13 Reasons Denver Is the Most Underrated City in America
1. Denver has the best damn coffee in the country.
Denver’s combination of rapid growth, strong economy, and already established craft-beer community has primed it for being the hottest new city in the states for those who take their coffee seriously. Here are our favorite places to grab a cuppa in the Mile High City: Crema, Aviano Coffee, Boxcar Coffee, Black Eye Coffee Shop, Happy Coffee, Corvus Coffee, and Ozo Coffee.
2. Denver has the best damn beer in the country.
With 22 craft and artisan breweries in and around the metro area, Denver’s microbrew scene is the nation’s most dynamic. Check out Great Divide or Breckenridge to know how we roll in Denver. Be jealous.
3. We can ski, hike, and swim outside…on the same day.
There aren’t too many places in the United States where you can head up to the mountains to ski, hike a mountain trail on your way back home, then take a few laps in an outdoor pool, all in a 12-hour period. More than a few Denverites can claim that accomplishment, especially in April when all three activities are possible.
4. The world’s greatest outdoor music venue — Red Rocks — is in our backyard.
It started with U2’s seminal concert in 1983. Then other musical acts followed with their concerts from this incredible natural amphitheater. With its dramatic russet sedimentary formations and its panoramic view of the city 15 miles away, Red Rocks is an unforgettable experience. If you go to any other place in the world to see a concert, you know the very best one is waiting for you back at home.
5. Orange and blue courses through our bloodstreams.
Yes, Denver has other sports teams — the lowly Rockies, the even lowlier Nuggets, and the somewhere in-between Avalanche. There’s even a professional soccer team, the Rapids, as well as a semi-pro lacrosse team. But no organization captures the hearts and minds of the city’s people like the Broncos, whether they win or lose. Even in the offseason, Broncomania is everywhere. Get used to it.
6. We are always prepared, like Boy Scouts.
We never leave the house without sunscreen, lip balm, and a Nalgene bottle. Our Boy Scout preparedness applies to more than just clothes. Being at a mile high in elevation means we truly are closer to the sun, as well as a little more oxygen-depleted. That can’t stop us, though. We hydrate and protect, and get on our way.
7. We don’t let iffy weather ruin our fun.
No matter the weather or the forecast, we always dress in multiple layers. Kids raised in Denver learn this lesson early on. A simple t-shirt and pants, no matter how nice the weather currently looks, are often not sufficient. If you’re going to deal with the bone-chill of 22° in the morning and the balmy 60° just a few hours later, you need to be prepared. A fleece vest and a down jacket are staples for anyone from Denver.
8. We’ve got whitewater paddling right downtown.
The confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, just west of downtown, is a prime location for social kayaking, and in spring, during runoff, the whitewater here can actually get pretty intense.
9. Singe-track mountain biking is our after-work happy hour.
Located just west of Lakewood, the trails in Bear Creek Lake Park are good choices for fast, exhilarating rides. The trails aren’t super technical, but there are lots of pleasant dips and rolls, and the relatively gentle terrain makes this a great choice for beginners. There’s a $5 entrance fee.
10. Marijuana is legal.
Even if you don’t smoke pot, eliminating the criminality associated with marijuana is a positive step forward. Of all places in America, Denver is at the forefront of the legalization movement and is a working model for legal, recreational adult use of the drug.
11. We’re not morbidly obese.
What the hell rest-of-America? Eat a salad and take a walk for crying out loud. Denverites stay fit with ample time outdoors and our city’s bike-centric culture.
12. The backcountry is our playground.
Denver is a city on the verge of wilderness and it doesn’t take much driving to be in a truly remote alpine playground.
13. We outgrew being a ‘cow town’ long ago.
Every January, the National Western Stock Show heralds its arrival with a cattle drive down 17th Street. It’s events like these that strengthen the city’s reputation of being stuck in the old frontier days of ranches and cowhands, even as it’s gone through many other identities through history. But as Denver natives will tell you, there’s a lot more here than one big rodeo.
This article references the following sources from Matador:
So America’s hottest new coffee town is…Denver? by Cathy Brown
7 signs you were born and raised in Denver by Janice Schultze
A beer lover’s guide to Denver, CO by Katie Hammel
Escape to adventure: Denver by Tim Patterson
How to enjoy recreational marijuana in Colorado when most places are smoke-free by Katie Carroll
15 signs you were born and raised in Colorado by Rory Moulton
The Colorado backcountry as you’ve never seen it by Max Seigal
This article was originally published on March 24, 2015.