Back in the old days, Pueblo was a bustling mining community where people came to make their fortune in the gold rush. Frequented by characters like the legendary Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickcock, it had something of a rough and ready reputation, with scores of seedy saloons and brothels. These days, it’s a cosmopolitan city packed with trendy bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. It’s not forgotten its past though, offering both visitors and locals the chance to celebrate its heritage with a rich variety of museums and attractions. If you’re planning a visit, be sure to check out some of these 20 best things to do in Pueblo, Colorado.
20. Take a walk on the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk
If you want to stretch your legs, head for the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk. Inspired by the iconic San Antonio Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas, the riverwalk was built in an effort to attract trade and tourists to the city. Suffice to say, it’s done an excellent job on both counts. The mile-long walk will take you past lovely gardens, historical sights, and quirky art installations. If you get tired of walking, hop on a boat and enjoy a pleasant float along the waterway. If you come on the weekend, you might even be lucky enough to catch a festival or one of the regular riverside movie nights.
19. Stroll around Union Avenue Historic District
As The Crazy Tourist notes, the Union Avenue Historic District is a great place to start a tour of the city. Back in the early days of Pueblo, it served as the city center, with streets lined with old-fashioned saloons and more than just a handful of brothels. They’ve all gone now, but enough boutiques, local businesses, and cafes have taken their place to make it a fascinating place to spend a few hours. As part of Pueblo’s ‘Creative Corridor,’ it’s a must-visit for art and culture buffs, with tons of galleries and museums to explore.
18. Indulge your sweet tooth at Mauro Farms Bakery
If you can’t resist a sweet treat, be sure to check out the tempting goods on offer at Mauro Farms Bakery. Established in 1963, it offers a tempting selection of top-quality treats like sweet breads, biscotti, Italian cookies, and candies. According to Vacation Idea, the best thing to try is the best-selling Potica, a thinly rolled gourmet sweet bread stuffed with various fillings. They also sell some top-quality coffee beans, so be sure to pick some up before you leave.
17. Spend an evening at Songbird Cellars
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy an evening of entertainment in Pueblo, look no further than the Songbird Cellars. The venue, which is conveniently located in the very heart of the city, doubles up as both a musical event space and a tasting room. The handcrafted fruit wines and house blends always go down a treat, offering customers the chance to sip on some award-winning tipples as they enjoy a show.
16. Camp out at San Isabel National Forest
If you feel like heading out into the wild, the San Isabel National Forest has everything you need to ensure a fun day. It’s a lovely place to hike, although be prepared for a challenge – as home to 19 of the state’s 53 fourteeners (i.e. peaks over 14,000 feet high), including Mount Elbert, the highest point in Colorado, you’re guaranteed some sore muscles at the end of it. It’s also a great place to enjoy a camping experience, with numerous traditional and RV campsites scattered around. If you’d prefer a little more comfort, there’s a lovely selection of charming historic cabins to rent.
If baked goods are what you’re craving, Hopscotch Bakery has you covered. You’ll have to drive a long way to find anything near as good as what they dish out to their customers. Founded in 2005, the bakery hand-makes all of its goods fresh on-site, guaranteeing the kind of tasty eats that’ll have you coming back for more. Just some of the delicious offerings to try include the best-selling white chocolate lavender scones, orange beast rolls, kitchen sink cookies, and raspberry croissants. There’s also a fantastic selection of sandwiches and salads if you’d prefer something savory.
14. Meet the animals at Pueblo Zoo
If you’re looking for the kind of place the whole family can enjoy, look no further than the fun-packed Pueblo Zoo. It’s home to over 400 animals and 120 species, offering visitors the chance to meet lions, otters, and a whole lot more besides. On top of that, there’s a ton of fun activities to enjoy, including otter feedings and Keeper Talk activities like Lion Keeper Talk, Mystery Keeper Talk, and the African Painted Dogs Keeper Talk.
13. Enjoy a performance at Steel City Theatre
The Steel City Theatre is one of the best places in Pueblo to catch a performance. The company covers a wide variety of productions, from musicals and Broadway shows to concerts and musical performances. Check out the listings before your visit so you know what to expect.
12. Take a dance class with Grupo Folklórico
If you’re in the mood for something a little different, then local dance company Grupo Folklórico has just the thing. The group offers regular classes that are perfect for learning some of the local dance styles of the area. If you were born with two left feet, they also put on monthly dance recitals and shows where you can soak up some local flavor without having to embarrass yourself on the dance floor in the process.
11. Take the kids to Buell Children’s Museum
Described as a perfect hang-out spot for families and kids by travelaspire.com, the Buell Children’s Museum in the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center offers visitors the chance to spend a fun and engaging day checking out its interactive exhibits. Regularly ranked as one of the best children’s museums in the US, it features a range of galleries all based around a different theme. Other key attractions to check out include the enduringly popular El Pomar Magic Carpet Theater and the Artrageous Studio, where little ones are encouraged to tap into their creative side and create their own little masterpieces. If you have toddlers, be sure to stop by the Buell Baby Barn.
