Denver: Wikis


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City and County of Denver
—  Consolidated city-county  —


Nickname(s): The Mile-High City, Queen City of the Plains, Wall Street of the West
Location of Denver in the State of Colorado
City and County of Denver is located in the USA
City and County of Denver
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 39°44′21″N 104°59′5″W / 39.73917°N 104.98472°W / 39.73917; -104.98472Coordinates: 39°44′21″N 104°59′5″W / 39.73917°N 104.98472°W / 39.73917; -104.98472
Country United States
State  Colorado
City and County Denver[1]
Founded 1858-11-22, as Denver City, K.T.[2]
Incorporated 1861-11-07, as Denver City, C.T.[3]
Consolidated 1902-11-15, as the City and County of Denver
Named for James William Denver
 - Type Consolidated City and County[1]
 - Mayor John Hickenlooper (D)
Area [2]
 - Consolidated city-county 154.9 sq mi (401.3 km2)
 - Land 153.3 sq mi (397.2 km2)
 - Water 1.6 sq mi (4.1 km2)  1.03%
 - Metro 8,414.4 sq mi (21,793.2 km2)
Elevation [2] 5,280 ft (1,609 m)
Population (2008)[4][5][6]
 - Consolidated city-county 598,707
 Density 3,905/sq mi (1,507/km2)
 Urban 1,984,887
 - Urban Density 3,979.3/sq mi (1,536.4/km2)
 Metro 2,506,626
 - Demonym Denverite
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 - Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP codes 80201-80212, 80214-80239, 80241, 80243-80244, 80246-80252, 80256-80266, 80271, 80273-80274, 80279-80281, 80290-80291, 80293-80295, 80299, 80012, 80014, 80022, 80033, 80123, 80127[7]
Area code(s) Both 303 and 720
FIPS code 08-20000
GNIS feature ID 0201738
Highways I-25, I-70, I-76, I-225, I-270, US 6, US 40, US 85, US 285, US 287, CO 2, CO 26, CO 30, CO 35, CO 83, CO 88, CO 95, CO 121, CO 177, CO 265, CO 470, E-470
Website City and County of Denver
Most populous Colorado city

The City and County of Denver (pronounced /ˈdɛnvər/) is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the High Plains, just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The Denver downtown district is located immediately east of the confluence of Cherry Creek with the South Platte River, approximately 15 miles (24 km) east of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Denver is nicknamed the "Mile-High City" because its official elevation is exactly one mile, or 5,280 feet (1,609 m) above sea level.[2] The 105th meridian west of Greenwich passes through Union Station, making it the reference point for the Mountain Time Zone.

The United States Census Bureau estimated that the population of Denver was 598,707 in 2008, making it the 24th most populous U.S. city.[4] The 10-county Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated 2008 population of 2,506,626 and ranked as the 21st most populous U.S. metropolitan statistical area[5] and the 12-county Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area had an estimated 2008 population of 3,049,562 and ranked as the 16th most populous U.S. metropolitan area.[8] It is also the second-largest city in the Mountain West after Phoenix. Denver is the largest city in the Front Range Urban Corridor, an urban region stretching across eighteen counties in two states. The population of the Front Range Urban Corridor is estimated at 4,251,663.[9] The city has the tenth-largest central business district in the United States by population.[10]



Former Kansas Territorial Governor James W. Denver visited his namesake city in 1875 and in 1882.

Denver City was founded in November 1858 as a mining town during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush in western Kansas Territory.[11] 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 founded by William Russell 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.

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.[12] Larimer hoped that the town's name would help make it the county seat of Arapaho County, but unknown to him 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.

Colorado Territory was created on February 28, 1861,[13] Arapahoe County was formed on November 1, 1861,[13] and Denver City was incorporated on November 7, 1861.[3] Denver City served as the Arapahoe County Seat from 1861 until consolidation in 1902.[14] In 1865, Denver City became the Territorial Capital.[13] With its new-found importance, Denver City shortened its name to just Denver.[14] On August 1, 1876, Denver became the State Capital when Colorado was admitted to the Union.[13]

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.[15] The city also experienced a depression in 1893 after the crash of silver prices. 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.[16] 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.[17]

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 November 15, 1902.

Denver has hosted the Democratic National Convention twice, during the years of 1908, and again in 2008, taking the opportunity to promote the city's status on the national, political, and socioeconomic stage.

Early in the 20th century, Denver, like many other cities, was home to a pioneering brass age automobile company; Colburn was copied from the contemporary Renault.[18]

Denver was selected in 1970 to host the 1976 Winter Olympics to coincide with Colorado's centennial celebration, but in November 1972 Colorado voters struck down ballot initiatives allocating public funds to pay for the high costs of the games, subsequently 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, who was subsequently elected to three terms (1974–86) as Colorado governor.

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.

Panorama of Denver circa 1898. Image is facing northwest, looking down 16th St. with the old Arapahoe County courthouse on the left, taken from the top of the Colorado State Capitol


Satellite image of the Denver Metropolitan area

Denver is located in the center of the Front Range Urban Corridor, between the Rocky Mountains to the west and the High Plains to the east. According to the United States Census Bureau the city has a total area of 154.9 square miles (401.3 km²), of which 1.6 square miles (4.1 km²), or 1.03%, is water. The City and County of Denver is surrounded by only three other counties: Adams County to the north and east, Arapahoe County to the south and east, and Jefferson County to the west.


Denver has a steppe climate (Köppen climate classification BSk)[19] with four distinct seasons and is semi-arid by precipitation. While Denver is located on the Great Plains, the weather of the city and surrounding area is heavily influenced by the proximity of the Rocky Mountains to the west. While generally mild compared to the mountains to the west and the plains further east, it can be very unpredictable. Before the city's settlement, the Denver landscape was made up of primarily prairie and desert lands. Because Denver and most of its suburbs sit in a "bowl", the city is often protected from harsh cold and strong winds. Measurable amounts of snow have fallen in the Denver area as late as June and as early as September.[20]

The average temperature in Denver is 50.1 °F (10.1 °C), and the average yearly precipitation is 15.81 inches (402 mm).[20] The season's first snowfall generally occurs around October 19, and the last snowfall is about April 27, averaging 61 inches (155 cm) of seasonal accumulation. The National Weather Service records an annual average of sunshine during 69 percent of all possible daylight hours.[21]

Denver's winters can vary from mild to cold, and although large amounts of snow can fall on the mountains just west of the city, the effects of orographic lift dry out the air passing over the Front Range, shielding the city from precipitation for much of the season. Additionally, warm chinook winds occasionally occur as air passing over the mountains heats as it descends, quickly melting snow accumulations and making Denver's winters milder than areas without this effect. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Denver was recorded on January 9, 1875 at −29 °F (−33.9 °C), and the last time Denver recorded a temperature below −20 °F (−29 °C) was during February 2007, when the low temperature was −22 °F (−30.0 °C). Although the coldest average monthly high temperature of the year in Denver has historically been January, in recent years December has had a colder average monthly high temperature [22].

Spring brings with it significant changes as Denver can be affected by air masses on all sides. Arctic air from the north can often combine with Pacific storm fronts bringing snow to the city. In fact, March is Denver's snowiest month, averaging 11.7 inches (29.7 cm) of snow. Additionally, warm air from the Gulf of Mexico can bring the first thunderstorms of the season, and continental warm air can bring summer-like warm and dry conditions.

Starting in mid-July, the monsoon brings tropical moisture into the city and with it come frequent short (and occasionally severe) late-afternoon thunderstorms. However, despite this tropical moisture, humidity levels during the day generally remain low. The average high during the summer is 88 °F (31.1 °C) and the average low is 59 °F (15 °C). The hottest temperature ever recorded in Denver is 105 °F (41 °C) (National Weather Service).

