We started our third week in Colorado in the capital: Denver. Once upon a time, Dylan and I had talked about moving to Denver, but traded that dream for our van dreams. So, we were really excited to see the city and learn what it was all about. We pictured our lives in Denver of hanging out in the city during the weeks and spending every weekend exploring a new outdoor activity. It was a fun week where we got to see two places that had been on our bucket list: Denver & Red Rocks.
Luckily, we had a couple friends in the city, so we had plans to hangout with them and explore the city with some insiders. Now, you can find out if we made a big mistake by choosing the van life over living in Denver or if we made the right decision.
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Table of Contents
Van Life in Denver
We arrived early in the week and our friend told us that we could easily park in his apartment parking lot without a problem. My initial impressions upon driving into the city were that it was far more industrial than I imagined and honestly not that pretty. The best part about the Denver skyline is how you can see the Rocky Mountains rise up above the city in the distance.
We spent a few days working from our friends places and seeing some of the highlights in Denver: RINO, Cheesman Park, and the downtown area. Dylan and I thought that the RINO area was super fun and had a lot of good vibes. We could imagine ourselves spending many afternoon happy hours or weekend dinners in that neighborhood. However, overall I think that we found ourselves a little underwhelmed with Denver.
I know that we would have learned to love the area if we had moved there, but the city itself felt somewhat lacking. I love the character and the vibes in DC, which I missed out on in Denver. If I had to compare it to any other city, then I would say it’s somewhat similar to Austin, but with less personality. Also, something that really got to me was the lack of diversity (which we have noticed throughout the Southwest area too). We are used to seeing people of all backgrounds back home and I would miss that immensely.
On Saturday we decided to head out on a little venture from the city itself. First, we went to Golden, Colorado for the morning and explored the town. Originally, we had plans to hike St. Mary’s Glacier, but unfortunately the weather forecast called for snow and wind. We did not want to have to navigate those trails under those sort of conditions.
Golden is a super nice town with gorgeous rolling hills and it’s home to the original Coors factory. We spent the morning walking through the shops downtown and also watching the School of Mines’ cardboard box boat races that were very entertaining. We loved watching college student after college student attempt to race down the river in their unique contraptions. However, we did not see a lot of successful riders.
After our jaunt through town, we grabbed some amazing burritos at Bonfire Burritos. They were incredibly large and had delicious flavor. This burrito place is very famous and even supplies some of the shops in Denver with their burritos. It was a great way to fuel up for a long night.
In the evening, we drove to Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Seeing a show here had been on Dylan’s bucket list for forever. We purchased tickets for one of the only bands we knew performing during our stay, just so we could experience the magic of Red Rocks.
We walked into the stadium and we were impressed with its beauty and its sound. You couldn’t even hear the bands when you were inside going to the bathroom, but as soon as you climbed back up the sound was incredibly clear. We had a great time walking up and down the steps and finding the best perch to watch the show.
Luckily, we had decided to wear layers, because that night was incredibly windy and cold. By the end of the night I was dancing just to increase my body warmth. I wanted to stay until the end, but unfortunately it was a bit cold for that. Regardless, we loved finally seeing a concert at this gorgeous venue and would love to go back during warmer weather.
It was so much fun to see some places that we had been dreaming of going to for years. In the end, we were very relieved to have chosen van life over Denver life. Although I’m sure we could have made a community there and found things we love, I think that this city would not have been my favorite. It’s real appeal is its proximity to outdoor adventures. I’m excited to come back for a few days to see the hikes we missed and experience Red Rocks in warm weather. Until then, Dylan and I had to continue our adventure in Colorado.
Where We Stayed:
- Friend’s Apartment Complex Parking Lot in Denver
- Cheesman Park Street Parking
Let me know if you enjoyed this weeks van chronicles in the comments!
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