By Zoe Yabrove
By Bree Davies
By Byron Graham
By Susan Froyd
By Josiah M. Hesse
By Bree Davies
By Susan Froyd
By Kate Gibbons
As it turns out, I could not have picked a better time to move to the Mile High City. It was the day the cherry trees blossomed, creating a fragrant canopy of intoxicating red and white blossoms everywhere I went. Not surprisingly, I immediately decided that my first summer here, I'm going to get to know this city from the outside in. My Top 10 Things to Do in Denver list:
1) Go to a Colorado Rockies Game
Summer just wouldn't be summer without baseball, right? How about tossing some Rocky Mountain oysters into the game? At Coors Field, you can score both baseball and balls, all with a breathtaking view of the mountains. The Colorado Rockies' home fits so comfortably into downtown's old warehouse neighborhood, it's like the ballpark's always been there — though it saw its first pitch in 1995. Get a seat in the nosebleeds along the first-base line for the best glimpse of the mountains (not to mention a better deal); during evening games, you can enjoy your Rockie Dog while watching the sunset over the Rockies. For game schedule and ticket information, go to www.coloradorockies.com.
2) Drink at My Brother's Bar
Lock yourself inside an old museum? Not this summer, not when you can get a history lesson while still getting your drink on at My Brother's Bar, Denver's oldest continually operating watering hole. This building, at 2376 15th Street, has held a saloon since the 1870s; more than half a century later, it was a favorite with the Beat generation's Neal Cassady, who wrote a letter about his tab that's still on the wall. Order a burger and a beer (and maybe a box of Girl Scout cookies) and enjoy the outdoor patio, a true urban oasis. Afterward, you can stumble down to nearby Confluence Park, where Denver got its start back in 1858. For more information, call 303-455-9991.
3) Eat Local Ice Cream
If you moved here in the winter, you might want to dive into endless bowls of this city's hot green chile. But in the summer, adventurous eaters scream for ice cream — and rather than head for Ben & Jerry's, why not try one of this cowtown's offerings? There are popular newbies like Little Man, Sweet Action and Red Trolley, as well as a couple of ice-cream parlors that qualify as local institutions. Bonnie Brae Ice Cream will cater to your more traditional cravings, with flavors like strawberry, cookie dough and Rocky Road, served up just a few blocks from Washington Park at 799 South University Boulevard; call 303-777-0808. And over at 2039 East 13th Avenue in the heart of Capitol Hill, Liks challenges the palate with such ingredients as ancho chiles and Amaretto; for more delicious details, call 303-321-2370.
4) Join the Moonlight Classic Bike Ride
One man who's lived in Denver for more than a decade cites the Moonlight Classic as his all-time favorite activity in the city — a bold statement, but one delivered with conviction. The annual ride brings together all sorts of people — some in costume — for an intimate, convivial and leisurely ten-mile nighttime ride that starts and finishes at the State Capitol, going through downtown, LoDo and Cherry Creek along the way. This year's Moonlight Classic goes down on July 17, and tickets cost $35 — though rumor has it that this ride is pretty easy to crash. For more information or to actually register (it's for charity, after all), go to www.moonlight-classic.com.
5) Attend First Friday in the Santa Fe Art District
Newcomers and natives alike agree that First Friday in one of the city's arts districts is a must-stop not just in the summer months, but throughout the year. The hottest district is along Santa Fe Drive, which incorporated as a nonprofit in 2003 and has grown to include more than fifty galleries, museums and theaters, with an emphasis on cooperation and lack of pretension. Openings, receptions and other celebrations take place all summer long, but First Friday is the time to see and be seen. The district is located on Santa Fe Drive and Kalamath Street between Alameda and 12th avenues; for more information, go to www.artdistrictonsantafe.com.
6) Ride the Wild Chipmunk
Inexplicably, but also awesomely, Denver has two amusement parks, within four freaking miles of each other. While Elitch Gardens is the more prominent of the two, the family-owned Lakeside Amusement Park is a quaint slice of Denver. This historic park has been around for more than a century, and admission fees are half of what the competition charges (and are even more of a deal on weekdays). And only at Lakeside will you find the Wild Chipmunk, an improbably named steel roller coaster dating back to 1955. The pod-like cars look like they belong on a kiddie ride, but the precipitous drops are definitely adult. All-inclusive tickets to the park cost $13.75 Monday through Friday, $19.75 on the weekends, but you can also pay per ride, fair style. For more information, go to www.lakesideamusementpark.com.
7) Meet Peeps at the People's Fair
Want to rub elbows with fellow Denverites? The Capitol Hill People's Fair is a good place to do it. Organizers estimate that a quarter of a million people attend the weekend-long event that got its start at the East High School Esplanade in the early 1970s and moved to Civic Center Park in 1987. This year's fair — set for June 5-6 — will feature four stages of music, as well as arts and crafts corners, community mural painting, food vendors and booths touting just about every activity in town. The free, multi-culti, feel-good event is organized by Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods, which uses the proceeds to fund other nonprofits in the area. Find a complete schedule at www.peoplesfair.com.
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