In the autumn, the tropical monsoon flow dies down and as Arctic air begins to approach, it can combine with moisture from the Pacific Northwest to bring significant snowfall to the city – November is Denver's second snowiest month, and Denver's greatest recorded snowfall from a single storm, 45.7 inches (116 cm), fell in late autumn from December 1 to December 6, 1913.[23]

Climate data for Denver
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 76
Average high °F (°C) 43.2
Average low °F (°C) 15.2
Record low °F (°C) -29
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.51
Snowfall inches (mm) 7.7
Source: [20] 2009-09-30


Denver's 79 official neighborhoods

The City and County of Denver has defined 79 official neighborhoods that the city and community groups use for planning and administration. Although the city's delineation of the neighborhood boundaries is somewhat arbitrary, it corresponds roughly to the definitions used by residents. These "neighborhoods" should not be confused with cities or suburbs, which are separate entities within the metro area.

These neighborhoods' character vary significantly from each other and include everything from large skyscrapers to turn of the twentieth century houses to modern, suburban style developments. Generally, the neighborhoods closest to the city center are denser, older and contain more brick building material. Many neighborhoods away from the city center were developed after World War II, and are built with more modern materials and style. Some of the neighborhoods even farther from the city center, or recently redeveloped parcels anywhere in the city have either very suburban characteristics or are new urbanist developments that attempt to recreate the feel of older neighborhoods. Most neighborhoods contain parks or other features that are the focal point for the neighborhood.

Denver also has a number of neighborhoods not reflected in the administrative boundaries. Sometimes, these neighborhoods reflect the way people in an area identify themselves; sometimes, they reflect how others, such as real estate developers, have defined those areas.

Well-known neighborhoods include the historic and trendy LoDo (short for "Lower Downtown"), part of the city's Union Station neighborhood; Capitol Hill, Highland, Cherry Creek, Washington Park, Lowry; Uptown, part of the North Capitol Hill neighborhood; Curtis Park, part of the Five Points neighborhood; Alamo Placita, the northern part of the Speer neighborhood; Park Hill, a successful example of intentional racial integration;[24] and Golden Triangle, in the Civic Center.

Parks and recreation

When Denver was founded in 1858, the city was little more than a dusty collection of buildings on a long, grassy plain with a few contorted cottonwood and willow trees on riverbanks. As of 2006, Denver has over 200 parks, from small mini-parks all over the city to the giant 314 acre (1.3 km²) City Park.[25] Denver also has 29 recreation centers providing places and programming for resident's recreation and relaxation.[26]

Chess players on the 16th Street Mall.

Many of Denver's parks were acquired from state lands in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This coincided with the City Beautiful movement, and legendary Denver mayor Robert Speer (1904–12 and 1916–18) set out to expand and beautify the city's parks. Reinhard Schuetze was the city's first landscape architect, and he brought his German-educated landscaping genius to Washington Park, Cheesman Park, and City Park among others. Speer used Schuetze as well as other landscape architects such as Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and Saco Rienk DeBoer to design not only parks such as Civic Center Park, but many city parkways and tree-lawns. All of this greenery was fed with South Platte River water diverted through the city ditch.[27]

Cheesman Park started as a cemetery.

In addition to the parks within Denver itself, the city acquired land for mountain parks starting in the 1910s.[28] Over the years, Denver has acquired, built and maintained approximately 14,000 acres (56 km²) of mountain parks, including Red Rocks Park, which is known for its scenery and musical history revolving around the unique Red Rocks Amphitheatre.[29][30] Denver also owns the hill on which the Winter Park Resort ski area is operated in Grand County, 67 miles (110 km) west of Denver.[31] City parks are important places for both Denverites and visitors, inciting controversy with every change. Denver continues to grow its park system with the development of many new parks along the Platte River through the city, and with Central Park and Bluff Lake Nature Center in the Stapleton neighborhood redevelopment. All of these parks are important gathering places for residents and allow what was once a dry plain to be lush, active, and green.

Since 1974, Denver and the surrounding jurisdictions have rehabilitated the urban South Platte River and its tributaries for recreational use by hikers and cyclists. The main stem of the South Platte River Greenway runs along the South Platte from Chatfield Reservoir 35 miles (56 km) into Adams County in the north. The Greenway project is recognized as one of the best urban reclamation projects in the U.S., winning, for example, the Silver Medal Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence in 2001.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1860 4,749
1870 4,759 0.2%
1880 35,629 648.7%
1890 106,713 199.5%
1900 133,859 25.4%
1910 213,381 59.4%
1920 256,491 20.2%
1930 287,861 12.2%
1940 322,412 12.0%
1950 415,786 29.0%
1960 493,887 18.8%
1970 514,678 4.2%
1980 492,365 −4.3%
1990 467,610 −5.0%
2000 554,636 18.6%
Est. 2008 598,707 [4] 7.9%
U.S. Census Bureau[32][33]

The United States Census Bureau estimates that, in 2008, the population of the City and County of Denver was 598,707, making it the 24th most populous U.S. city.[34] The Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated 2008 population of 2,506,626 and ranked as the 21st most populous U.S. metropolitan statistical area,[35] and the larger Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area had an estimated 2008 population of 3,049,562 and ranked as the 17th most populous U.S. metropolitan area.[36] Denver is the most populous city within a radius centered in the city and of 550 miles (885 km) magnitude.[37] Denverites is a term used for residents of Denver (city or county).

According to census estimates, the City and County of Denver contains approximately 566,974 people (2006) and 239,235 households (2000). The population density is 3,698/sq mi (1,428/km²) including the airport. There are 268,540 housing units (2005) at an average density of 1,751/sq mi (676/km²).[38] However, the average density throughout most Denver neighborhoods tends to be higher. Without the 80249 zip code (47.3 sq mi, 8,407 residents) near the airport, the average density increases to around 5,470/sq mi.[39]

At the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 72.4% of Denver's population; of which 50.5% were non-Hispanic whites. African Americans made up 9.9% of Denver's population; of which 9.7% were non-Hispanic Americans of African descent. American Indians made up 1.1% of the city's population; of which 0.7% were non-Hispanic. Asian Americans made up 3.2% of the city's population; of which 3.1% were non-Hispanic. Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.1% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race made up 10.9% of the city's population; of which 0.3% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 2.4% of the city's population; of which 1.4% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 34.2% of Denver's population.[40][41]

About 69.9% of the city's population spoke only English at home and 23.9% spoke Spanish. About 37.7% of Denver's population had a Bachelor's degree or higher.[42]

There are 250,906 households, of which 23.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.7% are married couples living together, 10.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 50.1% are non-families. 39.3% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.4% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.27 and the average family size is 3.14.

Age distribution is 22.0% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 36.1% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 102.1 males.

The median household income is $41,767, and the median family income is $48,195.[43] Males have a median income of $36,232 versus $33,768 for females. The per capita income for the city is $24,101. 14.3% of the population and 10.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 20.3% of those under the age of 18 and 9.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Panorama of downtown Denver, circa 2007, looking east at the intersection of Auraria Pkwy. and Speer Blvd.


Denver City and County Building (circa 1941), looking west.
Denver City and County Building with Christmas decorations (1955).
Colorado State Capitol looking east.

Denver is a consolidated city-county with a mayor elected on a nonpartisan ballot, a 13-member city council and an auditor. The Denver City Council is elected from 11 districts with two at-large council-members and is responsible for passing and changing all laws, resolutions, and ordinances, usually after a public hearing. They can also call for misconduct investigations of Denver's departmental officials.

