Alt-country versus rock & roll
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Denver: In terms of music, major acts are bound to head through the Mile High City on their way to and from the West Coast. The jam band scene is still thriving, with local bands like The String Cheese Incident and Leftover Salmon working with alt-country singers like Wovenhand and 16 Horsepower specializing in The Denver Sound. A recent band to come from the city is "Ho Hey" hitmakers the Lumineers, whose 2013 debut album was nominated for two Grammys. The close-knit city also boasts a vibrant movie scene, including an annual film festival, and a newly renovated art museum that draws both tourists and locals.

Seattle: The birthplace of Jimi Hendrix and grunge hasn't waned when it comes to music – consider Macklemore's domination of the Grammys. "While there is a host of great musicians and bands throughout the city, they all sort of gel around the indie radio station KEXP," says local arts and culture blogger Chris Burlingame of TheSunBreak.com. Longtime resident Bryce Mitchell agrees: "If there is one thing Seattleites love, it is things from Seattle. Macklemore was on the front page of the paper for winning four Grammys. I can’t really see that happening in other large cities." Burlingame notes that there are also great comedy and literary scenes, as well as bookstores and a first-rate symphony. "Seattleites are polite (when they're not passive-aggressive), smart, liberal, and they believe they live in the best place in the world," he adds.