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Old 03-16-2011, 04:52 PM
 
229 posts, read 391,828 times
Reputation: 475

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Since this a forum for sharing our experiences, perspectives and opinions on cities, I thought I would take a moment to share mine as there seems to be an increased amount of negative thoughts and opinions of this city, at least on some of the topics.

A little about me, I'm a math/computer professional, 35 years old, married and born and raised here in the metro area. I have travelled fairly extensively and have lived in many cities both here in the US and abroad. I was fortunate to have a foreign born parent and thus was exposed to different cultures and ideas from as far back as I can remember. I grew up on both the north and south ends of good ol Aurora and attended college in Boulder. Once finishing, I moved down here to the city of Denver and have been living here off and on for the past 14 years.

I've had the opportunity of seeing the city go through some pretty big changes even in just the last 15 years. Here are my opinions on things I know many people ask/talk about/debate/curious about.

Denver a cosmopolitan city??......
Not so much. For most people coming from a larger more "megalopolis" cities, they will most certainly find it pretty bland here. I often find I'm the darkest skinned guy in any given room from my kindergarden class all the way to my days in college. I think more and more people are touting the city as being this way, but deep down Denver is still a bit of a cow town. It's always been it's heart and even though certain larger industries coming here have helped to bring a bit more people and culture, yes it's still a bit of a cow town. Those claiming that Denver isn't a cow town I think are mostly people that moved here from smaller or other similarly sized cities. I guess that's what I've seen happen though over the past 15 years is that the city was always labeled as a cow town and it's only recently begun to try to identify as something different, but I don't think it even knows what that is yet. The lack of cultural diversity here has always been one of my biggest complaints about this city. Sure, I can go to Federal Blvd for my Asian and Hispanic fair or down to Glendale for my Russian and Eastern European influence (kinda) or the Highlands/Santa Fe for more Hispanic, but other than that your choices are kinda limited in the city limits. You have to find individual stores and things that are stand alone mom and pops scattered throughout. Out in the burbs I can't speak with too much certainty. I once went on a blind date with a woman set up through friends of friends and soon as she sat down with me, the first thing she said was "I'm sorry, I don't date Hispanic men" to which I smiled and said "Check please." No, I'm not Hispanic in case you were wondering. I could certainly be offended by her clearly ignorant remark, but growing up here I realize you are only as knowledgeable as your surroundings. Not a super big deal to me because I value the many other things this city has to offer and I enjoy embracing my culture and background. Plus it's kinda fun being the really unique guy in any given room. When I do meet someone interested or with questions, it's always my pleasure and joy to share but to call Denver cosmopolitan is not really accurate and I've never seen it as such. Perhaps cosmopolitan-lite is more appropriate.

Denver gets 300 days of sunshine (but it snows here year round don't cha know) and other climate info.....
Yes, we get alot of sunshine compared to say Seattle, but as much as SoCal, definitely not. Is the average really 300?? It depends on what you define as a sunny day. I think the claim to 300 came from some report that took into account clear and partly cloudy days where the sun shone for at least an hour on any given day. I've read numerous reports that say the true average is probably closer to 240 which makes more sense to me. I've also verified this with a meterologist friend who works up at NCAR. This has always been one of the biggest Denver catch phrases to promote our city and state but most of us that have lived here for a long time know this isn't exactly true. The funny thing is whenever I travel to a larger city in the US I meet two kinds of people when I tell them I'm from Denver, the first kind almost always asks "Doesn't it snow there year round??", "How do you deal with that?". This coming from people who live in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, and Philly. I usually smile and say, "yeah, it gets tough but I get to work on my "V" doing all that shoveling ". The second kind I'll get to later. For those wondering, it's a semi-arid climate and has 4 seasons. Yes, things are brown in the winter and half the state is covered by prairies and the little prairie dogs that come with that, but fall and spring are gorgeous. The leaves change colors, the afternoon rain storms in spring can be spectacular! Have you driven the million dollar highway in the fall? Hiked some of the wildflower trails in Neversummer national forest in the spring? Not too shabby if you ask me. Summer is nice and certainly hot at times, hot and dry and winter is simply cold and dry. It's not the frigid humid cold of the midwest or northeast, but it can get pretty cold here too. Usually the unbearable cold is only for a few weeks in the January/February timeframe. Otherwise, yes it snows in the winter, some years are worse than others.

