I didn't think I’d ever learn to love another city, but three years in Denver changed my mind. I always said I’d never leave unless it was to move back to Austin. When an opportunity arose to do just that, I packed my bag, not realizing just how much I would miss Denver, which had slowly become a part of my heart too.Both cities value things that I value - like culture, nature and dogs. And most importantly they share a similar spirit of enjoying the finer things in life without taking themselves too seriously.
In my opinion, you can’t make a bad choice between these two capitol cities, but here are my completely biased opinions about these two lovely places.
The Beer Institute ranks Colorado as the number one state for gross beer production, and the greater Denver area is a huge part of that equation. From industry giants like Coors to craft beer darlings like Odell and New Belgium all within easy reach of the city, Denver is the clear winner in this popular category.
Denver is the place to be for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you prefer winter sports like skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing, or summer pursuits like river rafting, hiking, biking and fly-fishing, Denver has you covered. The four distinct seasons allow for outdoor activities all year round.
I’ll always cheer first and foremost for the Texas Longhorns, but when it comes to the overall sports experience, Denver has the upper hand with professional football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer teams. Extra points go to the Colorado Rockies for Coors Field, the ideal downtown location to take in a game and watch a beautiful Colorado sunset.
If you've ever experienced a Texas summer, you’ll understand why pretty much anywhere else is better. I have a higher tolerance for heat than cold, but summers will always be better in Denver. Hot enough to go for a swim, but not quite hot enough to stick your legs to the seat of your car.
From the expansive Denver Art Museum to hidden treasures like the Molly Brown House Museum, Denver has a variety of cultural experiences to fit every preference. Some of my other favorites include the Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave, which has one of the best touristy gift shops I've ever seen, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
While neither Denver nor Austin can compare to food meccas like New York, Austin has the advantage when it comes to the culinary scene. Austin is home to many world-renowned chefs who create everything from delicious street food to fancy fine dining experiences. And you can’t overlook the barbecue.
Yes, Tex-Mex gets its own bullet in this list, because it’s that good. You’ll be hard pressed to find any decent Tex-Mex in Denver. Believe me, I tried. I had to subsist on my Texas visits to get my fill of sour cream chicken enchiladas, flautas, queso and the like. I know Coloradans are loyal to topping their Mexican food with green chili (it comes on EVERYTHING), but in my mind, there’s only one kind of chili, and it’s served on hot dogs at football games.
Austin is the Live Music Capitol of the World. A quick walk down any busy street will illustrate this, with live music pouring out of venues all over town. And let’s not forget Austin City Limits. This status also extends to the variety of musicians touring through town. If you want to catch your favorite band, chances are they’re making a stop at one of the many music festivals or famous venues.
Winters in Austin do get chilly, but there’s no need for special equipment like waterproof boots and full-length parkas. Maybe my blood is too thin, but give me an Austin winter any day with a lightweight jacket and scarf.
Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I appreciate it when a gentleman offers me his seat on the bus or holds the door. My southern upbringing had me smiling at strangers on the streets of Denver, only to receive confused stares in return. I love that southern hospitality is still alive and well in Austin.
If you have any questions about living in Denver (especially if you’re new to cold weather), reach out and I’ll share some tips. And if you’re moving to Austin, let’s grab a drink!
BY ANNA LINDSEY