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February 12, 2007 10:19 AM   Subscribe

Liberal moving to Colorado Springs for the summer. Please Advise.

I took a job as a judicial clerk for the summer in Colorado Springs. I'm liberal, it's not. I bike everywhere, whitewater kayak, climb, etc. Any suggestions on how to meet like-minded people and flourish in what I gather to be a somewhat oppressive, fundamentalist city?
posted by craven_morhead to Human Relations (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Colorado Springs is not all bad, despite what everyone tells you. I lived there for a while and there are lots of liberals like you there. I would recommend going downtown to the bookstores and coffee shops and restaurants there. Around Colorado College and Acacia Park there are plenty of ex-hippie types (also in Manitou Springs) from the days before C. Springs was a religious/conservative mecca. Also, if you are the outdoors type, I'd recommend driving up to Woodland Park and Mueller State Park.
posted by mattbucher at 10:30 AM on February 12, 2007

I never lived there, but I did take a few trips there when I lived in Boulder. I suggest you do the reverse. Boulder will more than satisfy your liberal leanings from vegetarian restaurants to outdoorsy activities.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:30 AM on February 12, 2007

People had some good restaurant & hangout recommendations in this thread, it seemed like.
posted by sleevener at 10:30 AM on February 12, 2007

I have heard it's actually a very nice place to live. A lot of the folks who give it the local character drive there for Sundays and Wednesdays. They have a very good public radio station (which won't yet air my show, but we cover religion!) and it's close to a lot of things.
posted by parmanparman at 10:54 AM on February 12, 2007

I posted some recommendations in the thread sleevener linked to, mainly restaurants. I won't re-post them here. Other good -- and cheaper -- joints include La Casita, Phantom Canyon, and Conway's Red Top. I'll post more as I remember them. Alas, the Colorado Springs Beau Jo's closed some time ago.

Boulder Street Coffee Roasters is a good spot to hang and get a decent cup of coffee. Pick up a CS Independent -- a free "alt-weekly" -- there to stay informed of cheap/free/fun stuff.

Bibliowench mentioned Colorado College in the previous thread. It regularly has good visiting speakers. I saw Seamus Heaney read from his translation of Beowulf there. Also, she's dead on when she says that the PPLD is one of the best library systems in the nation. Track their site for events.

There's a good Fine Arts Center that just opened up a downtown location with a Chihuly glass exhibit (don't know if it's still on display, though).

There are two really good bike shops.

These recommendations are based on a visit I made last September. Hopefully all of these locations are still open.

It really is a politically conservative town, but as other have said, it's not that hard to connect with folks more of your political persuasion. (And hey, if you're panting up a logging road with a fellow mountain biker, you won't even have the breath to talk politics.) Relax, have fun, and tell Michelle at Bristol that Nate in Lawrence says hi.
posted by cog_nate at 11:06 AM on February 12, 2007

I saw the other thread and took some good notes; sounds like it should be a fun summer.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:38 AM on February 12, 2007

The suggestions above are good. There's also a weekly poetry slam there, if that's your thing. I've never been, but I've met some cool people involved with it.

And this is going to sound like a snark, it is not. Try to avoid words like "oppressive" and "fundamentalist." Everyone gets defensive about their hometown, even cool liberals.

I have to say, I was kind of surprised to see your location on your profile. As I'm sure you know, there are good people everywhere and there are bad people everywhere. I like San Franciso, but I sure do miss the laid-back openmindedness of Omaha.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:39 AM on February 12, 2007

Don't talk politics with random people. Ignore negative comments about liberals and the causes you espouse. Pay no attention to that AF Academy thing, where the leaders of tomorrow are indoctrinated into Christianity so that they might smite their enemies righteously.

Throw a party to celebrate the deactivation of Cheyenne Mountain.

Visit the UU Church for bright, kind, thoughtful and tolerant people. Ask them where the nice people hang. (You are going to be a judical clerk, so chances are, you'll be around lawyers, who, by and large, are more liberal. It comes from all that education they get and their concetration on the Constitution!)

Visit Boulder on the weekends. Gain weight with authentic Mexican food. Visit the Garden of the Gods. Colorado is beautiful and the people are like people everywhere... pretty much nice, even if they are a tad conservatie at that end of the state. Have fun!
posted by FauxScot at 11:51 AM on February 12, 2007

roll truck, i was working on stirring up the defensiveness. I wanted the allegations i found to be rebutted. Why was my location a surprise?

Thanks all; keep 'em comin' if you've got 'em.
posted by craven_morhead at 12:24 PM on February 12, 2007

There is a world of outdoor things to enjoy in Colorado, and you'll just scratch the surface during a few months. I think if you approach the summer as an opportunity for a fun and different experience you'll enjoy yourself a lot. To be honest I've spent little time in Colorado Springs itself so I'm not intimately familiar with the culture of the town and I'm in no way a conservative fundamentalist. But the attitude that comes across in your question would, I think, make many people in more conservative areas bristle. If you come to the Springs with the idea that you'll be a miserable fish out of water then that's exactly what you'll be. I think first and foremost keep in mind that people are people and most are pretty decent even if you disagree with their politics and religion.

I hope you enjoy your summer and, as noted above, you can always go to Boulder for your liberal fix.
posted by 6550 at 12:32 PM on February 12, 2007

I am not from the USA but I do have a word of advice on discussion and analysis of politics.

Think of "right", "left", "conservative" and "liberal" as places to put up (and remove) a tent rather than build a fortress.

We run into trouble when we pick our political terrain without listening. I know honourable people on all sides of the political spectrum.
posted by Deep Dish at 12:40 PM on February 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

Why was my location a surprise?

Ignorance on my part, most likely. Your post made me assume you must be a west coast lifer.

I spent some time in Michigan City awhile ago, and although I met some very nice and cool people there, I wouldn't really call any of the people I met there progressives.

But like I said, ignorance on my part. I just expected you to be in Portland or Boston or somewhere.

Oh, one more thing. I don't know if this is up your alley (again), but the summer writing workshop at Naropa is one of the most important literary gatherings in America. There'll be good readings, lectures, etc., all summer.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:32 PM on February 12, 2007

Colorado Springs is a great little town. You won't have any problems at all, unless you go looking for them.

The place has a conservative reputation that's based mostly on the highly visible placeholders (USAF Academy, Broadmoor, where the richest and snootiest of republicans sneer from on high and have self-congratulatory high-ticket benefits, etc.), but there are TONS of liberal/hippie/wicca/outdoors/non-political types all over the place to provide a counterbalance.

Try not to french Michael Moore on the church steps and you'll be okay.
posted by Aquaman at 1:34 PM on February 12, 2007

Plus, if you're just there for the season, it'll be easy to find an apartment or sublet downtown when Colorado College quiets down over the summer blocks. You can walk to work and pick up a latte and a french roll at La Baguette along the way. Really, have fun!
posted by mochapickle at 3:35 PM on February 12, 2007

[a few comments removed - do over fellas?]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:30 PM on February 13, 2007

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