Salida (sah-LIE-duh) may be the Spanish word for “exit,” but we know when you visit, you will never want to leave our fantastic city. Salida is surrounded by amazing and scenic parks, trails, and drives waiting to be experienced, but the town itself is worth a few days (at least) of exploration as well. As locals, we are proud of the art, food, history, and incredible passion our local businesses pour into their jobs every day. It’s almost impossible to choose our favorite Main Street spots, but here are some of the best downtown sites to visit during your stay with us.
When you’re in a new town, it’s always nice to learn a bit about their history. You can do that in Salida’s local history museum. The museum is a charming collection of family artifacts mixed in with historical pieces from the city and was established by the first city councilwoman, Harriet Alexander, who left $10,000 to the city in her will. As instructed, the city used the money to construct a permanent building for the museum she founded when she was in office. For just $5 ($3 for seniors and $1 for children), you can explore the objects and stories that are important to Salida’s past, and be sure to take little trips out to the historic sites that the museum cares for as well—Smelter Smokestack and the one-room Maysville School.
There’s nothing like following your dreams. It’s what a lot of Salina’s store-owners have done, and for Mark Rittmann and his wife, that dream was to create pottery and teach others to enjoy pottery as well. So, he left his job in the beer industry, and together, they established a beautiful hands-on art studio where residents and visitors take pottery classes or paint pre-made pieces (don’t worry, they can ship your finished piece if need be). Visit the shop on Tuesday evenings for Clay Cafe and play with clay, or just hang out, while partaking in coffee or tea. If you don’t have a crafty bone in your body but love three-dimensional art, check out their gallery with the work of 36 local and regional artists—including, of course, Mark’s own work.
If you enjoy silly sculptures, The Bungled Jungle is the place for you. The two founders, Pat and Suzanne, are experts in the absurd and spend two weeks to a month creating each and every monster, beast, and varmint in their shop. Each piece crafted with up to 13 separate materials from rubber to clay—all interlayered on a metal frame. Even if you don’t have a need for a crazy, fun monster in your life, it’s worth popping in for a look at these genuinely unique sculptures.
If you enjoy learning about spirit-making, Salida has a few excellent local businesses right downtown, and one is the family-owned Wood’s Distillery. Once upon a time, when brothers PT and Lee Wood were camping in the Grand Canyon, they hit upon a brilliant idea—wouldn’t it be fun to make their own whiskey and share it with the world? Unfortunately, they were ahead of their time, and “micro-distilling” wasn’t yet legal, but by 2007, their stars aligned. Shortly after they began to plan in earnest, they stumbled upon the luckiest find—an 1880’s German distilling pot named “Ashley.” By 2012, the brothers and “Ashley” began seriously distilling their small-batch hand-crafted spirits in downtown Salida. Join one of the 4 pm distillery tours to learn how their whiskeys and gins are made, or just visit the tasting room to try their unique cocktails or spirits on the rocks.
For those who prefer beer, there are several breweries downtown as well. Soulcraft Brewing was named for the Bad Brains song, “Soul Craft,” with the lyrics: “Life is all or nothing / Don’t forget to seek and pray / Peaceful direction in this unity…Live in the soul craft / Cause you got the soul craft…” For founder, Mike LaCroix, these lyrics remind him to be grateful in life and strive to be his best. That’s the kind of attitude he brings to his business. He uses his passion for brewing and puts it into the community—crafting unique, quality craft beers and creating an atmosphere of a hometown brewery. With 16 beers on tap and a rotating list of local food vendors (Italian, Mexican, Vietnamese, and Thai), you could go back every day and have a different experience—each one of them fantastic.
We love the local art here in Salida! We have so many artists and galleries that you can make a day of it, but one of our favorite places is Gallery 150. Gallery 150 is truly a labor of love by nationally-recognized goldsmith artists, Jerry Scavezze and Toni Tischer. They recognized the need for a shared gallery space as Salida became an art-mecca and worked under the advice of another nationally-recognized local artist, Charles Frizzell, to open Gallery 150. In 2007, they had so many artists that they needed more space to display everything. After adding a room, they now have the space to show everything from small pieces of jewelry to large pieces of furniture. Over the years the gallery has also expanded to include not only local artists but artists from across America, all lovingly curated from Jerry Scavezze’s travels around the country. Pop in to view the art and maybe take something home to remind you of your trip!
