Resolutions are fraught and often ultimately pointless. As a species, we’re not great at breaking bad habits and remaining committed to things we don’t want to do, even if they’re good for us.
With that in mind, we’ve made a list of resolutions we think you’ll actually want to stick to. And, because this is Denverite, they’re all Denver-specific resolutions. It might be a little crazy to think anyone can stick to 18 resolutions, but we think sticking to a few of them is manageable.
In no particular order, here they are:
1. Attend more neighborhood meetings.
Don’t just live in your neighborhood. Participate in it.
The city has a guide to all of the registered neighborhood organizations, and from there you can visit their websites and get involved. You’ll get to know your neighbors and stay apprised of what’s going on in your backyard.
2. Try a new restaurant every month.
You can start with the new ones you missed in 2017. I recommend El Five, Tavernetta, Annette, Wayward, Cattivella and Izakaya Ronin.
And, of course, there will be plenty of new restaurants for you to explore in 2018. Among them: Julep Restaurant, Zeppelin Station’s food-and-drink hall and Morin, the French restaurant replacing Wazee Supper Club.
3. Or try an old, “authentic” restaurant on Colfax or Federal every month.
We can and will argue about what makes food “authentic” all day. There’s no real answer, but the closest thing to the truth in Denver is often found on Federal Boulevard or Colfax Avenue.
On Federal Boulevard, you’ll find a ton of Mexican and Asian (especially Vietnamese) restaurants. Some of them don’t look like much, but we promise there’s incredible food within. Here’s our guide, which includes all of the restaurant recommendations from the locals.
The variety on Colfax Avenue is astounding. Along that 22-mile stretch you’ll find Ethiopian food, Mediterranean food, Japanese food, Colombian food, Salvadoran food, British food, Polish food and on and on. Naturally, we have a guide for this one too.
4. Learn about your neighborhood history.
First of all, you can learn a lot just by walking around. You’re unlikely to pick up much factual information, but you’ll gather plenty of architectural knowledge.
Digging deeper requires more work. You could take a trip to the library to dig through the archives (more on that later) or just browse the materials available here. Even better, you could spend time in older local businesses and talk to the neighbors who have lived there for decades.
Kevin suggests you also make a diorama. This is both insane and charming, so if you do it, please send us photos.
5. Make yourself heard at a City Council meeting.
This can be a tough, though it’s very worthwhile. For guidance on this one, let’s turn to Bree Davies, who wrote a column for us in August about her experience when she tried to speak at a meeting.
I did not understand that the public comment and the GO Bond comment time were two separate events on the same night, in the same room, in front of the same people. When I signed up online to comment, it was not made clear that the public comment and the GO Bond reading were at totally different times. After all of that practice, I had messed up. I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to go back in that room ever again. …
Have you ever tried to find anything on the city government’s website? Have you sat through council meetings before? I have a feeling that many folks are like me and have not. I thought if someone like me can’t figure out how City Council works, many other people must find it hard to participate, too.
6. Leave your car at home.
I bike to work most of the time. Sometimes I take the bus. But I live about a mile and a half from the Denverite office, so I’m no hero of car-free transportation.
That’s why I appreciated that this resolution contribution comes from Kendall Smith, our VP of sales and events. He lives in Englewood, and this Denver resolution is to use bike-share programs and public transportation and leave his car at home.
This is easier said than done, but it is getting easier to get it done. RTD recently launched an app that makes planning your trip and paying for it vastly simpler than it was before. Meanwhile, bike share programs continue to grow throughout Denver and into the suburbs, and the city is working on a variety of new-and-improved bike lanes.
7. Spend some time digging in the Denver Public Library’s Western History Collection.
If you’ve been following Denverite for a little while, you know we love and heavily use the library archives. But since no one loves the Western History Collection more than Kevin, I’ll let him take this one:
You can search the collection here: eadsrv.denverlibrary.org
Some of the items in this directory are at other branches, but most are at the central library. Search for whatever you’re interested in: train robberies, the mob, whatever. You’ll see a brief description, but often there’s no telling what’s going to arrive when you ask for a specific box. Show the listing you want to someone at the WHC desk and they’ll help you get situated (tell ’em Denverite sent you).
I’ve found all sorts of interesting things in there: memoirs, campaign buttons, photographs, FBI records, a day-by-day account of the weather from the 1800s. The best stuff comes up by accident. Wear gloves to protect the old stuff and be gentle.
