All About Denver
Denver has more than doubled in population since 1960. The City & County of Denver had a population of 554,636 in 2000, making it larger than the entire population of Wyoming (which has 480,000 people). The six-county metro area has a population of 2.4 million. Denver's metro population has increased by 29.8% 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 11.1% African American; 31.7% Hispanic; 2.8% Asian and 1.3% Native American. Metro Denver has an ethnic population of 5% Black; 18% Hispanic; 3% Asian; 1% Native American and 3% multi-racial. All of Colorado is experiencing a population boom with over 1,000,000 people moving to the state in the last decade. Colorado's population grew 30.5% from 1990 to 2000 with a current total of 4,301,261 residents. It was the third fastest growing state in the last decade.
Highest Educated City:
Denver is the most educated city in the U.S. Denver has the greatest percentage of college graduates of any major metropolitan area in the U.S.; 92.1% of the population in the metro area have high school diplomas and 35% have at least a bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Census. The national average is 81.7% for high school diplomas and 23% with a college degree.
Baby Boomer Capital:
Denver also is the nation's baby boomer capital, with the highest percentage of boomers of any major city, according to the 1998 U.S. Census. One third of the city is between age 35 and 54. Including small cities, only two had a higher percentage than Denver -- Santa Fe and Anchorage. Among major cities, percentage of boomers is: Denver 32.8%; Seattle 31.5%; Atlanta 31.4%; Washington 31.4%; Portland OR 31.4%; San Francisco 30.8%.
Denver is also the "thinnest" city in America and Colorado is the thinnest state. A study by the American Cancer Society in 2002 found that Colorado is the only state in the nation in which fewer than half the people are obese. Only 48 percent of Coloradoans are overweight or obese; every other state had more than 50 percent of their population in this category. The active lifestyle in Colorado, the great weather, the abundance of recreational opportunities and the high education level are credited for this fact. A 1996 federal study of weight by cities found similar results with Denver being listed as the "thinnest" city.
The State has a population of 4,301,261 in 2000, a 30.6 percent increase since 1990 with more than 1 million people moving to Colorado in the past decade, an average of 276 new residents every day for the past decade.
Denver skyline around midnight from I-25 and Speer Blvd.
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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 15th step on the west side of the State Capitol Building is exactly 5,280 feet (1,609 m) -- one mile -- above sea level.
Denver was founded during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush in the Kansas Territory in 1858. That summer, a group of gold prospectors from Lawrence, Kansas arrived and established Montana City on the banks of the South Platte River. This was the first settlement in what was later to become the city of Denver. The site faded quickly, however, and was abandoned in favor of Auraria (named after the gold-mining town of Auraria, Georgia) and St. Charles City by the summer of 1859. The Montana City site is now Grant-Frontier Park and includes mining equipment and a log cabin replica.
Photo: Former Kansas Territorial Governor James W. Denver visited his namesake city in 1875 and in 1882
On November 22, 1858, General William Larimer, a land speculator from eastern Kansas, placed cottonwood logs to stake a claim on the hill overlooking the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, across the creek from the existing mining settlement of Auraria. Larimer named the town site Denver City to curry favor with Kansas Territorial Governor James W. Denver.
Larimer hoped that the town's name would help make it the county seat of Arapaho County, but ironically Governor Denver had already resigned from office.
The location was accessible to existing trails and was across the South Platte River from the site of seasonal encampments of the Cheyenne and Arapaho. The site of these first towns is now the site of Confluence Park in downtown Denver. Larimer, along with associates in the St. Charles City Land Company, sold parcels in the town to merchants and miners, with the intention of creating a major city that would cater to new emigrants. Denver City was a frontier town, with an economy based on servicing local miners with gambling, saloons, livestock and goods trading. In the early years, land parcels were often traded for grubstakes or gambled away by miners in Auraria.
