We’ve finished our first month in Denver! I’m sure the burning question is: how do you like it? In short: we don’t.
I really wanted to love Denver. It has mountains, it has beer…what’s not to love? We’re giving it a fair shake, but it falls short of both Portland and Louisville in many things that matter most to us. So far we’d say it’s a good place to visit, but not a place we’d want to live.
It’s very sprawling which means you have to drive everywhere. The biggest problem with such a car-centric city is that everyone else in the city is also driving, so going as little as 5 miles might take upwards of 30 minutes. Strike one. The food scene is also lacking. That’s not to say that we haven’t had some great meals, we certainly have, but coming from two amazing food cities we haven’t been very wowed with Denver’s options. If you’re looking for some American fare, they’ve got plenty of options, but these two ethnic food lovers haven’t found our place yet. Strike two. Believe it or not, we actually enjoy going to the gym and doing yoga. This is another area where we’ve yet to find our niche. Sure, there are plenty of yoga studios – there’s one literally across the street – but they’re either a.) too expensive ($20 for a class?!) or b.) not our style of yoga. In Louisville we went to a great yoga class at our gym on Mondays and a free class on Fridays; in Portland we found an awesome donation-based studio within walking distance of our apartment that had plenty of power yoga options. But here? Nada. Matt did find a good gym for weight lifting that he liked, but going back to the car-centricity, it took him 20 minutes to get there and 40 minutes to get home. Strike three.
That’s not to say Denver doesn’t have its charms. The mountains are amazing. There’s just something about seeing the Rocky Mountain front range when you look down the street. We’ve taken full advantage of the proximity and have hiked Table Mountain in Golden, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Salinas Mountain in Boulder, and Twin Sisters peak in Roosevelt National Forest. You truly can’t beat the views.
The weather here is amazing. Even on the days it rains (which isn’t very often), the sun usually pops out. Snickers has really been enjoying our balcony for soaking up the afternoon rays. We usually lay out there or poolside ourselves to get a daily dose of Vitamin D. I’m convinced that the higher altitude makes the sun that much warmer; the forecast might say 65, but when the sun’s out you can find most people in shorts and tank tops. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the low humidity! We definitely don’t miss Kentucky this time of year.
And the beer. There’s a lot of it, and finding the good stuff has taken a lot of tasting. One thing we’ve noticed is that, while there are a lot of breweries, many of them do things on a large scale. You’ve probably seen Great Divide and Avery in bars and stores across the country. But there are some great smaller breweries here too. Lost Highway was a favorite (and right in our backyard) as well as Grandma’s House, and we can’t wait to head to the RiNo neighborhood and imbibe some Epic and Ratio brews.
We haven’t given up on Denver completely and have plenty more to explore, but for now it’s ranking below both Portland and Louisville in our list of favorite cities. Still above every place we visited in California, though.