You’re new to the Mile High City. You have a good job, a place to live, and high hopes for the quality of life that you’ve bought into. There are some things you should know, and we’ve covered a lot of them over the past year, month by month. But in addition to those suggestions of rules that you’d do well to live by, we also have some suggested resolutions for you to make, just to successfully navigate the open seas of the Queen City of the Plains. (That’s Denver, by the way. We call ourselves a whole host of things. You’ll get used to it.)
Sure, lose some weight, quit that occasional social cigarette, read more and eat organic. But let us add a few more resolutions to your transplant list, with a nod toward the more practical. Let us know how it goes.
10. I Will Leave My Holiday Lights Lit Through the Stock Show
The 112th annual National Western Stock Show starts in January in Denver, and it’s been a tradition in the city for many decades now to keep the city beautiful and sparkling by leaving up holiday lights until the end of the Stock Show (January 21, 2018). What began as a city-beautiful effort to show off Denver to all the out-of-town visitors has evolved into a tradition that keeps the lights twinkling for everyone just muddling through a cold January. Keep them plugged in, and spread the joy for just a few weeks more.
9. I Will Patronize the Indoor Awesomeness of Denver While It’s Freezing Outside
Yes, there will be days when it’s just too damn cold to go outside. Single-digit temps with wind chills that seem to hate you on a personal level. Even on those days, you’ll want to get out into the city. As comfy as your house is, you need to get outside of it and experience the world — and Denver has a lot to offer, even indoors. The Denver Art Museum will feature a Degas exhibit starting in February. The Museum of Nature and Science will host the fabled Dead Sea Scrolls starting in March. And if you really need to be outside just a bit, you can enjoy the Denver Zoo nearly every day of the year, even if some days are better fit for the polar bears than the flamingos.
8. I Will Remember That Snow Comes Early and Late
Denver’s snowiest month, on average, is March, and April ranks at number three. That surprises a lot of newcomers who think that once we have a couple of nice spring-like days we’re out of the winter woods. We’re not. Our heaviest (and often most dramatic) snows usually happen late in the season, and that means keeping your ear to the ground (or to your weather app) and your car stocked with stuff to survive the snow. Sandbags over the wheel wells of your rear-wheel drive; kitty litter in the trunk to give yourself some emergency traction; a shovel to dig yourself out when need be; road flares; at least one warm blanket, because you never know; having a winter roadside emergency. It’s a matter of when, not if.
7. I Will Learn to Drive in the Snow
That means not going 5 miles per hour when there’s a dusting, but it also means that you don’t get to drive blithely on a sheet of ice just because your Subaru has all-wheel drive. There’s a middle ground on those days when the roads are slick, and the city is on accident alert, which means you don’t call the police, who are too busy with other accidents to respond, unless there’s an incident that absolutely warrants it — that means injury, disabled vehicles, lack of insurance, etc. In other words, if you’re in a fender bender from which you can both drive away, you exchange info and go on with your snowy day. One more tip: A green light doesn’t mean go when the roads are slick. A green light means “look both ways and make sure no one is skidding through the intersection.”
6. I Will Move My Car Once a Month From April Through November
Denver sweeps its streets one day a month in most areas, and on that one day, you’re going to have to remember to move your car. It's not just important for the attractiveness of the gutters; it's good for the safety of our waterways too. You can sign up for reminders, if you want — just input your phone number, and you’ll get a text the night before reminding you to move your vehicle by 8 a.m. Tickets for forgetting are $50…if you pay them on time.
5. I Will Ride My Bike…and Obey the Rules of the Shared Road
Biking is good for you, which is a win. Avoiding traffic? Another win. Low-impact on the environment? Win-win-win. So with all that winning (are you tired of winning yet?), is there a drawback? Yes, and it’s pretty minor: you have to not break the law. You have to realize that you are, in fact, required to stop at red lights and stop signs when you’re on a bike. There was a bill earlier this year to allow bikers to indulge (legally) in the rolling “Idaho” stop — but it died in committee. So yes, it’s still a pain in the lycra-clad ass to come to a full stop at every sign. You know who else thinks that? Everyone on the road. Bike safe, people.
4. I Will Support the Local Literary Scene
Denver boasts one of the most vibrant literary communities in the nation. From Lighthouse Writers Workshop to city-wide literary programs to inspiring and active local bookstores to university programs that both instruct, inspire, and host good writing — there’s a lot to do, a lot to read, and a lot for which to be thankful. There is simply no excuse for anyone in the city of Denver not to have a stack of books at their bedside that they totally intend to read.
3. I Will Respect the Changing Nature of the City
If one thing is true of just about any big city, it's that things are always changing. Some of it is cyclical, some of it is gentrification, and some of it is just the inevitable result of a burgeoning population, especially in Denver, with more people sharing and therefore altering the same physical space. Will there be growing pains? Yes. Will some of it feel unfair? Probably. Do we need to work consciously to do whatever we do to our neighborhoods with respect and love and fairness and a healthy regard for the history of which new folks are becoming a part? Absolutely. City improvements shouldn’t be a zero-sum game.
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2. I Will Find a Local Watering Hole, Learn Some Names, and Become a Regular
For all the lost and great bars of Denver (Rosyln Grill and Hill-Top Tavern and Lancer Lounge and Cold Crush and Ziggies and the It’ll-Do, we salute you), there are still many that are hanging in there and surviving in this era of scrape and replace. Bar-Bar on Champa. My Brother's Bar on 15th. Lion’s Lair or Satellite or Satire on Colfax. Lakeview Lounge on Sheridan. Herb’s. Don’s Club. Squire. Matchbox. PS Lounge. Nob Hill. Charlie Brown’s. Find one, love it, hold it tightly, and support its continued existence. And make a few friends — and a lot of toasts — along the way.
1. I Will Eventually Put a NATIVE Sticker on My Subaru
Because that’s what people who have lived here over a year get to do.