Travel from Parks to Peaks in Denver with Community Member, Lauren!

While we’re super sad to pack up our Portland IRL, we’re thrilled to migrate over to the Mile High City! We were even more elated to learn that one of our fave fashionistas from our Style Gallery, Lauren, was willing to give us all the tips and tricks to truly experience Denver! Pack your layers and grab your camera and get ready to experience the scenery and weather of Denver, Colorado.

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We’ve read that Denver has the largest city park system of any other US city! Tell us which is your fave and why? 

It’s true!  Denver has so many parks. Between having a smaller downtown area of skyscrapers with tons of side neighborhoods littered with old mansions that are now converted to apartments AND how many parks we have, it’s super-easy to not feel like Denver is a concrete jungle — especially when you look west and see the Rocky Mountains right there! There are a few major parks, each with its own personality fit for different people.

My favorite is Cheeseman Park. For one, parking isn’t miserable and it’s really walkable from many neighborhoods.  Plus, because it’s a smaller park, so compared to bigger ones like Washington or City Park, it’s a lot easier to give people your coordinates (or find people) when your gang arrives at different times and enters from different parts of the park. Cheeseman also attracts everyone from relatively normal people (whatever that means) to super-eccentric people, which makes for great people watching. It’s also very low key and quiet, even if it’s a busy day.  Cheeseman Park has a spooky backdrop, as it used to be a cemetery, and the graves were relocated elsewhere to make way for a park (yikes!).  Due to this historical fact, lots of people believe it’s haunted, but I don’t believe that at all. 😉

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Denver is known for breweries and micro-brewing. What about the city is so unique that made it ripe for brewing as a past-time to become so popular?

Micro-brewing is mega huge here. So many micro-breweries popped up about 4-5 years ago that my friends considered taking bets on which ones would make it and which ones would go out of business, because it seemed impossible for all of them to survive! I think we would have all lost that bet though, because I’m unaware of any breweries that have shut down so far. My best guess as to why Denver is such a breeding ground for new beer is probably because the city and the people it attracts definitely like to march to the beat of their own drum. I know Portland and Austin have a reputation of being hipster and “weird” cities, but I feel Denver can get left out of that national discussion at times! There’s definitely a market for anything non-corporate and for new hobbies and tastes, to say the least.

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We hear that the weather can be quite unpredictable in the Mile High City. How do you dress for each day (and possibly all four seasons) in this daily evolving climate? 

I must bow down and thank you for doing your homework to know to ask that question! I’m from eastern Pennsylvania and NONE of my friends believe that winters are more mild here, as everyone pictures Denver as a snow globe! Maybe now that ModCloth has vouched for me they’ll believe me!

There can definitely be all four seasons in the same week for most of the year, except summer where the only variations tend to be very hot and/or thundering. Light layering is the key for fall, most of winter, and spring!  My cardigan and blazer game has absolutely improved since moving here. Removable layers of clothing is necessary, as the temperature can change drastically from morning to lunch time. Stockings aren’t historically my thing, but I’ve learned to embrace them with dresses during the chillier months. Footwear is the trickiest, because on those random 70 degree days in January, I’m so tempted to wear a sundress with heels — but at night the temperature drops and some of the snow that melted during the day can freeze over on the sidewalk, making navigating them in heels at night tricky! I love dresses and skirts, but it’s spring that I find myself ditching them the most. It get super-windy here during spring, making lukewarm days chilly. Fun pants and dress shorts over tights are practical investments! And I’ve finally accepted that I’m not Marilyn Monroe when the wind wants to tango with me, so circle skirts and such go buh-bye for a while!

Other than local brews, what culinary claims does the city boast? Where can we go to have a distinctly Denver dish? 

Probably the most infamous dish would be Rocky Mountain Oysters…or, um, “male cow circular parts”. Being an on/off again vegetarian, I’ve never been able to bring myself to try those, regardless of current diet!  Actually, I’ve lived in a few places, and I feel like besides Rocky Mountain Oysters, Denver is one of the more vegetarian/vegan-friendly places! Denver is a foodie town, and though I like a little bit of everything, I don’t self-identify as a foodie, so there may be an obvious answer I’ll gloss over!  But I have noticed mac and cheese dishes are EVERYWHERE, whether it’s the plain-Jane version or has tons of add-ons. Thai and Pho restaurants are way more popular here than any other place I’ve lived. Denver is also the start of the Southwest, so there’s plenty of Mexican food options everywhere. Finally, there’s a fair amount of “fancy burger” places that add all kinds of ingredients, like eggs or ham or veggies that are not normally associated with burgers. I feel like Denver kind of runs the gamut for food!

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What makes Denver special to you?

There are two things in particular that make my love of this town over the top! One, it’s the home of the Colorado Rockies. Even though I didn’t grow up here, I’ve been a Rockies fan since I was a kid. I guess I liked the team colors or maybe fell for a player in the baseball cards I collected…I’m not entirely sure why I started to like them so much! Baseball is my favorite sport, but what makes being a Rockies fan so much fun here is the ballpark, Coors Field. It is right in the city and overlooks the Rocky Mountains. It’s actually kind of unreal!  And even if you’re not a baseball fan, it’s worth checking out because there are restaurants and bars in the park that overlook the field and views.

Secondly, Denver is a great place for live music. There are tons of small music venues for local acts or just-starting-out bands to visit. In fact, I saw Capitol Cities at teeny tiny venue, Larimer Lounge, when their single “Safe and Sound” hit. We were so close to the band that one of my friends asked one of the leads to take a pic of us from the stage! But there are also tons of medium to large venues, too. Colfax is a great example of that — it’s quite the diverse road in Denver. One of its more charming aspects is that there are three mid-sized venues — The Fillmore, The Ogden, and The Blue Bird — all within a mile stretch.  It’s nearly impossible to go a month without some act I like coming to town and playing at one of those venues!

But most famously, just a bit south of the city in Morrison, Colorado is famed Red Rocks Amphitheater. It’s a natural amphitheater that was smartly made into a concert venue in the late 1800s. Everybody you can think of has probably played there, and there’s even a museum inside that has plaques from each year with a list of artists who played on what dates and tons of photos from shows. I think it’s one of the best historical records of the music world anywhere, and it’s always a favorite stop I take loved ones from out of town to see. Plus, the views are breathtaking. Red Rocks is also home to mountain trails surrounding the venue, so you’ll see workout enthusiasts running up and down the steps first thing in the morning (even going to shows here can be a work-out depending on where you park and where you seats are!), and outdoor movie screenings (Film on the Rocks) and yoga classes are even held here on various weekends! It’s such an organically all-in-one location, and may be Colorado’s most unique feature!

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+Have you ever been to Denver? Let us know what your must-stop spots are! And don’t forget to drop by our Denver IRL to see, touch, and try on your latest ModCloth faves.

About Bridget

Bridget is a canine-loving, This-American-Life-listening, t-shirt-and-jeans-casual connoisseur. She likes rediscovering her city as much as she enjoys visiting a new one, and would love to discuss with you why her dog, Toby, is smarter than yours.

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