The Colorado Territory was created on February 28, 1861, Arapahoe County was formed on November 1, 1861,and Denver City was incorporated on November 7, 1861. Denver City served as the Arapahoe County Seat from 1861 until consolidation in 1902. In 1865, Denver City became the Territorial Capital. With its new-found importance, Denver City shortened its name to just Denver. On August 1, 1876, Denver became the State Capital when Colorado was admitted to the Union.
Between 1880-1895 the city experienced a huge rise in city corruption, as crime bosses, such as Soapy Smith, worked side-by-side with elected officials and the police to control the elections, gambling, and the bunko gangs. In 1887, the precursor to the international charity United Way was formed in Denver by local religious leaders who raised funds and coordinated various charities to help Denver's poor. By 1890, Denver had grown to be the second largest city west of Omaha, but by 1900 it had dropped to third place behind San Francisco and Los Angeles.
In 1901 the Colorado General Assembly voted to split Arapahoe County into three parts: a new consolidated City and County of Denver, a new Adams County, and the remainder of the Arapahoe County to be renamed South Arapahoe County. A ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court, subsequent legislation, and a referendum delayed the creation of the City and County of Denver until 1902-11-15. Denver hosted the 1908 Democratic National Convention to promote the city's status on the national political and socio-economic stage.
Denver was selected to host the 1976 Winter Olympics to coincide with Colorado's centennial celebration, but Colorado voters struck down ballot initiatives allocating public funds to pay for the high costs of the games, so the games were moved to Innsbruck, Austria. The notoriety of becoming the only city ever to decline to host an Olympiad after being selected has made subsequent bids difficult. The movement against hosting the games was based largely on environmental issues and was led by then State Representative Richard Lamm. Lamm was subsequently elected as Colorado governor in 1974.
Beat icon Neal Cassady was raised on Larimer Street in Denver, and a portion of Jack Kerouac's beat masterpiece On the Road takes place in the city, and is based on the beat's actual experiences in Denver during a road trip. Beat poet Allen Ginsberg lived for a time in a basement apartment on Grant Street (no longer standing), and Kerouac briefly owned a home in the Denver suburb of Lakewood in the late spring and summer of 1949. In addition, Ginsberg helped found the "Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa," in nearby Boulder at the Buddhist college Naropa University, then Naropa Institute.
Denver has also been known historically as the Queen City of the Plains because of its important role in the agricultural industry of the plains regions along the foothills of the Colorado Front Range. Several US Navy ships have been named USS Denver in honor of the city.
DESCRIPTION OF DENVER:
Denver is a clean, young and green city with over 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. Here, within easy walking distance, are 5,200 hotel rooms, the city's convention complex, performing arts complex, and a wide variety of shops, department stores, 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 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 brew pubs, with six large brew pubs and micro breweries, each brewing six to eight exclusive beers, all within easy walking distance of each other. Downtown is also the home of Auraria Campus where three colleges have over 30,000 students.
In May of 1995, Six Flags Elitch Gardens moved to downtown Denver with a year-round amusement park similar to Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens offering 48 thrill rides, formal gardens, restaurants and shops. 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. Another large attraction in this area is Colorado's Ocean Journey, a large aquarium that features salt and fresh water animal life, which opened on June 21, 1999.
The Mile High Trail is a series of six walking tours throughout the downtown area. Copies can be obtained from the Denver Metro Convention &: Visitors Bureau Information Center in the Tabor Center, located on the 16th Street Mall.
Aviation history was made when the $4.3 billion Denver International Airport opened on February 28, 1995. Covering 53 square miles (137 square kilometers, twice the size of Manhattan), Denver International Airport has five full-service runways and has established a landing rate of 120 planes an hour in good weather--36% higher than the good weather rate of 88 planes an hour at Denver's previous airport, Stapleton International. DIA can be expanded to 11 runways capable of serving 110 million passengers a year.
The tented roof of DIA was designed to resemble the snow-capped Rocky Mountains.
