An in depth look at everything you need to know about the Mile High City

DENVER'S POPULATION

Denver has more than doubled in population since 1960. The City & County of Denver had a population of 594,740, making it larger than the entire population of Wyoming (which has 480,000 people). The seven county metro area has a population of 2.7 million. Denver's metro population has increased by 29.8 percent since 1990. Denver is the 20th largest metro area in America and has the 10th largest downtown area. The City & County of Denver has a diverse ethnic population including 9.7 percent African American; 34.8 percent Hispanic; 2.8 percent Asian and 1.3 percent Native American. Metro Denver has an ethnic population of 5 percent Black; 20 percent Hispanic; 3 percent Asian; 1 percent Native American and 3 percent multi-racial. All of Colorado is experiencing a population boom with more than 1,000,000 people moving to the state in the last decade. Colorado's population grew 30.6 percent from 1990 to 2000 with an estimated 2007 total of 5,008,259 residents.

Hispanic Population: Colorado's Hispanic population increased 23 percent from 2000 to 2005, growing to the current 900,000 or 19.5 percent of the state's total population. Denver's Hispanic population is the largest in the state and grew 10 percent over the same time period.

Second Highest Educated State: Colorado has the second highest percentage of college-educated residents in the U.S. (2005 U.S. Census)

Thinnest State: Colorado is the thinnest state in the nation with just 16.9 percent classified as obese, according to a study released in August 2006 by the Trust for America's Health. The abundant sunshine and recreation opportunities were cited as two of the reasons.

Colorado: The State had a population of 5,008,259 in 2007.

DENVER'S LOCATION

Contrary to popular belief, Denver is not in the mountains - it is near them. The "Foothills," a gentle series of peaks ranging from 7,000 to 11,000 feet high, (2,133 to 3,353 meters high) start to rise 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of the city. Slightly beyond that is the Continental Divide and a series of peaks soaring to heights of 14,000 feet (4,267 meters) known locally as the "Front Range." Denver itself is located on high, rolling plains.

Although considered "Western" in character, Denver is actually located in the center of the country, just 346 miles (557 km) west of the exact center of the continental United States. With the exception of Kansas City, Denver is closer to the exact center of the nation than any other metropolitan area. The 13th step on the west side of the State Capitol Building is exactly 5,280 feet (1,609 meters) - one mile - above sea level.

The seven county metro area covers 4,530 square miles - about three times the size of Rhode Island. Colorado covers 103,718 square miles.

DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Aviation history was made when the $4.3 billion Denver International Airport (DEN) opened on February 28, 1995. Covering 53 square miles (137 square kilometers, twice the size of Manhattan), Denver International Airport has six full service runways and can be expanded to 11 runways capable of serving 110 million passengers a year. DEN has approximately 40,000 public parking spaces available to travelers.

Currently DEN is the 5th busiest airport in the United States and the 11th busiest in the world. Twenty-three airlines offer 1,500 flights including non-stops to 140 worldwide cities. A total of 51.2 million passengers used Denver International Airport in 2008, shattering the previous record that was set just the year before.

Denver International Airport was designed to move your body and your mind.  DEN has the largest public art program in American history with a $7.5 million budget for local and national artists to create works specifically for this unique setting. The art focuses on several themes including Western life, travel, light and space.

The 1.4 million-square-foot main terminal building has become Denver's most distinctive architectural landmark. The roof is Teflon-coated fabric shaped into 34 different peaks, symbolizing the Rocky Mountains, which can be seen on the horizon through huge glass windows. Inside the Great Hall, there is an atrium longer than four football fields and illuminated by soft, shadowless light that filters down from the 126-foot high translucent roof. 

A quarter mile of ticket counters eliminate ticketing congestion. DEN has 48 restaurants, snack shops, bars and grills and 60 stores and shops. DEN is served by three low cost carriers:  Frontier, Southwest and Ted. It is a hub for both United and Frontier.

Denver is also a major hub for inter city buses with more than 60 daily arrivals and departures and is on the main east west route for AMTRAK with two train arrivals a day.

LIGHT RAIL IN DENVER

On Nov. 2, 2004, Denver voters approved an ambitious 12-year, $4.7 billion plan to expand the region's public transportation system with 119 miles of new light rail and commuter rail. It is the largest light rail initiative in American history. The new plan will offer commuter rail service between Denver International Airport and downtown Denver by 2014. Denver's downtown Union Station will become a hub for rail lines that will branch out to all parts of the city, including a light rail line to Golden in 2013 and a commuter rail line to Boulder and Longmont in 2014-2018. A new 19-mile light rail line opened in 2006, offering service between downtown Denver and the many hotels in the Denver Tech Center area along Interstate 25 and Interstate 225. Denver's initial light rail lines serve downtown Denver and the Platte River Valley from a corridor along Santa Fe Blvd.