Denver has a strong mayor/weak city council government. The mayor can approve or veto any ordinances or resolutions approved by the council, makes sure all contracts with the city are kept and performed, signs all bonds and contracts, is responsible for the city budget, and can appoint people to various city departments, organizations, and commissions. However, the council can override the mayor's veto with a nine out of thirteen member vote, and the city budget must be approved and can be changed by a simple majority vote of the council. The auditor checks all expenditures and may refuse to allow specific ones, usually based on financial reasons.[44]

All elected officials have four-year terms, with a maximum of three terms. While Denver elections are non-partisan, Democrats have long held a majority sway on Denver politics with most officials elected citywide having Democratic Party affiliation. In federal elections, Denverites also tend to vote for Democratic candidates, voting for the Democratic Presidential nominee in every election since 1960 (excluding 1980 and 1972). The office of Denver's Mayor has been occupied by a Democrat since the municipal general election of 1963, including the current mayor, John Hickenlooper. Denver is represented at the federal level by congresswoman Diana DeGette, a Democrat representing Colorado's 1st congressional district, which includes all of Denver and parts of Arapahoe County.

Benjamin F. Stapleton was the mayor of Denver, Colorado for two periods, the first from 1923–1931 and the second from 1935–1947. Stapleton was responsible for many civic improvements during his term, notably during his second stint as mayor when he had access to funds and manpower from the New Deal. During this time, the park system was considerably expanded and the Civic Center completed. His signature project was the construction of Denver Municipal Airport, which began in 1929 amidst heavy criticism. It was later renamed Stapleton International Airport in his honor. Today, the airport no longer stands, but has been replaced by a neighborhood also named Stapleton. Stapleton Street continues to bear his name. After Stapleton left office, it was discovered that he was tied to the Ku Klux Klan, which enjoyed considerable influence in return for its electoral support.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Denver was one of the epicenters of the Chicano Movement. The boxer-turned-activist Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales formed an organization called the Crusade for Justice, which battled police brutality, fought for bilingual education, and, most notably, hosted the First National Chicano Youth Liberation Conference in March 1969.

In recent years, Denver has taken a stance on helping people who are or become homeless, particularly under the administrations of mayors John Hickenlooper and Wellington Webb. Denver's homeless population is considerably lower than many other major cities, but residents of the city streets have suffered during Denver's winters. Although mild and dry much of the time, Denver's winters can have brief periods of cold temperatures and varying amounts of snow. As a result, the city has set a national precedent on homeless services, with the creations of a ten-year plan to end homelessness (a plan now becoming popular in other cities as well), a task force and commission to end homelessness, and an expansion of human and civil services through the Denver area.

In 2005, Denver became the first major city in the U.S. to make the private possession of less than an ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older. The city voted 53.49-46.51 percent in favor of the marijuana legalization measure. This initiative does not usurp state law, which currently treats marijuana possession in much the same way as a speeding ticket with fines of up to $100 and no jail time.[45] The electorate of Colorado voted on and rejected a similar state-wide initiative in November 2006. Denver passed an initiative in the fourth quarter of 2007 requiring the mayor to appoint an 11 member review panel to monitor the city's compliance with the 2005 ordinance.[46] Current Denver mayor John Hickenlooper is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition,[47] an organization formed in 2006 and co-chaired by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston mayor Thomas Menino.

Denver hosted the 2008 Democratic National Convention, which was coincidentally the centennial of the city's first hosting of the landmark 1908 convention. It also hosted the G7 (now G8) summit between June 20 and June 22 in 1997 and the 2000 National Convention of the Green Party.


The 17th street district includes many financial, business and corporate buildings, often called The Wall Street of the West.[48]

Denver's economy is based partially on its geographic position and its connection to some of the major transportation systems of the country. Because Denver is the largest city within 600 miles (1,000 km), it has become a natural location for storage and distribution of goods and services to the Mountain States. Denver is also approximately halfway between the large cities of the Midwest like Chicago and St. Louis and the cities of the West Coast, another benefit for distribution. Over the years, the city has been home to other large corporations in the central United States, making Denver a key trade point for the country.

Several well known companies originated in or have relocated to Denver. William Ainsworth opened the Denver Instrument Company in 1895 to make analytical balances for gold assayers. Its factory is now in Arvada. Also Samsonite Corp., the world’s largest luggage manufacturer, began in Denver in 1910 as Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing Company but Samsonite closed its NE Denver factory in 2001, and moved its headquarters to Massachusetts after a change of ownership in 2006. The Mountain States Telephone & Telegraph Company, founded in Denver in 1911, is now a part of telecommunications giant Qwest. The Gates Corporation, the world’s largest producer of automotive belts and hoses, was established in S. Denver in 1919. Russell Stover Candies Inc. made its first chocolate candy in Denver in 1923, but moved to Kansas City in 1969. The Wright & McGill Company has been making its Eagle Claw brand of fishing gear in NE Denver since 1925. The original Frontier Airlines began operations at Denver’s old Stapleton International Airport in 1950. Frontier was reincarnated at DIA in 1994. Scott’s Liquid Gold, Inc., has been making furniture polish in Denver since 1954. Village Inn restaurants began as a single pancake house in Denver in 1958. Big O Tires, LLC, of Centennial opened its first franchise in 1962 in Denver. The Shane Company sold its first diamond jewelry in 1971 in Denver. Johns Manville Corp., a manufacturer of insulation and roofing products, relocated its headquarters to Denver from New York in 1972. CH2M HILL Inc., an engineering and construction firm, relocated from Oregon to the Denver Technological Center in 1980. The Ball Corp. sold its glass business in Indiana in the 1990s and moved to suburban Broomfield. Ball has several operations in greater Denver. Molson Coors Brewing Company established its U.S. headquarters in Denver in 2005. Its subsidiary and regional wholesale distributor, Coors Distributing Company, is in NW Denver. The Newmont Mining Corporation, the largest gold producer in North America and one of the largest in the world, is headquartered in Denver. Large Denver-area employers that have headquarters elsewhere include Lockheed Martin Corp., United Airlines, Kroger Co. and Xcel Energy, Inc.

Downtown Skyline in August, 1964. Includes the old Cosmopolitan Hotel, since demolished.

Geography also allows Denver to have a considerable government presence, with many federal agencies based or having offices in the Denver area. In fact, the Denver Metropolitan Area has more federal workers than any other metropolitan area except for the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Along with the plethora of federal agencies come many companies based on US defense and space projects, and more jobs are brought to the city by virtue of its being the capital of the state of Colorado. The Denver area is home to the former nuclear weapons plant Rocky Flats, the Denver Federal Center, the Denver Mint and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

In 2005, a $310.7 million expansion for the Colorado Convention Center was completed, roughly doubling its size. The hope was that the center's expansion would elevate the city to one of the top 10 cities in the nation for holding a convention.[49]

Construction of the Spire, a new 41 story residential building near the convention center

Denver's position near the mineral-rich Rocky Mountains encouraged mining and energy companies to spring up in the area. In the early days of the city, gold and silver booms and busts played a large role in the economic success of the city. In the 1970s and early 1980s, the energy crisis in America created an energy boom in Denver captured in the soap opera Dynasty. Denver was built up considerably during this time with the construction of many new downtown skyscrapers, see List of tallest buildings in Denver. When the price of oil dropped from $34 a barrel in 1981 to $9 a barrel in 1986 the Denver economy dropped with it, leaving almost 15,000 oil industry workers in the area unemployed (including current mayor John Hickenlooper, a former geologist), and the highest office vacancy rate in the nation (30%).[50] There remain 700 employed petroleum engineers in the region[51], and nergy and mining are still important in Denver's economy today, with companies such as EnCana, Halliburton, Smith International, Rio Tinto Group, Newmont Mining, Noble Energy, and Anadarko.