Photograph of Denver International Airport's signature fabric Roof. Photographer: Doc Searls
Currently DIA is the fifth-busiest airport in the United States and the 10th-busiest in the world. Twenty-two airlines offer 1200 flights including non-stops to 120 American cities and according to the Federal Aviation Administration, for the past three years, DIA had the fewest delays of any of the nation's 15 busiest airports.
Denver International Airport was designed to move your body and your mind. DIA 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 eliminates ticketing congestion and there is more than double the concession space found at Stapleton. DIA has 48 restaurants, snack shops, bars and grills and 60 stores and shops. In 1996, DIA was the most efficient airport in the nation with the lowest number of air traffic control delays. In 1997, DIA served 35 million passengers, the most to ever use a Denver airport in a single year. DIA is the second largest hub of United, the largest airline in the world, and United plans to greatly expand their Denver operation.
Denver is also a major hub for inter-city buses with over 60 daily arrivals and departures and is on the main east-west route for AMTRAK with three arrivals a day.
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 Art Museum
Denver has some of the finest museums in the West with a wide variety of historical, western, artistic and horticultural emphasis
Black American West Museum
The Black American West Museum tells the forgotten 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 tell the story of the many contributions made by Blacks in settling the West. (303) 292-2566.
Buffalo Bill's Grave and Museum
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) 526-0747.
Butterfly Pavillion and Insect Center
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.
Children's Museum of Denver
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 learn to ski on KidSlope, shoot baskets, compare measurements in SizeWise, sample the latest in computer software in CompuLab, and shop in the grocery store. (303)433-7444.
Colorado History Museum
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 that 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.
Colorado Ocean Journey 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.(303) 561-4450.
Colorado State Capitol
The Colorado State Capitol stands a mile above sea level with a plaque on the 15th step to mark the spot that is 5,280 feet (1,609 m) 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 over 150 miles (241 km). Free tours on weekdays of the beautiful rooms and appointments. (303) 866-2604.
The Coors Brewery offers free tours of the largest single brewery in the world. Colorado brews more beer than any other state and this Golden brewery brews more beer than any other place on the planet. Free tours of the entire complex, from brewing to bottling, with free beer samples for those over the age of 21. (303) 277-2337.
Photo: Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Denver Art Museum has what is considered to be the finest collection of American Indian art works in the world covering all tribes, as well as 30,000 other art objects in seven curatorial departments.The museum celebrated it's 100th Anniversary in 1993 with newly remodeled Asian, Pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial galleries and renovated African and Oceanic galleries.
It is the largest art museum between Kansas City and the West Coast. (720) 865-5000.
Denver Bontanic Gardens
The Denver Botanic Gardens has a large conservatory, an alpine garden with rare tiny flowers, a Japanese tea garden, as well as a water garden with hundreds of water lilies that bloom in late summer. It is just one of 506 public gardens in Denver where over 240,000 flowers are planted each year. (303) 331-4000.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the Rocky Mountain Region's leading resource for informal science education. A variety of engaging exhibits, discussions and activities help Museum visitors celebrate and understand the natural wonders of Colorado, Earth and the universe. During adventures at the Museum, you'll learn about current science topics in the news. Prehistoric Journey transports you back in time to when dinosaurs ruled the planet. The Museum is also famous for its interactive children's discovery centers, Egyptian mummies, wildlife exhibits, colorful gems and minerals, the Hall of Life health center, awe-inspiring IMAX® films, dynamic temporary exhibits, new scientific discoveries and visionary speakers. (303) 322-7009
Get inspired by space! The Denver Museum of Nature & Science's new permanent exhibition, Space Odyssey, debuts June 13, 2003. Learn about the latest discoveries in space science, experience a stunning close-up view of Mars and talk with an "astronaut" conducting research on the surface. Visitors can also maneuver a Mars rover and dock the space shuttle. Also opening June 13, 2003 is the new Gates Planetarium. The most sophisticated planetarium in the world includes The Cosmic AtlasT, a new digital technology developed by the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. It is the most accurate 3-D map of the cosmos ever created.
