Denver, Colorado is trending. A lot of people claim to know what it’s like to live in Denver but few truly understand. 303 Magazine is here to set the record straight. Enjoy our list of 18 words you know if you live in Denver, Colorado. Take notes.

1. LoDo

noun – LoDo is short for Lower Downtown, a.k.a. the spot where the bars pop off the most. But it’s not all bros and beers. LoDo boasts some awesome restaurants and some of the priciest apartments in the city for a reason. There is so much to do in Larimer Square along Market Street. A popular spot, it also has a rowdy reputation. Every Denver kid knows these wild LoDo nights too well. Denver is constantly battling between the mainstream and the subculture, bros versus hipsters.

LoDo, photo by Lindsey Bartlett.

LoDo, photo by Lindsey Bartlett.

2. 303

area code – Need we say more? The best Colorado area code reserved for original gangstas only. But 303 is more than just an area code, it’s a state of mind. We love it so much, we named a magazine after it. You can keep your 720s and your 719s. You can have my 303 area code number when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

Riot Fest 2014, photo by Eric Goitia https://303magazine.com/09212014-riotfest-day-3-invesco-field-denver/nggallery/page/1

Riot Fest 2014, photo by Eric Goitia. View the entire gallery here.

3. Dispense

noun – Short for dispensary, which is a fancy, non-threatening word for a shop that sells marijuana. Local smokers of medical or recreational marijuana in Denver eventually just shorten the word to “dispense”, because we are always battling stoner cliches and in reality, are too busy to pronounce another syllable. If you are 21 or older with a valid government issued ID you can buy some bomb dank at the dispense in CO.

The Marijuana Show, photo by Lindsey Bartlett.

The Marijuana Show, photo by Lindsey Bartlett.

4. Colorado Kool-Aid

noun, beverage – This is an older term (when your parents came up with it they thought they were so clever). It is more commonly referred to as “beer”. Our square state is the craft beer and microbrewery capital of the country. Colorado kool-aid flows like a fresh-water river from the Rocky Mountains and it glistens with an amber, golden hue like a nectar of the gods. Colorado kool-aid is in our blood. We like beer.

Black Shirt Brewery, photo by Lindsey Bartlett.

Black Shirt Brewery, photo by Lindsey Bartlett.

5. 5280

noun – One mile above sea level you will see 5280 references everywhere. Our Capital building in downtown Denver even has a plaque marking the exact spot where you are 5,280 feet in altitude. The high altitude is great for sports training and alcohol consumption. Only in Denver…

Taste of Colorado, photo by Camille Breslin.

Taste of Colorado, photo by Camille Breslin. See the full gallery here.

6. 14er

noun – 14er is shorthand for a mountain with a peak at 14 thousand feet in elevation. If you want to feel small in the scope of beautiful nature, climb one of these bad boys. Colorado boasts the ultimate hikers bucket list of 53 different 14ers. Some more extreme than others but all beautiful. Our favorites: Mount Bierstadt (easy), Mount Grays and Mount Torreys (two mountain peaks, yet they are close in proximity and combine, and are commonly referred to as one epic hike, medium), and Longs Peak (expert).

The beautiful Rocky Mountains, photo by Eric Goitia.

The beautiful Rocky Mountains, photo by Eric Goitia.

7. Rockpile

noun – Where working class people sit during Rockies games, it’s also known as the only place I have ever sat during a Rockies game. This is the nosebleed section but the real estate went up with a recent addition of The Rooftop bar. Just buy a cinnamon “Torna-dough”, sit back and appreciate the view.

Rockpile view at Coors Field, photo by Brittany Werges.

Rockpile view at Coors Field, photo by Brittany Werges.

8. PFM

name, greek mythology – Peyton. F#*$ing. Manning. The quarterback of all quarterbacks, Peyton is gleaming after his Denver Broncos were just voted America’s #1 favorite team according to the Harris Poll survey. But 303 Magazine already knew that. PFM makes money two ways during the Broncos games as he owns 21 Papa Johns franchises across the metro area. Manning has expressed he is an avid supporter of legal marijuana, as it undoubtedly helps his pizza sales. Genius.

PFM, photo courtesy of the Denver Broncos.

