We're heading into the shortest month of the year, and if you think about it, were you given the choice of any of the months to limit to just four short weeks, you’d probably choose February anyway: It’s freezing outside, all the holidays are a good month in the rear-view, and the only “occasion” for the month is Valentine’s Day — which is something of a racket, no matter how someone might indulge your "I choo-choo-choose you!" card.
Here are ten things you should keep in mind in the Mile High for the month of February — you know, aside from the obvious "Stay warm."
10. Take Advantage of Restaurant Week
It might feel like a gimmick, and it sort of is, but it’s an awesome one. You get to sample some of Denver’s best dining options for less than you’d normally pay, and do it in a celebratory atmosphere, to boot. Restaurants generally take this week seriously, and if you’re an aspiring foodie, there’s no better time to pick a few destinations you’ve been wanting to try. So make your reservations, put on your going-out duds, and enjoy.
9. So Long, Stock Show
You probably noticed it toward the end of January: The traffic on I-70 is suddenly lighter, and you’re not sitting in the shadow (and the smell) of the Purina plant wondering what the holdup is. That holdup was the Stock Show, and now that it’s done, you can take down your Christmas lights (no, make that please, for the love of God, take down your Christmas lights) and go back to enjoying Denver as ours again.
8. Get Your Ski On
February is one of the few months in Colorado when you can truly depend on skiing. The season sometimes starts late and sometimes ends early; the snow usually comes in fits and spurts in many of the traditional ski months. But February? There’s really no mystery as to whether there’s going to be skiing in February. With only four weekends this month, you want to get up to the mountains, strap on the skis, and ski while the skiing is good.
7. Girl Scout Cookie Season
Admit it: You, like the rest of America, are sort of addicted to these scrumptious little obligations. And whether it’s a friend at work, a family at church, the neighbors down the street or your own kids, you know someone wanting to sell you these little boxes of pure guiltless pleasure. Hey, it’s for a good cause, right? Eat up. Did you know each box of Thin Mints is a single serving? Or can be, anyhow.
6. Enjoy the Last Low-Snow Month
If you look at the dates of record snowfall in Denver, none of the top twenty happened in the month of February. Most, in fact, happened in the months of March or April, when Denver residents know to expect loads of the fluffy white stuff. (In this, October and December are no slouches, either.) But in February — and January, to a lesser degree — Denver doesn’t see too much. A flurry here and there, sure, and the mountains are getting pounded with storm after storm, but few of them make it to the Front Range. Come next month, the sky’s (sometimes) the limit.
5. Check Out Semi-Empty Red Rocks
February is the month in which pretty much nothing is going on at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, which makes it the perfect time to head out to Morrison on one of Colorado’s surprisingly sunny winter days and take in the sights. It’s an amazing venue, sure, and a state and national treasure, without a doubt. But that value doesn’t end between concert seasons; it just puts on a show all its own.
4. Get Involved
No matter your political persuasion, this country needs you right now. And so do your fellow human beings. Learn as much as you can about what’s going on at the national level, the state level and the city level, too. Take a cue from the Women’s March on Washington (and here in Denver) that turned out nearly three million Americans, and more worldwide — there’s something happening. No matter what side of the political conversation you’re on, it’s important that we have the conversation. So speak up, with respect and generosity of spirit. Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose.
3. It’s a Surprisingly Big Beer Month
As our own Jonathan Shikes just reminded us, February is big on brewed goodness. Which only makes sense: If you’re not bundled up and skiing, you might as well be imbibing something hoppy and warming on the inside, where it counts.
2. Hammonds Candy for Valentine’s Day
Yes, Valentine’s Day is a racket, but sometimes you want to do something nice for someone, and candy is the tradition. Luckily, we have an option in Denver that’s far better than those grocery-store cardboard hearts with the suspiciously chalky chocolates inside. That alternative is none other than Hammonds, a Denver tradition since 1920 and purveyors of some of the brightest and most scrumdiddlyumptious candies since Willy Wonka started terrorizing children. The candy menu is more than enough, but to top it off, you can take a tour of the factory, too. Not a bad way to spend a Valentine’s weekend, whether you're with your kids or your sweetheart.
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1. Love Each Other, No Matter the Day
No matter who you voted for or what you think about the state of the nation today, I hope we can all agree that we could all use a little more love, whether it's February 14 or any of the other 364 days of the year. A little kindness goes a long way.