Challenge #5: Explore My New City
I’ve been in Denver at an internship for one week now, and thanks to my challenge, I haven’t made it easy on myself by just staying home. My roommates are two girls I lived with in college, so they’ve helped make this transition into Denver life easier. I made week one of my 30-day challenge about experiencing the happy hours and nightlife of Denver.
Saturday: Found my College Bar
Every major city in American has college-themed bars. Since it’s fall, and that means college football , I knew I needed to find my school’s bar in Denver. I’m a Michigan State Spartan, so it’s sad that I can’t spare a weekend trip to East Lansing this time of year. But to my surprise, I found out that the owner of one of my favorite bars in East Lansing has a sister bar in Denver called The Giggling Grizzly! That was it—no taking it easy on this Saturday. My fellow Spartan roommates and I had a tailgate. We made quiche and hash browns, and washed them down with mimosas and bloody Marys at “The Grizz.” It was exactly what I needed. I felt comfortable, and it was easy to talk to people and make friends knowing we had something in common.
Tuesday: Cultured Happy Hour
Like most 9-to-5 workers, I’m in love with happy hour, so I knew I wanted to enjoy one during my first week of this challenge. Denver has a huge Mexican influence because Colorado shares a border with New Mexico and Texas, so I met my roommates and one of their friends at the Rio Grande Mexican restaurant. (Making friends over margaritas is always a good idea.) We ended the evening back at our apartment, catching up and laughing over wine. Denver is going to be just fine.
Wednesday: Elephants and Donkeys
The recent Presidential debate was in Denver, so I felt even more involved in the election than usual. Being 20-something girls living on a budget , my roommates and I don’t have cable, so we had to go to the bar to watch the debate (bummer, right?). We went to one of my roommate’s favorite places in the Art District. After calling ahead to ensure that the debate would be airing with sound, we walked down to the Interstate Kitchen and Bar. Walking in, the place nearly looked closed, and probably only about 10 other people there. It turned out to be great, though; we got front row seats, drank great beer, and had an amazing dinner, all while watching the debate.
Friday: Jazz it Up
Last Friday, I found myself in a little jazz bar in downtown Denver on an editorial assignment. If I didn’t know about this place, I never would have stumbled into El Chapultepec, one of Denver’s hidden gems. It’s a jazz bar that’s been around since 1934, right after Prohibition. Legends such as Frank Sinatra and Jack Kerouac once walked through these doors. This was one of my most favorite evenings so far because, on top of being at an amazing place with so much history, I also went by myself. I pushed myself in a way I had never before, and it felt amazing.
Week One Round-up
Normally when I come to a new town where I know I’ll be for a few months, I don’t put too much pressure on doing things the first week. Sometimes it’s so I don’t get disappointed, and sometimes it’s just to take it easy. Not this month. Since pushing myself, I felt that I was really “living” here. It’s easy to hide in your apartment after work, and let’s be honest: We’re all on a budget. But experiencing the city is part of it, so do it right away and that will keep that “Did I make the right decision to move here?” thought from entering your mind.
I knew I had settled in when I realized I wasn’t using my phone’s GPS anymore to navigate. Stay tuned for my report on the next seven days—it’s friend-making week.
Kelsey Colt is the writer behind the blog The Pilot's Daughter. She also pens a food column in the Island Eye News called Lowcountry Bites and keeps herself busy freelancing for a variety of online blogs. As an aspiring food writer, she can constantly be found cooking, eating and trying new foods. Currently she is about to make a big move from Charleston to Denver to begin working at 5280 magazine. For recipes and travel advice visit her blog: the-pilots-daughter.com.More from this Author