PFM, photo courtesy of the Denver Broncos.

9. Mousetrap

noun – This is what we refer to as the hot mess of highway intersection at the junction of I-25 and I-70 just north of Denver. Another term that could go on the list: “Words Your Parents Used More Than You Do If They Live In Denver.”

Mousetrap, photo courtesy of http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=277981&page=434

Mousetrap, photo courtesy of Sky Scraper City.

10. FoCo

noun, place – Short for Fort Collins, FoCo is a beautiful college town home of the Colorado State University Rams and some of the best breweries in the country: New Belgium, Odells and Anheuser-Busch to name a few. FoCo also is one of the most bike friendly cities in the country – flat and literally perfect for the fixie life. A train runs through it so it’s not huge, and is constantly straddling the line between quaint town and almost legit city. CU and CSU are constant rivals, and UNC thinks CSU is its rival, but CSU barely knows UNC exists.

Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins photo by Lindsey Bartlett.

Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins photo by Lindsey Bartlett.

11. RiNo

noun, place – Short for River North, this hood in Denver is one of the most popular for hipsters and trendsetting socialites. Fall in love with RiNo’s street-art based roots and check our roundup from Colorado Crush 2014, the biggest street-art event in Denver. It’s home to the best bars (Meadowlark and the Matchbox) as well as amazing restaurants (Work & Class) and coffee spots (Crema). Actually, forget that I told you about RiNo because once it’s cool, it won’t be cool anymore.

Colorado Crush event in River North, photo by Lindsey Bartlett. https://303magazine.com/09062014-colorado-crush-rino-larimer-art-district-denver/nggallery/page/4

Colorado Crush event in River North, photo by Lindsey Bartlett.

12. Casa Bonita

noun – Made famous by my childhood and then by South Park, Casa Bonita is cliff divers, Black Bart’s Cave, and tons of really cool things besides Mexican food. Don’t eat the refried beans. If you live in Colorado and you haven’t experienced Casa Bonita yet, I do not know what you are doing with your life. I really don’t.

Casa Bonita, photo courtesy of South Park, Comedy Central.

Casa Bonita, photo courtesy of South Park, Comedy Central.

13. SoBro

noun, place – South Broadway: some say this area is the new LoDo with a lively bar scene that is growing fast. South Broadway is home to one of 303 Magazine’s favorite festivals of the summer, the Underground Music Showcase. Favorite hood within SoBro would be Baker, with some moderately priced homes and stress-free, bike friendly streets. Baker also lies right in the middle of the awesome bars in SoBro and the Art District on Santa Fe.

Underground Music Showcase on SoBro, photo by Brittany Werges.

Underground Music Showcase on SoBro, photo by Brittany Werges.

14. Flatlanders

proper noun – Any out-of-stater who doesn’t know how to drive in the snow, in the mountains, or on the difficult terrain of a Colorado winter is a flatlander. I call them “California drivers” and my mom calls them “flatlanders”. Either way, stay at least 30 yards away from any flatlander in a car and you’ll probably be okay.

Dew Tour 2013, photo by Adam Ripplinger. https://303magazine.com/12152013-dew-tour-breckenridge-peak-8-breckenridge/nggallery/page/1

Dew Tour 2013, photo by Adam Ripplinger.

15. If you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes and it’ll change.

expression, phrase – There isn’t one word for this phenomenon, but it’s real. Because of the high elevation and the speed the weather moves over most of Colorado, we experience all four seasons in a day. Denver is not a good place for people who need stable, predictability in their forecast. We still have weathermen and women on TV who pretend to know what the weather will be on any given day in the Mile High City. How cute.

16th Street Mall on a Winter's Day, photo by Lindsey Bartlett.

16th Street Mall on a Winter’s Day, photo by Lindsey Bartlett.

16. Granola

adjective – This is the word normal people who live in Colorado use to describe most people who live in Boulder, also know as hippies. They shop at Sprouts, Trader Joe’s or ALFALFAS, could easily come in the form of a white person with dreadlocks who drives a Prius, and also refer to shoes as “foot prisons”.

Granola love at Greensky Bluegrass and RRE at Red Rocks, photo by Jackie Collins.