The Wells Fargo Center, often called the Cash Register Building.[52]

Denver's west-central geographic location in the Mountain Time Zone (UTC -7) also benefits the telecommunications industry by allowing communication with both North American coasts, South America, Europe, and Asia in the same business day. Denver's location on the 105th meridian at over 1-mile (1.6 km) in elevation also enables it to be the largest city in the U.S. to offer a 'one-bounce' real-time satellite uplink to six continents in the same business day. Qwest Communications, Dish Network Corporation, Starz-Encore, DIRECTV, and Comcast are just a few of the many telecommunications companies with operations in the Denver area.

The first Chipotle Mexican Grill near the campus of the University of Denver

These and other high-tech companies had a boom in Denver in the mid to late 1990s. Denver currently has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation at 3.8 percent as of October 2007.[53] The Downtown region has seen increased real estate investment with the construction of several new skyscrapers set to be completed in 2010-2013.

Denver has also enjoyed success as a pioneer in the fast casual restaurant industry, with many popular national chain restaurants founded and based in Denver. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Quizno's, and Smashburger were founded and are currently headquartered in Denver. Additionally, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Noodles & Company, and Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard originated in Denver, but all have since moved their headquarters to the nearby suburbs of Wheat Ridge, Broomfield, and Golden.


The Denver Metropolitan Area is served by a variety of media outlets in print, radio, television, and the Internet.

Television stations

Denver is the 16th-largest market in the country for television, according to the 2009-2010 rankings from Nielsen Media Research.

Radio stations

Denver is also served by over 40 AM and FM radio stations, covering a wide variety of formats and styles. Denver radio is the #20 market in the United States, according to the Fall 2009 Arbitron ranking. For a list of radio stations, see Radio Stations in Colorado


After a continued rivalry between Denver's two main newspapers, the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News, the papers merged operations in 2001 under a Joint Operating Agreement which formed the Denver Newspaper Agency[54] until February 2009 when E. W. Scripps Company, the owner of the Rocky Mountain News closed the paper. There are also several alternative or localized newspapers published in Denver, including Westword, Denver Daily News, The Onion, Tidbits - Denver Metro Area and Out Front Colorado. Denver is home to multiple regional magazines such as 5280, which takes its name from the city's 5280 feet (1609 m) high elevation, and Denver Magazine, which highlights the finer things Denver has to offer.


The skyline of downtown Denver from the southwest

City streets

Colfax Avenue at Broadway, where the downtown street grid and the "normal" city grid meet. Colfax Avenue carries US Highway 40 through Denver.

Most of Denver has a straightforward street grid oriented to the four cardinal directions. Blocks are usually identified in hundreds from the median streets, identified as "00", which are Broadway (the east–west median, running north–south) and Ellsworth Avenue (the north–south median, running east–west). Colfax Avenue, the major east-west artery through Denver, is 15 blocks (1500) north of the median. Avenues north of Ellsworth are numbered (with the exception of Colfax Avenue and a few others), while avenues south of Ellsworth are named.

There is also an older downtown grid system that was designed to be parallel to the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. Most of the streets downtown and in LoDo run northeast-southwest and northwest-southeast. This system has an unplanned benefit for snow removal; if the streets were in a normal N-S/E-W grid, only the N-S streets would receive sunlight. With the grid oriented to the diagonal directions, the NW-SE streets receive sunlight to melt snow in the morning and the NE-SW streets receive it in the afternoon. This idea was from Henry Brown the founder of the Brown Palace Hotel. There is now a plaque across the street from the Brown Palace Hotel which honors this idea. The NW-SE streets are numbered, while the NE-SW streets are named. The named streets start at the intersection of Colfax Avenue and Broadway with the block-long Cheyenne Place. The numbered streets start underneath the Colfax and I-25 viaducts. There are 27 named and 44 numbered streets on this grid. There are also a few vestiges of the old grid system in the normal grid, such as Park Avenue, Morrison Road, and Speer Boulevard. Larimer Street, named after William Larimer, Jr., the founder of Denver, which is located in the heart of LoDo, is the oldest street in Denver.

Cherry Creek Bike trail, running between the lanes of Speer Blvd

All roads in the downtown grid system are streets. (16th Street, Stout Street) Roads outside of that system that travel east/west are given the suffix "avenue" and those that head north and south are given the "street" suffix. (Example, Colfax Avenue, Lincoln Street,). Boulevards are higher capacity streets and will travel any direction (more commonly North and South). Smaller roads are sometimes referred to as places, drives or courts. Most streets outside of the area between Broadway and Colorado Boulevard are organized alphabetically from the city's center.

Confusion may arise where the two grid systems meet, especially given downtown Denver's one way streets. The system can be easily navigated with the help of directional signs. The mountains to the west also offer a great compass-point for those attempting to drive in the Mile High City.

Many Denver streets have bicycle lanes, and there are over 850 miles[55] of paved, off-road, bike paths in Denver parks and along bodies of water, like Cherry Creek and the South Platte. This allows for a significant portion of Denver's population to be bicycle commuters and has led to Denver being known as a bicycle friendly city.[56]

Denver is the birthplace of the Denver Boot, a car-disabling device that is the bane of parking-ticket scofflaws the world over.

Freeways and highways

I-25 during rush hour

Denver is primarily served by the interstate freeways I-25 and I-70. The intersection of the two interstates is referred to locally as "the mousetrap", because when viewed from the air, the junction (and subsequent vehicles) resemble mice in a large trap.

  • I-25 (CO).svg Interstate 25 runs north-south from New Mexico through Denver to Wyoming
    • I-225 (CO).svg Interstate 225 traverses neighboring Aurora. I-225 was designed to link Aurora with I-25 in the southeastern corner of Denver, and I-70 to the north of Aurora, with construction starting May 1964 and ending May 21, 1976.
  • I-70 (CO).svg Interstate 70 runs east-west from Utah to Maryland.
  • I-76 (CO).svg Interstate 76 begins from I-70 just west of the city in Arvada. It intersects I-25 north of the city and runs northeast to Nebraska where it ends at I-80.
  • US 6.svg US 6 follows the alignment of 6th Avenue west of I-25, and connects downtown Denver to the west-central suburbs of Golden and Lakewood. It continues west through Utah and Nevada to Bishop, California. To the east, it continues as far as Provincetown, on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
  • US 36.svg US 36 connects Denver to Boulder and Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park. It runs east into Ohio, after crossing four other states.

Denver also has a nearly complete beltway known as "the 470's". These are SH 470 (also known as C-470), a freeway in the southwest Metro area, and two toll highways, E-470 (from southeast to northeast) and Northwest Parkway (from terminus of E-470 to US-36). SH 470 was originally intended to be I-470 and built with federal highway funds, but the funding was redirected to complete downtown Denver's 16th Street to a pedestrian mall. As a result, construction was delayed until 1980 after state and local legislation was passed.[57]

A highway expansion and transit project for the southern I-25 corridor, dubbed T-REX (Transportation Expansion Project), was completed on November 17, 2006.[58] The project installed wider and additional highway lanes, and improved highway access and drainage. The project also includes a light rail line that traverses from downtown to the south end of the metro area at Lincoln Avenue.[59] The project spanned almost 19 miles (31 km) along the highway with an additional line traveling parallel to part of I-225, stopping just short of Parker Road.

Metro Denver highway conditions can be accessed on the Colorado Department of Transportation website Traffic Conditions.

Mass transportation

Denver RTD Light Rail car at Colfax & Auraria
Denver Union Station

Mass transportation throughout the Denver metropolitan area is managed and coordinated by the Regional Transportation District (RTD). RTD currently operates more than 1,000 buses serving over 10,000 bus stops in 38 municipal jurisdictions in eight counties around the Denver and Boulder metropolitan areas. Additionally, RTD operates five light rail lines, the C, D, E, F, and H with a total of 34.9 miles (56 km) of track, serving 36 stations.[60] FasTracks is a light rail/bus/rail expansion project approved by voters in 2004 which will serve neighboring suburbs and communities.