While were talking about climate, let's address the pollution issue. Yes this is a city of good size and thus does come with it's pollution woes. Being situated where it is against the rockies we do get a bit of a brown cloud but it's not that bad as people make it out to be. Most days, you can see really blue sky, the mountains, and plenty of distance out. Having been in China, Bangkok, Mexico City to name a few places where you would literally cough outside if you breathed to hard, I find it to be a happy medium here.

Denver architecture/neighborhoods.....
The actual city itself is not that big and is often confused with the "metro area" which encompasses all the surrounding burbs. As of 2010, I think the population of Denver proper is barely 600K vs. the metro area which is closer to 2.5 million. There are many great little pockets in the city of Denver to live in, all depends on what you're after. If you love the 100+ year old fixer upper victorians with charm and character, you can find those in spades here. My wife and I have spent many a weekends bicycling/walking around and just looking at all the unique, amazing old homes. If you want more modern and updated you can find those as well. Have you driven through Hilltop? Observatory Park? It's like hunting the sales rack at the store. You gotta dig a little but you find other things along the way and it's fun to explore. Is it super affordable? If you want to be in the highly desirable neighborhoods (ala wash park, highlands) then not so much if you need room for a family. However, if you go just a bit outside those areas, good deals certainly exist. Personally, I find the architecture here very unique and complimentary to our landscape and backdrop of the rockies. I've also seen the boom that brought industry to our downtown beginning with the gentrification of LoDo when Coors field was built. Yes, it's not really the kind of place you want to be on a Friday/Saturday night if you're over 27, but during the day and the rest of the week, it's cool with many unique lounges, restaurants, and coffee shops. There are many other places though for us 30 somethings to hangout. You have the whole uptown area, south broadway, DTC, Cherry Creek, and the highlands to name a few. I find the new addition to the art museum to be pretty cool and I've always been a fan of the newer performing arts complex. The downtown skyline is growing again and although not as big as some cities, it suits the landscape here and is again just right for the landscape.

Denver is boring??.....
Like many topics, it depends on what you consider "fun." If you need a plethora of bars and amusement/theme parks, yea you might consider it boring. Otherwise if you are an adult with or without a family I can list hundreds of things to do here. My wife just moved here and she's still loving after a year how much there is to do. From film festivals, to art shows, galleries, community events, restaurants, lounges, sporting events, museums, wine tastings, concerts (we seriously have some of the best live venues in the world and many acts that come through I can never see all the shows I want to see each year) and I haven't even started naming all the outdoorsy stuff that bring people here like climbing, mountain biking, skiing, etc. When I hear people say Denver is boring, I ask what are you looking to do? How can you not find something fun here? Do you just want a Disneyland? More bar or nightclub options? Spend a week with me and I'll show you some fun things to do.

Denverites have a smug attitude/are cold/distant...and traffic gripes too.....
Being a native, I'll be the first to admit that I DO NOT have one of those bumper stickers on my car nor have I nor will I ever. I chuckle at the people who do, but I also partly understand why they do. It's a battle that just isn't worth fighting. Growth is inevitable. Growth in a desirable city is as sure as Simon's criticisms (were) or my hangover after cheap beer. A lot of people including myself, grew up here driving from the burbs to downtown in less than 15 minutes in rush hour traffic. Once Texans and Californians figured that out too and that you could buy a 3000 sq ft 4 bedroom house for 350K, it brought the massive influx in. That started making traffic a nightmare too and people being resistant to change rebelled in the way of the bumper sticker. Heck, whoever thought of it probably made a killing. The city wasn't built for that kind of growth as again, it's always been a bit of a cow town and thus the influx was sort of unexpected, but we couldn't keep it a secret forever! Is there a smugness that people have here? Sure, but I'd say it's only noticeable in a small percentage of people and I wouldn't necessarily call it smugness but pride. When I hear people say that the people they met here are cold and distant, I think a few things. One, they are meeting other people not from here either or two that those people are reacting to you in some way or three and maybe this is more of what people are interpreting; I think by nature Coloradoans are a bit shy, slightly reserved, but always very kind and polite. People who've usually said this are from the bigger cities and are used to people being a bit more outgoing. I've met countless people upon countless people here throughout my entire life. Are they super outgoing and do I expect them to come up to me and start a conversation on the street? Not at all, but if you engage them in a friendly way, I've never had problems meeting people here and find that the people are very loyal and giving in their friendships.

