common at CityRock, but it's not the only one.
This scene is common at CityRock, but it's not the only one. Kirsten Akens
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For five years, CityRock has been a gathering spot for rock hounds in Colorado Springs. It boasts 43-foot walls and 15,000-plus square feet of roped climbing that includes an overhanging arch, slabs, and cracks, as well as 3,500 square feet of bouldering surface.

But as of late, CityRock has grown from just a place where you can chalk up your hands and practice your fall into a hub for active-minded outdoor pursuits, as well as a downtown destination for eats, events, and entertainment. The soaring walls illustrate just one of its many roles, paying homage to the building's history as a movie theater (and, these days, as a host of movie nights) with murals by local artists featuring images from classic films like King Kong and Attack of the 50-Foot Woman.

Here, six reasons to check out this great space (even if you aren't a climber).

1. Fill your belly with fab food.

Ute & Yeti is a true public house, offering a family-friendly environment downtown.
Ute & Yeti is a true public house, offering a family-friendly environment downtown. Kirsten Akens

The Ute & Yeti pub and café is a nostalgic throwback with a modern twist. "The Ute" refers to Ute 70, the theater that held residence in the building for many years before closing in 1984. The Yeti is the mascot for UpaDowna , the local outdoor adventure nonprofit that co-founder Steve Hitchcock says receives half of the pub's profits. (Additionally, Hitchcock's nickname is also Yeti.) Opened earlier this year, the Ute & Yeti, nestled in the theater's former concession stand, is a great downtown spot for grabbing a sandwich from a growing and changing menu and a brew (beer or coffee). According to general manager Heather Robinson, about 90 percent of their beer is Colorado-sourced and beans come from locally owned Mission Coffee Roasters.

Ute & Yeti's general manager Heather Robinson  handles the pub's 16 taps.
Ute & Yeti's general manager Heather Robinson handles the pub's 16 taps. Kirsten Akens

2. Catch a movie, surf the Internet, or soak up insights from an adventure-centric speaker.

Robert "Bunny" Mitchell is just one of the locals who's been featured at "Adventure on Tap."
Robert "Bunny" Mitchell is just one of the locals who's been featured at "Adventure on Tap." Kirsten Akens

CityRock also offers a large open space with plenty of seating for both group gatherings (dominoes, anyone?) and solo Internet surfing, with free WiFi. In addition, the space is perfect for events like movie nights and "Adventure on Tap," a monthly speaker series featuring locals discussing their outdoor passions. Robinson plans to add more recurring activities, like trivia nights, and is happy to work with local organizations who need a space to host an event of their own.

3. There are more chances than ever to dive into Downward Dog.

Heads-up, yoga fans: CityRock just finished building out an expansion of its yoga room and added five more classes a week, bringing the weekly total to about a dozen, according to front desk manager and instructor Larissa Phillips. Styles range from vinyasa to power flow and even acrobatic yoga by the locally based AcroDorks. The space also offers a core strength class that's great for climbers and anyone looking to improve stability, balance, and posture.

4. Expand your adventurous horizons.

Cyclists can find a home here too.
Cyclists can find a home here too. Kirsten Akens

Looking to try out another active-minded pursuit? Check out a growing schedule of outdoor-centric events and organizations that meet at CityRock. In April, Gociety hosted a fourteener prep community night at the Ute & Yeti. On May 14, the Women's Mountain Biking Association of Colorado Springs will host its season kickoff here. In addition, plans are in the works between Ute & Yeti and Oskar Blues brewery to start a Thursday night mountain bike ride that will take folks to local trails on a one-to-two hour ride, with specials, giveaways, and the opportunity to demo one of Oskar Blues' custom-made, belt-drive Reeb bikes.

5. Catch the elite action from below.

Even if you don't climb, watching others haul themselves up a wall—especially when those folks are at the top of their game—can be awe-inspiring. In addition, City Rock hosts about 10 competitions annually, ranging from kids to adults.

6. Get great intel on where to test your skills into the outdoors.

Test the skills you've learned at CityRock at local favorite climbing spots like Garden of the Gods.
Test the skills you've learned at CityRock at local favorite climbing spots like Garden of the Gods. G B

As you're prepping to climb outdoors this spring, consider these recommendations from CityRock staff. UpaDowna's Hitchcock suggests Cheyenne Canyon for granite with trad/ice climbing, or Garden of the Gods for sandstone with sport climbing/bouldering. Hitchcock also points out that, because of their relative proximity to the city, both spots can get crowded. Other options include a quick drive to Eleven Mile Canyon , Shelf Road  or Turkey Rocks.

Phillips agrees, saying folks from CityRock often head a bit out of town to Canon City, either to climb Shelf Road or boulder Newlin Creek, a "spot that's popular but there aren't any guide books out to it."

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