At the end of every year, we take a look at our pageview data to see which stories were read the most online. Each time, there are some standard favorites, along with a few surprises.
It certainly didn’t shock us, for instance, that stories about Vail (and the backlash the resort faced about long lift lines last season) and Casa Bonita (and its timelines for reopening) logged a pair of spots on this list. After all, they are two of Colorado’s favorite destinations and topics.
But public spaces and a Pikachu problem? They certainly weren’t on our bingo card for 2023.
Two popular pastimes that remain a near-constant on this list are food and music. That’s especially good news this year because it means people were interested in dining and going to concerts again after two years of staying away from crowded venues.
Here’s the list of our top 10 most-read stories in 2022.
10. Meow Wolf co-founder Matt King, who was instrumental in Denver location, has died
Anyone who has visited Meow Wolf in Denver, which opened in 2021, has admired the work of Matt King. “He was the lead artist on The Cathedral, the whimsical technicolor structure that anchors Convergence Station, among many other installations,” we wrote in July.
King, “who was instrumental in bringing the immersive installations in Denver, Santa Fe, and Las Vegas to life,” died on July 9 in Santa Fe at age 37. According to the Wall Street Journal, King died by suicide.
9. Here’s every concert coming to Red Rocks Amphitheatre in 2023 (so far)
The concert season at Red Rocks Amphitheatre gets longer each year as music lovers brave the elements starting in early spring and keep rocking almost until the winter holidays. While many of the major headliners don’t announce dates until later in 2023, plenty have already signed on (and sold tickets) for the upcoming season. We let you in on every one of those announced dates in a post from November that garnered quite a bit of interest — and we’ve continued to update that post as we hear about more performers. Most tickets are available through axs.com.
8. “Downtown is dead”: Why Denver restaurants are moving to the suburbs
The big city got a bad rap in 2022 — and deservedly so: With growth has come traffic congestion, crime, unaffordable housing and construction, construction, construction. But as Denver officials tried everything they could think of to bring office workers, shoppers and diners back to the urban core after two years of pandemic-related avoidance, a slew of bar and restaurant owners turned toward the suburbs and smaller cities in the mountains and along the Front Range.
As Kris Wallenta of Denver’s Dos Santos restaurant said in our story, “Everyone’s always like, ‘Denver, Highlands, RiNo!’ ” But the city’s neighborhoods have become prohibitively expensive to operate in, he explained. They come with higher minimum wages and more competition for workers, real estate and customers.
7. Denver’s most perfect breakfast burrito comes with green chile and a side of controlled chaos
There is almost no Colorado conversation more popular — and more divisive — than who makes the best breakfast burritos. That became clear after we ran this love letter to one specific Santiago’s location last June. And the topic, like the green chile inside, only gets hotter. But this story wasn’t just about the burrito, it was about the atmosphere, the sublime chaos and the particular joys of the Santiago’s store at Sixth Avenue and Santa Fe Boulevard — something that has to be experienced to be truly appreciated in all of its glory.
6. An 89-year Denver staple opens its second neighborhood restaurant
After opening a second location in January, one of Denver’s oldest dives notched one of the city’s shortest tenures — something that was a little surprising considering how many people were interested in reading about Billy’s Inn. The 90-year-old establishment, which has held down the corner at 4403 Lowell Blvd., in the Berkeley neighborhood, opened its second iteration in January at 1222 Madison St., serving fish tacos, enchiladas, burgers and more.
The restaurant space had been occupied for more than a decade by Tag Burger Bar, which closed at the end of October 2021. But east-siders, hungry for news about new restaurants, weren’t so hungry when it came to Billy’s, which shut its doors just 10 months later. The neighborhood spot is expected to be taken over by Crepes ‘n Crepes (formerly of Cherry Creek) in early 2023.
5. Amy Schumer’s mock-promotional “Colorado” sketch prompts feedback at state tourism office
“Whatever kind of experience you’re looking for, you can find it here, in Colorado,” comic Amy Schumer said in a video short she released in September to promote Season 5 of her sketch series, “Inside Amy Schumer,” on Paramount+. “And all the services you may need.”
Those “services” referred to abortions, which are still legal in Colorado even after Roe vs. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June. Schumer’s sketch was designed as a mock-promotional tourism video for the Centennial State, and it garnered plenty of attention, not to mention some feedback from the real Colorado Tourism Office’s industry partners.
4. Denver just unveiled one of its most interesting public spaces in recent memory
Public spaces became vitally important during the social-distancing days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. So it’s no surprise that readers were still interested in outdoor attractions in 2022 when the city of Denver “took a small, if somewhat soaring step” to bring the South Platte River back into people’s lives with the unveiling of a new park.
Denver Parks and Recreation cut the ribbon in July on the three-block-long Arkins Promenade, at 3601 Arkins Court, and its centerpiece, a winding 400-foot-long elevated walkway, complete with benches, a picnic table, porch swings, overlooks and a suspended net for kids to play in.
3. U.S. Forest Service investigating video that shows Pikachu walking across Hanging Lake
This was a strange one. In November, the U.S. Forest Service revealed that it had opened an investigation into a video from 2017 that appeared to show three people dressed in onesies walking across a fallen tree through the iconic Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon. One was dressed as Pikachu. Because of the delicate nature of the ecosystem at Hanging Lake (which has since been affected by fires, floods and mudslides), the agency’s visitation rules prohibit people — and Pikachus — from walking anywhere but the trails and boardwalks.
2. Casa Bonita still no closer to opening after “South Park” creators pour in “all” their money
You know it. You love it. You wanted to read about it. Casa Bonita was all the rage in 2022 as people speculated about its future under new owners Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the Colorado boys who created “South Park.” Interest reached a fever pitch in August, though, as the show prepared for two 25th-anniversary concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
In so doing, Parker and Stone revealed to The Denver Post that the famed eatertainment complex was in much worse condition than they’d realized and that they had dumped “all our money” into it. “Have you ever seen ‘Kitchen Nightmares’? It’s the very, very worst one of those you could possibly ever imagine,” said Parker. Thankfully, there is now an opening date projection of May, which the two creators announced in a video in December.
1. Backlash against Vail Resorts growing among skiers and snowboarders across the country
Readers made it clear that skiing is a No. 1 priority in Colorado, and this story about the angst over Vail Resorts was The Know’s most-read story of the year. What happened? While ski areas across the country all struggled with staffing shortages, COVID-related issues and high housing costs, Vail Resorts in particular was targeted by “a cacophony of complaints on social media and in national news stories,” we wrote, alleging everything from long lift lines to unplowed parking lots, limited terrain and frustrated, overworked employees.
The drama was symbolized by viral photos and videos of an almost unbelievable line at Vail last season that some called the “lift line apocalypse.” This year, Vail’s new CEO told The Denver Post in a pre-ski season interview that while the ski industry still faces many challenges, the problems of understaffing from 2021-22 should be under control. We’ll find out soon enough.
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