When some see that name they think Aspen or Vail with it's overabundance of egos and star studded population of so-called beautiful people - a magical realm of snowy playgrounds for the rich and famous with mountains of caviar and fountains of expensive wines. There is, however, another side of Colorado located on the I-25 corridor in dangerously close proximity to other tourist destinations such as Canon City and Colorado Springs. We're talkin' Pueblo, Baby!!
Forget the rich and pompous, Pueblo has blue-collar roots that reach deep into the Rockies. You won't find the gilded glitz and glam of Aspen or the voracious egos of Vail here either. Instead of white-collar caviar, you may find a plate of blue-collar bull testicles instead. Yup...the other white meat! The Puebloians are a friendly sort - open, and independent. The best thing about Pueblo, however, is that you won't find a Kardashian for miles. The nation’s first self-professed Kardashian Free Zone!
Pueblo has an abundance of outdoor pedestrian art, Rocky Mountain culture and outdoor adventure. Its history is as colorful as a kaleidoscope. It was founded in 1842 as a busy fur trading post and center. Not to mention its impeccable Wild West pedigree - this is where Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday fled to after the shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone and the Vendetta Ride. Wyatt eventually went to Gunnison and Doc remained in Pueblo, hiring himself out as a hired gun during the Colorado Railroad Wars.
The crown jewel of Pueblo is the newly revitalized downtown Riverwalk with a view of Mother Nature’s granite art gallery of magnificent mountains in the background. People watching and pedestrian art along the riverwalk is a pure delight and as colorful as the cover of the Sergeant Pepper album. In addition to members of the human species, there are shops and eateries along the Arkansas River, which has its own unique Rocky Mountain naval flotilla of pleasure watercraft plying the waterway. You can board an excursion boat for a leisurely cruise or a chartered dinner or sunset cruise. There are paddleboats for rent and Good Golly Miss Gondola, you can get your gondola kicks with a ride that’ll make you feel as though you’re in Venice, Italy.
The Riverwalk plays host each year to a variety of festivals and activities including a Booze Cruise, Boats, Bands and BBQ's, an Annual Classic Car Show and badda bing badda boom whiz bang Fourth of July extravaganza known affectionately as Rollin' on the River Fest. So break out your Creedence Clearwater 8-track and party hearty!
Additionally, Pueblo is a hikers and bikers wet dream. The city has an extensive network of hiking and biking trails that loop the city, goes along the Arkansas River and heads out to the reservoir. These trails are also very popular with the inline skating crowd. Pueblo can boast proudly of it's 279 acres of parks and green space, and just west of the city is Pueblo State Park, an outdoor paradise with recreational activities including whitewater rafting, fishing, boating and picnics. It has over 60 miles of shoreline with beaches, and is home to the Rock Canyon Waterslide with slides, paddleboats and bumper boats to bash about in.
The care and concern for wildlife and all things green is a near religious experience in Pueblo. You can visit the Nature and Raptor Rehab Center for injured birds of prey in Rock Canyon on the banks of the Arkansas River, and grab a meal on the grounds at the Coyote Grill. The Pueblo Zoo in town has a bio-park with eco-center that has everything from a rainforest to penguins!!
Union Avenue Historic District, just blocks from the Riverwalk downtown, is a shopping and entertainment complex in a restored brick area and is a full metal jacket of art galleries, bookstores, cafes and entertainment bistros indicative of the types of stores found throughout the city. A few standouts include Back at the Ranch with a line of western wear and tight fitting jeans for cowgirls and dudettes. Gotcha Covered has unique clothing from around the world and Razzamatazz has clothing with designs by local Pueblo artisans.
And Pueblo dining? It runs the gastronomical gamut and gauntlet, where you can bite into a thick juicy steak or enjoy a Zen like tofu and rice fest at one of the veggie eateries. The Farmers Market, in season, has a cornucopia of fresh local produce. And…about those bull testicles…you may have to search for a joint that serves them up in Pueblo. However, this search for the Holy Grail of Balls in Colorado is well worth it. Colorado is famous for its festivals of testicles and, while in Pueblo, you owe it to yourself to sit down and grab the bull by the…eh...balls!
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