Like the majestic Rocky Mountains and mighty Colorado River that cuts through them, the state of Colorado is a beacon of ruggedness throughout the American West and beyond. With its abundance of outdoor activities and wide-open spaces, this icon of the Old West and the gold rush is easily one of the manliest in the union. It’s the kind of place where you can climb a mountain or steer a raft down a roaring river during the day, then enjoy a big bison steak, glass of whiskey, and fine cigar at night while sitting beneath a painting of manly men mining gold.
While the entire state is pretty much a Mecca of manliness, we thought we’d look a little closer and use our experience in ranking cities on a national level to determine which metros can claim to be the manliest.
Based on our research—which may or may not have involved some breaks to cut wood and wrestle bears—we found that the following Colorado cities are tops when it comes to manly stuff:
That’s right: Englewood, CO came out on top of this manly heap—you can just smell the Old Spice, can’t you? We should’ve known it would fare pretty well upon discovering that it is home to a waterpark called Pirates Cove. (Too bad we couldn’t use “pirates per capita” in our criteria.)
Luckily, we’ve been at this for a while, so we still had plenty of tricks up our sleeves we could use to determine our ranking. Read on to find out how we did it.
How We Created This List
How do you gauge a city’s manliness? That was the big question we had to answer in order to put this ranking together. There are a lot of criteria we considered using, but some of the most fun ones—like “most mustaches” per capita—are just too impossible to quantify without surveying every man in a town in person. While we’d love to have the time and resources to do that (if just for the opportunity to say we’re conducting a “mustache survey”), we needed to come up with criteria that could be researched from afar.
That’s how we decided on ranking the cities based on retail criteria. To do that, we looked at the following on a per capita basis:
- Barber Shops
- Boxing Gyms
- Car Parts Stores
- Cigar Shops
- Gun Stores
- Hardware Stores
- Sporting Goods Stores
- Sports Bars
Our thinking: A city with the most of these per capita would be the most ideal for men and thus very, very manly. So, we took the top 25 most populous cities in Colorado, turned to our old friend Yelp for business listings, and collected our data. Since we were looking at the state on a very micro level, we made sure to only include businesses actually located in each city, not within a larger metro area.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 25 in each individual category based on how many of each business they had per capita. To determine our final ranking, we average all of the individual rankings together.
You can find more specifics on what we found below.
Barber Shops: A Close Shave and a Neat HaircutAh, the barber shop. This is the closest most men are willing to get to a “spa,” whatever that is. It’s in these temples to the male noggin that we’re willing to trust highly-trained experts to cut our hair and shave our faces for us using the only real implements for doing so: scissors and a straight razor. They’ll also chat with us about sports, the latest greatest trucks, or—if we so choose—not a damn thing at all.
Grand Junction was a cut above Colorado’s other cities when it came to barber shops per capita, followed by Littleton and Denver.
Boxing Gyms: A Gentleman’s Sport
After you’ve gotten your hair cut all tidy and your mustache waxed, it’s time to practice your proficiency at pugilism. Sure, you can swing away at a speed bag in most gyms, but it’s at one specifically meant for boxing that you’ll find a salty coach figure ready to bark nearly incomprehensible orders to duck, weave, and jab at you.
As it turns out, only eight of the top 25 cities in Colorado have one. Englewood has the most on a per capita basis, followed by Littleton, and then Wheat Ridge.
Car Parts Stores: Don’t Touch My Special Lady
When a truly manly man isn’t in the ring, he’s under the hood of his car (or underneath it changing the oil). In fact, we’re pretty sure that being a man requires you have at least some grease on your hands at all times (your wedding day is no exception).
On a per capita basis, Englewood has the most car part stores. Littleton and Denver are second and third, respectively.
Cigar Shops: Have Humidor, Will TravelWe’re not condoning smoking, just pointing out that the stereotypically manly man is often pictured smoking a cigar while enjoying a glass of a fine spirit while relaxing in a room with his compatriots. Where’s this man going to get his stogies? At a shop that specialized in, um, stogies..
Once again, Englewood smoked the competition here. Wheat Ridge was next up on a per capita basis, followed by Grand Junction.
Gun Stores: Let’s Go Shootin’
The image of the typical burly outdoorsman includes his trusty rifle or shotgun. Or perhaps he’s a firearms collector. In any case, he’ll need somewhere to get new pieces for his collection and buy ammo—unless he’s a real man and reloads his own.
Littleton shot to the top of the gun shop ranking with the most per capita. Wheat Ridge was second, and Englewood was third.
Hardware Stores: Like Toy Stores For Men
You’ve heard it before: Tools are like toys for men, and home improvement shows are our reality TV. Any real man Mecca is going to need a lot of hardware stores per capita; places where men can go to debate the finer points of electric drills and the right gauge of wire to use for a woodshop light fixture. Where men won’t get funny looks for gazing longingly at a new wood router, or poring over lawn mower instructions like they’re a New York Times bestseller.
If this sounds like the best place ever, you’ll find the most of them per capita in Littleton, followed by Englewood and Denver.
Sporting Goods Stores: The Great OutdoorsFor men looking to take advantage of the countless outdoor activities that Colorado has to offer, their first stop is going to be the local sporting goods store. It has everything the rugged outdoorsman needs for fishin’, campin’, bikin’, and hikin’.
Wouldn’t you know: Englewood climbed to the top of this category. Boulder placed second, while Littleton was third.
Sports Bars: Neighborhood Hangouts
Whether it’s watching the Rockies, Broncos, or other Colorado teams, or just hanging out with friends and having a few beers, sports bars are a staple of the manly way of life. They’re also great venues for sharing tales of manliness and holding facial hair contests.
Should we be surprised that Denver won this round? Probably not. It has the most sports bars in the state per capita, but Broomfield and Littleton weren’t far behind, ranking second and third, respectively.
Steakhouses: For Real Man Food
Remember earlier when we talked about enjoying a fine cigar and glass of booze? In the manly man world, those two things happen after consuming a fantastically large steak. Preferably with a loaded baked potato on the side. (The chives on it count as a second vegetable.) You’ll find the best steaks at restaurants that specialize in their preparation.
Littleton has the most of these per capita, with Denver and Englewood placing a close second and third, respectively.
Putting It All Together
Once we knew where each of the 25 cities ranked in these individual criteria, we calculated an average ranking for them across all the categories. When the dust had settled from this mathematical equivalent of a lumberjack competition, monster truck rally, and triathlon all rolled into one, Englewood was on top, its muscles rippling in the Colorado sun.
So, if you’re a manly man and want to know which of Colorado’s largest towns will treat you right, you can’t do better than Englewood. But, hey, being such a manly state, you’re sure to do well no matter where your travels take you. Even the biggest city, Denver, placed well.
If you’d like to see exactly how we calculated our ranking, be sure to take a look at the spreadsheet linked here. It contains the data for each city in all of the criteria we used.