The Mile High City may have gotten its start as a gold rush and cattle destination, but it’s experiencing a brand new boom built on an influx of tech business relocations, celebrity chef-driven restaurants, plethora of new housing, a new airport and transportation developments, a thriving arts scene, an established brewery culture and easy access to the Rocky Mountains.
Authors and Denver locals Rich Grant and Irene Rawlings just released 100 Things to Do in Denver Before You Die, the be-all, end-all guide to life in Denver, whether you’re a new resident, planning a move or simply enjoying the city as a visitor.
What do first-time visitors to Denver usually fail to see? According to Grant, they usually miss the historic and natural beauty of what locals call the Foothills.
“Most people coming to Denver today will explore the restored Union Station and the trendy Denver neighborhoods of LoDo, LoHi and RiNo, which are all filled with breweries, chef-owned restaurants, clubs, galleries, cafés and rooftop bars,” Grant said.
They might also visit some of Denver’s five downtown art museums and the chic shopping area of Cherry Creek, but what Grant says they don’t do is drive to the first range of 7,000–8,000 foot mountains that are only about 30 minutes away.
Grant has a unique view on the city, thanks to a career that includes 35 years as director of communications for Visit Denver. Rawlings, too, knows her Mile High City turf: She’s been editorial director of Colorado Homes & Lifestyles magazine, editor-in-chief of Mountain Living magazine and a radio broadcaster. Their book, Grant said, is like sitting down for a beer with two area experts who reveal all the cool and hidden fun things to do in Denver.
“We have about 1,000 people a week moving to the metro area and, while it’s easy to find out about the latest restaurant and neighborhood, there are a lot of special places that only long-time locals know about,” he says. With the new book, Grant and Rawlings hope to jump start visitors so they get out and see some of these other treasures in the area.
“From the Buckhorn Exchange — Denver’s oldest saloon — to little-known museums, hiking trails, and shops like Rockmount Ranch Wear (where the snap button Western shirt was invented), the book takes people to the best and sometimes littlest known places to see in the Mile High City,” he added. “It will also tell you a handful of out of the way places where you can stand exactly 5,280 feet above sea level.”
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