When I'm traveling, adventure seems so much easier to fall into. I spent a good portion of 2013 on the road touring with my band, Lust-Cats of the Gutters, and without the pull of day jobs and responsibility, I'm much more likely to say, yes, let's jump that fence. But while wandering through New Orleans cemeteries and getting creeped out at the magical Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, I was left with a cheesy Dorothy Gale-style appreciation of home and the wonderful and weird opportunities I often overlook in Denver. In the new year, I want to recommit to the killer fun and adventures that Colorado has to offer.
1. Purify myself in the waters of the Eldorado Swimming Pool Lake Minnetonka has nothing on the Eldorado Swimming Pool. The historic pool at the base of Eldorado Canyon State Park is filled with pure artesian spring water and surrounded by a gorgeous canyon. I'm going down the water slide and cannonballing into the chilly, crystal clear waters this summer. 2. Smear on eyeliner and dance till last call at goth night Saturday nights at Milk Bar are the only place I truly feel at home dancing. There's no judgment among the lace collars and pancake makeup of whatever style body-flailing I want to commit to while listening to Joy Division and Cocteau Twins all night.3. Make out with someone atop Lookout Mountain
I think the cool kids at my high school used to do this. Now, at age 24, I'm finally going to get the dreamy mountaintop makeout session owed to me by my teenage years. And maybe afterward, my date and I can crash the prom I missed.4. Hold a seance in Cheesman Park
If there's anywhere in Denver to ghost-hunt, it's the old Mt. Prospect Cemetery, known today as Cheesman Park. Its history includes a very Poltergeist, they-left-the-bodies-but-moved-the-headstones tale: Undertaker E.P. McGovern was hired in 1893 to remove the corpses from the cemetery, but saved money by hacking up bodies, putting them in child-sized caskets and never finishing the job. Maybe 2014 is the year to commune with the disgruntled spirits. I'm lighting candles and breaking out the Ouija board.
5. Spend a day reading at the Denver Zine Library It's been too long since I allowed myself a whole day to just sit and read, and the Denver Zine Library is the perfect place to do it. I plan to chill out among the library's 15,000 handmade publications at its 27 Social Centre location before the library has to relocate in the spring.
6. Lie naked in the Crystal Room at Havana Health Spa One of the dreamiest Colorado hangouts is the totally relaxing (and surprisingly affordable) Havana Health Spa in Aurora. I can't wait to spend an afternoon soaking in the hot and cold tubs, breathing deeply in the steam sauna, and lying nude in the completely magical crystal room surrounded by gemstone-encrusted walls. I don't know exactly how the crystals heal you, but they totally do.
7. Make gravestone rubbings at the Denver Pet Cemetery It's a strange but true phenomenon that the headstones of pets are often more emotive and descriptive than those of dear departed humans. I want to wander the touching memorials and make tombstone rubbings of the gravestones of people's beloved dead animals.
8. Ride the Wild Chipmunk at Lakeside No Colorado summer is complete without a thrilling ride (and subsequent whiplash) from the amusement park's most erratic roller coaster. Afterward, I'll eat a greasy chip stick drenched in hot sauce.
9. Eat a chile-relleno burger and see a show at the Sidewinder Tavern The stage at the Sidewinder Tavern is one of my favorite places to see a show, and booked under the careful curation of Decoder's Crawford Philleo, the revived bar/music venue always hosts great nights of music. The trip to Globeville is made even more worthwhile by the cheap drinks, pool table and awesome kitchen, which cooks up a chile-relleno cheeseburger that I am constantly daydreaming about.
10. Sip on a cocktail at the Cruise Room It takes a lot for me to spend more than $5 on a cocktail. But in 2014, I'm splurging at this bar that opened the day after Prohibition was repealed. Designed to look like a lounge on the Queen Mary, this luxurious art-deco martini bar inside the Oxford Hotel is the perfect place to empty your wallet for the sake of feeling like a classy '30s dame.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Westword writers have been filling the bucket to create our ultimate bucket list for 2014. We'll be spilling the top 100 items over the next few weeks; in the meantime, post your own suggestions below.