Years ago I took a ski vacation to Utah (heresy, I know) with my wife, and I’ll never forget what I overheard an older gentleman say during lunch one sunny afternoon. “I moved here for the winter,” he said, “but I stayed for the summer.” I was reminded of this notion just last night: Gray skies, rain, and hail may have delayed the onset of summer this year, but as I write this in early June, it appears the long, warm, sunshine-filled days have finally arrived in Denver. Daylight stretches until well past 8 p.m., school has let out, and evenings on our block near Wash Park are filled with kids riding bikes and tossing baseballs and sharing stories from their day camps. It all sounds so Rockwellian—and in a way, it is. That’s the thing about Denver: Those of us who reside here know how fortunate we are to live in the city and have access to the amenities that entails; at the same time, we’re able to enjoy the pleasures of small-town life in our urban neighborhoods.

This happy dichotomy is on full display in this month’s cover package, our 19th installment of “Top Of The Town” (page 73), which celebrates the best of the Mile High City. In this edition, 5280 editors’ picks—and our readers’ choices—document a city that is growing quickly and becoming a destination for millennials and retirees alike. In this feature, you’ll find classics like Curious Theatre and El Taco De Mexico, but you’ll also find new ventures, such as Amethyst Coffee Company and the Cooper Lounge, which showcase the increasingly diverse, creative, entrepreneurial, and international city Denver is becoming. We hope you’ll take some time during the gorgeous summer months here to experience the amazing places, people, and things our team has compiled.

But there is much more to this issue than “Top Of The Town.” This year, we decided to complement our best-of list with a host of other stories, so whether you’re looking for a new hot spot for dinner or you want a lean-back narrative to read while you lounge in your hammock on a lazy Sunday afternoon, you’ll find it in this issue. On page 94, food editor Amanda M. Faison tells the tale of two engineers making potato vodka—a rarity in this country—outside of Aspen (“The Potato Kings”). Senior staff writer Robert Sanchez spent time with freshman U.S. Senator Cory Gardner this past spring in an effort to figure out just exactly what the telegenic Republican stands for. His illuminating profile, “Will The Real Cory Gardner Please Stand Up?” (page 118), details the politician’s Eastern Plains upbringing and the campaign that could be a model for Republicans going forward. And senior editor Kasey Cordell penned a poignant tribute to Navy SEAL and Colorado native Danny Dietz (“A Warrior’s Creed,” page 102), who died in Afghanistan 10 years ago this summer and was one of the SEALs memorialized in the recent Hollywood hit Lone Survivor.

Of course, these are just a few of the stories in this issue. All told, there are 100 pages chock-full of fabulous pieces to keep your eyes and mind busy while your body relaxes on idle summer afternoons. Happy reading.