Problems with moving from Las Vegas to Denver

Although I love living in Denver, a recent trip back to Sin City has forced me to admit that there are a cultural adjustments I haven’t even started to make yet. Here are a few:

The food:

Everywhere I go in Denver I am surrounded by people who don’t eat meat, cheese, milk, wheat, gluten products, butter, or anything else good. People apparently live off of produce from their gardens and endless trips to City O’ City (the “BBQ” there is dry rubbed tofu. Can someone from Kansas City come beat up the chef please?). To each his own and all that, but I love baking! It sucks to bring a batch of cookies to an event and have them go untouched. This would NEVER happen in Las Vegas. My friend just threw me a baby shower in Vegas and people gobbled up her cupcakes, artichoke dip, mozzarella/arugula/tomato skewers, cream cheese filled strawberries, and ice cream punch that looked like a baby bath.

There is no way that menu would fly in Denver. If she would have been limited to locally grown swiss chard “shakes” and mushroom “burgers,” she would have quit on the spot.

I should love that I live in the healthiest state in the union, and sometimes I do. The peer pressure here makes me eat better, which is technically a good thing, but sometimes I miss my Las Vegas friends who un-ironically ask me if I’m trying to lose weight because I only ordered one hamburger at the McDonald’s Drive-Thur (true story). The other problem is that I’m surrounded by skinny people and I therefore look fat in comparison. (Granted I’m nearly 8 months pregnant now, but this problem existed 8 months ago and will again be a problem in a few short weeks). In Vegas I had a backside that I loved. In Denver, I just have a fat ass.

The marijuana:

Seriously, I was driving ON THE FREEWAY and I got a whiff of weed. I can’t go on a run around the block without fearing a contact high. Do medical dispensaries really need to be on every corner? It’s not like nobody smokes in Vegas, but Denver is really excessive. I guess Coloradans have to make up for their lack of butter and meat somehow.

The music:

Everyone here is into really cool and edgy music. I like Taylor Swift and top 40 hits. This is a problem.

Proximity to lots of cool places:

If you are into weekend road trips, Las Vegas is a great place to live. You are less than six hours away from L.A., San Diego, Phoenix, Lake Tahoe, some of Utah’s best national parks (Bryce and Zion), and the Grand Canyon. Denver has a lot of great mountain towns to explore, and heading up north to South Dakota is pretty cool. However, a drive east will bring you twelve hours of nothing but corn and soybean fields.

The slightly trashy element:

People in Denver aren’t trashy. Gals in my workout class have color coordinated Lucy workout gear. Moms shopping in the Highlands near my house all are pushing their toddlers in top-of-the-line jogging strollers. I haven’t seen anyone grocery shopping in their pajama pants. Everyone wears Tom’s shoes in the summer and cute no-heel boots in the winter.

People in Las Vegas probably don’t even know about Tom’s shoes. (Can you buy them at Wal-Mart?) Trashy clothes are not only on the Strip, but everywhere in Las Vegas. I miss raising my eyebrows at people’s outfits, spending entertaining hours simply people watching, and talking trash about the trashy things people wear. Also, I’m sad that I can never wear pajama pants to the store here (not like I ever did it in Vegas, but it was good to know it was a viable option. Also, I can’t afford Lucy workout gear or Tom’s shoes.

Luckily Denver more than makes up for its shortcomings. With four sports teams, a different running club to train with every day of the week, tons of cute mountain towns, a (relatively) well-funded education system, and a vibrant downtown (with museums! The most popular museum in Vegas is the Mob Museum), I’m totally in love with Denver. However, sometimes I miss my trashy, gluttonous, pop music loving self that I could comfortably be in Las Vegas.

Post Las Vegas culture shock


Jenna Vandenberg

Teacher, writer, runner, mom and wife.

Comments (8)

  • Donna

    Your best ever! This one I have to print and save. Appeals to my perverse sense of humor. No Wallmart People huh, I’ll send a link as a fix.

  • […] found this fun blog post recently by a running enthusiast on the comparisons of living in Denver vs. Las Vegas. Jenna is a former resident of Las Vegas and now lives in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver. Her […]

  • Thanks Donna…I was afraid it was a little too snarky, haha. I really do love it here though 🙂

  • Hey Jenna! Sounds like you’re settling into life in Denver. My SIL lives there and she loves it. Too cold for me, lol. Hope and you and the baby are doing well… almost time, right? 😀 Best wishes for a healthy and happy delivery.

  • I remember when I first moved to Vegas and found a place called Fatburger. I guess it’s actually a chain and pretty well-known at that, but at the time I’d never heard of it. Great first impression.

    I really liked living in Vegas though, but only for about 6 months or so. Eventually the lack of any real weather started to get to me and I really missed rain, snow, basically anything other than sunny

  • […] Someone told me that if I ever go to Nashville, I should skip music row and just go to the Whole Foods in town. Apparently at the food/salad bar there the Whole Foods employees make orders from scratch using ingredients from the produce in the store. This advice obviously came from a classic Denverite. […]

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