16th STREET MALL

The heart of the city is the 16th Street Mall, which opened in 1982. Designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei, the 16th Street Mall is a mile-long pedestrian promenade lined with outdoor cafes and shops. Pei's design for the mall features granite pavers of charcoal gray, light gray and Colorado red in a rattlesnake pattern. Pei also designed the unusual globe lights that are a distinctive feature of the mall. Pei is best known for the Pyramide du Louvre in Paris (featured in The Di Vinci Code), the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the National Atmospheric Research Center in Boulder, Colo. Free shuttle buses leave either end as often as every 90 seconds, making everything in downtown easy to reach. Since 1982, there have been an estimated 300 million boardings on the Free Mall Ride. Bus terminals at either of the Mall offer bus service through the seven-county metro area. At the far northern end of the Mall, there is a link to light rail at Union Station. Adding to its appeal, in April of 2006, the 16th Street Mall became a "hot spot" for free wireless Internet access. 

DESCRIPTION OF DENVER

Denver is a clean, young and green city with more than 200 parks and dozens of tree lined boulevards. The architecture reflects the city's three boom periods: Victorian, when silver was discovered in Leadville; turn of the century, when gold was discovered in Cripple Creek; and contemporary, when the energy boom added 16 skyscrapers to the downtown skyline in a three year period, 1980 1983.

Unlike some Western cities, Denver has a central downtown area - the tenth largest downtown in America based on workers and retail. Here, within easy walking distance, are 8,000 hotel rooms, the city's convention complex, performing arts complex, and a wide variety of shops, restaurants and nightspots. Also within easy walking distance are some of the city's top attractions including the Denver Pavilions, Denver Art Museum and Colorado History Museum. A mile long pedestrian mall cuts through the heart of downtown Denver and is surrounded by a series of parks and plazas that soften the towering skyscrapers and provide viewpoints from which to see and appreciate the modern architecture. 

Lower Downtown (called "LoDo" by locals) is on the northern edge of downtown Denver and offers one of the nation's greatest concentrations of Victorian and turn-of-the-century buildings and warehouses, many of which have been refurbished to house restaurants, art galleries, offices and shops. This is the center of the city's brewpub scene, with six large brewpubs and micro-breweries, each brewing six to eight exclusive beers, all within easy walking distance of each other. There are more than 90 restaurants, music clubs and cafes in LoDo.

Downtown is also the home of Auraria Campus where more than 30,000 students attend classes at three colleges. 

In May of 1995, Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park moved to downtown Denver with a theme park offering 48 thrill rides, formal gardens, restaurants and shops as well as a complete water park with wave pools and water slides. Also in May 1995, downtown Denver unveiled a new 50,000 seat stadium, Coors Field, for the Colorado Rockies, Denver's Major League Baseball team. Denver is also home to the Pepsi Center, opened in 1999 as the home of the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Crush and Colorado Mammoth and Sports Authority Field at Mile High, opened in 2001 as the new home of the NFL Denver Broncos. The Colorado Rapids, Denver's Major League Soccer team, also have a new stadium, the 917-acre Dick's Sporting Goods Park, which opened in 2007. Denver is the only city in America to build and open three sports stadiums in 10 years and is the only city other than Philadelphia to support eight professional sports teams.

DOWNTOWN DENVER NEIGHBORHOODS

Golden Triangle/Museum District: This neighborhood located south and east of the Denver Art Museum is coming alive with galleries and restaurants intermixed with new housing units. Just a short walk from downtown, it is becoming one of the most desirable new places to live in downtown. The 55 housing units in the plaza next to the Denver Art Museum were designed by world renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, offering people the chance to not only see art - but to live in it as well. The area is home to the Byers Evans House Museum, the U.S. Mint (with a museum on the history of coin production), the Colorado History Museum, the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art and the Molly Brown House Museum and will be the new home of the Mizel Museum and the Clyfford Still Museum. The art galleries in the area celebrate First Fridays with a free shuttle bus that takes visitors between the dozen galleries in the neighborhood, including fine Native Art Galleries and one of the nation's oldest photography galleries. Close to the neighborhood is SoCo (South of Colfax). Denver's newest and hottest club district is bordered by Lincoln, Speer and Colfax and features four clubs, all within walking distance of each other. Visitors pay one entrance fee to enter all four clubs, ranging from The Church, located in a former cathedral, to The Funky Buddha Lounge, an Eastern-inspired lounge with a rooftop patio.

