(PUEBLO, Colo.) — “Small town vibes, under big open skies,” is how the Greater Pueblo Chamber describes the city in the midst of a revitalization.

Pueblo’s city leaders have dreams of bringing the city back to its heyday with a bustling downtown and busy city center. But, even as the city works on renovating its infrastructure, there’s still plenty to see and do.

“I would suggest they start at the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk that’s just right off the highway,” said Mayor Nick Gradisar. “Start there, take a walk around the Riverwalk and take a look at some of the architecture, and visit the historic shopping district.”

The city of around 113,000 people is known for its diverse population, food, and history.

“It was basically built by people who came from all over the world to make steel,” said Gradisar. And, the influences from all those cultures can still be felt today.

“Those restaurants have been in families for sometimes two or three generations, and those shops,” said Gradisar. “Gagliano’s Market, where you can get a sandwich, or shop and get Italian food. The Mill Stop Restaurant, a couple of generations there of fantastic Mexican food.”

Pueblo, a city long known for its steel, has branched out.

“Steel still plays a very important part in our economy here, but it’s not the dominant factor that it used to be when I was growing up,” said Gradisar. “When I was growing up, it used to be that the economic fortunes of the town would rise or fall on what was going on at the mill.”

Over the years, Pueblo has focused on diversifying its economy.

“We don’t want to be dependent upon the military or federal government to provide all our jobs,” said Gradisar.

And one area the city has really expanded in, is its renewable energy.

“We have premier solar fields in Pueblo,” said Gradisar. “The Mill is now being run almost exclusively off of solar energy. Think about that, 300 megawatts of power it takes to operate that new one that’s being generated by the sun and by renewable energy.”

Gradisar is working on transferring the city’s fleet to electric, and CS Wind America Inc., the largest wind tower manufacturing plant in the world, now calls Pueblo home.

“They’re going to build almost exclusively all the land towers they use in North America right here in Pueblo,” said Gradisar.

The city is also home to other manufacturers and high-tech engineering companies.

“My goal has been to try to get us going in a direction where we have an economy in this community where every young person who wants to stay in Pueblo is able to find a job or a career to do that, and nobody has to leave Pueblo in order to earn a living,” said Gradisar.

Most of those who live in Pueblo, love Pueblo, and many of them choose to stay or return after college.

“I was born and raised on the South Side, I’m a south-sider,” said Gradisar. “If you know anything about Pueblo, we take pride in which high school we went to, not just for the high school years, but for as long as we live. If a Puebloan asks another Puebloan where they went to school, they know what they are talking about and it’s not college.”

The pride of Pueblo is as strong as the steel the city makes.

“We’re proud of our community, we’re proud of where we came from, we’re proud of where we’ve been, we’re proud of where we’re going,” said Gradisar. “We’ve got a bright future to look forward to and I think we’re proud of that.”

There’s a lot for Pueblo to be proud of too.

“We’ve got a terrific park system, a terrific trail system, we have fantastic outdoor amenities,” said Gradisar. “As a result of all these cultural groups that came to Pueblo, we’re a very diverse community and I think that makes Pueblo more tolerant than other communities in the state of Colorado.”

Pueblo’s rich history means plenty of places for history buffs to explore.

“You can visit the Steelworks Museum and you’ll see they have the history there of how the steel mill came to be and it’s right next to the steel mill,” said Gradisar.

There are also a lot of outdoor activities for nature lovers too.

“The Arkansas River Trail, the Fountain Creek Trail, you can ride on your bicycle or walk or run, if you have that kind of stamina, from the Pueblo Dam to Colorado State University Pueblo without getting on a public street,” said Gradisar. He also noted the Pueblo Reservoir is the most widely visited state park in Colorado.

And with lots of sunshine, it is the perfect place to get outdoors.

“We’ve got more than 300 days of sunshine a year, might be a little chilly now, but the sun is shining, and when the sun is shining how can you feel blue?” asked Gradisar.

Most who have been to Pueblo have visited the Riverwalk or the reservoir, but Gradisar said there are a lot of other hidden gems in town, just waiting to be discovered.

“To the visitor here, the new person coming here, get out and explore, get off the interstate, and when you do that, you’re going to find a lot of Pueblo that you love.”