Simple life, quality of life, Denver life......
I've met a pretty wide range of people here over the years. People that were born here, people that moved here, people that had to move here, didn't want to move here, etc. The thing that I'd say 90-95% of them all had in common is that they enjoy and value the quality of life here. Sure, Denver isn't for everyone but I saw a recent post that talked about Denver being "uninspiring" and a place to "just stop over, but never stay for good" and I couldn't disagree more. It depends on what inspires you and what you are looking to be inspired for and by. For the outdoor enthusiast this place oozes inspiration. For people wanting a more simplified and less chaotic life this place fulfills that as well. I've met tons of people that moved here from New York City and Orange County who wanted to escape the whole rat race and enjoy those aspects of life. They all loved it here and planned on staying here til they died and couldn't stop talking about how much they loved it. The second kind of person I meet when I travel that I alluded to earlier are people who usually say, "I love Denver, it's such a beautiful city", "Some of the nicest people I've ever met", "I'm trying to move my family there in the coming years." I get why Denver isn't the most appealing city to some people. If you want big industry, you're probably not going to find that here. If you want options galore, again, not the place for it. Huge diversity, yup, probably not going to find that here either. Although, if you become friends with me, I'll count as your one "non white/caucasian" that you can say you know . People who are drawn here are drawn to the quality of life here. We don't need a million and one options for shopping, etc. to have quality of life or to be a great city. I embrace the simplicity of life here as do the majority of people who come here and thus are a bit reluctant to huge growth as it's great the way it is. Growth is nice for any city, but with that growth comes headaches of more people, more traffic, more rat racing to get the BMW and Lexus. If you want restaurants, we've got tons. Beautiful places, we've got lots of those too and you don't have to travel that far to get there and all this under a place that offers 4 seasons and at a reasonable price mind you. Travel costs as much from here to any major city and the phrase I continue to gravitate to is "just right." Denver is the little-big city as I like to call it, but like all little big cities that are starting to get big, it's attracting more and more people by the decade. Many of these people are battling the natives who like things the way they are and don't want Denver to turn into another megalopolis vs. those who come here from bigger cities and want all the things they had back in their respective homes. Truth is, I hope they improve the infrastructure as they seem to have been lately to accomodate the growth, but do I want it to grow much more? I'd be lying if I said yes, because then at least for me the porridge becomes too hot or too cold.
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Weymouth, The South
786 posts, read 1,731,793 times
Reputation: 465
Oh jesus, I'm not gonna read all that right now, as interesting as I'm sure it is, and I will certainly read it tomorrow because I'm sure you have a lot of good thoughts, but did you really need to make a new thread?? I admit, unless I've followed a thread from the beginning, I rarely read through a whole long thread if it has 100s of replies, but could you not have just posted this on the end of one of the other 2 recent threads? Anyway, no matter, well done for giving people your thoughts, I'm just in an irksome mood and starting your own thread for this just set me off. Still, rep's coming your way from me.
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Old 03-16-2011, 06:33 PM
 
48 posts, read 120,686 times
Reputation: 49
thanks for making this thread/post.
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:01 PM
 
Location: Fountain Square, Indianapolis
628 posts, read 879,665 times
Reputation: 631
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceTenmile View Post
Oh jesus, I'm not gonna read all that right now, as interesting as I'm sure it is, and I will certainly read it tomorrow because I'm sure you have a lot of good thoughts, but did you really need to make a new thread?? I admit, unless I've followed a thread from the beginning, I rarely read through a whole long thread if it has 100s of replies, but could you not have just posted this on the end of one of the other 2 recent threads? Anyway, no matter, well done for giving people your thoughts, I'm just in an irksome mood and starting your own thread for this just set me off. Still, rep's coming your way from me.
You mad, bro? 5-6 paragraphs too much for ya?
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:26 PM
 
Location: Omaha, NE
163 posts, read 349,701 times
Reputation: 183
Thank you for posting this. The more insights from residents of Denver, the more informed people can be.

As it is, I visited Denver for about a week last year. I absolutely loved it. I was amazed at the attitude and behavior of the people. It was a very refreshing change of pace for me. Time will tell if we end up there, but there's certainly a lot to be proud of in that city.
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:40 PM
 
229 posts, read 391,828 times
Reputation: 475
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceTenmile View Post
Oh jesus, I'm not gonna read all that right now, as interesting as I'm sure it is, and I will certainly read it tomorrow because I'm sure you have a lot of good thoughts, but did you really need to make a new thread?? I admit, unless I've followed a thread from the beginning, I rarely read through a whole long thread if it has 100s of replies, but could you not have just posted this on the end of one of the other 2 recent threads? Anyway, no matter, well done for giving people your thoughts, I'm just in an irksome mood and starting your own thread for this just set me off. Still, rep's coming your way from me.