Uptown: 17th Street (known to locals as "Restaurant Row") runs through the center of Uptown, an eclectic new neighborhood east of downtown Denver. 17th Street is home to a dozen restaurants ranging from perennial favorites like Strings to newcomers Limon and Steubens. New housing in the area caters mostly to young people, as do many of the bars and restaurants springing up in the area and along Colfax Ave., dubbed "Coolfax" because of its number of hip clubs and bars. Uptown is also a music center for Denver and the location of the Fillmore, a sister club to the famous Fillmore West in San Francisco. This intimate club holds only 5,000, but has hosted Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and other rock legends in an up-close-and-personal setting.    Nearby, the Ogden (a former movie house) now hosts concerts for local and national bands.

Santa Fe Arts District: The six-block strip of Santa Fe Blvd. between 5th Ave. and 10th Ave. is the largest concentrations of art galleries in Colorado with nearly 30 galleries located in historic brick buildings and warehouses. Several thousand people attend the monthly First Friday event (held on the first Friday of the month), where galleries hold open houses from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  There are also free walking tours of the historic neighborhood on First Fridays, while free shuttle buses connect the strip of galleries to the 10th and Osage Light Rail station. The neighborhood also features some of the city's best Mexican restaurants and the Museo de las Americas, which showcases changing exhibits of Latino art from throughout Central and South America. During the holiday season, the street is festively decorated with thousands of glowing luminaries. The Mexican holiday of September 16 is celebrated with El Grito de Independencia Fiesta by closing the street and having a fiesta with mariachi bands, food and dancing, low rider festival and more.

Riverfront: A decade ago, this was an area of abandoned cars and run down warehouses. Today, it is one of the most fashionable addresses in Denver. The area borders the South Platte River, which has been restored, cleaned and turned into a popular recreation site. Bike paths follow the twisting river for more than 40 miles, while kayak and rafting chutes have been placed in the stream at Confluence Park. The new Commons Park along the riverbank was the largest addition to Denver's park system in the 20th Century. The neighborhood has several thousand new housing units, which have been built as lofts into old industrial sites and warehouses or as new freestanding units that keep the character of the area. At the southern end, Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park hugs one bank of the river, while the Children's Museum and Downtown Aquarium are on the other. A bright yellow historic trolley runs along the river in the summer.  Dining ranges from old Denver favorites like My Brother's Bar (a favorite hangout of the Colorado Symphony) and the always eclectic coffee house Paris on the Platte to some of the city's newest hip restaurants, such as Lola and ForestRoom 5. Perfectly situated at the confluence of the city's two longest bike paths, REI Flagship store offers 100,000 square feet of recreational equipment, much of which you can "test drive" before buying. Sit in the cold room (at temperatures down to 30 below) to see how well a jacket performs or take a bike on their mountain bike test course. There's even a 40-foot high rock climbing wall inside the store.

LoDo: LoDo consists of 25 square blocks north of Larimer Street between 14th and 22nd streets. There are 125 designated historic buildings in the area, making it one of the largest concentrations of Victorian and turn-of-the-century architecture in the nation. Since the opening of Coors Field in 1995, the neighborhood has undergone a transformation. Many of the 12,000 new housing units in downtown Denver are located in this area, offered in a mixture of eclectic new buildings and restored warehouse loft projects. There are 90 brewpubs, sports bars, restaurants and coffee houses in the neighborhood, most of them located in old buildings with exposed brick walls.  Several restaurants have rooftop cafes offering a great place to view a Rocky Mountain sunset.  Old favorites of the neighborhood include the Wynkoop Brewing Company, the first brewpub in Colorado, and El Chapultepec, ranked by Esquire Magazine as one of the best bars and jazz club in the nation. New restaurants, such as Vesta Dipping Grille, Tamayo and Rioja, have received national recognition. Shopping in the area includes a selection of art galleries, the famous Tattered Cover Bookstore and Rockmount Ranch Wear, the company that invented the snap button Western shirt that is currently a favorite of rock stars. Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt and Eric Clapton are among the shoppers that have been seen in the store.

DENVER'S CLIMATE

Nothing about Denver is more misunderstood than the city's climate. Located just east of a high mountain barrier and a long distance from any moisture source, Denver has a mild, dry and arid climate. The city receives only 8 15 inches (20.3-38 cm) of precipitation a year (about the same as Los Angeles) and records 300 days of sunshine a year - more annual hours of sun than San Diego or Miami Beach.

Winters are mild with an average daily high of 45 degrees Fahrenheit, 7 degrees Celsius in February, warmer than New York, Boston, Chicago or St. Louis. Snow does fall, but it usually melts in a short time. Golf courses remain open all year and have been played on as many as 30 days in January. Chinook winds (a wind blowing down from a mountain that gains heat as it loses elevation) can bring 60 degree F (16 degrees C) weather to Denver at any time throughout the winter.

