Salida’s burgeoning arts community has taken root in the city’s downtown historic district. Artists and small business owners are encouraged to locate here. Salida is ranked 30th in John Villani’s book, “The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America.” Many local artists are nationally known in their respective fields. Passersby can watch as painters, potters, jewelers and sculptors work their magic in their studio galleries. For performing artists, the historic SteamPlant Theater provides an extraordinary riverside setting. In the summer, the Aspen Concert Series, Alpine Orchestra, touring national recording artists and a host of family-oriented festivals make Salida a statewide tourist destination.
Salida’s business profile features a healthy balance of tourism, light industry, and community-supported businesses. As county seat, Salida is the base for hundreds of governmental jobs, while the regional medical center attracts talented health professionals from throughout the region. With average housing prices well below those in most other mountain communities, Salida attracts a diversity of energetic young families, artists, empty nesters and entrepreneurs, all contributing to the city’s economic and cultural vitality.
Salida is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. With six of every seven acres designated public lands, Salida is the perfect base camp for bird watchers, hikers, peak baggers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, trail runners, rock climbers, boaters, anglers, hunters and off-road enthusiasts. In the winter there are designated snowmobile routes, endless backcountry skiing, and it’s just a 20-minute drive to Monarch Mountain ski resort for no frills, big thrills, lift-served skiing and snowboarding. The Arkansas River, a signature feature of the county, passes right through Salida. Depending on whom you talk with, the pristine river is best known for its world class Brown Trout fishing, or world-class kayaking and whitewater rafting. Best yet, there are plenty of natural hot springs in the area, including Salida’s own municipal hot springs pool, that serve as a soothing end to any action-packed day.