Denver, also known as the Mile High City, is an outdoor paradise. The perfect amount of every season, every sport, every taste of craft beer. But this list …is all about the Denver natives. These are 15 signs you will recognize if you grew up in Denver.
1.) Casa Bonita is real.
You know that Casa Bonita wasn’t invented by South Park. It’s a real place where you got to attend the best birthday parties. Now as an adult, you go for the nostalgia, not the food. Except for the sopapillas.
2.) Green Chili is a regular menu item.
You know it’s not uncommon to see green chili on a menu. With Denver’s diverse population, Mexican food is an easy find and green chili is an addition to many non-Mexican themed restaurants.
3.) “It smells like its going to snow”
You know you’re from Denver and you can walk outside and take a big inhale and know if it is going to snow. How? Because it smells like Greeley. Greeley is a town in Weld County, a farming area north of Denver. Usually, when the wind changes, it brings in a smell from the north that smells like …well a zoo. It’s a good bet that it will bring in cold weather and most likely snow.
4.) North, East, South, Mountains
When driving in Denver, directions are either given as follows. Towards the mountains, or away from the mountains. Or more specifically, Drive north for about 2 miles and then turn west. The City of Denver is in a valley, therefore the mountains are always in the West. So you always know what direction you’re facing.
5.) The City that is a MILE HIGH
Denver natives understand why it’s called the Mile High city. Growing up here, you understand that the air is thinner and you don’t get winded as easily as tourists. Denver sits a mile above sea level. 5,280 feet to be exact. And that is before you even enter the mountains. That number is significant in Denver, with a magazine named after it, restaurants and markings throughout the city. Our football stadium is named Mile High, there is a line on the steps of the capital marking the number, and a row of purple seats at Coors Field that also share the special bond Denver has with its nickname.
6.) Sports Town
Speaking of Coors Field, out of 5 professional sports teams, the Colorado Rockies have been around since 1993. Denver is a huge sports town and as a kid, you most likely got out of school early when baseball started up in the spring to go catch a game at Coors Field. It was an easy afternoon at the ballpark and a cheap one too. You also know why the Rockies chose a dinosaur as their mascot. When they were building Coors Field, they found dinosaur bones on the site of the stadium, therefore choosing a purple Triceratops to be the team mascot.
7.) Magic Snow
You know how it is, it snows in the morning, and you walk to school in the brutal cold with your heavy jacket and gloves …and then on your way home, you either carry your jacket home or forget it altogether as the sun is out, snow is melted, and it’s 50 degrees. With having 300 days of sunshine, it definitely makes winters in Denver a little more bearable.
8.) Broncos Country
If you grew up in Denver, chances are you are a Broncos fan. Even in their bad years. You lived through the legend of Elway, watched Peyton Manning do his magic at Mile, and suffered through the seasons we couldn’t win more than 6 games. They call it Bronco Country and the orange and blue sunsets here are not only the prettiest around, but they also get you in the mood for football.
9.) Christmas in Colorado
Colorado has its own Christmas song. It’s called A Colorado Christmas by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. We know Colorado is supposed to be for skiing and snow bunnies alike, but if you grew up in Denver you know that most Christmases are very warm. We rarely see a “White Christmas”. In fact, it is usually 55-60 degrees with no snow. However, the endless display of lights always helps get you in the mood.
10.) Desert City
Just because it snows in Denver, doesn’t mean it’s always wet and cold. If you grew up in Denver, you understand how Denver is located at the base of the Rocky Mountains and is actually a desert. It is dry! Having chapstick, lotion, and sunblock on hand is always the case. In fact, when the humidity gets about 12%, some locals might call it “muggy”.
11.) Architecture and Skyline
Other than the Rocky Mountains that help add to the Denver skyline, growing up in Colorado, you will notice significant things in the Denver area. On the South side of the city, there is a sculpture known to many as “Fry Tower”. It is a yellow tower that looks like a stack of french fries as you are entering the city from the south. Denver also has a significant building in its skyline that makes it obvious you’re in Denver. It is known as the Cash Register building because it looks like an old fashioned cash register.
12.) Snow days!!
Snow days are not as common as you think. As a child, IF we had a snow day, they were usually between March and April as that is when we get the most snow. Denver is prepared for such weather conditions, therefore, snow days don’t happen that often as we usually have to get a foot of snow before they even consider a late start.
With Denver’s ever-growing population, we are lucky enough to upgrade some of our city and venues. However, we still refer to some of the newer venues by the old names. Our football stadium will always be called Mile High Stadium to locals even though the new stadium has received many different names, and Six Flags used to be and is still referred to as Elitch’s, the original name of our first theme park.
14.) Head to 16th street. Denver at its finest.
16th Street Mall is the main shopping center in downtown Denver. Growing up here, going down on a Friday night was the place to be. Shopping, restaurants, movie theaters, bowling, and entertainment is the reason it is so popular. You are not that far from the theater district, Coors Field or even the Pepsi Center Arena. There is live music, food vendors, and activities like a Christmas market and ice skating during the holiday seasons.
15.) Flip Flops all year round
Growing up in Denver, I hear people all the time say that Colorado has the best weather. You get all four seasons but not an overload. I don’t think we know how spoiled we are. Colorado has 300 days of sunshine. That’s more than Florida. So it is very common to see people wearing Flip Flops all year round.