10 Reasons to be Thankful for Denver

2013 November 28
by David Schlichter

In honor of Thanksgiving, below are 10 reasons to be thankful for Denver, the incredible city in which we live.  Have a great holiday, and here’s to The Good Life!

10 Reasons to be Thankful for Denver:

10. The Weather–Denver gets all four seasons, has almost no humidity, and gets tons of sunshine.  What more could you ask for? There are few places where you can ski, rock climb, and play outdoor soccer all in the same day–but that can be done in Denver thanks to our perfect weather.  We now also have a great snow prediction website called OpenSnow, made by Boulder skier and meterologist Joel Gratz, that predicts snowfall/accumulation at nearby ski resorts so that you can ensure you ski where the powder is.  But if skiing on fresh powder isn’t your thing, chances are the weather in Denver will be Good and you could play some volleyball at Wash. Park while your buddies ski!

9. Shared/public transportation–I wouldn’t have put this on the list 5 years ago, but the city, as a whole, is making big progress when it comes to shared and public transportation.  Of course we all know that the free 16th St. Mall shuttle ride is great, but the new abundance of car-sharing services like Car2Go, the expansion of the light rail to Golden/the airport/Boulder, and the redevelopment of Denver’s Union Station are all proving to be a game-changers for the region.

Image source: RTD Fastracks website

8. Ice Cream–Though it isn’t often written about, Denver has a phenomenal ice cream scene.  Phenomenal.  Sweet Action, Little Man, and Liks top my list with flavors like Stanahan’s Whiskey Brickle, Salted Oreo, and Cheesman (strawberry cheesecake/graham cracker), and you can get it virtually year round.  Lik’s, notably, closes for a bit over the winter holidays, but they give away all of their remaining ice cream before they shut their doors–as in 5 gallon buckets of ice cream FREE.

7. Education Reform–Hopefully you know this, but Denver is leading the nation when it comes to education reform.   The Denver Public Schools was one of the first districts in the country to introduce a pay-for-performance compensation plan, called ProComp.  Reform-minded school board candidates have swept elections instead of significant opposition.  Senate Bill 191, though imperfect, has become a model for the country, requiring public school teachers to be evaluated and for effectiveness to be a condition of continued employment–as opposed to simply years on the job.  Though we have a ways to go as a state (a ballot initiative to increase school funding at the state-wide level was defeated earlier this month), I’m confident that with local education champions such as Mike Johnston, we will get there.

6. Entrepreneurship–Denver is becoming an entrepreneurship hub.  If you want to see this in person, just visit Galvanize, “an ‘innovation ecosystem’ designed to give entrepreneurs and innovators the best chance of success at their next (or first) big thing.”  The space includes “G suites” (private offices for 6-30 people, The Atrium (a shared space designed to facilitate collaboration), and Gather (a full service cafe/bar).  Galvanize was just named one of Google’s seven Google for Entrepreneurs tech hubs, and it is just one example of how entrepreneurship is thriving in Denver.  Collaborative work spaces have popped up all over the city, small businesses are launching here, and Governor Hickenlooper has prioritized innovation with the creation of the Colorado Innovation Network.

Image source: Galvanize Facebook page

5. Growth–Denver is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country.  Thanks to this growth, neighborhoods like RiNo, Tennyson, and Platt Park are starting to take off with new restaurants/bars, independent businesses, and high walkability.  New developments such as The Source are anchoring entire city blocks, and it is amazing to watch the growth in real-time.  The light rail expansion is only going to further enhance this development–watch for neighborhoods like Curtis Park, Cole, and Clayton to experience major transitions.  And while Denver continues to grow, the people continue to be nice to each other.  Not a bad perk–let’s keep it that way!

4. Real Estate–Speaking of neighborhoods, real estate is thriving in Denver.  Our real estate markets (both commercial and residential) are booming.  Denver home prices are up about 8% year over year, and that growth has been largely consistent since January of 2009.  Click here for an in-depth article I wrote on everything you need to know about the Denver residential real estate market, and be in touch if you’re interested or buying or selling a home.

3. Craft Beer–Denver’s craft beer scene is off the charts.  We have dozens of craft breweries, with new ones launching nearly every month.  Within walking distance of our house, there are three microbreweries (in addition to a microdistillery and an urban winery).  Denver loves its craft beer, and I love how the food trucks are partnering up with the breweries to create a delicious synergy.  Food trucks, which find it tough to get consistent business, are creating regular rotations during which they park outside of microbreweries.  The breweries benefit because patrons can get food on site, the food trucks benefit because they get a reliable customer base, and the customers benefit because they can get delicious beer and food together in one place!  That’s a win-win-win.  For more on why I love Colorado microbreweries, click here.

2. Dining Scene–Our dining scene is stellar, and it continues to improve all of the time.  In Denver you can get pineapple upside-down cake pancakes, wild game, seitan buffalo wings, Devils on Horseback, carne asada fries burritos, delicious street tacos, and so much more.  Eat Denver is an organization of independent restaurants in Denver, and every year it puts out a Dining Deck–a deck of cards with $10 off coupons to 52 of Denver’s best restaurants.  This is a great stocking stuffer (for more Denver gift ideas, click here).

1. The Mountains–Where else can you have access to all of the above and have access to world-class skiing, rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, camping, and more?  The mountains are at or near the top of the list of why most of us live in Denver, and every time we go to the mountains, we are reminded of the beauty of nature, we are grateful for all of the amazing opportunities they provide, and we have a lot of FUN!

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Good Life Denver is written by David Schlichter. To stay in the loop, like The Good Life Denver on Facebook and follow @thegoodlifeden on Twitter!

In addition to writing for The Good Life Denver, David works full-time as a Denver real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Downtown, LLC.  David helps his clients (ranging from first-time home buyers, to sellers, to seasoned investors) achieve their real estate goals.  Contact him today for all of your Denver real estate needs.  Direct: 7/440-2340, Office: 3/539-5700.

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