I'll be up front in letting you all know that my inspiration for this post is my all-time favorite 80's song, "We Built This City" by Starship. I love that song, and it's been in my head for two days. In the process it got me thinking about my favorite cities and what makes them my favorites.
My very first blog post was about visiting Washington, D.C. at the age of 16 and how I fell in love with cities right then and there. It's ironic, really, that a girl who grew up in a town of 400(ish) people in the middle of bloody nowhere entirely considers herself a city girl. Despite my dirty little secrets of having been in the FFA (that's right -I was a state champion meat judger) and raised pigs, I have forsaken all of my country routes to wear 3-inch heels every day, love crowded cities and be a giant fan of happy hour in chic downtown establishments.
Chicago continues to dwell at the top of my favorite city list. I can't pinpoint any one thing that makes it so fantastic, but I can point to about 10 things. It's downtown is filled with people, there's tons of restaurants, shopping, bars, museums. The green spaces in Chicago are fantastic, and Lake Michigan provides an additional level of fabulous. Chicago is a runner's dream with miles of lake front trails as well as being home to one of the country's largest marathons. Honestly - what's not to love?
My first visit to Boston this year puts it at a close second behind Chicago. Boston is a large city, but it feels very intimate. It's a history buff's dream with landmarks like the Freedom Trail and the USS Constitution. Boston feels very dense, and it's extremely walkable. Being in the North End feels like you're in a small village with numerous amazing restaurants and shopping. Boston is also a runner's dream - home to the incomparable Boston Marathon and some of the country's most active running clubs.
Denver rounds out my top three for many of the same reasons. The 16th Street Mall downtown is pedestrian friendly with free public transportation. The restaurants in Denver are incredible, and it remains the only place I've ever encountered horseradish vodka with a pickle chaser (seriously - awesome). Denver also has lots of green space, and lots of opportunities not only for runners but for outdoor activities of all kinds. I have a race in Denver that I'm dying to do - Fans on the Field. It's a 10k race that starts and ends at Mile High Stadium. It's on the short list.
There are so many other cities I love. Let's be honest - I don't visit a lot of vibrant cities I DON'T love. I am enamored with everything that makes cities great - both for cityphiles and runners. What's your favorite city and why? Also you're welcome for getting Starship stuck in your head all day long.