This is the third largest museum of its kind in the United States. Prehistoric Journey is a $7 million exhibit that covers the history of life on Earth, complete with a dramatic collection of dinosaur skeletons.
Photo: Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The Denver Zoo is consistently rated as one of the top 10 in America with 3,500 animals 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.
Six Flags Elitch Gardens
Six Flags Elitch Gardens Theme Park is a hundred-year-old theme park known for its European atmosphere, elaborate floral gardens, and thrill rides. In 1995, Elitch Gardens moved to an expanded location in downtown Denver along the South Platte River with all new rides, gardens, lagoons, restaurants and amusements. (303) 455-4771.
Molly Brown House
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.
Red Rocks Ampitheatre
Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a 9,000-seat natural outdoor arena carved out of huge, 500-foot (152 m) 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.
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.
The U.S. Mint is where over five billion coins are made each year and there are free 20 minute tours on weekdays. 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. (303) 844-3582.
Since September 11, tours of the U.S. Mint are limited to groups of six or less. The tours must be arranged a minimum of two weeks in advance through your Congressional representative. For information on how to contact your Representative, visit
For information on how to contact your Senator, visit
The U.S Mint Gift Shop is open Mon-Fri from 9:00am to 3:30PM. The store is located at 333 West Colfax in the Tremont Center across the street from the mint. The gift shops offers exciting souvenirs and coin and money-related gifts for the entire family, from traditional Mint numismatic coin collectibles to clothing, toys, games and accessories. For more information on the U.S. Mint, visit www.usmint.gov.
DENVER'S CULTURAL FACILITIES & ENTERTAINMENT:
Denver Performing Arts Complex
Photo: Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau
With eight theaters offering 10,800 seats, the Denver Performing Arts Complex is the second largest performing arts center in the nation (after Lincoln Center in New York) in seating capacity and the largest in the world under one roof. 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 new 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 such as "The Full Monty," "Lion King" "Mama Mia" and "Sunset Boulevard," as well as the world's first voice research laboratory.
The center is entered under a block-long glass arch and is noted for its unusual and striking architecture.
According to Performance Magazine, in 1997 more people attended performances at the Buell Theatre than at any other
3,000-seat or smaller theatre in the nation. Over 600,000 people paid to see productions at the Buell in 1997. The Performing
Arts Complex had three of the nation's top 15 theatres in 1997, with the Auditorium Theatre placing 8th and Boettcher Concert
Hall placing 12th. And in 1998, the Denver Center Theatre Company won a Tony Award for best regional theatre.
The League of American Theatres and Producers in New York declares Denver to be the 7th best market in North America for gross revenues
from touring Broadway shows after Toronto, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco and Boston.
Denver has 30 other theaters and over 100 cinemas and has always had a long love affair with the arts. When Denver was a wild gold rush
town in the 1870's, it boasted a theater with sold out performances of MacBeth, long before it had either a school or a hospital.
Great Food - Great Variety
Denver has over 2,000 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. Among the restaurants serving buffalo are the historic Buckhorn Exchange, the oldest saloon and restaurant in the city with a unique dining room covered with 500 stuffed animal heads and The Fort, which is housed in a reproduction of Bent's Old Fort, a fur trapper's post on the Santa Fe Trail.
Local residents also 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 brew pub is a restaurant that brews the beer right on the premises and serves beer that is generally not found anywhere else. On any given day, there are fifty beers available in Denver at small brew pubs that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Each brew pub 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.
Shopping Capital of the Rockies
As the largest city in a 600-mile (966 km) radius, Denver has always been the shopping capital of the Rocky Mountain West. The city features the largest sporting goods store in the world (Gart Brothers Sports Castle) and the largest independent book store in America with over 400,000 volumes (the Tattered Cover).