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Denver, operating its California Zephyr daily in both directions between Chicago and Emeryville, California, across the bay from San Francisco. Amtrak Thruway service operated by private bus companies links the Denver station with Rocky Mountain points.

At Albuquerque, New Mexico, Denver Thruway connections are made daily with the Amtrak Southwest Chief. Additionally, the Ski Train operated on the former Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, which took passengers between Denver and the Winter Park Ski Resort, but it is no longer in service.

Denver's early years as a major train hub of the west are still very visible today. Trains stop in Denver at historic Union Station, where travelers can access RTD's 16th Street Free MallRide or use light rail to tour the city. Union Station will also serve as the main juncture for rail travel in the metro area, at the completion of FasTracks.

Visitors to Union Station can also experience Railroading in the Rockies from the 1950s by checking out the model railroad clubs in the basement. The Denver Society of Model Railroaders opens it's display on the last Friday of the month except during the summer. The Platte Valley & Western Model Railroad Club is open every Friday night year round and offers visitors a chance to view how Denver looked during the 1950s. The club also offers behind the scenes tours as well as educational events and information to visitors.[61]


Inside the main terminal of Denver International Airport
Outside view of the main terminal, DIA

Denver International Airport (IATA: DEN, ICAO: KDEN), commonly known as DIA, serves as the primary airport for a large region surrounding Denver. DIA is located 18.6 miles (30 km) east-northeast of the Colorado State Capitol. DIA is the tenth busiest airport in the world and ranks fourth in the United States, with 51,245,334 passengers passing through it in 2008.[62] It covers more than 53 square miles (137 km²), making it the largest airport by land area in the United States and larger than the island of Manhattan.[63][64] Denver serves as a major hub for United Airlines, is the headquarters for Frontier Airlines, and is the fastest-growing focus city for Southwest Airlines.

Three general aviation airports serve the Denver area. Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (KBJC) is 13.7 miles (22 km) north-northwest, Centennial Airport (KAPA) is 13.7 miles (22 km) south-southeast, and Front Range Airport (KFTG) is located 23.7 miles (38 km) east of the state capitol.

In the past, Denver has been home to several other airports that are no longer operational. Stapleton International Airport was closed in 1995 when it was replaced by DIA. Lowry Air Force Base was a military flight training facility that ceased flight operations in 1966, with the base finally being closed in 1994. It is currently being used for residential purposes. Buckley Air Force Base, a former Air National Guard base is currently the only military facility in the Denver-Metro area.


The Ritchie Center at University of Denver

Denver Public Schools (DPS) is the public school system in Denver. It currently educates about 73,000 students in 73 elementary schools, 15 K-8 schools, 17 middle schools, 14 high schools, and 19 charter schools[65]. The first school of what is now DPS was a log cabin that opened in 1859 on the corner of 12th Street between Market and Larimer Streets. The district boundaries are coextensive with the city limits.

Denver's many colleges and universities range in age and study programs. The private University of Denver was the first institution of higher learning in the city and was founded in 1864. Other prominent Denver higher education institutions include Johnson & Wales University, Catholic (Jesuit) Regis University and the three public schools that constitute the Auraria Campus, University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and Community College of Denver. The city has Roman Catholic and Jewish institutions, as well as a health sciences school. In addition to those schools within the city, there are a number of schools located throughout the surrounding metro area.

Culture and contemporary life

Apollo Hall opened quickly after the city's founding in 1859 and staged many plays for eager settlers.[14] In the 1880s Horace Tabor built Denver's first Opera House. After the turn of the century, city leaders embarked on a city beautification program that created many of the city's parks, parkways, museums, and the Municipal Auditorium, which was home to the 1908 Democratic National Convention and is now known as the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Denver and the metropolitan areas around it continued to support culture. In 1988, voters in the Denver Metropolitan Area approved the Scientific and Cultural Facilities Tax (commonly known as SCFD), a .01 sales tax that contributes money to various cultural and scientific facilities and organizations throughout the Metro area.[66] The tax was renewed by voters in 1994 and 2004 and allows the SCFD to operate until 2018.[67]

Denver is home to many nationally recognized museums, including a new wing for the Denver Art Museum by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the second largest Performing arts center in the nation after Lincoln Center in New York City and bustling neighborhoods such as LoDo, filled with art galleries, restaurants, bars and clubs. That is part of the reason why Denver was recently recognized for the third year in a row as the best city for singles.[68] Denver's neighborhoods also continue their influx of diverse people and businesses while the city's cultural institutions grow and prosper. The city acquired the estate of abstract expressionist painter Clyfford Still in 2004 and plans to build a museum to exhibit his works near the Denver Art Museum by 2010.[69] Denver also has a museum of nature and science [1] where currently there is an amazing aquamarine specimen valued at over one million dollars and the state mineral of rhodochrosite can be found there as well. Every September there is a mineral show put on at the Convention center [2] at 451 E. 58th Avenue.

The Santa Fe Arts District on Santa Fe Drive

While Denver may not be as recognized for historical musical prominence as some other American cities, it still manages to have a very active pop, jazz, jam, folk, and classical music scene, which has nurtured several artists and genres to regional, national, and even international attention. Of particular note is Denver's importance in the folk scene of the 1960s and 1970s. Well-known folk artists such as Bob Dylan, Judy Collins and John Denver lived in Denver at various points during this time, and performed at local clubs.[70] More recent Denver-based artists include The Fray, The Flobots, 3OH!3, and Cephalic Carnage.

Because of its proximity to the mountains, and generally sunny weather, Denver has gained a reputation as being a very active, outdoor oriented city. Many Denver residents spend the weekends in the mountains; either skiing in the winter or hiking, climbing, kayaking and camping in the summer.

Sakura Square in downtown Denver

Additionally, Denver and the surrounding cities of the Front Range are home to a large number of local and national breweries. Many restaurants in the region have on-site breweries, and some of the larger brewers, including Coors and the New Belgium Brewing Company, offer tours. Overall, Denver ranks 1st in the nation in terms of beer production per capita, and second overall in terms of number of breweries.[71] The city also welcomes visitors from around the world when it hosts the annual Great American Beer Festival each fall.

Denver used to be a major trading center for beef and livestock when ranchers would drive (or later transport) cattle to the Denver Union Stockyards for sale. As a celebration of that history, each year for more than a century, Denver hosts the National Western Stock Show, the largest event of its kind among agricultural and western American lifestyle events in the world[citation needed], attracting as many as 10,000 animals and 700,000 attendees. The National Western Stock Show is held every January at the National Western Complex, northeast of downtown.

Denver hosts two of the largest Hispanic celebrations in the nation[citation needed]: Cinco de Mayo, in May, and El Grito de la Independencia, in September.

The Dragon Boat Festival in July, Moon Festival in September and Chinese New Year are annual events in Denver for the Chinese and Asian residents. Chinese hot pot (huo guo) and Korean BBQ restaurants have been growing in popularity. The Denver area has 2 Chinese newspapers, the Chinese American Post and the Colorado Chinese News.

Denver is also the setting for the The Bill Engvall Show, and the setting for the 18th season of MTV's The Real World. It was also the setting for the prime time drama Dynasty from 1981 to 1989 (although the show was mostly filmed in Los Angeles). From 1998 to 2002, the city's Alameda East Veterinary Hospital was home to the Animal Planet series Emergency Vets, which spun off three one-off documentary specials and the current Animal Planet series E-Vet Interns.


