May in Denver is nothing but transition. May can be anything. May will be what you want it to be, or at least what it wants to be. May is snow and sun, outdoors and in, the promise of warmth to come and a reminder of the winter (that wasn’t). May is that friend that always agrees with you, even when you know for a fact that he or she definitely doesn’t. So, yeah…May is great to hang with, but really, you can’t trust it.
Fortunately, the month of May in Denver is also that time of year that we all start truly emerging from our burrows, when the world begins to open up again. Pay attention to these tips for May, when Denver starts to invite you out to play.
1. Be Ready for One Last Snow
Let’s get this first one out of the way, because, really, the end of April should have been a pretty good sign that old man winter wasn’t ready to loosen his icy (and pretty arthritic) grasp on the Mile High City. So, yeah, you can probably stow the twenty-below-rated North Face parka that you barely used this year, but keep the boots (snow, not Ugg) and the shovel handy. Oh, and a broom to shake off the trees.
2. Get Your AC Serviced
No, you won’t need your house to be air-conditioned for May (though never say never), and that’s exactly why you should have the thing serviced now, before that first weekend of serious heat hits the city and everyone is just discovering that, alas, their A/C gave up sometime over the winter, and they only realized it once it was still in the 90s at bedtime. Call now, beat the rush, and sit in cool comfort later this summer while you watch your neighbor lying in that plastic kiddie pool in the backyard while he waits for the service van to pull up.
3. Stop With the Flip-Flops
Quick quiz: Are you a child? Are you actually, right now, at the swimming pool? Are you an ancient Egyptian? Because if your answer to any of these questions is “Yes!” then congratulations: You have a legitimate excuse to be wearing flip-flops. If none of these cases applies to you, then please wear actual shoes. If you must wear flip-flops (and if you do consistently between May and October, enjoy your tendonitis), please remember to at least keep them on. Just because they’re easy to take off doesn’t mean you should — not on a plane, not in a restaurant, not at the movies. Please don’t subject the rest of the world to your sweaty foot grime because you think it’s making some sort of environmental statement. Here’s a tip: If it’s not someplace where you shouldn’t take off your pants, you probably shouldn’t be taking off your shoes, either.
4. Amusement Parks Reopen
Have you missed roller coasters, merry-go-rounds, Tilt-a-Whirls, and the opportunity to eat corn dogs and soda in between? Well, you’re in luck, because both Elitch’s and Lakeside are opening for the season in May. Once again, you can mingle with pre-teens dropped off for the day, eat things that you’d probably never purposefully consume in any other venue (seriously, if carnivals go the way of circuses, the cotton candy and funnel cake industries are going to crater), and generally abuse your sense of equilibrium in the name of a quick adrenaline rush.
5. Free Comic Book Day
Every year since 2002, the first Saturday in May is Free Comic Book Day. (Okay, it was in July one year, but let’s agree to ignore that anomaly.) Don’t be fooled, comic-book neophyte, into thinking that this means that ALL comics at any given store are free for the taking. That’s not how it works. Instead, retailers order (and pay for!) scads of special comics designed for the giveaway — what’s free for customers is decidedly not free for the stores themselves — but if it means bringing in new fans and making current fans (and kids!) happy, then so be it. Be sure to support your friendly neighborhood comic-book store, like Time Warp Comics in Boulder, where there are not only free comics, but big sales, costumed characters, various giveaways, and enough pure nerd-goodness to put to shame any episode of The Big Bang Theory.
Keep reading for more tips for May.
6. Pay Attention to Your Hell Strip
Your hell strip is, of course, that piece of grass between the sidewalk and the street. If you’re lucky, someone who owned the house before you has already taken care of this — sprinklers and sod, or xeriscape rock garden goodness, whatever. But many of us are not lucky, and instead have this half-dead, hard-baked ground out in front of our houses that serves as a good way to make a bad first impression. May is the month in which you’re going to have to start mowing and watering and planting and generally caring for your outdoor space anyway — so if you’re a homeowner, don’t forget that tiny piece of land that you don’t technically own (the city does), but which you are nonetheless required to maintain.
7. Hope You Already Have a Bike
If you’re in the market for a bike…you’re not alone. Check out the Craigslist offerings for bikes — it’s pretty thin stock. May is the beginning of the season in Denver where it occurs to people that, hey, maybe we can bike to the park, or to go get mimosas, or to that concert at the Fillmore. Which means that everyone needs a bike, and all the available stock gets snapped up. If you do already have a bicycle, you might want to get that sucker tuned up — tires slimed and trued, brakes checked, the whole nine. And maybe get a banana seat. Banana seats are awesome.
8. Free Mulch
Remember that Christmas tree that the city was so kind as to pick up for you back in January? Well, you can invite it back into your home — or at least your gardens — with Denver’s Free Mulch program, which has a pick-up day on May 6 at various locations around town. What this means is that there will literally be giant piles of shredded trees (and probably some wayward tinsel) in parking lots at various parks — Sloan's Lake, Veteran’s, Bear Creek and Fred Thomas — just waiting for you to come by with a shovel and your Subaru wagon.
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9. Mount Evans Scenic Byway Opens
But not until May 26. If that seems late, you probably haven’t been up to over 14,000 feet lately. For the highest paved road in North America, the Friday of Memorial Day weekend is positively early. But if you haven’t done it, even if you’re a local, it’s worth doing. And bonus: It’s just plain more convenient to climb a 14er in a sedan.
10. May Flowers
What did April showers bring? Look around: Colorful Colorado is springing up everywhere in yards and parks and pots on porches. Just remember to cover them up when it inevitably snows.