10. Tour the Steelworks Museum
Set in the historic Colorado Fuel and Iron Company administrative building, the Steelworks Museum is a great place to discover more about Pueblo’s industrial heritage. It boasts a fascinating collection of exhibits that showcase the coal mining and steel production histories of the area, together with displays on the history of its railroads, workforce, and more besides. The museum building is just as wonderful as the exhibits, so be sure to check out the architecture while you’re there.
9. Step back in time at Rosemount Museum
If you want to take a trip back in time, take the advice of tripbuzz.com and pay a visit to Rosemount Museum. The 37 room mansion was built in 1893 and served as the home of the John A. and Margaret Thatcher family for 75 years. Today, it gives visitors the chance to explore the luxurious rooms and admire the opulence of how it was in its heyday. The furnishings, paintings, custom panelings, window treatments, and accessories are all as they were when the mansion was first built, offering an intriguing insight into a very different (and very grand) age.
8. Get wet and wild at Whitewater Park
Walking along the Arkansas River is always a pleasant way to spend a few hours, but if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy the water that will get your adrenaline pumping. A visit to Whitewater Park always guarantees a ton of wild and wet adventure. Just a few of the activities you can sign up for include kayaking, bodyboarding or even surfing.
7. Visit Weisbrod Aircraft Museum
Aviation enthusiasts are guaranteed to get a big kick out of Weisbrod Aircraft Museum. Home to the largest collection of military memorabilia in Pueblo, not to mention the International B-24 Memorial Museum, it’s a fascinating place where visitors of all ages can enjoy a fun day checking out the exhibits while learning plenty of fascinating facts in the process. Along with the historical artifacts, there’s also a huge assortment of airbase support equipment, military vehicles, authentic military uniforms, and arms. There’s even a fine collection of military aircraft to enjoy.
6. Visit Pueblo Heritage Museum
According to its official website, the Pueblo Heritage Museum, Pueblo, ColoradoPueblo Heritage Museum “seeks to preserve, promote, and interpret the heritage of Southeastern Colorado and the plurality of its peoples.” It achieves its aim with a collection of exhibits like the Carlisle Collection, the Buddy Johnson Exhibit, and the Kay Key Carriages – fascinating displays that showcase Pueblo’s rich history. While you’re at the museum, be sure to stop by the Edward Broadhead Library on the second floor, which is packed with publications about Pueblo’s past.
5. Relax at Lake Pueblo State Park
If you’re hoping to enjoy some first-rate outdoor adventure while you’re in Pueblo, you’re in luck. Lake Pueblo State Park is a fantastic site for recreation, offering visitors the chance to enjoy a vast assortment of recreational activities in its gorgeous landscape. Just a small selection of the kind of things you can expect to enjoy here include hiking, archery, and touch football. You can also enjoy some extreme watersports and fantastic fishing on the lake. If you decide to extend the fun over a couple of days, you’ll find plenty of campsites scattered around the park, ranging from the basic to the luxurious.
4. Visit the Nature & Wildlife Discovery Center
Recommended as one of the best things to do in Pueblo by usecheep.com, the member-supported, non-profit Nature & Wildlife Discovery Center boasts a range of facilities, picnic areas, and education programs to enjoy. Set in a beautiful location along the Arkansas River, visitors are invited to walk, blade or bike along its peaceful riverside trails, cast a line on the picturesque fishing deck, or check out the birds of prey at the Raptor Centre (top tip: visit at 11:30 AM on Saturday or Sunday to enjoy one of the free bird of prey presentations).
3. Enjoy the rides at City Park
Pueblo might be a small city, but there’s nothing small about City Park. Established in 1904, the park easily ranks among the biggest and best in Colorado. Just some of the amenities and activities on offer include a disc golf course, amusement park rides, and a historical old-fashioned antique carousel. There are also plenty of shaded picnic spots to enjoy some alfresco dining.
2. Check out the restaurants in the Old Town
Pueblo might be a relatively small city, but its restaurant scene is buzzing. To check it out for yourself, head for the Old Town, where you’ll find an amazing range of restaurants boasting a fabulously diverse range of cuisines, including Italian, Greek, Polish, Irish, and German. Mexican flavors are huge here, thanks in no small part to the Pueblo mascot of a green chili pepper. The best local dishes to try include green pork chili and the Slopper, a big, juicy hamburger topped with spicy green chili sauce.
1. Visit El Pueblo History Museum
History buffs shouldn’t miss the chance to visit El Pueblo History Museum while they’re in Pueblo. A showcase for the town’s rich history and culture, it’s got a fascinating array of permanent exhibits. The highlight is a painstakingly accurate reconstruction of an adobe trading post and plaza from the 1840s, along with the archaeological excavation site of the original trading post. Along with the permanent displays, there’s a constantly revolving series of temporary exhibits that guarantee you’ll always have something new to enjoy, no matter how often you visit. While you’re there, be sure to check out the huge art collection with its fascinating assortment of artworks and photographs that highlight the lives of some of the area’s past inhabitants.