What Only Denver Locals Know

Get local tips on exploring Denver's terrain, sampling the cuisine and scoring deals on the slopes.

By: Douglas Brown

The population growth in metro Denver is among the highest in the nation. So it’s not a place electric with local folkways, dialects, provincial slang and foodstuffs. It’s not New Orleans or Baltimore. But the Mile High City still has its share of oddities and localisms.

Avoid traffic: It doesn’t take long to figure out that Interstate 70, the main route into the Rocky Mountains just west of Denver, gets clogged during ski season, on summer weekends and when it snows. Locals try to find alternative routes, but options are slim. The mountains are huge and few roads cut through them.

Save money: Colorado residents get great deals on hotels in swanky cities like Aspen and Vail during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall). There’s no snow, and it’s not summer. Deals abound for season passes and tickets to ski areas, and many of these deals are run through local sporting good stores, local supermarkets and online resources.

Bring the dog: Colorado is extremely dog-friendly so while you do need to call ahead, there’s a good chance Fido can join you in the hotel or even the hardware store. Denverites are outdoorsy sorts, so your Labrador retriever is as welcome as you are, generally.

Have a dog: Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs, a hot dog cart in downtown Denver, is worth a special trip. Jim grills brauts made from reindeer, elk, boar and pheasant, giving your hot dog a distinctly Western twist.

Spice it up: Denver's Mexican food is spectacular, especially on the west side of the city where most Hispanics live. Drive along Federal Avenue in late August through October, and you’ll find people roasting sacks of green chiles from New Mexico.

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