Denver is home to a variety of sports teams and belongs to a select group of U.S. cities with teams from four major sports. Denver is also one of only 3 cities in the nation that has a team representing all 8 of the major sports leagues in the US, joining Chicago and New York. Denver submitted the winning bid to host the 1976 Winter Olympics, but subsequently withdrew giving it the dubious distinction of being the only city to back out after winning a bid to host the Olympics. The Denver Broncos of the NFL, currently under head coach Josh McDaniels, have been able to draw crowds of nearly 70,000 since their AFL origins in the early 1960s and continue to draw fans today to their current home Invesco Field at Mile High. The team has advanced to the Super Bowl six times and won back-to-back in 1998 and '99. The Denver Broncos are owned by Pat Bowlen. In the 1980s and 1990s, one of the top priorities of former Mayor Federico Peña was bringing major league baseball to the city, an effort which culminated in the creation of the Colorado Rockies as an expansion franchise in 1993 and the opening of Coors Field in 1995. The Rockies advanced to the playoffs in 1995, but were eliminated in the first round. In 2007, their late-season winning streak saw them advance to the playoffs as a wild-card entrant, advance to and win the NL Championship Series and bring the World Series to Denver for the first time. Denver is also home to the Colorado Avalanche, a National Hockey League team that relocated from Quebec City in 1995. They have won two Stanley Cups (1996 and 2001) while in Denver and play at Pepsi Center, which also hosts the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association, the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League and the Colorado Crush of the Arena Football League. The Major League Soccer team Colorado Rapids play in Dick's Sporting Goods Park, an 18,000 seat stadium opened for the 2007 MLS season is located in Commerce City, a suburb of Denver.[72] In 2006 Denver established a professional outdoor lacrosse team, the Denver Outlaws. They play in Invesco Field and are sanctioned by Major League Lacrosse. In 2006, The Denver Outlaws won the Western Conference Championship.

Current sporting venues in Denver, Colorado

Adjacent counties and municipalities

North: Adams County, Commerce City
West: Jefferson County, Wheat Ridge, Lakeside, Mountain View, Edgewater, Lakewood, Arvada Denver
Enclave: Arapahoe County, Glendale
Adams County
East: Aurora
Arapahoe County
South: Arapahoe County, Bow Mar, Littleton, Sheridan, Englewood, Cherry Hills Village, Greenwood Village, Aurora, Highlands Ranch


The actual elevation of Denver is 5,260 feet. The West steps of the State Capitol Building are at an "official" elevation of 5,280 feet.

See also


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  2. ^ a b c d "Denver Facts Guide - Today". The City and County of Denver. Retrieved 2007-03-19. 
  3. ^ a b "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. 2004-12-01. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
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  7. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup" (JavaScript/HTML). United States Postal Service. August 18, 2007. Retrieved October 16, 2007. 
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  11. ^ "Denver: The Rocky Mountain metropolis time line". The City and County of Denver. January 1, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-30. 
  12. ^ Thomas J. Noel. "Denver History: The Arapaho Camp". City and County of Denver. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  13. ^ a b c d "State Government History". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. April 18, 2001. Retrieved November 28, 2006. 
  14. ^ a b c Thomas J. Noel. "Denver History: The Golden Gamble". City and County of Denver. Retrieved 2007-04-03. 
  15. ^ "Information from The Soapy Smith Preservation Trust website". Retrieved 2006-10-29. 
  16. ^ United Way History. The United Way. Retrieved: September 26, 2006.
  17. ^ US Population History from 1850. Demographia. Retrieved: July 20, 2006
  18. ^ Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877-1925 (New York: Bonanza Books, 1950), p.87.
  19. ^ "Climate Classification and Climatic Regions of the World". Retrieved March 15, 2010. 
  20. ^ a b c "Denver's Normals and Means 1971-200 and Extremes 1872-2009". National Weather Service. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  21. ^ Sunshine - average percent of possible NOAA National Climatic Data Center, retrieved on July 20, 2006
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  23. ^ Denver's Winter/Cold Season Statistics. National Weather Service. Retrieved on July 20, 2006.
  24. ^ Woods, Katherine (1998). 5. "Park Hill, Denver". Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) 4 (2): 89–103. Retrieved 2006-01-11. 
  25. ^ "Denver Parks & Recreation: Parks Division". City and County of Denver. Retrieved 2006-08-18. 
  26. ^ "Recreation Centers and Programs". City and County of Denver. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  27. ^ Etter, Carolyn and Don. City of Parks: The Preservation of Denver's Park and Parkway System. The Denver Public Library © 2005.
  28. ^ "Denver Mountain Parks History: Park Descriptions". Denver Mountain Parks Foundation. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  29. ^ "Denver Mountain Parks". City and County of Denver. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  30. ^ "Denver Mountain Parks: Red Rocks Park". City and County of Denver. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  31. ^ Lora J. Finnegan (January 2000). "Winter's tale - Winter Park Resort in Colorado". Sunset. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  32. ^ Campbell Gibson and Kay Jung (February 2005). "Historical Census Statistics On Population Totals By Race, 1790 to 1990, and By Hispanic Origin, 1970 to 1990, For Large Cities And Other Urban Places In The United States (Colorado)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2007-04-02. 
  33. ^ Campbell Gibson (June 1998). "Population of the 100 largest cities and other urban places in the United States: 1790 to 1990". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2006-07-21. .
  34. ^ "Annual County Population Estimates and Estimated Components of Change: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008 (CO-EST2008-alldata)" (CSV). 2008 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009-03-20. Retrieved 2009-05-21. 
  35. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007" (CSV). 2007 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  36. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population of Combined Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2006 (CBSA-EST2006-02)" (CSV). 2006 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2007-04-05. Retrieved 2007-04-05. 
  37. ^ "CBSA-EST2005-alldata: Population Estimates and Estimated Components of Change for Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas and Their Geographic Components: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2005" (CSV). 2005 Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. August 18, 2006. Retrieved December 28, 2006. 
  38. ^ "Denver County, Colorado QuickFacts". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2007-04-05. 
  39. ^ "80249 Zip Code (Denver, Colorado)". Retrieved 2008-12-03. 
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ "Denver city, Colorado - Selected Social Characteristics in the United States: 2005-2007". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  43. ^ Denver County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau
  44. ^ How Denver City Government Works. The City and County of Denver. Retrieved on September 27, 2007.
  45. ^ O'Driscoll, Patrick.Denver votes to legalize marijuana possession. November 3, 2005. Retrieved on July 21, 2006.
  46. ^ "Denver setting up panel to review marijuana cases". Daily Camera. Retrieved 2007-12-16. 
  47. ^ "Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Coalition Members". Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  48. ^ /Users/melmatt123/Desktop/DSCN1682.JPG "Denver: A Mile High And Climbing". Parks & Recreation. September 2001. /Users/melmatt123/Desktop/DSCN1682.JPG. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  49. ^ Kris Hudson (December 3, 2004). "Finally, it's built. Now for the test". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  50. ^ Denver: The Rocky Mountain Metropolis History. The City and County of Denver. Retrieved on July 21, 2006.
  51. ^ "Petroleum Engineers Data for Denver, Aurora, Colorado". 
  52. ^ Erin Johansen (February 25, 2005). "Cash register building to ring up a sale". The Denver Business Journal. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  53. ^ Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (October 2, 2007). "Monthly Economic Summary". Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  54. ^ "Denver Newspaper Agency". Retrieved 2006-12-15. 
  55. ^ "Denver’s 850 Miles of Off-Road Bike Trails". 
  56. ^ "Bicycle Friendly Communities: Denver" (PDF). League of American Bicylistsl. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  57. ^ C-470? E-470? I-470? W-470? I give up!
  58. ^ "T-REX Announces Opening Day for Southeast Light Rail Line". City and County of Denver. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  59. ^ "New light rail heads on down the tracks". Rocky Mountain News.,1299,DRMN_15_5151700,00.html. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  60. ^ "Light Rail". RTD Denver. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  61. ^ "Platte Valley & Western Model Railroad". PV&WMRC. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 
  62. ^ Yamanouchi, Kelly (2007-10-15). "DIA ranks fourth-busiest". Denver Post. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  63. ^ "Which airport is the world's biggest and busiest?". Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  64. ^ "How New York Works". How Stuff Works. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  65. ^ Denver Public Schools
  66. ^ "SCFD: Making It Possible". Scientific & Cultural Facilities District. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  67. ^ "SCFD: Crafted for and by the People". Scientific & Cultural Facilities District. Retrieved 2007-04-03. 
  68. ^ Denver-Boulder No.1 again with singles. The Denver Business Journal. July 25, 2006. Retrieved on July 29, 2006.
  69. ^ "Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, Colorado". Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, Colorado. Retrieved 2007-10-11. 
  70. ^ "Landmarks and Local Laughs". Colorado Arts Net. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  71. ^ "Napa Valley of the Beer World". Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  72. ^ Dick's Sporting Goods Park

