Welcome to Denver!

Ten things you should know before you step out into one of this city's 300 annual days of sunshine.

1) John Denver is not from Denver — so don't blame us for "Rocky Mountain High." In fact, the former Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. never even lived in Denver, although he did spend a great deal of time in Aspen.

2) Denver is indeed a mile high — as documented on the steps of the State Capitol (which is actually covered with gold), a row of purple seats in Coors Field, and a pinstripe high on the wall of Mayor John Hickenlooper's office.

3) Because Denver is a mile high, the air is thinner here. This means alcohol has an unexpectedly potent effect on flatlanders — but so does Viagra.

4) In a perhaps related development, Denver is tops in condom purchases per capita, making it the Most Lustful City in America, according to Forbes.com.

5) Denver also rates as the Drunkest City in America, according to Men's Health. (By the way, bars close at 2 a.m., with last call a few minutes earlier.)

6) Thanks to many microbreweries and Coors, metro Denver brews more beer than any other American city.

7) The cheeseburger was invented (or at least trademarked) in Denver in 1935, at the Humpty-Dumpty Drive-In. Although that joint is long gone, there's a monument to this momentous occasion at 2776 Speer Boulevard.

8) A far more notorious Denver invention, the Denver boot, which immobilizes the vehicles of parking-ticket scofflaws, has been exported around the world. Less famous is the Barnes Dance, a timing device that allows pedestrians to walk diagonally across downtown intersections.

9) Green chile, the peppery sauce/stew that's Colorado's unofficial dish, often is not green in color. Then again, Rocky Mountain oysters are not really oysters. Remember that before you swallow.

10) When you have a question about where to go or what to eat in Denver, grab a free copy of Westword — or go to www.westword.com, where we've archived 25 years of the Best of Denver.


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