The first presidential debate at the University of Denver is mere hours away, and media and visitors are flooding into town for the big event. But there are plenty of reasons Denver should be in the spotlight the other 364 days per year.
Fifty, at least.
Which is why we've brushed off, spruced up and updated (a little) our 2010 list "50 reasons we're glad we live in Denver and not the United States." It's a reminder that the Mile High City is a great place whether the eyes of the nation are on us or not. Count down the top fifty below.
50. What other city has a blue, badass horse of the apocalypse greeting people at the airport...
49. ...Which just happens to have inspired conspiracy theories even the-world-is-going-to-end-in-2012 believers probably think are twisted?
48. Dive bars galore.
47. Even terrorists who live here would rather attack somewhere else...
46. We're only a short drive away from historic gambling towns -- where you can still gamble.
45. The town hero isn't ready to let the football team go down without a fight.
43. The shit-stompin' National Western Stock Show and Rodeo!
42. Pimped-out pedicabs!
41. If Lindsay Lohan violates her parole, we know it before anyone.
40. Every day is like the Great American Beer Festival.
39. Home of Tom Cat condoms.
Continue for more of the fifty reasons debate visitors should wish they live in Denver year round. 38. A two-time Stanley Cup winning hockey team with the greatest fight-calling announcer in the world.
37. Yes, the Soviets and Cubans did invade our fair state in Red Dawn, but our full-blooded American asses beat those Commies back. Wolverines!
36. We're consistently ranked among the country's smartest cities -- which you would have known if you lived here.
35. We invited the whole country to town in 2008 -- and everybody got along!
34. You can secretly (but no-so-secretly) smoke cigarettes with a beer in your hand in some of our many fine downtown bars. We're not saying which ones, because we enjoy smoking there.
32. ...And so has our pro soccer team.
31. The Denver Art Museum is striking enough to deserve an exhibit in the Denver Art Museum.
30. The main branch of the Denver Public Library is just as jaw-dropping -- a technically advanced facility that's great for genealogical study, western-history research and watching homeless guys check their Twitter account.
29. Armies of bicycle-riding hipsters who mean business.
28. ...And if you don't have a bike, you can rent one just about anywhere.
26. Nightspots that Jack Kerouac visited when he wasn't on the road.
Continue for more of the fifty reasons debate visitors should wish they live in Denver year round. 25. The 16th Street Mall, where there's still such a thing as a free ride.
24. Casa Bonita, the weirdest Mexican restaurant on the planet.
23. Santa Fe Art Walk and other First Friday events, where you can see pirates, belly dancers, street musicians and museum-quality pieces all in one night.
19. We don't need Project Runway to tell us the city's fashion-forward.
18. Players on our NBA team have the most ridiculous tattoos in the league -- in a good way! (Okay, this one's a bit out of date....)
17. We have a friggin' amusement park snuggled up to downtown, with one of the trippiest Ferris-wheel light displays you'll ever see.
16. Historic architecture doesn't begin and end with the Molly Brown House.
15. We're raised breakfast burritos to an art form.
14. Rockpile tickets at Coors Field are a bargain -- and they provide a great view of baseballs flying out of the yard.
13. People may argue about how many days of sunshine we have -- but there are hundreds of them.
12. The buffalo still roam here -- and we're not talking about CU players.
11. The saggy-boob electric penis sculpture.
Continue for more of the fifty reasons debate visitors should wish they live in Denver year round. 10. The Denver Film Festival -- an event so amazing that some people would cut off their arm to host a screening.
9. It's the land of green chile.
6. A local music community that's the rival of any better-known scene in the U.S. of A.
5. We can ski in June and sunbathe in January -- not to mention doing both at the same time.
3. Red Rocks at sunset -- or during a great concert -- or pretty much anytime.
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More from our Lists & Weirdness archive: "Fifty latest reasons Colorado is the best state in the country."