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1. Denver has 300 days of annual sunshine.
Located east of the Rocky Mountains, Denver has a mild, dry and sunny climate with more annual hours of sun than San Diego or Miami Beach. In winter, Denver is dryer than Phoenix with an average daily high of 45 degrees (F) in February. Golf courses remain open all year and have been played as many as 30 days in January. Denver receives only 17 inches of precipitation a year – similar to Los Angeles.
2. Denver’s arts and cultural scene is thriving.
In its Old West days, Denver had a performance of Macbeth before it had a school or a hospital. Today, Denver is home to a thriving arts and cultural scene, with world-class museums, unique art districts, public art and more. The city’s cultural renaissance can be found in institutions like the Denver Performing Arts Complex, the second largest performing arts center in the country; the American Museum of Western Art, which features the stunning Anschutz collection, spanning 200 years of American history; and Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art, with more than 4,400 works from the 1840s to the present, including the works of artist Vance Kirkland and one of the world’s largest collections of international decorative art. Denver’s artsy side can also be discovered via the myriad works of public art – from murals to sculptures and more throughout seven different art districts.
The Denver Art Museum’s Hamilton Building, designed by world famous architect Daniel Libeskind, has been called “mesmerizing,” by the New York Times. The space accommodates a variety of original and touring art shows. DAM is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation that includes a new welcome center, updates to both the Hamilton Building and Gio Ponti-designed North Building and more. Renovations are expected to be complete in late 2021.
3. Denver is near the mountains, not in them.
Denver is located on high rolling plains, 12 miles east of the “foothills,” a series of gentle mountains that climb to 11,000 feet. Just beyond is the “Front Range of the Rocky Mountains,” a series of formidable snowcapped peaks that rise to 14,000 feet. Denver might not be in the mountains, but the mountains still dominate the city. The picturesque mountain panorama from Denver is 140 miles long. There are 200 visible named peaks including 32 that soar to 13,000 feet and above. State law prohibits building any structure that would block the view from the Colorado State Capitol. Penetrating the mountains west of Denver required building the highest auto tunnel in the world (Eisenhower Tunnel) and the sixth longest railroad tunnel in the country (Moffat Tunnel).
4. Denver has a rich musical legacy and one of today’s best music scenes.
The Mile High City is home to a vibrant live music scene – on any given night, you'll find local and national artists playing a vast array of genres and venues throughout the metro area. From the famous Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre to blockbuster concerts at stadiums to the new Mission Ballroom to more intimate venues around the city, there is live music to be found nearly every night of the year in Denver.
Denver’s music culture has also produced some of the biggest stars of yesterday and today. John Denver changed his name in honor of his favorite state, and Denver is the hometown of the original members of Earth Wind and Fire. In recent years, acts like Nathaniel Rateliff, GRiZ and OneRepublic have called The Mile High City home.
5. Denver’s history is short, but colorful.
In 1858, there was not a single person living in the Denver metro area except for some migrating camps of Arapaho and Cheyenne Native Americans. Just 30 years later, Colorado was a state with a population of almost 200,000. The Gold Rush caused this boom, and in a 30 to 40 year period, Denver saw some of the wildest events in the Wild West. Now, the metro area’s population is over 3 million, and Denver’s and Colorado’s fascinating history is brought to life at museums, old gold mining towns and in hundreds of elegant Victorian buildings that still stand today. LoDo (Lower Downtown), a 26-square block historic district, has the largest concentration of Victorian and turn-of-the-century buildings in the country. Today, LoDo is home to brewpubs, rooftop cafes, restaurants, sports bars and nightclubs. The History Colorado Center is an interactive museum where it is possible to descend into a coal mine, jump off a ski jump and visit other exciting moments from Denver and Colorado history.
6. Denver loves its sports.
In addition to all the outdoor recreation activities the Rocky Mountains provide, Denver is home to six professional sports teams: NFL Denver Broncos; NBA Denver Nuggets; NHL Colorado Avalanche; MLB Colorado Rockies; MLS Colorado Rapids; and NLL Colorado Mammoth. Denver also hosts one of the world’s largest rodeos – the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo – every January. Denver has also had remarkable success in hosting international sporting events with fans and players from around the world.
7. Denver brews more beer than any other city.
The first building in Denver was a saloon, so it makes sense that Denver would become a great beer town. Coors Brewery is the world’s largest. Denver’s Great American Beer Festival is the biggest beer celebration on the planet, according to Guinness World Records, offering more than 6,700 different beers for tasting. On an average day in the Denver Metro area, more than 200 different beers are brewed and can be enjoyed in more than 150 breweries, brew pubs and tap rooms. To showcase new and iconic Denver breweries, VISIT DENVER creates an annual Denver Beer Trail, featuring must-try local breweries, both new and well-loved, from beer producers all around Denver.
8. Denver – The Mile High City – really is exactly one mile high.
By an amazing stroke of good luck, the 13th step on the west side of the Colorado State Capitol Building is exactly 5,280 feet above sea level – one mile high. In Denver’s rarified air, golf balls go 10 percent farther. So do cocktails. Alcoholic drinks pack more of a punch than at sea level. The sun feels warmer, because you are closer to it and there is 25 percent less protection from it.
The Mile High City is also extremely dry, so it is a good idea to drink more water than usual. With less water vapor in the air at this altitude, the sky really is bluer in Colorado.
9. Denver has among the largest downtowns in the United States.
Denver has a definitive, exciting and walkable downtown. Within a one-mile radius, there are three professional sports stadiums, the country’s second largest performing arts complex, an assortment of art and history museums, a mint producing 10 billion coins a year, a river offering whitewater rafting, the country’s only downtown amusement park, a world-class aquarium, more than 12,000 hotel rooms and more than 300 restaurants, brewpubs, rooftop cafes and music venues.
The 16th Street Mall is a mile-long pedestrian promenade lined with 200 trees that cuts through the center of downtown. Free electric shuttle buses travel up and down the Mall, stopping on every corner. After 6 p.m., the Mall comes alive with horse-drawn carriages and pedicabs.
10. Denver has one of the largest city park systems in the country.
Denver has more than 200 parks within the city and 14,000 acres of parks in the nearby mountains, including the spectacular Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, a 9,000 seat amphitheater that has hosted everyone from the Beatles to top symphony orchestras. Rolling Stone has called Red Rocks the best outdoor concert venue in the world.
The city has its own buffalo herd located in the mountains with a panoramic view. Other mountain parks include Echo Lake, at the base of the Mount Evans highway – the highest paved road in North America, climbing to a 14,260-foot summit, and Buffalo Bill’s Grave on top of Lookout Mountain, the final resting spot of the famous frontier scout and showman.
Metro Denver is also home to more than 850 miles of off-street bike paths, one of the largest urban bike trail systems in the nation, and 90 golf courses in the metro area that stay open all year long due to Denver’s mild winters. With all of these recreational opportunities, most studies include Denver as one of the healthiest major cities in the United States.