I’ve written before about my planning process and Denver really wasn’t very different, except that I was overwhelmed at the budget-friendly opportunities that abound in the Mile-high City!
A few of my favorite websites for the Denver area:– Mile High on the Cheap – Visit Denver – Meetup.Com – Denver Transit
Through these pages or FB subscriptions, I snagged free movie tickets, learned the best times to visit the Mint and the State Capitol, found a backpacking group and attended a happy hour in a neat bar I never would have ventured into on my own!
If you find yourself in an area for more than a few days, it may also be fun to find some volunteer work to get involved in. Lots of agencies need one-time help with a special event or welcome drop-in help for routine work. Don’t be dismayed if some require a weekly commitment or have a training day, keep looking and you are bound to find something that suits you and helps them. This can be a great way to get to know the area and meet some interesting people. AND – though definitely not the norm in my experience – you may just snag some great benefits other than self-satisfaction and do-gooder-karma! I struck pay dirt twice for my efforts in Denver.
I discovered the Colorado Women’s Foundation needed help setting up for their annual luncheon. I originally hoped to help out the day of the event so I could snag a glimpse of the keynote speaker – Geena Davis, but as it turned out they needed more help the day before. I enlisted a friend to go with me and we stuffed gift bags and sorted name tags for a few hours. As we were leaving, the organizer reminded us to be there at 11:45 the following day for the luncheon. YEP! ALL of the volunteers were rewarded with a seat at the luncheon!
The whole program was inspiring and Ms. Davis was just awesome – I learned so much that day and got so much back for my few hours of fun work! And yes – I contributed to the fundraiser!
Though I didn’t get to actually work the Oktoberfest Beer Booth for the Feline Rescue Group due to illness, the organizer offered all of the volunteers a free walking tour of LoDo!!
VolunteerMatch.org is a great place to start!
Though I have visited Denver frequently over the past ten years, I never get tired of it and each time it feels more and more like home, in part because I strive to venture into the city and find things that show me the real Denver. Touristy things are great and fun, but knowing a city means knowing its people and to know its people you have to get off the beaten path just a little! Or at least go down it with locals!