Arriving in Denver under a clear blue sky, invigorated by the pure mountain air at 5,280 feet (exactly one mile up — hence, the Mile High City), it was once fairly easy to get your bearings here: Just look for the Rockies, and you’ve found west. These days, the view is as likely to be obstructed by plumes of pot smoke (legal in Colorado since 2014) as it is with big-ass cranes and half-finished buildings. Denver is booming, and while it may be unrecognizable to those who drove through it on their way to Vail or Omaha years ago, all that shiny newness is highly(!) appealing to a rapidly gathering flock.

What’s new in Denver? Ultra-hip hotels like The Ramble and The Maven. Electric scooters. Start-up offices and apartment buildings with rooftop pools, and, most notably, the gut renovation of the city’s train hall, Union Station. The restaurant scene has achieved full Ludicrous Mode, with food halls and hip hybrids opening up weekly (daily? hourly?). The notorious craft beer scene, too, shows no sign of slowing, with plenty of new kids on the block (like the Grateful Dead-themed brewpub, The Grateful Gnome).

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