Affordable arts in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

This up-and-coming town in the heart of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains has a flourishing but affordable art scene. Stroll through the town’s compact downtown and browse the more than 20 art galleries, most of them set in restored Victorian buildings.

Green Cat

Located in a former firehouse, this fine art gallery and studio displays original pieces by owner Steph Brady and her husband Joe. Established in 2001, the space has picture windows facing “S” Mountain, paintings hanging on cream-colored walls, and Steph’s long work table in the back. There, she uses a variety of media to create abstract glass sculptures of Aspen leaves, watercolor-pastels of farm animals, and Picasso-inspired nudes. The gallery also sells Joe’s wood-and-stone sculptures, which might include a duck carved from Kansas limestone on a walnut base. Giclées (digital prints) of Steph’s paintings are available, as well.

Brodeur Art Gallery

Housed in a red-brick building in the downtown district, this contemporary art gallery displays the Impressionistic and abstract paintings of owner Paulette Brodeur. Executed in oil, acrylic, and mixed media, her work represents an eclectic variety of themes, with subjects ranging from a black horse to a purple mountain landscape, a French café, and a trailer park barbecue. In addition to traditional white walls and hardwood floors, the gallery space has quirky touches like old leather chairs, a colorful mosaic table, and the occasional sounds of Paulette practicing her saxophone.

Laughing Ladies Restaurant

Reasonably priced New American dishes (orange-roasted free-range chicken with almond quinoa, grilled portobellos with goat-cheese salsa) are the draw at the Laughing Ladies Restaurant; the owners also run the cheap and cheerful Downtown Bakery around the corner.

Downtown Bakery, Salida

The bakery is run by the same people as Laughing Ladies Restaurant around the corner.

Beddin' Down Bed, Breakfast and Horse Hotel

You’ll find inexpensive rooms and warm hospitality at this contemporary, sprawling, light-filled log cabin anchoring a 17-acre ranch. Horses and dogs are welcome.

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