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Eric and I returned from our little trip to Denver about a week ago, but it’s taken me a while to figure out what I wanted to write about it. Unlike other weekend getaways I went on while I studied abroad or long weekends I’ve spent in U.S. cities like Boston and LA, I don’t feel the need to create a big write up about where I ate, what I saw, and what I recommend to other visitors as if I’m an expert on the city after spending 72 hours in it.

Our trip to Denver was different than these other trips. I didn’t really have a checklist of things I must do, food I must eat, or place I just have to see. I really just wanted to experience the city, go to a brewery, and go on at least one “outdoorsy” adventure. Well I’m happy to say I did all of those things and more, but like I said, I don’t want this post to be a “review” of Denver or a “guide” to the next Denver visitor. Because to be honest, Denver really isn’t that kind of city…which is why I loved it so much.

First, Denver is nothing like New York. If you’ve been following me on Instagram and keeping up with The Pace, you know that my favorite thing to write about is how much I love living in New York (Exhibit A and B), but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t great to get out of this hustle and bustle for a few days to experience a totally different vibe. While New York is busy and chaotic, Denver is chill and friendly. People actually talk to each other on public transportation…and they’re not even asking for money!! (I know, I was very confused at first, too…). People in Denver have a humble pride in their city, appreciating the natural beauty, culture, and fun it has to offer, while recognizing the charm (and limitations) of it’s smaller size relative to other major U.S. cities.

Eric and I experienced many sides of Denver. We partied with what felt like the entire population downtown on the Rockies’ Opening Day, hiked up a glacier, explored a couple of breweries, got our butts kicked by the altitude during our morning runs (they don’t call it the “Mile High City” for nothing), and ventured in and out of art galleries on Santa Fe during First Friday. The weather was incredibly beautiful and seeing the Rocky Mountains in the distance never ceased to take our breath away. Needless to say, “OMG Eric, I LOVE DENVER!” become my catchphrase on the trip.

If you’re heading to Denver, I’m happy to offer recommendations about good places to eat, cool coffee shops to try, and which neighborhoods to explore (seriously, hit me up!). But after spending 5 days there, I realized Denver deserves more than a guidebook or Yelp review page. It’s an experience. It’s a “vibe.” It’s a culture…one that I highly recommend you experience for yourself.

Thanks for sharing the chill vibes, Denver. I think it’s safe to say that I will be back. 🙂