16th Street Mall
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. In summer, the Mall is decorated with 25,000 flowers including 8,400 impatiens, 6,528 petunias, 648 snapdragons and 370 geraniums.
Cherry Creek North
Cherry Creek North is 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.
Cherry Creek Shopping Center
Cherry Creek Shopping Center is the largest in the Rocky Mountain region with 140 upscale stores including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor and Foley'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 restored to house a collection of art galleries, clothing stores, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs.
Shops at Tabor Center
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 is one of Denver's newest additions to the shopping scene. Featuring a Nordstrom, Dillard's, Foleys and Joslins the shopping center was created to resemble a ski lodge, complete with a huge center court fireplace.
Denver Pavilions opened in November 1998 and features a Wolfgang Puck Café, Maggiano's Little Italy, Virgin Records Megastore and Barnes & Noble Superstore.
DENVER RECREATION AND SPORTS:
With 300 days of sunshine a year, Denver is a sports capital. The city offers over 450 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 over 70 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.
In June 1997, The Sporting News declared, "The Best Sports City in 1997 is Denver, where the sun shines 310 days a year and the sports possibilities are cloudless year-round.... Denver comes together as a unique setting for sports of all kinds. In addition to the Broncos, Buffs, Nuggets, Avalanche and Rockies, there is every kind of participatory opportunity imaginable."
Great Sports Teams
Denver has a full compliment of 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 2001Stanley Cups. Denver also has a professional lacrosse team, Colorado Mammoth, and a arena sports team, the Colorado Crush. The Rockies are typical of Denver's great sports following: their opening game in April 1993 had the highest attendance in baseball history and they went on to break 11 Major League attendance records, becoming the most popular team ever with 4,483,350 paying fans
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.
Great Public Parks
Half of Colorado is public land open to all forms of recreation with two national parks, six national monuments, 11 national forests, three national recreation areas and 30 state parks.
DAY TRIP EXCURSIONS FROM DENVER:
Mount Elbert is the highest peak of both the State of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains of North America. Photo: Mount Elbert, with Turquoise Lake in the foreground.
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
Central City and Black Hawk are two historic old mining towns from the 1870's that have come alive with limited stakes casino gambling. Located 34 miles (55 km) west of Denver, the two towns offer over 30 casinos with nearly 9,000 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 it was found.
Georgetown is a delightful Victorian village with 200 restored buildings from the 1870's, 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.
Pikes Peak Country is located 60 miles (97 km) south of Denver and features more than 40 attractions centered around 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
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 over 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.
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).
Denver 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 over 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 it 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 of 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 over 7,000 slot machines, poker tables and blackjack games.
The Colorado Rockies opened on April 9, 1993 before 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.
Coloradans love sport-utility vehicles and full-size trucks. In 1996, as many Sport Utility Vehicles and trucks were registered in Colorado as new cars; 126,056 SUVs and trucks compared to 127,928 new cars.
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 5,200 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, 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 tunnel 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 CONVENTION FACILITIES:
In a special initiative on the November 2, 1999 ballot, the citizens of Denver approved spending $268 million to double the size of the Colorado Convention Center. The expansion, to be completed in fall of 2004, will add:
• 292,000 sq. ft. of new exhibit space;
• 35,000 sq. ft. of new meeting space;
• a new 50,000 sq. ft. ballroom;
• a new 5,000-fixed seat auditorium; and
• a new 1,000-space parking garage.
This will bring the completed Colorado Convention Center up to a total of 584,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space on one level, 100,000 square feet of meeting space on one level, and two ballrooms of 35,000 square feet and 50,000 square feet. When completed, the Colorado Convention Center will be the 6th largest facility west of the Mississippi and 15th largest in the nation.
Currigan Hall was removed in early 2002. The new expansion will be built on the land previously occupied by Currigan Hall.