Your friends in Texas and Arizona are always bragging on social media -- "Big D this," "Scottsdale that." Blah, blah, blah. But we all know the truth -- that Colorado destroys them all.There's something visceral about Colorado state pride. It's why those of us that left Colorado to go to school out-of-state simply couldn't wait to get back. In fact, my college had a little clique of Colorado-grown kids unified by a love of home that was admittedly off-putting and exclusive. The others could only wish they were as cool as us, with our '90s flannel shirts and Birkenstocks and annoyingly incessant talk of hiking and nature. We all know Colorado is the best. You know it. I know it. And the legalization of marijuana aside, we have some solid stats to prove our superiority. You live in the state that's above all other states, so wear your Colorado pride on your sleeve. Brag freely, near and far. After all, your choice to live in Colorado speaks volumes about your enduring wisdom, your sense of style, and really, your worth as a person! So here are the ways Colorado absolutely DESTROYS all other states.
Beauty.[gallery columns="2" ids="28120,28121"] Obviously. I mean, have you been to Rocky Mountain National Park? Or Steamboat? Or Hanging Lake? Or anywhere in our great state? With an astonishing 58 peaks that exceed 14,000 feet above sea level, Colorado's natural beauty is breathtaking and crazy-dramatic. The only other states that could even begin to rival its mountainous landscape are Montana and Alaska, but they're a little too remote and end up falling short in big-city convenience. And our tourist attractions (Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak Cog Railway, The Royal Gorge, multiple ski resorts) and our quaint mountain towns (Estes Park, Georgetown, Aspen, Vail) capitalize on Colorado's assets in a way no other state does.
Perfect Climate.[gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="28122,28129"] People outside the state think we're trudging through snow all winter long (like in Minnesota!), but that's simply not true. Our high elevation pays off in several ways. When it does snow, the roads melt quickly, allowing for easy navigation around town but leaving a backdrop of perfect snowy landscape for a day or two before it finally succumbs to the sun. Also, low humidity means we rarely sweat (we're looking at you, Oklahoma!). Plus, don't forget that Colorado days are more often sunny than not (Washington state).
Big City Convenience.[gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="28124,28126"] There's something incredible about having the wealth of natural beauty at the same time as access to all the life conveniences that only a big city can provide. Trendy national retailers like Ikea and Trader Joe's abound, while our ability to anchor great museums and other institutions is notable (Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, the Botanic Gardens, the Downtown Aquarium, the Butterfly Pavilion, etc.). Short of the epic experience that a massive city like NYC or LA could give, Denver has absolutely everything you could ever need, all in a bite-sized, livable portion. And when out-of-state family or friends come to visit, there's no shortage of ways to entertain.
Laid-Back Peeps.[gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="28130,28131"] I know, I know. Cue the pot-head jokes. But seriously, even before the legalization of weed, Colorado was famous for breeding people who craved nature, loved animals, and had that overall laid-back rancher vibe. Maybe it's the thin air getting to our heads, but in general, the very fact that we've chosen to live here means we value nature and beauty over the fast-paced lifestyle of East Coast states (New York, Massachusetts, D.C.), and that alone is proof that we have a fresher, more "open" perspective on life. As a result, we're pretty happy, overall: three of our cities were named some of National Geographic's happiest places to live. College-town Boulder even clinched No. 1.
Commitment to Health.[gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="28134,28135"] If the gorgeous weather and scenery are beckoning you (and Fido!) outside for a hike or bike ride, you're not alone. As it turns out, Coloradans love recreational activity and anything health-related, with the Centennial State consequently being named as the "skinniest state" in a recent study by WalletHub. From our penchant for heading up I-70 for a day on the slopes to our state-of-the-art medical facilities, Coloradans -- unlike people in Arkansas and even Wyoming -- are committed to a healthy lifestyle and to having everything we need for our bodies to stay in perfect shape. The high altitude doesn't hurt either -- Summit County's life expectancy is actually the best in the nation.
Sports Galore.[gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="28139,28137"] Colorado has everything you could ever want, sports-wise. Home to the Denver Broncos (three Super Bowl championships), Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rockies (World Series contender in 2007), and Colorado Avalanche (two Stanley Cup championships), Denver has an exciting sports scene with some of the most dedicated fans in the nation. Plus, between Mile High Stadium, the Pepsi Center, and Coors Field, we have some great venues to cheer them all on! The Broncos have sold out every game at Mile High, going all the way back to 1970! Add to that the competitiveness of local college teams -- the CSU Rams and CU Buffs -- and we've got plenty of fodder for state spirit. Compare us to places like Idaho, the Dakotas, New Mexico, Kentucky, Maine, and Mississippi (with no pro teams to speak of), and Colorado's just
A Happening Arts Scene.[gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="28143,28144"] Two words: Red Rocks. Entertainers love performing at our open-air natural amphitheatre, and our amazing climate usually obliges for some incredible shows in the crisp Colorado air. Denver's a hub for entertainment, with the amazing venues at the Denver Center for Performing Arts welcoming multiple touring Broadway shows per year -- and much more! Our other concert spaces -- Fiddler's Green, Pepsi Center, Mile High, among others -- regularly attract the biggest names and tours in the music world (Taylor Swift is even hoping to fill Mile High in 2018)! You know where T-Swizzle isn't going? Nebraska, Iowa, or New Hampshire.
Top-Notch Education.[gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="28148,28147"] Denver and Colorado Springs, our two largest cities, ranked No. 16 and 17 respectively on WalletHub's list of 150 most-educated cities. That means that a decent portion of our residents have college degrees -- and from quality institutions at that! Six of our universities made MONEY Magazine's 2017 list of best college education for the money, including the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, Colorado College, University of Colorado Boulder, Regis University, and University of Denver. On the flip-side, both Texas and California recorded a sizable number of least-educated cities, taking up eight of the 10 bottom spots on WalletHub's list.
Economic Hub.[gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="28172,28149"] Denver is a booming place for startups and overall economic growth. According to U.S. News and World Report, Colorado's economy is ranked No. 1 overall (No. 2 in both economic growth and job growth and No. 4 is business environment). Sure, the cost of living is a little high, but look at that as a direct result of everyone wanting to live here. Every day we wake up to more news headlines announcing additional development and exciting possibilities for Colorado. The potential is endless. Residents in Louisiana, Alaska, and West Virginia (with their flailing economies) can't say the same.
Breweries.[gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="28151,28152"] Colorado's a winner when it comes to craft beer. With 348 breweries in our state (the second-most in the nation), the math works out to about 6.3 breweries per 100,000 residents. No wonder we're so chill! That ranking means we have the third-highest number of breweries per capita. Wanna know who's hurting for craft beer? Hawaii.
Technology.[caption id="attachment_28155" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Image courtesy of norad.mil[/caption] If all that wasn't enough, check this out: Colorado is home to some of the most state-of-the-art technological facilities. Just think about the national security treasure that is Cheyenne Mountain, or the aerospace hub we have in Lockheed Martin. Or the fact that we've been chosen to test out the High Speed Super Urban Network, a hyperloop-inspired electromagnetic track along E-470. And guess what? In order to work at these high-tech facilities, you have to be uber-smart, which means ... that's right. We have some of the greatest minds in the nation living right here in Colorado. And that goes back to quality education.
So there you go -- hard-fast proof that Colorado is the very best state. What do you think? Do you agree that Colorado crushes all others? What important fact did we miss (we know there have to be some!)? Please leave a comment, and let's get the conversation started! And don't forget to brag to all your friends. ;-)