In summer, dry relative humidity makes Denver feel cool and comfortable, offering natural air conditioning. Fall is a particularly delightful time to visit the city and make day excursions to the mountains to view the colorful changing of the aspens, an event that takes place from mid September until mid October.

DENVER'S MUSEUMS AND ATTRACTIONS

Denver has some of the finest museums in the West with a wide variety of historical, Western, artistic and horticultural emphasis. 

The Black American West Museum tells the untold story of African American cowboys, who made up as many as one third of all the cowboys on the great cattle drives. Housed in the home of Dr. Justina Ford, Denver's first African American doctor, the museum has exhibits, historic photos and artifacts that illustrate the many contributions made by African Americans in settling the West. (303) 292 2566   www.blackamericanwest.org

Buffalo Bill's Grave & Museum is filled with memorabilia honoring the famous frontier scout, showman and Pony Express rider, William F. Cody. Gun collections and posters from the Wild West Show are some of the items found here. A beautiful view of the mountains and the plains is visible from his grave site. (303) 526 0744   www.buffalobill.org

Butterfly Pavilion & Insect Center features a lush tropical forest filled with up to 1,600 free-flying butterflies.  There is also an insect center and gift shop, as well as outdoor gardens and many fun, educational exhibits. (303) 469-5441  www.butterflies.org

The Children's Museum of Denver is a unique participatory museum for children and families to experience hands-on, interactive exhibits and activities. Children can shoot baskets, climb on an authentic fire engine, build toy railroads and shop in a mini supermarket. (303) 433 7444 www.mychildsmuseum.org

The Colorado History Museum offers a series of dioramas and exhibits that trace the colorful history of the Indians, explorers, gold miners, cowboys and pioneers who have called Colorado home. Exhibits include an outstanding collection of William Henry Jackson photos and a large diorama of Denver as it appeared in 1860. Call for information on special exhibits. (303) 866 3670  www.coloradohistory.org

Downtown Aquarium, which opened in June 1999, is a world-class aquarium that immerses visitors on two journeys, from the Continental Divide in Colorado to Mexico's Sea of Cortez, and the other from an Indonesian rain forest to the Pacific Ocean. The Rocky Mountain West's only aquarium will also show visitors how all water and water life are inter-related. The facility also includes an outstanding seafood restaurant. (303) 561-4450 

The Colorado State Capitol stands a mile above sea level with a plaque on the 13th step to mark the spot that is 5,280 feet (1,609 m) high - exactly one mile high. The dome is covered with 200 ounces of pure gold and offers a beautiful view from the rotunda of the entire Front Range, from Pikes Peak, all the way north to the Wyoming border, a distance of more than 150 miles (241 km). Free tours of the beautiful rooms and appointments are offered on weekdays. (303) 866 2604

The MillerCoors Brewery offers free tours of the largest single brewery in the world. Colorado brews more beer than any other state and the Golden brewery brews more beer than any other place on the planet. Free tours of the entire complex from brewing to bottling are offered, with free beer samples for those over the age of 21. (303) 277 2337   www.MillerCoors.com

The Denver Art Museum, founded in 1893, is the largest art museum between Kansas City and the West Coast. In October 2006 it doubled its gallery space with a spectacular new building designed by internationally renowned architect Daniel Libeskind. The new Frederic C. Hamilton Building is a series of peaks and shards made of titanium, contrasting sharply with the existing building - a 1971 castle-like structure designed by Gio Ponti of Milan, Italy. The Hamilton Building features a sharply cantilevered section that juts across the street toward the existing museum building and an enclosed steel and glass bridge linking the two structures. 

In addition to traveling exhibitions, the museum's current seven-story building showcases some of its 55,000 plus works of art from around the world, including a world-famous American Indian art collection as well as European, American and Western painting, sculpture, design and textiles. The museum's collections of pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial art, Asian art and architecture, graphics and design are also exceptional.

Nationally recognized as a family-friendly attraction, the Denver Art Museum offers a variety of interactive programs, including the Just For Fun Family Center, Family Backpacks, the Kids Corner, and the Discovery Library. Its Family Backpack program has been adopted by other museums worldwide, from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London to the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan. www.denverartmuseum.org

Denver Botanic Gardens, rooted a mile high, has been a favorite Denver destination for more than 50 years and is considered to be one of the top five botanic gardens in the nation. Art and science unite in the gardens' spectacular urban oasis, offering an unforgettable artistic garden experience for the whole family, as well as a living laboratory for education and plant conservation programs. Additional sites include Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, a 750-acre wildlife and native plant refuge in Littleton; Mt. Goliath, a high altitude trail and interpretive site on the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway; and Centennial Gardens, a five-acre formal garden with a Colorado native plant palette in downtown Denver, extending this experience throughout the Front Range.

