The Super Bowl is finally here, the time of year when everyone celebrates the end of football season with delicious greasy food, parties, and a whole lot of team spirit. This year, the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers will square off at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, on February 7, 2016. The opposing cities, Charlotte, NC, and Denver, CO, may be on opposite sides of the country, but they have a surprising amount in common.
Charlotte, “The Queen City,” and Denver, “The Mile High City,” are both up-and-coming metropolitan areas. As with their Super Bowl rivals, Charlotte’s economic landscape has grown exponentially over the last few years. In fact, both cities rank on the list of best cities to own a home in since 2012. Since then, the value of a home for sale in Denver has appreciated by 29.69%, while the value of a home in Charlotte has appreciated by 13.84%. Yet, the contending cities still boast many affordable neighborhoods, making it easy for anyone to find a property that fits their style and budget. A home for sale in either area also offers ample access to the great outdoors: Denver, with its many trails and wilderness areas, and Charlotte with its parks, greenways, and nature trails throughout the city.
Denver and Charlotte are both popular places to live for sports enthusiasts. Hosts to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and six professional sports teams, Charlotte’s diverse citizenry is no stranger to sports culture, even though this year will be only the second time in franchise history that the Panthers have ever played in the Super Bowl. Denver too, is home to many avid sports fans. With five professional sports teams, the people of the mountain metropolitan area love to spend their free time cheering on their favorite teams.
Even though both teams are a long way from home-field advantage this year, we chatted with some locals about their city’s big-game traditions.
How does your city show its team spirit?
“Broncos Country is ‘United in Orange,’ where Broncos supporters wear orange on game-day weekends.” — Kellie Houghtaling of Christy Sports
“It’s really fun to see cars driving down the highways with Panthers flags, and to see local businesses get hyped up. The city has hosted pep rallies, several businesses have hosted special giveaways in Uptown to get everyone amped, and you see a whole lot more people wearing their Panther pride.” — Chrissie Nelson of Off the Eaten Path
“The Orange Crush is back! I think everyone in Denver owns Broncos gear, and we wear it with pride!” — Greg Smith of BoulderHomeSource RE/MAX Alliance
“Fans will be able to attend a pep rally Uptown in Romare Bearden Park Friday before the team heads to California. The Panthers players, Sir Purr, the TopCats, the PurrCussion drum line, and the Black & Blue Crew will all be there.” — Amie Gallagher of The Stephen Cooley Real Estate Group, Keller Williams
What’s been the highlight of this season for your team?
“Peyton Manning making a comeback and Brock Osweiler holding down the fort while Peyton was out.”— Kellie Houghtaling of Christy Sports
“Obviously, the NFC Championship leading to the Super Bowl, but also our undefeated home record and the generosity of our players — Cam Newton giving touchdown footballs to children in the end zone seats, donations to the Emanuel AME Church shooting victims, and donations to local Charlotte schools.” — Amie Gallagher of The Stephen Cooley Real Estate Group, Keller Williams
Which neighborhood can you spot your team’s players hanging out in?
“They have a favorite burger joint in Uptown that they like to eat at after home games, so if you linger for a while, you’ll usually see them there. During the week or during the off-season, you can spot them all over Charlotte, usually in Uptown (Cam Newton lives in Uptown) or in South Park (they love The Cowfish, a sushi and burger restaurant).” — Chrissie Nelson of Off the Eaten Path
“I’ve heard you can see Broncos players at The Perfect Landing in the Centennial Airport in Englewood.” — Rowland Wasgatt of Denver Brewery Guide
“Many live Uptown, so they are often seen in the surrounding ’hoods, South End, Dilworth, and Plaza Midwood. You know those men like their steaks, so Del Frisco’s in SouthPark is a big hangout.” — Adam Williams of Restaurant Traffic
“Broncos players can be found hanging out at various downtown locations and neighborhoods of Denver.” — Kellie Houghtaling of Christy Sports
Where can you find the best game-day food in your city?
“I actually think the best game-day food in Charlotte is at tailgates on Mint Street. Fans get out there early, sometimes eight or more hours before kickoff and set up big spreads and feasts for game day. You’ll see people with shrimp and grits (Big Al’s are the best), deep-fried turkeys, racks of ribs, hibachi grills with steaks and veggies, burgers, brats, hot dogs, wings, chips, dips, Bojangles’, and all sorts of other delicious things. Panthers fans take tailgating seriously and don’t skimp on drinks either, with full bars and kegs of beer.” — Chrissie Nelson of Off the Eaten Path
“The Cherry Cricket is a great spot for burgers in Denver.” — Rowland Wasgatt of Denver Brewery Guide
What are the best local spots to watch the Super Bowl?
