By now, you’ve probably heard the news that Denver was named the best place to live in the United States by US News and World Report. While the actual designation was based on a statistical report of categories like unemployment rate, median salary and crime level, anyone who lives here knows what makes living in Denver so great is often hard to measure by facts and figures alone. From the kaleidoscopic beauty of our gorgeous vistas to our intense passion for our city, here are our reasons why Denver really is the greatest place to live in the U.S.
Being Healthy Is Naturally Easier in Denver
Aside from the research showing that living at high altitude has been proven to make you skinnier, live longer and less likely to die of a heart attack, living in Denver does foster a healthier lifestyle. Our high average of sunny days, coupled with 20,000 acres of urban parkland makes staying indoors really tough. As a result, our citizens tend to be more physically active than other cities. Even if you’re not an avid snowboarder, skier, runner or cyclist, there’s a chance that at least one of your friends is—and therefore, your social interactions are more likely to include some type of physical activity. If that’s still not true for you, even breathing at high altitude makes you healthier. It can’t get much easier than that.
The Mountains Look Different Every Day and They Will Always Amaze You
As locals, you know that you have to drive at least an hour to actually get in the mountains. However, as the US News and World Report article states, one of the biggest misconceptions about Denver is that it’s a mountain town—and many visitors don’t discover that it isn’t until they actually get here. That’s probably because photos like the one above make Denver look like it sits at the base of the Rockies.
Trust us, this isn’t a product of Photoshop. Instead, images like this display our dramatic weather changes and the illusions they can create. Some days, the mountains look like they are right on our doorstep, whereas other days, they’re partially shielded by conflicting mountains and city climates. However, these unpredictable temperaments create shape-shifting vistas that reveal themselves in virtually endless combinations. You can live here your whole life and you’ll never see same western horizon twice.
There’s Always Something New to Eat, Drink or Do
With over 200 new restaurants opening in Denver every year for the last three years, and 1.6 millions of gallons of craft beer brewed annually in Colorado, there’s literally an impossible amount of things to consume in the Queen City of the Plains. Plus, with at least a handful of festivals or events seemingly happening every single day in Denver, you can always find something to celebrate. This includes everything from national events like Great American Beer Festival and to more locally-minded ones like Collaboration Fest and Denver Flea.
Denver has a Diverse and Expanding Music Scene
There are not too many cities where you can find yourself barefoot in the park enjoying jazz by day and inside a huge amphitheater listening to EDM by night. There’s always a wide range of musical genres that make their way through town—and that’s the beauty of Denver’s music scene. Be it country superstars at Fiddler’s Green or smaller indie bands at the Larimer Lounge, there’s always a show for everybody. Within the last couple years, we’ve drawn increasingly bigger national acts, even landing a Denver rendition of Riot Fest. We’re also great at championing our own and love to celebrate local acts, either with huge annual festivals like the Underground Music Showcase, or with enthusiastic homecomings as seen with Nathaniel Rateliff’s return.Hour’s Drive Will Take You to a Whole Other World
A Couple Hours Drive Will Take You to a Whole Other World
One of the best parts of living in Denver isn’t just about what you can find within the Mile High City. While there’s plenty to do in town, our close proximity to 42 state parks, world-class ski resorts and 53 mountain summits topping out at 14,000 feet or more makes living in Denver just that much more enticing. While the city might have the culture, the mountains hold the adventure.
Our Style is Our Own
It’s really easy to joke that Denver doesn’t have the best style. And while it is true that we may have an affinity for yoga pants that can sometimes border on the level of inappropriate, that’s not to say that Denver doesn’t have its own fashion sense. We’ve mastered the art of blending practicality with fashion. Don’t believe us? Spend a moment on a bike path or in a local park and you’ll find people looking fly while riding their fixie or crouching in crow pose. You probably didn’t notice because they’re either doing something too amazing or riding too fast for you to realize in the first place.
It’s Not Just About Downtown, Each Neighborhood Has Its Own Identity
While some cities are defined by the outline of their skyscrapers, the truth is that much of what is new and evolving here in Denver isn’t just happening in the heart of downtown. Recently, our neighborhoods have increasingly become microcosms of culture with their own distinct voices.Within the past couple years, neighborhoods like the RiNo Art District have become synonymous with unbridled urban development, whereas contentious zones like the Northside (or as transplants like to say, the Highlands) act as a battleground for old versus new. Or consider South Broadway, with its steadfast punk undertones defined by venues like the Hi-Dive and Three Kings, and the slightly devilish feel of Colfax that runs through the city like a streak of bad habit. Really getting to know Denver means exploring all of these pockets and experiencing how each area truly feels like its own.
Our Entrepreneurial Attitude is Infectious
Words by Trenton Reed
It’s no surprise that Denver’s entrepreneurial scene is booming. According to Built in Colorado, in 2015, Denver’s total tech funding increased 56% from 2014 to $424.7 million. However, it’s not just tech that’s exploding. In addition to Cloud computing and data security, our city’s hottest industries include advertising, marketing and HR, with the professional and business service sectors projected to add 15,500 jobs in 2016, according to the Colorado Business Economic Outlook. To put things into perspective, the grass-roots Denver Startup Week attracted a record 12,000 people over its 5-day event last September.
Between the plethora of qualified resources, increased access to funding, and the influence of companies such as the Foundry Group and Access Venture Partners—nationally-recognized venture capital firms that invest in early-stage tech companies—Denver has become one of the country’s most agile, entrepreneurial work environments.
Yes, the Weather is Really Great
It’s often lauded that Denver has 300 days of sun—but, despite popular opinion, that figure has been debunked as a myth. However, that doesn’t mean that Denver doesn’t have great weather. Five out of 12 months every year has an average high temperature of 70+ degrees with two more in the 60s (April and October). Plus, of all possible annual hours, 69 percent of them are sunny. Even with those numbers, locals know you’ll never go too long without a little bit of sunshine.
Our City Pride is Unparalleled
When the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50, reportedly over a million people flooded the streets for the celebration parade. To put that in context, Denver county only has approximately 663,000 residents, according to the 2014 census. But other than this one immense, and almost completely peaceful celebration, Denver dwellers’ pride for their city is something that’s expressed daily. Our love for the 303 is seen in the clothes we wear, the art we make and the music we produce. As a result, state and city pride is not just a sports-induced phenomenon, but an ingrained part of our culture.
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