Granola love at Greensky Bluegrass and RRE at Red Rocks, photo by Jackie Collins.

17. Trustafarian

noun, title – Another term mostly used to describe Boulderites, a trustafarian is a Rastafarian who is also a trust fund baby, often transplants from the East Coast or California. They are free spirits who are completely financially reliant on others. They major in Philosophy of Religion. They can afford shoes, they’re just choosing not to wear them – out of principle.

Street-Art at the 420 Rally. Photo by Roman Tafoya.

Street-Art at the 420 Rally. Photo by Roman Tafoya.

18. Fixie

noun – Commonly referred to as a fixed-gear bicycle, you can only ride one of these if you’re a hipster. Thankfully, almost everyone in Denver is. 303 Magazine is ’bout that life. We have the Denver Cruisers as well as the Loop, two awesome, weekly, summer routes in the city that revolve around beer and bicycles. Coloradoans know fixies, that’s why we deem The Urban Cyclist as our favorite fixed gear (and all types of gear) bike shop in Denver. Read our full review here.

The Urban Cyclist, photo by Lindsey Bartlett.

The Urban Cyclist, photo by Lindsey Bartlett.

Are we forgetting any popular words you know if you live in Denver, Colorado? Comment below! Don’t forget to follow 303 Magazine on Instagram for the best, Colorado-centric photography all year long!

21 Responses

  1. Wendy Jacobs

    The names of two of the 14ers mentioned are Bierstadt (not "Bearstat") and "Grays and Torreys" (not "Greyson Torres") – they're two separate peaks, both over 14K, which are frequently summited together b/c they're so close and there's a saddleback linking the two.

    Reply
  2. Lindsey Bartlett

    I actually did live in Fort Collins for 4 years, I would have to say FoCo is far more utilized than Fort Fun.

    Reply
  3. Matthew Du Puy

    "Granola" is a fairly universal term, not just in CO. Same with "Fixie." Anheuser-Busch is not "one of the best" breweries. It is aweful corn/rice lager stimulant. Watching Denver folks complain about one multi-level freeway intersection is hilarious to us "flat landers" in southern CA. All that said, yes, I'll probably move to Boulder in the not-to-distant future; for the weather, beer and climbing. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Kevin Nico-letti

    What are you talking about? Did a fictional article take place in your mind wherein those were misspelled, because this article nailed them.

    Reply
  5. Lindsey Bartlett

    Thanks! I was unaware this was your visual work at Big Gigantic's RowdyTown, we appreciate the knowledge and will credit!

    Reply
  6. Steve Swanson

    Interesting, but a little bit off. First of all, I am a big micro-brew fan, BUT Coors has always been called Colorado Kool-aid, not microbrews. The mousetrap has more meaning than this writer understands. This intersection was so screwed up that the police (or state patrol, I am not sure) used to have a tower in the intersection to monitor it, and there was always a cop or two in the grass, possibly to watch all the wrecks. But that intersection is on what used to be called the Valley Highway, which very few people in Denver have been around long enough to remember.There is also North Denver, or St. Cathy's neighborhood, and so on.

    Reply
    • E. Jordan

      The Mousetrap has been through several versions dating from the late 50’s. The version of this interchange prior to about 1990 is infamous for the “Torpedo Incident” in which an 18-wheeler loaded with obsolete torpedoes overturned at the interchange. Miles of I-25 and I-70 were closed and many residents and businesses were evacuated to clear up the mess.

      Reply
  7. Vivan Doan

    I'm too Boulder to understand some of this and I KNOW aome of this is just plain inaccurate. That said, shoes are definitely foot prisons to me. And pants are nasty leg cages.

    Reply
  8. Danny Leavitt

    You can sure tell the person who made this list did not grow up in Denver.

    Reply
  9. Lindsey Bartlett

    I am from Colorado, born and raised! I have more research showing that Colorado KoolAid is referring to all types of Colorado made beer, not just Coors Banquet*. Thanks for reading!!!

    Reply
  10. skhai

    i lived in co for 2 year i love it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  11. Brad

    Epic. This flexible word to describe something amazing, mind-blowing, or otherwise awesome seems to be used by Coloradans more than anywhere else in the US.

    Reply

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