Today is the last day in our home. Our stuff has been moved out, the walls are bare and the warm sunlight falls on the floor alone.
Since we know we’ll be back to visit, leaving isn’t as hard as it could be. But still, there are things I’ll miss about Denver…
It’s not exactly easy to gauge what would be considered a “sunny” day. Does it mean the sun is out all day long with no clouds to obstruct it? Does it mean it’s sunny 51% of the day?
However you look at, though, Denver is one sunny place. It’s amazing for people who are into that sort of thing (I am) and I’ll admit I’m gonna miss the perpetually cheery mood that tends to be a result of warm, sunny days.
The weather overall is quite agreeable, too. We have all 4 seasons, but they’re typically very mild.
Because of the dry climate, the hot days aren’t quite so stuffy and oppressive and the cold days aren’t quite so biting.
The snow does come fairly often in the winter, but goes almost as quickly (thanks to all of those sunny days!).
It’s not unusual to get a 65-degree day in the middle of January. It may seem weird, but it can be a welcomed break after bitterly cold days.
I feel like you can’t live in Denver and not take advantage of the mountains. There’s so much you can keep yourself busy with.
I myself preferred the summer sports most – hiking being the number one activity by far.
“Climbing” fourteeners is another fun thing to keep you busy, too. I say “climbing” loosely because a lot of them are really just longer hikes. No ropes or belaying skills required (for the ones I did, anyway).
In the winter, I enjoyed the occasional downhill, cross-country, snowshoe and ice skating outings.
And then there’s the wild animals. I just love catching glimpses – or more – of any kind of animal.
These mountain goats can scale those rocks like nobody’s business.
Denver’s growing up. I can’t believe how much it’s changed in the last decade.
Today, it feels much more like a lively city. It’s still pretty small in comparison to perhaps a Seattle or Chicago, but it’s coming along nicely.
I love that there are so many good bars and restaurants, some with amazing views and affordable happy hour food, there are free movies in the summer and within many micro-neighborhoods you’ll find great sushi and farmer’s markets.
This is the kinda stuff I’ll miss.
I spend a lot of my free time in the city’s parks. Denver has so many great ones that are easily accessible.
Right now we live by Washington Park and it’s my favorite. It’s always so full of energy. People flock there in the summer to play volleyball or lounge in the sun on the huge lawn. In the winter, spring and fall you’ll see runners, bikers, people with their dogs – you name it. It’s an oasis in the city.
Then there’s City Park. Closer to downtown and next to the Museum of Nature and Science and the Zoo, the view of the city and the mountains is one of the best you’ll find anywhere. And the huge, old-growth trees are beautiful in the fall.
Cheesman was the park I was closest to when I lived on Capitol Hill. Tucked away in the neighborhood, this city park is another great getaway from the sounds of the city.
One of my other favorites is Confluence Park. This gem has been developed beautifully in the last 10-15 years. It sits along the banks of the Platte River and is nearly in the heart of the city. The paths and green space, while in the middle of the hustle and bustle, still provide a moment’s respite.
The Road Trips
Colorado’s a huge state, so when you do road trips, a lot of the places you’ll be visiting will be in the state rather than in a neighboring one.
The places I really enjoyed were:
- Cute little mountain towns – each one has character: Crested Butte, Telluride, Durango, Silverton and Aspen.
- Mesa Verde and other Ancestral Puebloan Sites – the ruins of these old settlements are fascinating.
- Colorado National Monument – it’s like a mini-Grand Canyon I never knew existed until we visited it recently.
- The Black Canyon of the Gunnison – the deep, massive canyons were beyond impressive.
What Won’t I Miss?
Denver isn’t perfect, though (is any place, really?). And there are things I won’t really miss:
- The ridiculously far airport – why in the world did they build it in Kansas (nearly)?
- The isolation – In case Geography isn’t your strong suit, Colorado is almost in the middle of this huge-ass country. That means brief road trips aren’t really a reality and you can plan to spend at least hours in the car before you get anywhere outside of the state (if you live in the middle of it). And while getting to the West and East Coasts is easy by air, getting to Europe or Asia usually takes quite a while.
- Not very diverse – Colorado is pretty homogenous and there’s not a lot of diversity here. When we lived in Hawaii and San Francisco, it felt far more worldly and mixed.
Cheers to a Great City
Denver’s a great city and I think it’s by far one of the most liveable in the US. It’s got a lot going for it and it’s only getting better and moving in the right direction.
I’ll definitely miss Denver. But I’m ready to take on the new adventures that are waiting.