As soon as you land at Denver International Airport, the statue Blue Mustang (Blucifer) will greet you. The statue earned the nickname Blucifer in an accident during its construction when the statue toppled over and killed the artist who created him. Now, many think the horse is cursed. We locals are divided between love and hate when it comes to the giant horse statue with ominous glowing-red eyes. When you talk to someone from Colorado, they’ll have an opinion about Blucifer’s looming presence.
Most of us like to keep things short and sweet, which is why in Denver you won’t head downtown; instead, you’ll go to LoDo (Lower Downtown). You won’t go bar hopping in the River North neighborhood; instead, you’ll take a cab to RiNo. And Denver’s neighbor to the north isn’t known as Fort Collins — we shorten it to FoCo.
3. “The Springs”
Fort Collins isn’t the only city in Colorado whose name gets colloquially adjusted. There are many towns named after springs in Colorado: Glenwood Springs, Steamboat Springs, Manitou Springs, etc. However, there is only one “The Springs” — Colorado Springs, the city at the base of Pikes Peak. As far as the other Springs, we omit “Springs” entirely when referring to Glenwood, Steamboat or Manitou.
The highest point in Colorado is the summit of Mt. Elbert, at 14,433 feet. Colorado has 53 peaks (or 58 depending on whom you ask) over 14,000 feet, locally known as 14ers. Many locals consider the 14er count a matter of pride, so it’s fairly common to hear, “How many 14ers have you climbed?”
Colorado is a mountain state with the highest mean elevation of all 50 states, 6,800 feet above sea level. Most new transplants to Colorado are flatlanders — moving from states like California, Texas, Florida, and Illinois to live in the mountains. Thanks to the significant elevation difference, flatlanders have a hard time climbing the stairs and finishing their beer when they first move to Colorado, which gave rise to this (mostly, but not always) affectionate nickname.
6. “Happy 303 day!”
March 3rd is known locally as Colorado Day, the unofficial celebration of all things that make this state a great place to live. 303 is the original Denver area code, which made the third day of the third month a natural fit for Colorado Day. You’ll find specials at Denver restaurants like Illegal Pete’s, and lots of radio stations, newspapers and magazines will sponsor events or giveaways. Ironically, March is the snowiest and most unpleasant month of the year, but this holiday helps remind us why we chose to live here anyway.