Travel Nurse Assignments: Live Like a Local – Pueblo, CO!
Welcome to Pueblo, CO! Just 2 hours south of Denver, Pueblo is a blue-collar community situated in the high desert of southern Colorado. Known as the Steel City, Pueblo is one of the largest steel-producing cities in the United States. The abundance of jobs in the steel industry, and recently in healthcare, has attracted immigrants from around the world since the early 20th century and contributed to the city’s cosmopolitan and multicultural identity. The city is also one of the most affordable places in the nation in terms of cost of living, and the average home price is only $192,500. With an abundance of outdoor recreation, eclectic bars and restaurants, and a revitalized downtown area, more and more people are discovering one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets.
Lake Pueblo State Park
Lake Pueblo State Park is one of the gems of the area, located just 15 min east of downtown. The lake provides 4,600 surface acres of water and 60 miles of shoreline for visitors to enjoy. It’s also a mecca for boating and fishing, with plenty of boat launches for easy access. In addition to the lake, 10,000 acres of parkland offer plenty of trails for hiking and biking and is also home to a diverse array of wildlife. There are also three campgrounds in the state park if you’re looking for an overnight stay.
Pueblo is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, and there are countless opportunities for activities like hiking, mountain biking, and river rafting. The city is close to San Isabel National Forest which spans nearly 3 million acres. This national forest contains 23 of Colorado’s 54 fourteeners, which are mountains that are over 14,000 feet in elevation. You can reach the summit of most of these peaks in a day hike, without the use of specialized climbing equipment. Two of the most popular peaks are Pikes Peak, which you can also drive up, and Mt. Elbert, the tallest mountain in Colorado at 14,433 ft. Both hikes are rated as easy and are perfect if you’re looking to conquer your first fourteener. San Isabel is also great for climbing, camping, wildlife viewing, and OHV riding.
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The Wet Mountains are another popular recreation spot, just a short drive east of Pueblo. These mountains offer plenty of outdoor recreation including hiking, climbing, and horseback riding. There are also 54 unique alpine lakes in the area to explore! Make sure you check out the peaceful mountain town of Westcliffe, with over 200 miles of hiking and biking trails, charming family-owned restaurants, and the Wet Mountains making the perfect backdrop for photos!
Attractions and Museums
The crown jewel of Pueblo is the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk located in the heart of downtown. The riverwalk is a 32-acre urban waterfront experience complete with paved walkways, fountains, natural areas, and tons of great shopping and dining options. You can rent paddle boats and gondolas at the Lake Elizabeth Pavilion and even take a booze cruise with your friends! The pavilion is also a nice spot for events or just hanging out and enjoying the scenery. Other points of interest along the riverwalk include the Boettcher Natural Area, with over 100 different varieties of native plants, and Veterans’ Bridge, which displays the names of over 7,000 U.S. military veterans.
Another worthwhile attraction is the Rosemount Museum, a 37-room Victorian-era mansion that was built in 1893. The Rosemount was home to John A. Thatcher, a prominent businessman in Pueblo, and his wife Margaret. The museum is full of custom decorations, furnishings, and artwork, and guided tours are offered year-round. The Weisbrod Aircraft Museum is also popular with locals and tourists alike. Just 6 miles from downtown, the museum boasts an impressive collection of vintage aircraft ranging from pre World War era to the Cold War era.
Fun Day Trips
There are a couple of fun day trips you can take from Pueblo. Great Sand Dunes National Park is only 2 hours from Pueblo and is well worth a visit. The sand dunes are the tallest in North America and make for a dramatic landscape with the surrounding snow-capped mountains. There are countless activities to enjoy at the dunes including hiking, stargazing, and sandboarding! You can rent sandboards or sand sleds at nearby retail shops, and there are acres of terrain to explore!
Furthermore, you can visit the hot springs in the mountain towns of Salida and Buena Vista. Salida is 2 hours from Pueblo, and Buena Vista is 2.5 hours. There are three public hot springs between Salida and Buena Vista, and you can stay overnight at the Mount Princeton and Cottonwood Hot Springs resorts. The Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center is one of the largest indoor hot springs in the country. They have a six-lane lap pool and a leisure pool, which is naturally heated to a temperature of 97-100 degrees.
Restaurants and Nightlife
Pueblo has an eclectic array of bars and restaurants that are guaranteed to satisfy any appetite! The city has delicious Mexican food, and one of the best places to go is Lobo’s Tacos and Tequila near the Colorado State University-Pueblo campus. They have a full bar with plenty of tequila options, and reasonably priced food. In addition, there are fantastic bars and restaurants in the Riverwalk area. Check out Angelo’s Pizza for yummy New York-style pizza, or try the Clink Lounge or Brues Alehouse for cocktails and craft beer!