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Visit Salida, Colorado and one of the state’s first designated Creative Districts, during FIRST FRIDAYS June 2 through October 6

The Salida Creative District hosts five First Friday events in downtown Salida during Summer 2023. Image courtesy Salida Creative District

Galleries and creative businesses in downtown Salida’s Creative District will be open late every first Friday of the month. Enjoy painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, plein air, printmaking, jewelry, fiber arts, and animatronics.

Want to beat the late afternoon heat? Drop into one of more than 20 of Salida’s art galleries and creative businesses where you can make a personal connection with the artist, ask questions abut their inspirations and techniques, watch a demo and build your own art collection.

Color in your personal art palette

Stop by the Creative District tent during First Friday and pick up a blank palette card. Just like a passport book, take your blank palette into any gallery and receive a stamp for your visit.

Fill in all the colors of the palette with stamps from galleries, and return your completed palette to the Creative District tent to receive a memento.  Limited to 18 years and older and one per household.

Watch for the shimmery flags outside each venue

Art is a work in progress and artists are always on the move. See individual galleries and businesses for their hours and schedule of events such as demos, lectures, live music, etc.

Stroll the F Street Pedestrian Plaza and don’t forget First Street

The F Street Pedestrian Plaza is now open for it’s third summer season. Shops, restaurants and bars from the 200 block of F Street down to the Arkansas River are welcoming locals and visitors to wander, shop and dine, with more pop-up outlets starting to appear in the street itself. There are shaded pergolas, Adirondack chairs and other seating to help you relax as you promenade — and no vehicle traffic on F Street to worry about.

And there’s more. Turn left or right at the traffic light and stroll along First Street. There’s numerous galleries, shops, food and beverage options running from G Street eastward all the way to E Street.

Planning your visit? Make an afternoon or evening of it

Put your name and phone number in at downtown restaurants and while you wait for your meal, pop into the air-conditioned galleries and feast your eyes on original art. You’ll find people happy to tell their stories, hold, wrap and even ship your collectibles home. And don’t forget, come back for the “Magic Steve” Community Art Stage which debuts on June 10. It’s free and open to the public to reserve for your own performing arts group or just pause, listen, watch, join in, and dance as creativity unfolds.

Parking within an easy walk

Downtown Salida parking

Fresh mountain air and ample free parking are available all around the downtown core. Your options include the large lot at the lower F Street turnaround (beyond the bridge), at the Boat Ramp, East and West Sackett Avenue, as well as the lot on West First and G Street, at nearby Safeway, and adjacent blocks of D, E, G, First, Second, Third, and Fourth Streets.

Everything is within walking distance, even for families with small children. (Fido also needs a walk and a chance to check out other well-behaved canines, all on leashes of course, in this dog-friendly city).

A stroll through shady Riverside Park or along the Arkansas Riverwalk is not to be missed. You can head either west from F Street and go all the way upstream past the Salida SteamPlant Event Center (and its Paquette Gallery and Sculpture Garden) or go east and downstream to City Hall (the Touber Building) at East First and B Street.

Arkansas River flowing at 2,050 cubic feet per second (cfs) on May 31, 2023 as reported at the Badfish Surf Shop on East First St. in Salida. Merrell Bergin photo

Dip your toes in and watch the latest attractions of surfers on the mighty Scout Wave (be careful, this time of the year the wave is high, running some 2,000 cfs), or enjoy a quiet picnic on nearby tables and benches while you spot rafters, tubers, fishermen, and others on the water.

For more information on First Fridays, the Salida Community Stage or any questions involving the Salida Creative District, you can follow them on Facebook or visit the Salida Creative District website.

Featured image: The F Street Pedestrian Plaza is (he)arts-central during the Salida Creative District’s “First Friday events, Summer, 2023. Tina Gramann photo