The mission of Denver Botanic Gardens is to connect people with plants, especially plants from the Rocky Mountain region and similar regions around the world, providing delight and enlightenment to everyone. 720-865-3500  www.botanicgardens.org

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is one of the premier natural history museums in the country with a diverse array of permanent exhibitions, such as Space Odyssey, Prehistoric Journey and the North American Indian Cultures Hall. In addition, the Museum provides the Denver community highly acclaimed traveling exhibitions, stunning IMAX® films, high-tech planetarium shows, intriguing educational programs, and groundbreaking scientific research projects. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science was voted the top family attraction in Denver. 303-322-7009 or 1-800-925-2250  www.dmns.org

The Denver Zoo is consistently rated as one of the top 10 zoos in America, with 3,500 animals residing in lovely spreading grounds in City Park. Tropical Discovery is a 1.5-acre rainforest under glass in which visitors feel the sensation of walking through a jungle teeming with wildlife. Other highlights of the Zoo include Northern Shores where you can watch polar bears swim underwater and Primate Panorama, where visitors can get as close as 10 feet to over 29 species of monkeys. The Zoo celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1996. (303) 376-4800 www.denverzoo.org

Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park is a 100-year-old theme park known for its European atmosphere, elaborate floral gardens, and exhilarating thrill rides. In 1995, Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park moved to an expanded location in downtown Denver along the South Platte River with all new rides, gardens, lagoons, restaurants and amusements. The current park offers 48 thrill rides and a complete water theme park with wave pools and water slides. 303-595-4386 www.elitchgardens.com

The Molly Brown House honors "Unsinkable Molly Brown," the heroine of the Titanic disaster with mementos from her life preserved in her beautiful home on Capitol Hill. Molly was one of the most colorful characters to come from Denver's gold rush period. While sailing on the Titanic, she took command of a lifeboat and was credited with putting down a panic. Her life story was the inspiration for the hit musical and film, "Unsinkable Molly Brown." (303) 832 4092  www.mollybrown.org

Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a 9,000 seat natural outdoor arena carved out of huge, 500-foot (152 meters) high, red sandstone cliffs, all overlooking Denver and the plains. With its views and geologic wonders, it's one of the world's most famous concert sites and has played host to everyone from the Beatles to symphony orchestras. Seventy million years ago, the rocks were the beach of an ancient inland sea that covered eastern Colorado and Kansas. Today, it's a wonderful site for hikes, picnics and concerts. In 2002, Red Rocks underwent a $26 million dollar renovation, which includes a new Visitor Information Center.   www.redrocksonline.com

Tiny Town is a kid sized village with dozens of Old West buildings, all built at 1/6 scale in a scenic mountain location. An authentic toy steam locomotive circles the park giving children and adults a ride past the miniature town. (303) 790 9393 www.tinytownrailroad.com

The U.S. Mint is where more than five billion coins are made each year. It is also the second largest storehouse of gold bullion in the U.S. after Fort Knox. The gift shop has many unique coins not available anywhere else, and there is a small museum on the history of money. Free tours are available on a space available basis, Mon.-Fri. www.usmint.gov.

DENVER'S CULTURAL FACILITIES & ENTERTAINMENT

When Denver was a wild gold rush town in the 1870s, it still placed arts and culture on a pedestal. The city boasted a theater with sold out performances of Macbeth long before it had either a school or a hospital. Today, the Denver Performing Arts Complex (DPAC) has ten venues seating 10,891 people and is the second largest performing arts center in the nation in seating capacity and the largest in the world under one roof.  (Lincoln Center in New York has 13,693 seats; The Playhouse Square in Cleveland has 10,094 seats; the Los Angeles Music Center has 8,214 seats and the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts has 7,743 seats). Located downtown, the four square block center features: Boettcher Concert Hall, the nation's first symphony hall in the round; the Denver Center Theater Company, which won a Tony Award in 1998 for best regional theatre acting company; the Temple Buell Theater, a 2,800 seat Broadway theater that opened in 1991 with Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit musical, "Phantom of the Opera" and hosts other top road attractions; and the new $92 million, 2,268-seat Ellie Caulkins Opera House (known affectionately as "The Ellie"), which opened in September 2005.  The Ellie is a world-class, natural acoustical home for opera, ballet and chorales. This state-of-the-art lyric opera house is one of only three venues in the country and one of nine in the world to boast full installation of an electronic seat-back text delivery system, allowing the text from a performance to be simultaneously displayed in any of eight languages on monitors permanently fixed at every seat in the venue. All ten performance spaces in the DPAC are connected by an 80-foot-tall glass roof. The 12-acre site is also home to the world's first voice research laboratory. 