Every Main Street has at least one great antiquing shop, and Salida is no different. We have several, but one of the best in town is Log Cabin Antiques. In business for 40 years, this family-run antique shop displays truth in advertising because not only do they have the main shop, they also have 5 log cabins filled with treasures. Fun fact: one of the cabins was the home of Chief Ouray, a Ute tribe chief who negotiated with D.C. on behalf of the Utes. You can spend hours sorting through the various offerings (from furniture to primitives to antique toys) and never get bored. Be sure to say “hi” to the owners—they’re some of the nicest people around!
The largest indoor hot springs pool in the country is located right here in Salida. The water in the pools is piped from the underground springs eight miles away to fill the center’s six-lane and smaller play pool. The six-lane pool stays at around 84°–86° to prevent swimmers from overheating while exercising, while the small pool runs hotter at close to 100°, and with a zero-depth entry that slants gradually to a maximum of 4-feet, it’s perfect for children and aqua-therapy. Both pools are equipped with ADA lifts for any family members with mobility concerns. While you’re enjoying the waters, take a look around. The building was constructed in 1937 as a Work Projects Administration (WPA) project, and though it’s had a few facelifts over the years, much of the original work remains as it was.
Salida’s turned into quite the foodie destination! It’s too difficult to choose a favorite restaurant, but here are a few of the local favorites.
Organic and local produce are combined to create some of the most delicious Mexican fare in the city. Ride your bike to the restaurant for free bicycle parking at the entrance, and to have the full experience, get a table by the river to enjoy the beautiful view while delighting your taste buds.
Self-described community taphouse and scratch kitchen, Amicas prides itself on using local, clean ingredients to create some of the best pizza in town. They are also dedicated to improving the community by sponsoring local cultural, educational, and athletic programs with food and profits.
In this town, it’s impossible to choose only one pizza joint! You should also check out Moonlight Pizza and Brewpub, another locally conscious pizza place. Their ingredients are fresh, their sodas are handmade, and their dough is amazing! If you go on Monday, 10% of your sale will go to local community programs.
Patio Pancake Place is a local treasure. Originally a drive-in restaurant opened in 1964, after 12 years the owners, Bob and Jean Edwards, moved to the current sit-down restaurant and never looked back. Now with the help of their children and grandchildren, Patio Place remains in the family and continues to delight generations of Salidans with their homestyle diner food.
A favorite children’s story has turned into everyone’s favorite bakery. Every day 15 types of loaves and rolls are baked, including sourdough, focaccia, rosemary olive oil, French, and gluten-free multigrain. Before you go, check their schedule to find which the day-of-the-week bread is available like their to-die-for cinnamon rolls, whole wheat brownies, hearth oven-baked bread, and egg sammies.
There are many fun festivals throughout the year in Salida, but the most unique and one of the oldest is the FIBArk (First In Boating the Arkansas) Festival. The festival began in 1949, this is one of the best-known whitewater races in the country and over the years has only gotten bigger and better. From the original, miles-long, downstream race, the event has evolved to include slalom, freestyle, and other boat races in addition to bike races, trail running, a Youth Paddling Program, a kid’s oasis, dog contests, and live music. The town is never busier than during the FIBArk, so plan early and come ready to experience the best that Arkansas River and Salida have to offer.
Sometimes it’s nice to get away from it all! Salida offers just that if you’re looking for a relaxing and beautiful vacation with fantastic food and entertainment opportunities. When you’re looking for the perfect place to stay, consider booking a chalet with Creekside Chalets. It’s a short drive from Salida and the ideal location for vacationers who want to enjoy both the city and the mountains. Contact us to learn more about our available chalets.