You don’t need missionaries in Colorado; you got Colorado.
– Trey Parker
Colorado is the best place to live. THE BEST. Guess who else agrees with me? U.S. News and World Report. Ausitn was a close second, which I’m also very proud of, but…. sorry, Austin. Denver is better.
I’ve been feeling homesick lately, it’s been a year since I was in the 303 – obviously, FAR too long! Considering this homesick love of mine, the Denver Broncos winning the Super Bowl (WHAT UP), Peyton Manning’s retirement, and the recent headlines about Denver’s greatness, I felt it only fitting to share a few of the raddest things about Colorado.
THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS
The majestic Rocky Mountains, in my opinion (and it should be yours, too), are the mountains of all mountains in the U.S. None can compare. From the beauty and climb of Mt. Elbert to the slopes of Vail, Copper, Breckenridge, Loveland, and so on – you have never-ending adventure to be had skiing and hiking in Colorado. In the fall, the beautiful aspen leaves turn golden and you will find some of the best material for photography on the planet. Estes Park is home to the Stanley Hotel, which brought us Stephen King’s inspiration for The Shining, and offers one of the coolest ghost tours in the state. Fun fact: the song America the Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates was written about the view of the Great Plains from atop Pikes Peak. The Rocky Mountains – you need them.
You might not know this, but Denver is and has been a culinary hotspot. We have lived in Austin, San Diego, Los Angeles, and outside San Francisco, and have yet to have food that even comes close to that in Denver. If you love brunch, Lucile’s is a Boulder/Denver go-to spot. Addicting Bloody Mary’s, fresh beignets, and red beans and rice to die for. If you’re looking for late night Mexican food, hit up Chubby’s for bomb green chile and chile cheese fries. Tocabe serves Native American food with Indian fry bread that will blow your mind. Hit up My Brother’s Bar for popcorn, burgers, fries, and classical music. More of a fine-dining connoisseur? The Flagstaff House in Boulder offers incredible fine dining of French-American cuisine and a 15,000 bottle wine reserve. And we dare not forget the legendary Casa Bonita – and yes, the South Park episode is scarily accurate, you have to go. I could go on and on, but will let you do some exploring of your own. Denver: culinary melting pot.
We need to talk about green chile. My Colorado and New Mexico people understand that green chile is a sacred part of liffe. Fall rolls around and we head to our favorite suppliers, crack open beers and set to work peeling and bagging our chiles. You’ll need to make sure you have fresh tortillas around too, because there’s no way you’re going to resist snacking on the chiles with salt and garlic while you work.
THE DENVER BRONCOS
Win or lose, the Broncos have the best fans in the whole damn country. From Elway to Manning, they’ve had legends on the field and perseverance for the ages. And they’re the Super Bowl 50 champions. BOOM.
You can’t discuss Colorado without tipping your hat to my hometown – the city of Boulder. Home to the University of Colorado, Boulder hosts one of the most exquisite campuses in the country. Boulder is home to the unmatched Chautauqua Park and the great Flatirons – when dusted with snow, it’s hard to believe they’re real. Pearl Street Mall is a place for family fun and/or drunken carnage (whichever you prefer) with street performers, restaurants, and bars galore. SKO BUFFS!
Marijuana legalization has caused Colorado to level up. Tax money from marijuana sales have gone to Colorado schools, and in 2015 the state brought in more tax money from marijuana sales than alcohol sales – impressive. Medical refugees from other states relocate to CO for the freedom to use medical marijuana with ease, and recreational marijuana usage is no longer threatened by legal assault. People are flocking to CO in light of the recent legalization and it will be interesting to see what social impacts will come. Colorado is a perfect example of how local government and state citizens can make the best decisions for its people – and in my book, that’s pretty badass.
RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE
What to say about Red Rocks... there is no venue that could be called its equal. The natural beauty is host to rockstars aplenty, sunrise services, yoga, and its annual Film on the Rocks series. I experienced my first concert at Red Rocks, and have lost count of how many times I’ve been able to enjoy it’s badassery. It’s been said to be the favorite venue of countless artists, and who could blame them?
As I write this, dozens of other things have come to mind, but they are for another day. ColoRADo is a place that offers endless adventures, and I am so lucky that I get to call it home.
Brandi Carlile once said, “Colorado is an oasis, an otherworldly mountain place,” and she couldn’t be more right.