Crossing into the Western U.S. from the East is a bit like crossing into a new country. There is a western ‘Mason Dixon’ line (that I just made up and would like the patenting rights for) that runs up the eastern borders of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana and after you cross it, feel free to take off your heels, in fact throw those God forsaken things out the window. No need for heels out here. Chaco is the Jimmy Choo of The West.
If there is such a thing as ‘God’s Country’, you’ve just entered it.
There are a myriad of nugget cities (no pun intended) out West, but there is one in particular that completely stole my heart. Its name is Denver and it just so happens to be the fastest growing city in the United States at the moment. Is this thanks to the myriad of health benefits gained from living at ‘high’ (also no pun intended) elevations? Perhaps. Due to the fact that it is one of the strongest economies in the country? Maybe. Because it was named the #1 city in America to live in by US News? You’re getting warmer. These are all fantastic reasons people are flocking to Denver by the Volkswagon busloads, but having lived myself in Denver for eight incredible years, allow me to offer a more homegrown answer.
To start, it is an extremely walkable city, and as a City Planner trained in Denver, I can confidently say the city prides itself on this fact. Unless you want to get off the beaten path and into the mountains, you can easily visit Denver without renting a car. This has become even easier due to the six hundred (and growing) B-Cycle bike rental stations that can be found within a quarter mile from every point across the city. Colorado is the sunniest state in the U.S., with 300 days of sunshine per year, but should you get caught on one of the other 65 days, worry not. You can simply hop on the lightrail (Denver’s tram system) or a bus to get where you are going.
Denver’s proximity to hiking trails, mountain biking trails, and award winning ski slopes is incredible. You can walk out of your front door and be shredding down a fresh powder run within an hour, that is if you set your alarm early enough to get going before the ski traffic starts. If you aren’t much of a mountaineer, you can opt to get some fresh air in one of Denver’s 250 urban parks. Every area of Denver has its own ‘Central Park’ that is programmed with fun events throughout the year, so you will never have to worry about getting bored while visiting this ebullient city.
Next up on the list of why to visit Denver: Beer. Oh my God, their beer. Who cares about their legalized marijuana when you can drink those heavenly micro-brewed elixirs? With over 100 microbreweries, it has rightfully gained the title as the “Napa Valley of Beer”.
But most of all, the overall lifestyle in Denver is something that I haven’t found anywhere else. Add perfect weather, its proximity to The Rockies, its incredible cultural scene, its microbreweries together with some of the most interesting and caring people I’ve ever met, and well, there you have Denver. It is an American Utopia and I can only wish for you that you get a chance to see it for yourself.
Here is a list of some of the coolest Attractions to see while you are visiting.
My recommendations on…
Where to Eat
Root Down (fine dining in an old car repair shop)
Linger (fine dining in an old mortuary!)
Beatrice & Woodsley
Vine Street Pub & Brewery (BEST burgers and beer in Denver!! My suggestions are the basil blue cheeseburger and Colorado Kind Ale!)
City O’ City
Beast & Bottle
Work & Class
El Noa Noa Mexican Restaurant
- Sunscreen (in summer and winter)
- A water bottle. Denver has a high altitude climate and it is important to stay hydrated!
- Good walking / hiking shoes
- In the summer it is HOT, so make sure you pack accordingly.
- In the winter it is COLD, so make sure you pack accordingly.
- Bear Spray. Only Kidding.
It Happened In Denver by Stephen Grace
Showtime: Denver’s Performing Arts, Convention Centers & Theatre District by Thomas Noel
The Bookseller: A Novel by Cynthia Swanson
The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
Best Hikes Near Denver and Boulder by Maryann Gaug