I've lived in Denver, Colorado, for most of my life. Throughout the years, I've seen many newcomers make the same mistakes, from drinking too much alcohol to overdoing it at the dispensaries. Here are 10 things tourists should know ahead of their first visit.Denver isn't in the mountains, but the Rockies aren't far. If you hope to enjoy them while you're here, you can rent a car, book a shuttle to one of the mountain towns, or take the ski train to Winter Park.Though Denver isn't directly in the mountain range, the capital city is still at a much higher altitude than most other US cities. It's 1 mile above sea level, hence its nickname as the Mile High City.Unless you're coming from a city with a similar altitude, like Albuquerque, give yourself time to acclimate. Altitude sickness can feel a bit like a hangover and lead to headaches, nausea, and dizziness. It can worsen if you drink heavily or immediately jump into physically strenuous activities, like hiking or biking. Drink a lot of water, especially after being on an airplane, and if you feel like your lungs are doing a lot of work, you can pick up canned oxygen at a pharmacy, grocery, or convenience store.Even in the middle of winter, Denver's weather is often sunny and mild. It can change quickly though, and it's not uncommon for Denver to be 70 degrees Fahrenheit one day and then get 2 feet of snow the next. If you're headed up the mountains, make sure the roads to get there aren't closed due to snow — even in summer.Successful packing is all about layers, and you'll definitely want to look at your weather app before and during your trip.Daytime temperatures are often 30 degrees Fahrenheit higher than overnight temperatures, and weather can vastly differ between Front Range cities and mountainous areas.It might be 90 degrees Fahrenheit in town while it thundersnows in the mountains. And it's often windy, so good layers, including a windproof jacket, are key to enjoying yourself outside without feeling like you're in a sweat lodge as soon as you step indoors.If it's snowing, you'll want decent shoes. Cowboy boots are too slick, and UGG boots may quickly get wet and swampy. To keep from slipping, bring shoes with traction on the bottom.You probably need to drink even more water than you think you need when you're in Denver, where the air is thin and the altitude is high.It's super easy to get dehydrated here, especially if you're drinking liquor, wine, or beer from one of our city's many breweries and bars. Pack a reusable water bottle and you'll be on the way to living your best life.Speaking of booze, you'll want to start slowly if you're drinking in Denver. Between the thinner air and the higher altitude, the hooch can feel like it's hitting faster. Plus, your body wants to stay hydrated, so you might go for a gulp of wine instead of a glass of water. Avoid this mistake by employing a one-to-one rule. Start by drinking a glass of water before you imbibe, and then have water in between every alcoholic beverage.Denver's dry air, low humidity, and high altitude suck moisture out of your body and skin, so moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. You'll want a good lip balm, otherwise your lips might start to look like a lizard.As for sunscreen, wear plenty of it, even in the winter or on a cloudy day. We're closer to the sun, and those UV rays will find you.The airport is so far to the east of the city that it can feel like it's basically in Kansas.It's an easy, direct train ride from the airport to downtown that takes about 40 minutes. Driving or taking a taxi or rideshare isn't usually much faster, and it's definitely not cheaper.I don't recommend staying at an airport hotel, as it's usually not a good deal once you factor in transportation costs, but I do recommend using local transportation, especially if you're staying downtown. You can download the Regional Transportation District app to easily buy day passes that work on both the train and the city bus. Plus, free shuttles run along the pedestrian-only 16th Street Mall, and neighborhoods like Five Points and Capitol Hill are super walkable. Many of these historic areas are wheelchair- and stroller-friendly.Denver has a great restaurant and cocktail scene.A delicious steak is easy to find, and we have all kinds of Mexican food, from Tex-Mex to Oaxacan mole to Sinaloa-style ceviche. Our food scene reflects the strong communities in Denver that hailed here from all over the world.Some foods are holdovers from our cowtown days, like Rocky Mountain oysters, which, despite their name, aren't actually from the sea. They're fried bull testicles and I think there's a lot of fuss about them considering that I don't see many locals eating them around here.However, they exist, and if you like fried food, you might want to give them a try. Buckhorn Exchange, a restaurant that's been around since the 1890s, is your best bet.If you're in search of burgers, seek out My Brother's Bar. It doesn't have a sign. but it does have a letter that Neal Cassady wrote to the bar from jail hanging in the phone booth.You can still belly up to the bar and order a jalapeno cream-cheese burger, known as a JCB, at the same place as Beat Generation figures including Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac.A lot of the people I've met who ski all the time aren't from Denver. Most of the locals I know stopped being able to afford to go skiing years ago. That said, we appreciate the natural beauty here, even if we aren't hitting the trails every weekend.Please leave any place you visit better than you found it by throwing out your trash. At times, it can feel like dogs outnumber people in Denver. Watch out for dog poop — it's everywhere — and if you bring your dog, please scoop that poop.Denver is so much more than its beer and weed, even though we do happen to be well-known and well-stocked in both. Don't buy too many products at the dispensary, or you'll have to leave them behind when you fly home. And start small with edibles, especially if you're not used to consuming cannabis. Remember that many dispensaries are cash-only. Luckily, almost every single one I've been to has an ATM. You'll also need your ID. And before you leave, be sure to tip your budtender.