I have lived in Colorado my entire life. I grew up in Fort Collins, and my family traveled to Denver countless times during my childhood. When I decided to attend the University of Denver, I made a list of all the things I wanted to do in Denver. Three years later, and I am just now getting around to crossing them off the list.
Why did it take me three years to start doing this, you may ask? Studying abroad.
Before I went to Brussels, I always found it too difficult to plan and travel around Denver. I would always use the “I have too much homework”, or “I have meetings for student organizations”, or “why spend money when there is free food somewhere on campus? That $10 meal at the new “hot spot” downtown seems less appealing now.” These were all excuses, but they appeared to be major deal breakers for me at the time.
However, studying abroad opened my eyes to the beauty that comes from exploration. You don’t have to go on some great escape that costs a lot of money to have an amazing adventure. When I traveled around Europe, my trips allowed me to meet new people, explore different parts of cities, and ultimately, I found myself in every place I went to. On the flight returning to Denver from four awesome months abroad, I was nervous that my days of exploring would end. It wasn’t until I was packing to move back to campus that I found the list I made as a freshman. The list outlining all the Denver spots I wanted to visit as a DU student.
So, I began to cross places off the list. From trying new restaurants, to visiting art exhibits with friends, I have found a love for Denver that I didn’t have before. Every corner of Denver has a unique spin on the lifestyles that exist in this fantastic city. As a kid, I saw Denver as this big city with an overwhelming amount of options. As an adult, I’m learning that there is something for everyone, for every occasion. From hosting a dinner at the Bindery in the Highlands for International Women’s Day with some of my best friends; to having brunch at the Bacon Social House, also in the Highlands; to getting ice cream at the Frozen Matter, which just so happens to have a speakeasy in the back (for those over 21) in uptown Denver, to eating the best tacos in RiNo at Los Chingones; I’ve learned just how much of a foodie town Denver is becoming. I also have explored up and coming places with cute boutiques and even went to a couple of art exhibits. I have also attended some pretty cool charity events and have met individuals outside of DU.
Everything I have done over the past five months has encouraged me to branch out and embrace being a DU student, but also a Denver community member.
So, my advice to anyone and everyone at DU: don’t wait to explore Denver. Start doing it now. This beautiful city has so much to offer. While there are things to do close to campus that are fun, routine shouldn’t be a part of your experience outside of the classroom. Meet yourself in the city that you chose to study in. There are so many amazing things to do. So, go do them. Get your friends and take an adventure in a wonderful city. Let me know what you find. I am always looking for new things to add to my list!
Ciera Blehm - DU student, Class of 2019