When you pull something, the librarians record what it is on a log sheet. Bigtime bonus points for completing a sheet. I filled out two this year.
8. See more art and talk about it.
The first step here is easy: Just pick a museum or theater you’ve never been to and go.
If you’ve never been to the Denver Art Museum, go. If you’ve never been to MCA Denver, longtime Denver critic Ray Rinaldi thinks you ought to get over there. Do you know about Untitled Final Fridays? Do you know about Black Sheep Fridays? If you’ve never been to Museo de las Americas, go (but not right away — they’re closed in January). If you’ve never stopped to look closely at murals throughout Denver, do it. If you’ve never gone out for First Friday, do it.
The second step: Go with friends. Talk about what you see. That act is transformative and magical. You’ll learn something about yourself, about your friends, about your relationship, about Denver, maybe about art. Maybe.
9. Ride a bike to Red Rocks.
Here’s Andy on this adventure:
I accidentally rode my bike to Red Rocks once from downtown. I was new to Denver, and I figured that the bike path had to end somewhere. It did. It ended in Morrison, next to Red Rocks. I would like to do that again, except on purpose and with more supplies. It was very tiring, and it took me all day.
Obviously, this is a particularly difficult resolution to follow through on. If you’re not able to bike to Red Rocks and you still haven’t explored the area, we absolutely recommend driving up and poking around. There’s a not-too-hard loop hike, or you can climb the steps at the amphitheater.
10. Check out these Latino murals all over Denver.
They’re everywhere, and they’re an important piece of Denver’s history and culture. Kevin put together a guide back in September for Hispanic Heritage Month.
While you’re at it, visit the “El Movimiento” exhibit at History Colorado. The once-temporary, recurring exhibit has been made permanent thanks to the dedication of Ricardo Lafore, a Chicano activist and educator.
11. See Purnell Steen play Dazzle.
Steen is a Denver institution.
He’s the cousin of Charlie Burell — a Denverite often referred to as the “Jackie Robinson of music” who was American symphonies’ first black musician — and an accomplished musician in his own right.
12. Go to Lakeside Amusement Park.
As Erica put it, every time she has her daughter’s birthday party there, “one of the other parents says, ‘Whoa, I haven’t been here in ages.'”
For some reason, Lakeside gets forgotten. But it’s a gem. I went for the first time ever this summer and loved it. Erica loves it, too, and wrote up a really nice guide to visiting and making the most of it.
And, no, it’s not closing.
13. Visit Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.
Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge also gets unfairly forgotten. It’s 20 minutes from the center of Denver (out by Dick’s Sporting Goods Park), and it offers all-but-guaranteed viewing of its bison herd. You can’t say that about Genessee.
It’s also got trails, fishing, deer, birds, snakes, prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets. And, again, it’s about 20 minutes away.
14. Tube the South Platte and/or learn about its ecosystem.
Kevin went tubing on the South Platte River this summer, and he won’t stop talking about it.
Actually, he’s just obsessed with the South Platte altogether.
It’s not the cleanest body of water, but if you do want to take a ride down the river, here’s his guide to doing so safely and respectfully. And if you just want to share in his obsession and learn more about the South Platte, here’s his look at the ecosystem and the ways humans are affecting it.
15. Grow something that isn’t a beard.
Or that doesn’t require a permit.
I’m not totally sure whether or not Kendall was joking when he suggested this, but I’m running with it because I think it’s nice.
If you have a yard, why not grow some vegetables? Or become one of those people who plant elaborate gardens along the sidewalks for their neighbors to enjoy?
You could also help yourself and your community by working at a community garden, especially if it’s in a food desert. We have a map of those (and more on food deserts) here.
16. Check out some local theater.
While I’ll always encourage people to enjoy theater of any kind, including touring productions of well-known musicals and plays, it’s important to support people making theater locally. The people at Curious Theatre Company, Buntport Theater, the Bug Theatre and Pandemic Collective — to name only a few — are doing great work.
17. Have a drink at one of Denver’s oldest bars.
It’s easy to carry on as if they’ll always be here, but you never know, so get a whiskey in at a Denver institution now.
We’ve got a list here, including some handy notes about whether or not Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady or Allen Ginsberg ever drank there.
18. Send us news tips.
OK, OK, this is pretty selfish of us. BUT! We’ve gotten so many great stories out of your questions and ideas. Here is a very long list of our Readers’ Choice stories.
If you’ve got suggestions, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.