The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District sales and use tax revenue was $42.4 million in 2007, the most money collected in one year since voters approved the seven-county district in 1988.

DENVER DINING

"Denver finally has some serious gastronomic clout." - John Mariani, restaurant critic, Esquire Magazine

An Expanding Cuisine Scene: Denver has more than 3,000 restaurants serving all varieties of cuisine. Area specialties include Rocky Mountain Trout, fresh Colorado beef, and lamb (Colorado is the fourth largest producer of lamb in the U.S.). 

Another popular local dish is buffalo. High in protein, lower in fat, calories and cholesterol than chicken, buffalo is gaining popularity among health conscious diners and is offered at numerous restaurants in Denver. Denver has experienced a renaissance in its dining options, offering unique, flavorful cuisines prepared by some of today's hottest chefs. Local residents 1also enjoy Mexican and Southwestern dishes, served at dozens of local neighborhood pubs and taverns.

Beer Brewing Capital: Colorado produces more beer than any other state. Besides the huge breweries of Coors and Anheuser Busch, the Denver area is filled with micro breweries and brew pubs, all within walking distance of each other in downtown Denver. A brewpub is a restaurant that brews their beer right on the premises and serves beer that is generally not found anywhere else. On any given day, there are eighty beers available in Denver at small brewpubs that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Each brewpub offers tours and four ounce samplers that let you taste the variety of ales, porters, stouts and lagers that they produce. While some of the brew pubs produce what is commonly thought of as "American"-style lagers, most of the beers made are more traditional European and British style ales. The Great American Beer Festival, held in Denver every fall, is the largest beer festival in America with more than 1,600 different beers available for tasting.  www.beertown.org

DENVER SHOPPING

As the largest city in a 600 mile (966 km) radius, Denver has always been the shopping capital of the Rocky Mountain West. 

The 16th Street Mall is a mile long pedestrian promenade through the heart of downtown Denver lined with shops, department stores and outdoor cafes.  Free buses leave either end as often as every 90 seconds, making this the best spot for  "people watching" in the city. 

Cherry Creek North features an eclectic mix of galleries, restaurants, shops, clothing designers and cafes, all on pleasant tree lined streets directly adjacent to the Cherry Creek Shopping Center. There are more than 300 shops, galleries and cafes in the area.

Cherry Creek Shopping Center is the largest in the Rocky Mountain region with 160 upscale stores including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor and Macy's. Beautiful restaurants, architecture and events make this a premiere shopping experience.    

Larimer Square is a restored section of Denver's oldest street where the beautiful Victorian buildings have been refurbished to house a collection of art galleries, clothing stores, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs.

The Shops at Tabor Center is a modern complex on the 16th Street Mall with 80 shops and restaurants in a three story, glass covered, greenhouse like building that offers festive views of downtown and the mountains.

Park Meadows resembles a ski lodge, complete with a huge center court fireplace, and features a Nordstrom, Dillard's and  Foley's.

Denver Pavilions opened in November 1998 and features a Maggiano's Little Italy, Virgin Records Megastore and Barnes & Noble Superstore.

Other shopping venues include: Belmar, Aspen Grove, Colorado Mills and Flatiron Crossing.

DENVER RECREATION AND SPORTS

With 300 days of sunshine a year, Denver is a recreation and sports capital. The city offers more than 85 miles (720 km) of paved, designated bike paths, including two beautiful stretches through downtown along Cherry Creek and along the South Platte River. There are more than 90 golf courses in the area, and more than 143 free tennis courts.   

Within an hour and a half drive from Denver, there are opportunities for skiing, river running, hiking, fishing, camping, horseback riding, sailing or mountain biking.  

Denver is home to eight professional sports teams including the National Football League's 1998 & 1999 Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos, the National Basketball Association's Denver Nuggets, Major League Baseball's Colorado Rockies, and the National Hockey League's Colorado Avalanche, who won the 1996 and 2001 Stanley Cups. Denver also has a professional lacrosse team, Colorado Mammoth, an arena football team and a professional soccer team, the Colorado Rapids.

Other spectator sports include the world's largest rodeo held each year at the National Western Stock Show in January and pari-mutuel dog and horse racing.

Half of Colorado is public land open to all forms of recreation with four national parks, six national monuments, 12 national forests, three national recreation areas and 30 state parks.

DENVER HISTORY

Denver was born during the great "Pikes Peak or Bust Gold Rush" of 1859 when some flakes of placer gold were found where the South Platte River meets Cherry Creek.

In its first few years, Denver survived a flood, two major fires and several Indian attacks. The fledgling city even raised an army that defeated an invading force of Confederates from Texas during the Civil War. 

