When I was a senior in High School my brother got me a copy of Atmosphere’s Seven’s Travel’s CD. Back then, if you wanted music, you could try to download all of the MP3’s in the right order while simultaneously accidentally nuking your family computer, or you could wait to get the physical copy.
That album was one of the things that inspired me to be a traveling artist, the entire project is a concept that focuses on Slug (the rapper) and his travels around the country performing music and interacting with the various people he meets along the way. I often put it on as I’m traveling to college to college or NACA conference to NACA conference, giving the world the best spoken word poetry our duo I.N.K. can possibly offer!
One of my favorite songs from the album was a song called Denvemolorado. It rides samples from two different versions of a song called No If’s ands or But’s, one by Black Ivory, and one by JJ Barnes (this is pretty unique in the world of sampling) and describes the rapper’s observations sitting along at an airport bar in February.
Since NACA this year is in Denver, AND in February, I figured that would be the best song to listen to in anticipation for a wonderful and exciting NACA conference. Don’t sit alone in the airport bar! If you can, extend your stay and enjoy all the wonderful things that central Colorado has to offer. Just don’t miss any of the NACA showcases. These are the top artists in the nation, so don’t miss a single showcase!
1. Find a mountain and go carve some fresh powder!
Don’t be alarmed when you land that you are in the wrong town, and don’t go besmirching the name of John Denver either. The rocky mountains really are high, but Denver sure doesn’t feel like it is. Contrary to popular belief Denver is a very flat town just on the edge of the mountains. Winter Park and Keystone are probably the two best ski resorts close to Denver, although I’d give the edge to Winter Park because you can take the train straight from Denver to base village. You likely won’t have a car, and you really don’t want to deal with I-70 if the weather is bad.
Use extreme caution! Take a lesson if you haven’t skied in a while skied or if you haven’t skied on this region’s snow before, as all regions are different. Further, don’t trust the square and circle systems on most mountains, ALWAYS ask staff which ones are for good for your ski level. One time while we were on a tour performing spoken word poetry for Northern Vermont University, my touring partner Courageous famously destroyed his ACL, MCL, LCL, his pride, and the 8th season of Game Of Thrones in a horrendous crash on Burke Mountain Vermont that was on a Blue run, and we’d been riding Blue’s all day. Be careful.
Finally, don’t go skiing during the conference. Go the day before or the day after. Some of the country’s best talent is going to be performing at NACA and you won’t want to miss it.
2. Check out 16th Street!
This is a beautiful outdoor shopping complex that is completely free from traffic. It will look especially majestic in February as it’s illuminated by thousands of lights strung across the street. There are countless outlets and bars for you to spend away in. Knock yourself out!
3. Get a selfie with the big blue bear
This is one of Denver’s iconic pieces of art at one of Denver’s most iconic structures. We aren’t going to tell you where it is, you’ll have to find it for yourself, but we are confident you will find it. Get a selfie and show us at the Neon Entertainment booth and we’ll give you a free prize!
4. Tour Mile High Stadium or The Pepsi Center
Tours of Denver’s most legendary sports facilities are available at both of these facilities and are almost always worth the price. When we are out touring colleges or performing at NACA conventions we always try to get a stadium tour in if we are in an NFL town. On Friday night, find a cool bar like Recess Beer Garden to watch the Nuggets take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
5. Check out the Greener side of the Rockies!
Although I don’t partake, and I don’t recommend it to anyone, take some time to peak into one of the many Marijuana shops popping up in Denver. If you are not a user, it’s still a fascinating scene that you can’t see anywhere! Euflora is a only a few blocks from the convention center and has a neat set up. It’s like being in a watch store, except the watches can be smoked, and they aren’t in fact watches at all they are marijuana products. Side note, if you are a student do NOT go heading to one of these places without an advisor’s consent.
If you are anything like me, eating is going to be a high priority. If you partook in the #5 suggestion, eating is going to be an EXTREMELY high priority! Check back next time for our Downtown Denver Restaurant guide.