Thinking About Moving Here? Take These Tips to Heart!
Let me preface this article by admitting that yes, I'm a native, and yes, I'm nostalgic about old Denver, affordable housing, short lift lines, and fluid interstate traffic. However, I also appreciate some of the new, like having a strong economy, an enjoyable bar scene in Crested Butte, trying new types of food, the beer, and making friends from different parts of the country. That's not to say that the cost outweighs the benefits, (the cost of living will keep me from ever retiring, buying a house, or starting a family) but when anyone starts talking about Colorado's exploding population, I can't help but ask "could you blame anyone for wanting to live here?". For John Elway's sake, it's the state that inspired the song "America the Beautiful."
So if you've moved here from somewhere else, I don't blame you one bit and even enjoy your company, but we both know that not everyone feels that way, even older transplants. Thus, to ease the tension and to help you thrive in your new Colorado dig, here's what I recommend:
Shed Your Skin
Where you're from will always be part of your identity, but if you're not willing to respect the culture and customs of the new place, we're not going to like you. We know you're a die-hard Patriots fan, and that's fine, just don't be the guy who taunts Broncos fans at the stadium or argues with us that Tom Brady is the best there ever was. Everybody already knows that he's your man crush.
My recommendation: suck it up, sport a Broncos or neutral shirt, chat up fans, and casually let them know you're actually a Pats fan but since you're in Denver you're supporting the Broncos. For that, we might even buy you a beer. And yes, Robin Williams was the Broncos' first male cheerleader.
Drink Colorado Beer
Regardless of your taste, there's a brewery in Colorado that makes what you like. Not sure what you like? Go to Bubble's Liquor World because they have a cicerone (like a wine sommelier for beer) that can help you find anything and, most likely, know the Colorado brewers personally. Or go out and explore the breweries. As for me, I'm always happy to crack a Banquet.
My recommendation: If you're new to craft beer, it's always good to start with the staples: Odell, Left Hand, Oskar Blues, New Belgium, and Great Divide.
Don't Drive Like a D-Bag
There's no denying that tensions are high on the road, but for everyone's sake, don't be the d-bag that tailgates, passes on the right, or causes the accidents that make driving on I-25 an all-day affair. Chill out and take your time, we're going to catch up with you at the next light anyway. As for driving in the snow, get a set of winter tires, take your time, and don't put your hazards on unless you need to – we're not in Georgia anymore.
My recommendation: If you're fortunate enough to drive a high-end German luxury car, drive it like a German, not a Californian.
Try to Resist Wearing Colorado Flag Merch
Beyond being seen sipping your cortado and driving your brand new Subaru through Lo-Hi, the surefire sign of a transplant is Colorado flag anything. We know you're excited to be here, but when did this become a thing?
My recommendation: It's not the worst thing to do, but if you must I'd go for subtle, tasteful Colorado flag merch.
Pay a Visit to Some of Denver's Most Iconic Spots
Red Rocks is a given, but have you been to the Fort? How about My Brother's Bar? As natives, many of us can't keep up with all of the ultra-hip small-plate restaurants that come and go so if you visit a few places we know, we can relate.
My recommendation: Do your research, and at some point, go to the Fort to have an elk steak.
Respect Nature & Wildlife
In Colorado, leaving a campsite with a bunch of trash, harassing wildlife, or littering on a hiking trail is just something you don't do. Be clean and be respectful and all will be well.
My recommendation: Just don't do it.
Pick-Up After Your Dog
In Colorado, we love our dogs more than anything and we probably like our friends' dogs better than we like our friends. That still doesn't mean you should let your dog turn our yards, parks, and grassy areas into minefields.
My recommendation: If you have a dog, you know what to do.
Learn a Little Bit About Colorado History
Whatever your interests may be, learn a little bit about Colorado history. Did you know that your swanky urban apartment is right in the heart of what used to be called 'the Harlem of the West'? And that icons of Jazz used to perform right down the road?
My recommendation: learn a thing or two and respect our history. We'll be impressed that you took the time to do that.
Befriend as Many Native/Long Time Residents As You Can
A good number of people who have been here a while know where all the good spots to hike, camp, fish, ski, climb, and recreate are. If you can get on our good side and show a true appreciation for these things, we'll share them with you. We'll even go with you if we can swing it.
My recommendation: heed all of the tips in the article to befriend natives and you'll get to go places nobody else does. Who knows? They may even have a cabin down in Westcliffe that they'll invite you to and you'll really feel like the Sundance Kid.
Have a Blast
As Oscar Wilde famously wrote, "Life is too important to be taken seriously," and in Colorado, it is easy not to take things too seriously. So do it. Be lighthearted. Be free. And respectfully enjoy everything life here has to offer. There's nowhere in the world like it.