Colorado is famous for many things—the Rocky Mountains, craft beer, Old West history, and so much more. But there are a few aspects of Colorado most travelers don’t know about until they get there. While there’s nothing wrong with being a newcomer, no one wants to be the clueless tourist in a crowd. Luckily, there are a few tips, tricks, and principles you can learn to help you fit right in during your time in the Centennial State. Make the most of your trip by learning the unspoken rules about Colorado every local knows.
Don’t Linger in the City
Exploring Colorado’s cities allows you to find incredible shopping, dining, live entertainment, museums, art galleries, and so much more—especially in Denver. But those attractions will always play second fiddle to the real crown jewel of Colorado: the mountains.
Just as no one visits New York City just to see Staten Island, you can’t come to Colorado without exploring the Rockies. So, if you’re planning a trip, don’t spend too much time in the urban areas. There’s a world of adventure waiting just outside the city limits for travelers of every kind.
Support the Broncos
Every state has a beloved team and a hated rival. For Colorado, that’s the Denver Broncos and the Las Vegas Raiders—two NFL teams that have been butting heads since they were both part of the American Football League’s inaugural season in 1960.
The teams have been in the same division since their AFL Western Conference days; they’re also the most frequent matchup for Monday Night Football in NFL’s history. Whether you’re a sports fan or not, you’re likely going to find yourself rooting for the Broncos if you spend any significant amount of time in Colorado.
Know How Altitude Affects Alcohol Tolerance
You don’t have to be a local to know that altitude sickness can knock you out if you’re not prepared. Traveling to higher elevations without letting your body adjust to the change can lead to headaches, nausea, and other physical symptoms that can put a damper on your Colorado experience. That’s why travelers—especially those who haven’t ventured into the mountains before—should stay hydrated and try not to push themselves.
This unspoken rule about Colorado applies to the bars just as much as it applies to ski slopes and hiking trails. As air pressure decreases at higher elevations, it affects how quickly oxygen moves through your bloodstream. Less oxygen in your blood means your body absorbs alcohol quicker but processes it slower, so you become intoxicated faster and stay that way for longer. Some studies disagree with this idea, but you also have to consider the fact that it’s easier to become dehydrated at higher altitudes—and dehydration also amplifies alcohol’s effects. No matter what, it’s always a good idea to drink responsibly and choose a designated driver or public transit so you can get home safely.
Speaking of dehydration, one of the most important rules to live by in Colorado is to stay hydrated. Of course, this is common sense wherever you go, but Coloradans know how important it is to drink plenty of water. Whether you’re trying to prevent altitude sickness or staying healthy while enjoying that famous Colorado sunshine, it’s crucial to keep drinking water wherever you go.
If you don’t already have a large reusable water bottle, make sure you buy one before you visit Colorado. Pack plenty of water, fill up as often as possible, and keep drinking all day long to stay hydrated, healthy, and energized.
Avoid I-70 During Ski Season
What’s one thing Colorado locals and Colorado tourists have in common? A love of the mountains—especially during ski season. But that passion has some downsides, including the traffic.
With so many visitors from around the world flocking to the Rockies to experience the slopes for themselves, the most popular areas get crowded fast. That’s why every local knows that traffic on I-70—the east-west interstate that connects many of the state’s popular ski resorts to Denver—can be a serious headache during ski season. This is particularly true around Vail, one of the state’s most iconic ski towns. If you’re planning to drive through the area between October and April, plan accordingly or be prepared to sit in traffic for a while.
Steer Clear of I-25 During Rush Hour
Here’s another driving tip for you: when you’re in Denver, be wary of I-25. During rush hour—or during Broncos games—the road gets busy fast. No one likes sitting for ages when they could be doing anything else in the thrilling Centennial State. If you can’t take an alternate route, try planning around rush hour instead. Make dinner reservations, visit one of Colorado’s many craft breweries, or spend your time in a walkable area like Larimer Square or the 16th Street Mall.
Enjoy the Outdoors—Even in Winter
Who doesn’t love spending time in the great outdoors? From the picturesque mountains to the idyllic meadows, it’s no wonder why Coloradans spend so much of their free time outside. After all, we want to soak up as many of those 300 average days of sunshine a year as we can. But the fun doesn’t stop when the temperatures get cold. In fact, the snow-capped mountains, thrilling slopes, and cozy mountain towns make winter one of the best times to experience all that Colorado has to offer.
Whether you’re basking in the summer sun or bundling up to go play in the snow, outdoor time is an intrinsic part of life in the Centennial State. No matter what time of year you visit, you can only get the true Colorado experience when you spend some time outside.
Respect the Environment
Loving the outdoors means protecting it. From cleaning up after yourself—litter is a big no-no—to walking or biking whenever possible, the people of Colorado do a lot to keep the state’s natural landscapes pristine and healthy. Visitors should do the same. Keep your campground clean, obey the rules of parks and preserves, respect the local wildlife, and do your best to keep Colorado the healthy haven of natural beauty that we all know and love.
Remember That Local Is Better
From the countless independent craft breweries to the family-run boutiques in all your favorite ski towns, Coloradans love small businesses. You should, too! Whenever you visit, be sure to check out local businesses for shopping, dining, and more. You’ll get a more authentic experience with a unique variety of goods and friendly local service you can’t find anywhere else.
You don’t even have to be in the Centennial State to support a proud Colorado business. Visit YoColorado’s online store to shop stylish men’s Colorado t-shirts that boast a variety of designs showing off all the best parts of Colorado. You can also find women’s and kids’ clothes, cool trucker hats, patches, and more when you explore our collections online or visit our store in Golden, Colorado.