Someone run out of his soy milk for his cheerios this morning!?! Lol, it's all good though. To answer your question, yes I did need to make a new thread as I wanted it readily available to new people and others who wouldn't bother reading through a 50 some page thread just to then hear some positive comments. Besides, too much negativity in there .
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Denver
9,961 posts, read 17,261,624 times
Reputation: 6181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Co_guy_94 View Post

Denverites have a smug attitude/are cold/distant...and traffic gripes too.....
Being a native, I'll be the first to admit that I DO NOT have one of those bumper stickers on my car nor have I nor will I ever. I chuckle at the people who do, but I also partly understand why they do. It's a battle that just isn't worth fighting. Growth is inevitable. Growth in a desirable city is as sure as Simon's criticisms (were) or my hangover after cheap beer. A lot of people including myself, grew up here driving from the burbs to downtown in less than 15 minutes in rush hour traffic. Once Texans and Californians figured that out too and that you could buy a 3000 sq ft 4 bedroom house for 350K, it brought the massive influx in. That started making traffic a nightmare too and people being resistant to change rebelled in the way of the bumper sticker. Heck, whoever thought of it probably made a killing. The city wasn't built for that kind of growth as again, it's always been a bit of a cow town and thus the influx was sort of unexpected, but we couldn't keep it a secret forever! Is there a smugness that people have here? Sure, but I'd say it's only noticeable in a small percentage of people and I wouldn't necessarily call it smugness but pride. When I hear people say that the people they met here are cold and distant, I think a few things. One, they are meeting other people not from here either or two that those people are reacting to you in some way or three and maybe this is more of what people are interpreting; I think by nature Coloradoans are a bit shy, slightly reserved, but always very kind and polite. People who've usually said this are from the bigger cities and are used to people being a bit more outgoing. I've met countless people upon countless people here throughout my entire life. Are they super outgoing and do I expect them to come up to me and start a conversation on the street? Not at all, but if you engage them in a friendly way, I've never had problems meeting people here and find that the people are very loyal and giving in their friendships. .
These "NATIVE" bumper stickers..the funny thing is I am a native Californian and if this ever took off there you could probably drive for days without seeing one.

If it is a pride thing I could understand, but I take it as a "don't move here" sticker

I agree with you it's not a fight worth fighting, nobody can stop anyone from moving anywhere in the US.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:53 PM
 
152 posts, read 369,640 times
Reputation: 236
There definitely didn't need to be another thread on this subject! Why is it so hard to accep being t the fact that everyone views a place differently?

Why is everything negative in the metro area lumped on Californians and Texans? If it weren't for people moving here, Denver would have stunted economic growth and would be even more cowtowny than it is now! Also, the ancestors of these natives came here from somewhere else too! The territorial provinvial attitude amongst some natives here is out of control.

Regardless of what natives want people will continue to move here. As a result, this city will be forced to become more cosmopolitan and will have to change its small town, 1980s ways.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:56 PM
 
229 posts, read 391,828 times
Reputation: 475
Quote:
Originally Posted by CO_Transplant View Post
There definitely didn't need to be another thread on this subject! Why is it so hard to accep being t the fact that everyone views a place differently?

Why is everything negative in the metro area lumped on Californians and Texans? If it weren't for people moving here, Denver would have stunted economic growth and would be even more cowtowny than it is now! Also, the ancestors of these natives came here from somewhere else too! The territorial provinvial attitude amongst some natives here is out of control.

Regardless of what natives want people will continue to move here. As a result, this city will be forced to become more cosmopolitan and will have to change its small town, 1980s ways.

Ummm...actually there did. With negative threads numbering over 50 pages long, I thought it would be good to hear the other side of those points. Specially for people who are seriously considering moving here. Why is it so hard for YOU to accept that everyone views a place differently and has their own points and opinions on an experience different from yours.

Of course people will continue to move here, because of many of the reasons I stated above. Yes, the city will eventually become more cosmopolitan as a result which does add some good. I simply was stating that it's not there now as you are one of the very people complaining about it not being so. I think many big city people come here wishing they had some aspects of their big city life, but that's just not where Denver is right now. But just like LA, with more people comes more headaches. Yes, it's a trade off for a more cosmopolitan status, but really that's not one of the main reasons that people come here now, read: simplicity and quality of life. You're just way ahead of the game girl! Check you out being a trendsetter.
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Old 03-17-2011, 12:02 AM
 
Location: Colorado, Denver Metro Area
1,048 posts, read 4,143,871 times
Reputation: 404
300 days of sunshine or not, we get plenty and that is enough for me. There are many nice days even if the sun is above overcast clouds.
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