As the Broncos prepare to take on the Seahawks this Sunday, we thought it was fitting to share a letter written by TEDxMileHigh Fellow Sam Faktorow about why we love Denver and what makes it an exceptional city. Win or lose, we will still be proud to call Denver home and continue to take advantage of all that it has to offer.
I’ll admit, I’m the new kid on the block. I spent my childhood in a suburb of Washington, D.C., though my parents fled every year to the Rocky Mountains to ski. I remember flying into Denver and seeing the skyline rise out of the Plains like watch towers that held the gates to the Front Range and beyond. Circumstance landed both of my siblings out here for college at CU and DU, and I more than willingly followed suit and ended up 70 miles south in Colorado Springs at Colorado College. I knew, though, the Mile High City was where I wanted to be following graduation, and through sheer luck, determination, and a pioneering spirit, I made it last summer.
Denver, I love you. I really do. Not a cheap, tawdry kind of love, either; mine is a passionate love affair that takes place on the gritty corners of East Colfax, in Wash Park on a sunny day, underneath the shady trees along Speer Boulevard and 6th Avenue, above the streets of LoDo on a rooftop bar, and inside of a taquería on Federal between Alameda and 32nd. You see, Denver, while you may not be the biggest city, you make up for it with culture, community, history, and a delightful splash of spunk and quirkiness.
I love your commitment to preserving your past, Denver. Everywhere I go, I see a city sign that reminds me of our colorful history. Not to mention the brick buildings of downtown. I swear sometimes I feel like I could run into Molly Brown, Jack Kerouac, or John Evans when I am taking a stroll down a street in Capitol Hill or The Highlands past the ornate Victorians and brick bungalows. You still embrace the future, though, Denver. Google is opening a new campus in Golden Triangle, you continue to expand RTD (all the way to DIA!), and Oh Heck Yeah is trying to turn part of 16th Street Mall into a video game this summer. Take that, Silicon Valley!
I love the neighborhoods you have carved out and nourished, Denver. I live in Wash Park West and it’s a great place for me; it’s quiet when I need it to be, but offers a smattering of fun restaurants and bars in its own right and is close enough to the hustle and bustle of Cap Hill, Broadway, and DU that I don’t feel disconnected completely. Plus, living only a few blocks from the park doesn’t hurt. But really, I could be happy anywhere in just about any part of town: a swanky loft in LoDo, a studio in Five Points or artsy RiNo, a beautiful home in Congress Park, any of these and more seem idyllic to me.
Socially speaking, Denver, you have a pretty poppin’ nightlife. I can get into a bar or club with little to no wait time and casually chat up the bartender while also finding time to wet my whistle and dance the night away. Our forefathers loved to drink during the Gold Rush and Prohibition days, and that mentality hasn’t gone anywhere.
I could write 50 love letters to the infamous “longest, wickedest street in America” that is Colfax Avenue, but I won’t. Instead, I’m going to tell you to experience it yourself. Drive, walk, bike, or take the 15 or 16 bus and you will experience it differently every time. It is a road that defies all standard conventions and rules, and I love it for that. And I love Denver for developing it in such a way that it still feels as rough-and-tumble as it used to.
But what do we do now? How do we keep making Denver better? We pioneer. We innovate. We grow. We participate and engage in our community. And we always remember to bounce right back and never forget our roots.