Eighth and Pearl is a CNU-Charter Award Winning New Urban Project in Boulder, Colorado. It is definately a vibrant space; this photo taken mid-morning on a Friday.

Colorado Springs, like most cities, includes a handful of places that can be considered a “Third Place.”  By now, you may be wondering ‘What is a third place’?  This is a term that became popular in Ray Oldenburg’s book The Great Good Place published in 1989.  Oldenburg describes a first place as a residence, or where we spend the majority of our time.  A second place can be described as the work place, and therefore the third place is best described as a location away from the first and second places.


The Julie Penrose Fountain in America the Beautiful Park is a fantastic third place, especially on a warm summer day.

Common third places are coffee shops, bars, Laundromats, churches and barber shops.  Some parks can also be considered to be a third place.  Typically, a third place is found in a neighborhood that may be considered to be a “livable community”.  Downtowns with their density typically make great districts for a third place.  Unfortunately, Colorado Springs has very few of these third place districts capable of a third place.  I consider Old Colorado City and the Manitou Springs Historic Downtown areas as two functioning livable communities in the metropolitan area.  Downtown Colorado Springs has many 12-hour third places; however the lack of downtown residential limits the vibrant 24-hour life necessary for what I would consider to be a livable community.  With that in mind, there are still third places outside of the livable communities in Colorado Springs.  The following is my list of known, indisputable third places in Colorado Springs (outside of the Livable Communities Districts of Old Colorado City, Manitou Springs and Downtown Colorado Springs):

  1. Acacia Park:  I’m going to break the rule right off the bat with Acacia Park.  Acacia Park is definitely downtown; however it is worth including in this list.  Acacia Park is always active with people, especially in the summer months when Uncle Wilbur is providing interactive water fun kids of all ages.
  2. Bear Creek Dog Park:  Bear Creek is the City’s largest dog park and includes separated areas for small dogs and large dogs.  It is a very popular park where canines can meet and mingle and predictably know when they will see their fellow canine friends.
  3. Bristol Brewing Company, 1647 S. Tejon Street:  Bristol is a local brewery in the Ivywild Neighborhood in South Colorado Springs.  Accompanying Bristol is a La’au’s Taco Shop stand making food purchases also available with the locally crafted beer.
  4. Dogtooth Coffee Company, 505 E Columbia Street:  Dogtooth is another great coffee shop, whose success is quite inspirational in Colorado Springs.  It was recently constructed and opened in the Old North End Neighborhood and serves a diverse population.  Many of Dogtooth’s patrons walk to Dogtooth and are regulars.  It can be difficult to go into Dogtooth and not see someone that you know, making it a very successful third place in Colorado Springs.
  5. Montague’s Parlour, 1019 S. Tejon Street:  Montague’s is a great coffee shop south of downtown which I only recently discovered.  It is a great place with many comfortable couches and chairs to relax, read a book or meet with clients.  Not to mention that their coffee is pretty good as well.
  6. Poor Richard’s Complex, 320-324 N. Tejon Street:  Poor Richard’s includes four establishments making it a perfect third place.  The suite of Poor Richard’s includes a coffee shop (Rico’s), a bookstore, a toy store and a restaurant.  It is a very inviting and welcoming establishment flirting with the boundaries of being in Downtown Colorado Springs.
  7. Shuga’s Restaurant and Bar, 702 S. Cascade Avenue:  Shuga’s is also a recent addition to the Colorado Springs’ scene and it has been quite successful.  Shuga’s is a bar first (at least in my experiences) and a restaurant second.  The original use of the structure was a single-family home making the third place feeling very natural.  It includes an outdoor patio that is a perfect place in the summer to enjoy a laid-back socializing experience.
  8. Trinity Brewing Company, 1466 Garden of the Gods:  Trinity is another great brewery in northwest Colorado Springs serving a variety of local beers including their own brewed beers.
  9. Wooglins Deli, 823 North Tejon Street:  Wooglins is a popular restaurant open from 7 am to 9 pm which serves an eclectic Colorado College population as well as local businesses and some adjacent residential areas.

If I missed a favorite Third Place favorite of yours, please add it with a comment to this page.  Thank you in advance for your comments!