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

The Denver skyline
The Denver skyline

Denver is the capital city of Colorado, USA and the largest city in the state. Known as "The Mile-High City", Denver has an altitude of 5,280 feet/1,600 meters and lies where the Midwestern plains give way to the Rocky Mountains. The city has marked the exact "Mile High" point by a gold band embedded in the steps of the state capitol building.


Denver is a bustling city of over 579,000 people supporting a fast growing metropolitan area of nearly 3 million people. The city embraces its cowboy and mining past, but also looks toward the future with a vibrant arts and performing arts scene, dozens of great outdoor festivals, and distinct neighborhoods each offering a unique experience. You'll find everything a cosmopolitan city has to offer, plus easy access to the beautiful Rocky Mountains, which are only 15 miles west of town.

Denver does have its growing pains. Urban sprawl is becoming a problem, with the metropolitan area sometimes growing faster than the infrastructure can really handle, especially with public transportation. Denver is generally a driving city, and problems with pollution and traffic are a part of everyday life. Large mass transportation and freeway expansion projects are underway to keep up with the city's growth, including the popular light rail system. Denver's street grid pattern is fairly efficient as well, though there is often confusion at the intersections of the NE-SW, NW-SE downtown grid, with the N-S, E-W grid of the rest of the city.

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 44 46 52 61 70 81 88 85 76 66 52 44
Nightly lows (°F) 16 20 25 34 44 52 58 56 47 36 25 17
Precipitation (in) 0.5 0.6 1.3 1.7 2.4 1.8 1.9 1.5 1.3 1 0.9 0.6

Check Denver's 7 day forecast at NOAA

Denver residents enjoy a mild climate and tons of sunshine, but they are subject to four very pronounced seasons.

The winter months of December through March can and do bring biting temperatures and heavy snow to the region. While Denver does receive a major blizzard every 6 years on average, most snowstorms bring less than 8 inches of snow, and the foothills just west of Denver get a whole lot more. Winter is also when the Denver area gets pounded by a phenomenon known as the "chinook". That's when air flows over the mountains to the west and sinks on the leeward (eastern) slopes of the foothills and warms up. This raises air temperatures dramatically, bringing strong wind gusts and lasting for several days. If you're planning to visit Denver during the winter, be prepared with full winter gear, but consider packing a light sweater or t-shirt; you never know what you may be treated to (though it'll probably involve sun and blue skies).

Thunderstorms are common in late spring and fall
Thunderstorms are common in late spring and fall

Spring in Denver is pleasant, though generally rather brief. Trees begin budding by late March and are in full leaf by late April to mid May. March, on average, is Denver's snowiest month. Severe weather is most prominent in Denver during June, so keep your eyes to the skies (and the local weather reports) if you're visiting during this time.

By mid-June, Denver enters its summer season. Temperatures typically rise in earnest at this time, with most heat waves beginning toward the end of June and continuing through July, usually Denver's hottest month. By mid-July, the southwest monsoon kicks in. Temperatures rise rapidly from morning through early afternoon, when thunderstorms develop over the mountains and foothills to the west and spread east over the Denver area. These heavy afternoon rains can bring those high temps down fast. This trend generally sticks around until late August. By then, there's a noticeable difference in evening and night time temperatures as the days get shorter and average temperatures begin to drop. Slather on that sunscreen all summer long; the rays are strong and the air is dry, with temperatures often reaching the upper 90s in July and August.

Autumn is a peaceful time to visit, with mild temperatures, little severe weather and lots of that famous clear blue sky. You'll get to see the trees display their fall colors, which usually peak around mid-September in the mountains and October in the city itself. October usually brings the first snowfall of the season to Denver, although it's not usually heavy. By November, it's clear that winter is on its way, with plenty of clouds, some snow and much cooler temperatures.

The Denver International Airport main terminal.
The Denver International Airport main terminal.

Denver International Airport [1], (IATA: DEN, ICAO: KDEN). Commonly referred to as DIA, it's about 20 miles east of downtown. Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines all maintain hubs in Concourses A, B, and C respectively. Most other major domestic carriers also have service here.

  • Frontier Airlines [2]. Discount carrier with its hub at DIA's Concourse A and service to and from over 60 cities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central America.
  • United Airlines [3]. The largest carrier at the airport, with service across the nation and the world from Concourse B.
  • Southwest Airlines [4]. The quintessential discount airline maintains its fastest-growing hub in Concourse C.

The airport is set amidst rolling plains, pretty far from any conceivable local destination. The public transportation service skyRide [5] offers 5 bus routes from the airport with several stops each, delivering you to many "Park and Ride" locations in the metro area for $6-$10 one way. Purchase tickets at the RTD desk in the main terminal. The airport can be crowded due to a post-9/11 security redesign that created a single central screening station, followed by a train that passengers must take to Concourses B and C. It can take up to an hour to get from the ticket line to the gate, so travelers should get to the airport at least 1.5 hours before their scheduled departure time. There are a number of airport shuttles [6] you can take from DIA to the city and beyond.

Private pilots mostly fly into Centennial Airport (ICAO: KAPA), south of town. On warm days the density altitude may make takeoffs difficult; Centennial has long runways for this reason, and to accommodate a large volume of private jet traffic. Flight visibility in the Denver area is often in excess of 100 miles; weather fronts tend to travel quickly N-S along the front range. For small planes, any direction but west is a good choice.

  • I-25 (north and south), I-70 (east and west), and I-76 (northeast) are the major interstates leading in and out of the city. I-225 and I-270 cross the Denver area.
  • U.S. Highway 40 connects Denver to Salt Lake City to the west.
  • Interstate 70 connects Denver to Summit County, the location of many major ski areas, to the west.
  • Interstate 25 connects Denver to Colorado Springs in the south and Cheyenne, Wyoming in the north.
  • U.S. Highway 36 connects to the northwestern suburbs and on to Boulder.
  • C-470 Connects to the southern end of E-470 (also accessible from I-25) leading to the south, southwest, and western suburbs.
  • Toll Roads There are a couple of major toll roads in the Denver area, and they can help you avoid some serious rush hour traffic on I-70 and I-25.
    • E-470 [7] connects the airport to the southeast, east, northeast and northwest suburbs, C-470 at its southern terminus, and the Northwest Parkway at its northern terminus, leading to Boulder. E-470 is a "cashless" toll road - there are no longer any toll plazas and no way to pay tolls except via an in-car device or a billing service. If renting a car, check to see if the rental car agency provides for proper billing; otherwise, you may be subject to billed tolls and hefty service charges. Tolls are $2-4 and without an in-car device, service charges can run to $25 or more.
    • Northwest Parkway [8] connects to the north end of E-470 leading to north, northeast and northwest suburbs, and Boulder. Also accessible from I-25. Tolls are up to $3 each, and booths only accept cash. There's no attendant between 10PM and 6AM, so pay attention to the signs; though some booths still accept exact change, others require you to pay online or by mail. Visit the Parkway's website [9] for instructions.
  • Amtrak [10] serves Denver's Union Station (DEN). The California Zephyr [11] stops there once a day, continuing east to Chicago and west to Emeryville, California. The station is currently undergoing renovations. When they're complete, it will become the central terminal for bus, light rail, commuter rail, and Amtrak service for the region.
  • Greyhound [12] The bus station is downtown at 1055 19th St, just a few blocks away from Coors Field and other central attractions. Serviced by Greyhound and skyRide buses, the station also has storage lockers which can be rented hourly.

