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Denver, Colorado

Great Destination:

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Total Stars:

Personality Types that Like it Best

Did you know… ?

  • Denver is the home of the cheeseburger, invented by Louis Ballast (1935).
  • The entire world’s supply of Colorado onyx was used in the Capitol building; no one can build a structure blocking the view of the Rockies from the Capitol.
  • At 4,530 square miles, the metro area is about three times the size of Rhode Island.
  • Silent-screen star Douglas Fairbanks attended Denver’s East High — and was expelled.
  • Golf balls fly 10% faster in Denver than at sea level; alcohol packs more of a punch, too.

Green spaces and cowboy chic

A gold rush gave birth to Denver, but green is the color most associated with the metropolis today. Known for its parks — 200 in the city alone — it draws active travelers who love the great outdoors.

Some of the world’s top ski resorts are only a few hours away, while summer pursuits, such as whitewater rafting and biking, also are available. Culture buffs find a proliferation of museums, as well as thriving music and theater scenes. Likewise, the cuisine can include everything from emu and venison to French pate.

Although it is rightfully called the Mile High City, Denver is not in the mountains. The foothills of the Rockies are some 15 miles to the west. Nor is Denver truly in the West, despite its cowboy past; it sits only about 350 miles west of the exact middle point of the U.S.

A young city (1858), Denver boasts a thriving downtown area, complete with dining, museums, shopping, theater, plus the requisite hotels and a convention center.

LoDo, aka Lower Downtown, in particular, is known for its Victorian architecture, much of which has been lovingly restored and transformed into retail and dining venues. Microbreweries are big in this area, and visitors can sample local specialties at a half-dozen brewpubs — not to mention at the cafes and restaurants — in LoDo.

Conventions are big business in Denver, ranging from the annual events that take place at INVESCO Field, Coors Field and the Pepsi Center to one-offs such as the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Barring monster snowstorms that close the airport, active visitors come in winter, lured by access to skiing, of course. Active travelers also are drawn by the city parks, with their hiking and biking trails and other ways to enjoy the fresh outdoors.

As for spectator sports, Denver is the only American city to open three sports stadiums within a 10-year period. In addition, it is the only city besides Philadelphia with eight professional sports teams.

Visitors, regardless of temperament, like the sense they are in a friendly, safe and clean city and appreciate that it’s also prettily positioned with those foothills in view to the west.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Tap your toe to the late-night sounds of jazz at one of the city’s many music clubs, which include the Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge and Jazz at Jack’s.
  • Shoot the rapids in kayaks at Confluence Park in Denver’s LoDo district; the park also offers more than 40 miles of hiking trails.
  • Embark on a Denver version of a pub crawl, from the Coors Brewery to the brew pubs of LoDo — and ending at the annual Great American Beer Festival if you visit in September.
  • Hop in the saddle at a dude ranch near the city; many of the ranches include meals by the campfire and even a bit of fishing.
  • Cycle your way through metro Denver on your pick of 850 miles of paved, off-road bicycle trails.
  • Soar above the city in a hot-air balloon ride at sunset — high-altitude Champagne optional.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Go eye to eye with the more than 29 species of primates at the top-rated Denver Zoo. The zoo houses a total of 3,500 animals of all types.
  • Rustle on over to the Buffalo Bill Grave & Museum for a look at the original posters and guns from William F. Cody’s famous show.
  • Explore Four Mile Historic Park, the site of the oldest home in Denver as well as 12 miles of gardens and grounds, and stay for a horse-drawn ride and summer concerts.
  • Climb aboard the Denver Ski Train, the only ski train in the U.S. It links Denver Union Station to the Winter Park ski area for a day on the slopes.
  • Learn about the African-Americans who influenced the history and culture of the city at the Black American West Museum.
  • Bring Fido and the kids to Buckskin Joe Frontier Town and Railway, a re-created 1880s mining town with food, entertainment and even a gunfight or two.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Relive the sinking of the Titanic at the Molly Brown House, which honors the life of this unforgettable — and unsinkable — character.
  • Shop till you drop at the Santa Fe Arts, Highlands and Golden Triangle districts.
  • Join a free factory tour of Hammond’s Candy, which makes such old-time treats as ribbon candy and all manner of chocolate.
  • Stop to smell the flowers at the Denver Botanic Gardens; time the visit to attend one in the series of summer concerts.
  • Spend a day at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, where the exhibition topics range from prehistoric times to outer space.
  • Bring comfortable shoes and stroll the 17th Street Mall, a pedestrian walkway in downtown Denver with historic buildings, shops and outdoor performances.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult Visit Denver at www.denver.org