People from Seattle would like you to believe that it rains all the time - it's their way of keeping you out. Denver folks boast of their sunny skies almost in a convincing fashion. I came out here for a business trip and decided it would be worth the while to extend my visit and explore what only the Denver metro people know and love about this "midwestern" gem.
How it lays out
I flew in Wednesday night and took up settlement in cap hill in an Airbnb. My host G welcomed me with a warm bowl of curried squash. He had a private room and bathroom all ready for me. It's nice to feel like you're moving into a home rather than a desolate hotel room when you're planning an extended stay.
Thursday and Friday I spent the days meeting with real estate developers who are eager and hungry to supply housing & office space to the newly sparked demand of the Denver area. Denver is a city of a neighborhoods, one that has neglected to attract people to the city core but rather keeps everyone on the periphery. Downtown has a rather drab undertaking with large office buildings reminiscent of Rockefeller Center and a retail portion called the 16th street mall that attracts nothing but burnouts and YUM brand restaurant chains. What's happening however, is that parts of the city are being revived and re-developed to give each neighborhood it's own identity. LoDo has the bar scene, RiNo has the techy vibe and warehouse-turned-restaurant scene, Five Points = Williamsburg, HiLo is the young residential area for yuppies of all ages, Cap Hill has your young parents and golden retrievers and heading down South Broadway you have a little bit of everything.
It's fascinating to hear about (and see) how far this city has come in the last decade or so from real estate developers that are fueling the seismic shift.
I used Uber to get around and was floored at how cheap it was. I took somewhere between 10-15 uber's and probably only spent 50-60 bucks. I was driven around by all types of people - everyone from a middle-aged, empty-nest soccer mom to a surgical technician named Eric. By far the funniest interaction I had all week was with Eric. Eric proclaims that he's never met a troublemaker named "Eric." He faithfully believes that people with our name are godsends, and I quote, "Eric's cool wit dey moms." I'd like to think I am! It's fair to say that I gave him a 5 star review. Another guy named Carl started his own empty leg jet brokerage. For those that have never heard of this business (like myself until now) it's essentially discounted rides on private jets. The premise is that 50% of jet rides are flown with nobody in the cabin...his idea will hopefully fill those jets. Miami --> Denver for $4,000/hr. Anyone?
I asked everyone what I should do in Denver for the weekend. The results of the survey look like 10% Brewery hop, 20% Check out cherry creek bike path & park and 70% Go to Boulder. I listened to the advice of the people and headed north to Boulder for the day. My buddy Mike (his blog here) picked me up in the highlands at a coffee shop and we drove the half hour to Boulder. Boulder has a little bit of everything. It has a large public university, a business district, eight or so unique residential neighborhoods and it sits at the foot of the rockies. We walked the famous Pearl street, ate samples of farmer's market food and then we went our separate ways. I headed toward the mountains to hike one of the better/steeper paths known as "Sanitas."
The views were breathtaking and there are numerous spots to perch. I made one rock my home for a good hour and a half. In that time, many things passed through my mind but one that stands out amidst my time on "plymouth rock" is that I really really enjoy fried chicken. Insignificant, I know BUT, it came to me in a moment of clarity :-) Onward and upward I went. I'll be back here again I promised myself.
Some of the coolest spots I went to while in Denver: