Salida has been the recipient of some major attention, earning monikers that range from “Best Unsung Mountain Town” and one of “America’s Coolest Towns for Outdoor Adventure.” The city’s residents, however, simply call Salida home — while reveling in the arts and outside recreation at their doorsteps, of course.
See what all the buzz is about for yourself: Here are three ways to love Salida like the people who live there.
Things to See & Do
SteamPlant Event Center and Riverside Park are the places to be if films, concerts and cultural events top your travel bucket list. Beat the summer heat by sipping hazy IPAs and rich stouts at Colorado Brewers Rendezvous (early-October). Or, sway to sweet solos at the Salida Jazz Fest (mid-August) and enjoy a bouquet of wine, food, music and art at Salida WineFest (mid-September).
In addition to fun festivals, Salida boasts a nationally renowned arts scene. The town is home to 20-plus artist studios and galleries including Leslie Jorgensen Fine Art, Four Winds Gallery and The Maverick Potter. Plan your visit around the annual Salida Art Walk (mid-Summer) for a weekend filled with pop-up galleries, art demos and street performances.
Need to recharge after all that art walking and festival dancing? Soothe your tired — but happy — feet in the natural mineral waters of the Salida Hot Springs Pool. Then leash up your doggo for a casual stroll along the Arkansas River or downtown, where most businesses will have a refreshing bowl of water waiting for four-legged travelers. Many restaurants also welcome pups on their patios — but call to ask before you head out. And don’t miss Loyal Duke’s Dog Park on Holman Avenue, where good boys and girls can run, fetch, tumble and play.
Wet your whistle with some of Salida’s finest Liquid Arts™ — and don’t forget to take a few bottles home with you! Woods High Mountain Distillery stirs things up with their rotating menu of classic cocktails that incorporate some crafty Colorado twists. Schedule a tour or just stop on by to try an Elderflower Liqueur Mountain Collins or Malt Whisky Manhattan. At Vino Salida, choose from a full-bodied menu of house-made wines and honey meads, all of which pair nicely with the light bites offered in the tasting room.
When the crisp mountain air kicks your appetite into overdrive, you’ll have plenty of choices for quieting tummy rumbles. Kick off your day at Little Red Hen Bakery, where you’ll find treats like cinnamon rolls, hand pies and gluten-free scones, all baked that morning while you were still sweetly slumbering. Tuck into pizzas, fresh pastas and salads — loaded with locally sourced ingredients — at Amicas Salida, where the veggie lasagna is to die for. Sweetie’s Sandwich Shop is a local lunchtime favorite, offering a variety of hot and cold sammies whose names are as flavorful as their ingredients. (Think Vincent Vega, Blue Steel and #23 — The Michael Jordan of Sandwiches.) Dine in or grab one to take with you on your hiking, biking or rafting excursions.
With its close proximity to the Arkansas River and several nearby fourteeners, Salida is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. Water lovers can hook up with area outfitters, who can provide both guided tours and all the gear you’ll need for float trips down the Arkansas. Choose your own river adventure via raft, tube, kayak or stand-up paddleboard. You can also swimsuit up and make your way to the Salida Whitewater Park, filled with human-made whitewater features that guarantee a good time.
Plan your summer travels around FIBArk, the nation’s oldest whitewater festival and Salida’s signature event. Cheer on the competitors or participate in one of the many events — including river, foot and mountain bike races — to celebrate summer and the Arkansas River as the locals do.
Prefer to stay dry? Then you’ll be pleased to learn that Salida is home to some primo mountain bike trails. Pack a lunch, fill your water bottle and clip in to enjoy area faves, like the advanced-level Monarch Crest Trail to Silver Creek and South Fooses Creek, which is perfect for intermediate riders.
And the two-wheeled fun doesn’t stop when the snow starts falling. Hop on a fat bike to cruise your way through a pristine winter wonderland. Or, grab your skis and get ready to shred the gnar at locally beloved Monarch Mountain. Here you’ll find an easygoing vibe, plenty of family-friendly slopes and more than 350 inches of fresh powder each year. Who said paradise has to have palm trees?