With the discovery of more gold in the mountains, Denver became a boomtown. Saloons, gambling halls and wagon trains lined the mud filled streets, and every outlaw, lawman and desperado in the West made a visit to the Mile High City.

The turn of the century brought respectability and the wealth of the mountains was poured into parks, fountains, statues, tree lined streets and elaborate mansions. Denver became the most elegant city in a thousand mile radius - the "Queen City of the Plains." 

The building boom in recent years has seen Denver more than double in population since 1960.  In 1983 alone, as much office space was added to the city as already existed. In the 1990s, Denver's population increased by 30 percent - equivalent of a 1,000 new residents a week, every week for ten years.

DAY TRIP EXCURSIONS FROM DENVER

Located at the base of the Rockies, Denver has always made an excellent base from which to tour the beautiful and historic Front Range of the mountains. 

Central City and Black Hawk are two historic old mining towns from the 1870s that have recently come alive with limited stakes casino gambling. Located 34 miles (55 km) west of Denver, the two towns offer over 30 casinos with more than 10,000 slot machines, blackjack tables and poker games. Once called the "Richest Square Mile on Earth," Central City and Black Hawk are known as having some of the best preserved Victorian architecture in the West. Other attractions include the Teller House Hotel where President Grant once stayed and the Central City Opera House, which each summer still features an outstanding summer season of opera.  There are mine tours, mining museums and several places that still offer instruction in the fine art of gold panning in a stream where a half billion dollars of that elusive substance was found.

Georgetown is a delightful Victorian village with 200 restored buildings from the 1870s, set in a spectacular mountain valley. The main street has shops and restaurants and many of the old homes have been turned into antique stores. The Georgetown Loop Railroad operates in the summer months with narrow gauge steam locomotives curling down a mountain ledge, at one point crossing over a 90 foot (27 m) high trestle. The town is located 42 miles (68 km) west of Denver.

Mount Evans has the highest paved auto road in North America snaking its way to the 14,260-foot (4,346 m) summit. The free road is open only from June through Labor Day and frequently has snow on it, even in August. The view from the top takes in the entire Front Range. The summit is 60 miles (97 km) from downtown Denver. On your way up the mountain, be sure to stop at the M. Walter Pesman Trail (maintained by Denver Botanic Gardens) for a wildflower hike. You won't see anything like the rare flowers and 1,500-year-old bristlecone pine trees anywhere in the world! The trail winds through subalpine and alpine areas where wildflowers and animals of the fragile tundra live. Volunteer guides from Denver Botanic Gardens give interpretive hikes that follow the trail throughout the summer. Call (720) 865-3533 for information.

Pikes Peak Country is located 60 miles (97 km) south of Denver and features more than 40 attractions centered on the 14,000-foot (4,267 m) high Pikes Peak. Things to see include the Air Force Academy, one of three United States military colleges; the famous Broadmoor Resort with its lake and three golf courses; the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame with its exhibits on this exciting professional sport; and Garden of the Gods which has gigantic 500-foot (152 m) high red sandstone rock monuments at the base of Pikes Peak.

Rocky Mountain National Park is located 71 miles (114 km) northwest of Denver and features 400 square miles (1,036 sq. km) of scenic beauty, including Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous highway in the world, crossing the Continental Divide at more than two miles above sea level. The park has two information centers, hundreds of miles of hiking trails, tranquil lakes, waterfalls, wildlife and horseback riding. Estes Park is a resort town on the edge of the park with restaurants and shops.