“I will show some love to a newcomer in Charlotte. Draught on Cedar Street has been a monster hangout spot for EVERY home game this year. The amount of energy that starts in the massive tailgate lot outside bleeds into the building and tent areas and is a contagious brew of Panther fever and libations. Another hot spot is All American Pub in South End. This is one of the biggest sports bars with an urban location, and they take full advantage. If you don’t have a game-day ticket but still want the full game-fever atmosphere, this is the place.” — Adam Williams of Restaurant Traffic
“So many to choose from, but I got to say that you can’t go wrong with Denver’s Blake Street Tavern in the Five Points neighborhood.”— Rowland Wasgatt of Denver Brewery Guide
“Anywhere with friends … Denver’s Viewhouse Eatery, Bar & Rooftop, Punch Bowl Social, and Cherry Cricket.” — Kellie Houghtaling of Christy Sports
“Charlotte is full of great places to watch the game and fill up on amazing food. All American Pub, Dilworth Bar and Grill, Hickory Tavern, Whiskey Warehouse, and Cowbell Burger & Whiskey Bar are some of my favorites.” — Amie Gallagher of The Stephen Cooley Real Estate Group, Keller Williams
What’s the best neighborhood in your city for sports enthusiasts?
“With Panthers football, baseball, basketball, and NASCAR at our doorstep, you’re bound to find a sports fan anywhere you look.” — Amie Gallagher of The Stephen Cooley Real Estate Group, Keller Williams
“LoDo is very popular, as Coors Stadium, Home of the Rockies, is located there. It still has an authentic downtown feeling but offers lots of great spots to eat and meet friends.” — Greg Smith of BoulderHomeSource RE/MAX Alliance
Does your city have a postgame ritual?
“In Charlotte, everyone sings ‘Sweet Caroline’ by Neil Diamond and watches Cam run laps up and down the sidelines like a WWF hype-man.” — Adam Williams of Restaurant Traffic
“It has been reported that the Denver Broncos serve chicken Parmesan postgame in honor of Peyton Manning’s Nationwide Insurance campaign.” — Kellie Houghtaling of Christy Sports
“Fans often gather around the stadium in Charlotte to greet the players when they get off the bus after an away game.” — Amie Gallagher of The Stephen Cooley Real Estate Group, Keller Williams
What is the best off-season activity in your city?
“Charlotte’s location and climate make outdoor activities a major part of most people’s lives. Lake Norman is 20 minutes north of center city, The US National Whitewater Center is a 15-minute drive and has everything that an outdoor enthusiast could want, from mountain biking/hiking/paddleboard/zip line/rock climbing and obviously kayaking and white-water rafting.” — Adam Williams of Restaurant Traffic
“Too many around Denver to choose just one! Skiing, snowboarding, hiking, biking, running, and lots more!” — Kellie Houghtaling of Christy Sports
What is your city known for other than football?
“Can’t get enough of visiting any of the great breweries around Denver. So many to choose from.” — Rowland Wasgatt of Denver Brewery Guide
“Charlotte is known for its weather, sweet tea, Southern cooking and hospitality, and banking. Interesting combination.” — Adam Williams of Restaurant Traffic
“The Charlotte Hornets, Muggsy Bogues, Ric Flair, banking, where Homeland and The Hunger Games were filmed, Bojangles’, having an airport that is a hub, and for being a ‘hornet’s nest of rebellion’ during the Revolutionary War.” — Chrissie Nelson of Off the Eaten Path
If you were a tour guide in your city, which three local attractions would you take a group of visitors to and why?
“Red Rocks Amphitheater: Every famous band in the world wants to play there! Coors Brewing Company: This is a landmark. Neighborhoods such as The Highlands, Capitol Hill, and Rino District: Each have their own historical value, adding to Denver’s culture.” — Kellie Houghtaling of Christy Sports
“I would take them on a walking tour of Uptown (Charlotte’s downtown), where we could learn about Charlotte’s history on the Liberty Walk and at Levine Museum of the New South, explore the historic and beautiful Fourth Ward, hang out in beautiful parks, and eat delicious food at some of our local restaurants. Second, we’d go on The Rail Trail in South End and explore some of Charlotte’s breweries (and get samples, of course!). Third, we would go to Charlotte’s historic arts district, NoDa, and walk around, explore the galleries, and get more local flair at restaurants and breweries.” — Chrissie Nelson of Off the Eaten Path’
Did we miss something? Are you a Charlotte or Denver writer with insider tips? Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can work together!