Thursday, April 7, 2016

5280's Newcomer's Guide to Denver!

Your Newcomer's Guide to Denver

Ask a random person in another American city what they know for sure about Denver, and they’ll likely rattle off some version of the following: It’s at a high elevation. Weed is legal. There are ski resorts nearby. John Elway works (and played) for the local NFL team. And…that’s about it.
For years, Denver has been a hidden gem in the middle of the country, cast aside as a slightly too Midwestern Western burg—overrun with pot-smoking hippies and ne’er-do-well ski bums—that just wouldn’t grow up. Not anymore. People have discovered the Mile High City: The population in downtown Denver alone has grown by a whopping 164 percent since 2000. Colorado ranks as the second-fastest-growing state in the nation and sits securely in the top 10 for employment growth. The tech industry and finance sectors are hopping along the Front Range; the state is finding new ways to provide affordable housing to keep artists within its rectangular borders; and a U.S. News & World Report list of the country’s best places to live recently ranked Denver number one.
So it’s little wonder millennials (and others) are flocking to our beautiful city. People are seeing opportunities here—and not just for work. You see, the buzz phrase “work-life balance” actually means something in Denver. We don’t do New York City or Silicon Valley hours; instead, you’ll notice traffic pick up early on Friday afternoons because we like to skip out of work to hit the slopes or the trails. In April, we forget about our jobs altogether as downtown Denver morphs into a street party for the Rockies’ opening day (regardless of how bad the team is—and it’s usually pretty bad). New acquaintances rarely ask what you do for a living because it’s so much more interesting to inquire about whether your weekend plans include summiting a 14,000-foot peak or trying lift-assisted downhill mountain biking—or both.
164 percent: The population growth in downtown Denver since 2000. 
But knowing that Mile High City residents like to play outside and that the metro area is a booming hub of economic activity still doesn’t mean one knows Denver or Denverites. For instance, you probably aren’t aware that Colorado’s weather often changes from sunny and mild to windy and frigid in a matter of hours. You also likely don’t know that, much like other geographical regions, we experience four seasons—but ours are fall, winter, spring, and construction, a time of year made worse by the current uptick in commercial development. And we’re pretty sure you’ve never heard of Colorado Guilt: that irrepressible shame you feel about wanting to relax inside with Netflix when one of Mother Nature’s finest playgrounds is your backyard.
So as you get comfortable in your new home, consider this get-started guide our welcome gift, an outline of what you absolutely need to know to begin discovering the magic of the Mile High City. The rest is up to you.

Evolution of a Denverite

It takes a while, but eventually you figure out what you need to own to live smartly in this city. Here, the maturation process of a Mile High City dweller.
Three Months In...
You’ve discovered legal weed and our casual style—but your choice in beer could use some work and your gear needs a serious upgrade.
One Year In…
You’ve found better beer (microbrews!), the trendy way to toke (vape pens!), and the standard-issue Colorado outfit (yoga pants!). But you still need to learn not to carry your skis like a gaper.
Five Years In...
You’ve more than filled out your gear closet, adopted a yellow Lab like everyone else, and added local spirits to your wet bar. Time to put the credit card away—until next season.

Mile-High Trivia

Quick facts about Denver.
Population (city/county): 664,220
Population (metro): 3,011,536
Median Age (metro): 37
Male/Female (county): 50/50
Sales Tax Rate: 7.65%
Median Wage (metro): $69,205
Average sale price for a single-family home in the Denver area (December 2015): $369,568
Mayor: Michael Hancock
Governor: John Hickenlooper

Ethnic Breakdown (Metro)
White: 65.9%
Hispanic or Latino: 22.2%
Black: 5%
Asian: 4%
American Indian or Alaska Native: .5%

Major Industries
Aerospace, aviation, beverage production, bioscience, broadcasting and telecommunications, energy, financial services, health care, information technology software.
Source: 5280 Magazine