This week marks 3 years that we’ve been living in Denver. Time goes so fast and so slow at the same time. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long but so much has happened over the last few years – Jim and I took the leap and moved here together, started new jobs, got engaged in Estes Park, bought a house in Denver, got married in Pittsburgh, have two amazing dogs from Wyoming… and all the little things that happened in between.
Our friends Brett and Nina are in town for the next 3 months which is awesome! They are from Pittsburgh too and they’ve been traveling the country for the last couple of years. It’s going to be fun to have our fellow Pittsburghers and best friends in town for a few months.
Denver and Pittsburgh are my two cities. I love both of them dearly and feel at home in both places. I’m not going to talk about the marvelous weather in Denver or how much I miss my friends and family in Pittsburgh, but here are a few things I love most about Denver and miss most about Pittsburgh.
Favorite music venue in Denver: Spoiler alert! It’s not Red Rocks. Red Rocks is a natural wonder and a good venue and I’m lucky to live 20 minutes away from it but when it comes to seeing shows on the regular I have two other favorites.
The Ogden Theater is on the mid to large size but still feels very intimate. The floor is tiered so there’s really not a bad seat in the house. Maybe it’s that the Ogden just gets a lot of good shows because on the surface it’s similar to a lot of the other venues, but when I hear that someone is playing the Ogden I get excited. Seeing The Flaming Lips at the Ogden is on the list of my top shows ever.
The venue in Denver I love most is the Marquis Theater. Small and gritty, you know when you’re going to the Marquis that you’re drinking PBR, getting thrown into a mosh pit and eating Marquis Pizza. From Every Time I Die to Har Mar Superstar, it’s the best.
Music venue I miss most from Pittsburgh: Mr. Smalls Theater, hands down. When I was young and Club Laga was still a thing I never thought I could love another the same but Mr. Smalls has my heart. There was a period of time when I was there 3-4 nights a week. It’s intimate and they’ve done some major renovations lately that take it above and beyond. It’s also fun to know that you’re always going to run into a friend at a Mr. Smalls show.
Some of my top favorite shows are Girl Talk (when you could still freely get on stage after the show), Animal Collective (when Geologist got us on the list because we didn’t get tickets), Portugal. The Man (when I saw them on a whim and they became one of my favorite bands), Yeasayer, Murder by Death, Wu Tang Clan. This place is untouchable.
Favorite outdoor activity in Denver: How can you really choose one? Denver is a wonderland for us who like to be outside, but I will never ever pass up is a good hike. We’ve done some incredible hikes in Colorado. The one that was most magical was Hanging Lake in Glenwood Springs. We hit it on a morning when it was raining, and we started with moody clouds hanging low in the canyon. The rain must have held off the crowds because we hardly saw anyone on the trail and by the time we made our way to the top the sun was shining. Hanging Lake is literally a lake that hangs on the edge of a cliff. It looks like it could fall off at any moment and it’s composed of colors that I’ve never seen in any other place. Unreal.
Another great thing is that you can run outside pretty much every day of the year. Even in the winter. Thank you, sunshine.
Outdoor activity I miss most from Pittsburgh: Biking the trails around the city. Jim and I used to spend hours getting lost on the bike trails that run along the three rivers, through the city and out into old surrounding towns. Going one way you bike past the back side of Kennywood where you can watch the Steel Phantom make it’s epic drop on the back hill, going another way you end up in old steel towns where you can explore old buildings, or you can stay in the city and bike around PNC Park, the South Side, Lawrenceville. The Great Allegheny Passage trail starts (or ends) in Pittsburgh and biking that trail is definitely on my list of things to do someday.
Favorite food in Denver: There are so many restaurants in Denver. SO MANY. I like a lot of the trendy cocktail bar, small plate joints, but they quickly all end up being the same. The thing that’s been refreshing is the amount of good, healthy food you can get whether you’re preparing it yourself from Natural Grocers or on the go at Honor Society or Just Be Kitchen. You can get a kombucha just about anywhere. Most restaurants have great salads, kale, cauliflower, brussels sprouts. And move over, Pittsburgh, there are some killer french fries out here in the west. Also, Denver Biscuit Company.
Food I miss most from Pittsburgh: The ethnic food that’s everywhere in the Pittsburgh. Thai Cuisine, Thai Gourmet, Lucy’s Bahn Mi in the Strip District, the Strip District, Taste of India, Prince of India, Mallorca, Aladdin’s. This is making me hungry. The Greek Food Festival, the Italian food in Bloomfield, and home cooked meals by my dad.
Favorite Brewery in Denver: Again, hard to pick just one but I love Ratio Beerworks. They have one of the coolest patios around and a punk rock theme. Touring bands play acoustic sessions at the brewery and all of their beers are named after bands or songs – Domestica (Cursive), Rented World (The Menzingers) and Repeater (Fugazi) is the one I like best. They have yoga, vinyl nights, trivia, photo booth and an overall awesome vibe.
Brewery I miss the most from Pittsburgh: Southern Tier Brewing Company is an east coast company and it’s hard to find Southern Tier in Denver. Especially on tap, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it on tap out here. Southern Tier used to be one of my go tos and they just opened a brewery on the North Shore. I can’t wait to go and try some of their specialty brewery beers.
I could go on forever about why I love these cities but we’re heading out to another one of my favorite breweries, Goldspot.