DENVER TRIVIA

  • In 1935, Louis Ballast melted a slice of cheese on a hamburger at his Denver Humpty Dumpty drive in restaurant, and patented the invention as the world's first "cheeseburger." The restaurant is gone today, but there is a small memorial to this historic dining event at 2776 North Speer Blvd. (in the parking lot for Key Bank).
  • The Mile High City truly is one mile high. The 15th step on the west side of the State Capitol Building is 5,280 feet (1,609 m) above sea level.
  • It was on top of nearby Pikes Peak in 1893 that Katherine Lee Bates was inspired to write the words to "America the Beautiful."
  • The mountainous area of Colorado is six times the size of Switzerland and contains 9,600 miles (15,449 km) of fishing streams, 2,850 lakes and more than 1,000 peaks two miles (3,218 km) high.
  • The road up 14,260-foot (4,346 m) high Mount Evans is the highest paved road in North America, and is maintained and operated by Denver City Parks Department. Denver's Mountain Parks Department maintains 20,000 acres of park lands including its own private buffalo herd and Red Rocks Amphitheatre - all part of the largest city park system in the nation.
  • In hopes of gaining political favors, local boosters named the frontier mining camp on the South Platte River "Denver" after Kansas Territorial Governor James Denver. They never received any favors - by the time they named the town, Denver had already resigned.
  • There were originally three separate towns on the current site of Denver, with three different names. In 1859, in return for a barrel of whiskey to be shared by all, the other names were dropped and the tent and log cabin city officially became "Denver."
  • Denver is one of the few cities in history that was not on a road, railroad, lake, navigable river or body of water when it was founded. Denver just happened to be where the first few flakes of gold were found in 1858 and it was here that the first camp was made. The first permanent structure was a saloon.
  • The Indians warned early settlers not to build there, but no one listened. In its first few years, Denver was destroyed twice, by fire and flood.
  • The dome of the State Capitol in Denver is covered with 200 ounces of 24K gold, but the really priceless building material was used inside as wainscoting. It is Colorado onyx, a rare stone found near Beulah, Colorado. The entire world's supply was used in this building and no more of it has ever been found.
  • The Denver Zoo is the fourth most popular zoo in America (based on those with paid admission fees) and has the 7th most diverse animal collection. The zoo has 3,500 animals representing over 685 species of which 157 are classified as threatened or endangered. It costs $38,000 a day to care for the animals and operate the zoo.
  • Denver Parks Dept. grows 240,000 flowers a year in their own greenhouse, planting them in 506 flower beds throughout the city. If laid end to end, these plants would stretch for 56 miles (90 km). If placed together, the city's flower beds would cover every foot of the Colorado Convention Center - about seven acres of flowers.
  • Some of Denver's famous high school alumni include Golda Meir, a future Israeli prime minister who attended North High School, and Douglas Fairbanks, who was expelled from East High before becoming one of the most famous silent movie stars of all time. Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to win an Academy Award for her performance in Gone With The Wind, also attended East High.
  • Central City, located 34 miles (55 km) west of Denver, is known as the "Richest Square Mile on Earth" because of the half billion dollars of gold mined there. A new "gold rush" was launched in Central City in October 1991 when limited stakes casino gambling was legalized for Central City and neighboring Black Hawk. Original projections thought that only a few casinos would open in the first few years; within one year of legalization, there were 41 casinos in the two towns offering more than 7,000 slot machines, poker tables and blackjack games.
  • The Colorado Rockies played their first game on April 9, 1993 in front of 80,277 fans, the most to ever witness an opening game in baseball history. The team went on to break 11 Major League Baseball records including most single season fans - 4,483,350 - the most to ever attend any American sports team in a single season.
  • An 1872 Colorado newspaper describing a new hotel - the first in the city to feature locks on the doors - reported: "Guests may lie down to peaceful slumbers, undisturbed by the apprehensions of getting their heads blown off." In Denver's wild days, famous gunfighter Bat Masterson was employed as a guard at several of the city's saloons, but today, downtown Denver is one of the safest cities in America. There are 5,300 first-class hotel rooms in downtown Denver and 24,000 beautiful rooms throughout the city.
  • Denver is a popular setting for many authors. There are at least 25 novels where the action takes place in the Mile High City, including Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan, which became a critically acclaimed movie, and Jack Kerouac's classic Beat Generation opus, On the Road.
  • The Pikes Peak Railway is the highest cog railway in the world traveling 8.9 miles from 6,571 feet to the summit at 14,110 feet.
  • The Colorado Trail is a 500-mile long hiking trail from Durango to Denver, crossing eight mountain ranges, seven national forests, six wilderness areas and five river systems.
  • Colfax Avenue is the longest continuous street in the United States
  • At 11,112 feet above sea level, the Eisenhower Tunnel is the highest in the world.
  • The highest suspension bridge in the world is the Royal Gorge Bridge near Canon City, which is 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River.
  • The Mount Massive Golf Course near Leadville is the highest in North America and Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the U.S. at 10,430 feet.
  • The 700-foot high Great Sand Dunes National Park near Alamosa are the highest dunes in the U.S.
  • Denver Botanic Gardens is one of the top five botanic gardens in America, and has more than 32,000 plants representing over 2,000 species of which seven are classified as endangered.
  • Denver hosted its first Democratic National Convention in 1908 - and will host its second exactly 100 years later in August of 2008.

DENVER CONVENTION FACILITIES

The expansion of the Colorado Convention Center opened in December 2004, creating the eighth largest convention center west of the Mississippi and 16th largest in the nation.

The Colorado Convention Center now offers:

  • 584,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space on one level;
  • 63 meeting rooms on one level offering 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space;
  • Two hotel quality ballrooms of 35,000 and 50,000 sq. ft.
  • A 5,000-fixed seat lecture hall that can be divided into thirds;
• 1,000-space parking garage.

A 1,100-room Hyatt Regency at Colorado Convention Center hotel opened across the street from the expanded center in Dec. of 2005, creating 7,300 downtown hotel rooms within walking distance of the convention center.