Ditch the car

Visit the website [13] to learn how you can get around Denver without the benefit of an automobile. Denver's weather is perfect for walking and cycling, so take advantage of it if you can!

Map of Downtown Denver
Map of Downtown Denver
  • Numbered streets run east-west in the north half of the metro area, including suburbs. Ellsworth Avenue is the "equatorial" street. Numbered streets increase as you travel north and are generally called avenues. Avenues south of Ellsworth are named.
  • Named streets run north-south. Broadway is the "meridian" street. Ordered alphabetically going up as you travel east or west away from city center. Addresses on named streets correspond to intersecting numbered streets, so "1701 Broadway" is at 17th and Broadway. North-south streets are generally called streets, not avenues.
  • Downtown streets: The diagonal layout of the downtown area can be tricky, especially for first-time visitors. North of Colfax and west of Broadway, the streets are canted 45 degrees from all other streets in the city. The transition between the two systems is confusing even for locals. Southeast-northwest streets are numbered, while southwest-northeast streets are named. As this was the original grid system of Denver, some vestiges of it exist outside of downtown, creating diagonal cuts in certain parts of the city. Some of those streets include Park Avenue, Speer Boulevard and Morrison Road.

By car


With Denver's considerable sprawl, car rentals are the most convenient form of transportation for visitors. Local companies tend to offer better prices, but national chains might be more convenient as far as return policies and hours.

Rental companies include:

  • Alamo Rent A Car, (toll free: +1 800 462-5266), [14].  edit
  • Avis Rent A Car, (toll free: +1 800 331-1212), [15].  edit
  • Budget Rent A Car, (toll free: +1 800 527-0700), [16].  edit
  • Dollar Rent A Car, (toll free: +1 800 800-3665), [17].  edit
  • E-Z Rent A Car, (toll free: +1 800 277-5171), [18].  edit
  • Enterprise Rent A Car, (toll free: +1 800 261-7331), [19].  edit
  • Hertz Car Rental, (toll free: +1 800 654-3131), [20].  edit
  • Thrifty, (toll free: +1 800 847-4389), [21].  edit


Meters are free on Sunday, and run until 10PM on weekdays. In the downtown area near Coors Field, The Pepsi Center, and LoDo, there is pretty much no free parking on weekdays. In some areas a few blocks from the city center there are a few non-metered spots within reasonable walking distance of downtown. However, just because you don't see a meter doesn't mean that parking is free. Denver is increasingly using "European-style" meters, where you purchase a paper ticket from a machine somewhere on the block and place it on your dashboard.

Areas outside of the downtown core (20th St, Speer, Wynkoop St, Colfax and Broadway) usually have meters that end at 6PM and are free on weekends, so parking is much easier during those times. The area just northwest of downtown, across the train tracks from Union Station, has free 2-hour parking spots.

The light rail station at 16th and Stout in downtown Denver.
The light rail station at 16th and Stout in downtown Denver.

The RTD (Regional Transportation District) [22] operates public transit throughout the Denver area, including buses and light rail.

In 2004, voters approved FasTracks [23], a plan to significantly expand Denver's public transportation system. However, this plan won't be completed until around 2016, so public transportation is still somewhat sparse outside the downtown area.

Denver's existing light rail [24] system, though limited, can efficiently get you from downtown to some south central and southeast suburbs. One light rail line travels parallel to I-25 from the southern part of the Denver metro area past the Tech Center, with a small spur on I-225. Another light rail line connects downtown Denver to Englewood and Littleton. Nearly all light rail lines get you to downtown Denver either through central downtown via the Convention Center or to Union Station past INVESCO Field and the Pepsi Center. Light rail tickets must be purchased (cash, Visa or MasterCard) from vending machines at the stations before boarding the trains. They cost between $2 and $4.50, depending on how far you travel.

There are also many RTD buses you can take throughout the city. Buses are $2 a trip with a free transfer that's valid for two hours. RTD runs a free shuttle along the 16th Street pedestrian mall, which is a little over a mile long and takes you close to most places downtown. More information about RTD can be found at the Market Street and Civic Center bus stations at either end of 16th street in downtown.


Denver is a vibrant city with plenty of attractions for visitors, plus a diverse collection of neighborhoods that can be attractions in themselves. Many of Denver's older areas are the perfect density for exploration; you'll find an an interesting mix of apartments and homes with flowery front gardens, wide flagstone sidewalks, bright green lawns and big, shady trees. Capitol Hill, Highlands, Baker, Berkeley, Uptown, Sloan's Lake, Cheesman, Washington, City and Congress Parks are just some of the neighborhoods bustling with people and places to see.

Denver has many beautiful parks that are full of colorful gardens, meandering paths, crystal clear lakes, abundant wildlife and recreation opportunities. The city has a rich pioneer history, and there are plenty of museums where you can learn all about it. It's also a very environmentally conscious city, with one of the nation’s first municipal “Green Fleets”, public transit vehicles using hybrid and alternative fuel and a city tree-planting initiative. Hop on a green bus, grab a bike or just walk around to discover Denver.

  • Black American West Museum & Heritage Center, 3091 California St, +1 303 482-2242, [25]. September-May: Tu-Sa 10AM-2PM, June-August: Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM. Set in the home of Dr. Justina Ford, Colorado's first Black woman doctor, this museum is dedicated to the contributions of Black pioneers in the Old West. $8 adults, $7 seniors, $6 children.   edit
  • Byers-Evans House Museum, 1310 Bannock St, +1 303 620-4933, [26]. Tu-Su 11AM-3PM (guided tours at 11AM, 12:30PM and 2PM). One of Denver's great historic homes, built in 1883 by Rocky Mountain News publisher Williams Byers and elegantly furnished with original turn of the (20th) century pieces. Tour the house or catch featured exhibitions in the gallery. $5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 children (children under 6 free).  edit
  • Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd, +1 303 322-7009, [27]. Open every day of the year except Christmas Day. Exhibitions, planetarium and IMAX.  edit
  • Children's Museum of Denver, 2121 Children's Museum Dr, +1 303 433-7444 (fax: +1 303 433-9520), [28]. This educational museum takes a fun, hands-on approach to learning.  edit
  • Colorado Historical Society, 1300 Broadway, +1 303 866-3682, [29]. Home of the Colorado History Museum and the Stephen H. Hart Library. Exhibits at the museum and historical sites throughout Colorado.  edit
  • Denver Art Museum, 100 W 14th Ave Pkwy, +1 720 865-5000, [30]. Tu-Th 10AM-5PM, F 10AM-10PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon–5PM. Closed M and major holidays. A huge museum with art from all over the world. You'll want to give yourself several hours to properly explore the place. Free admission on the first Saturday of the month!  edit
  • Denver Firefighters Museum, 1326 Tremont Place, +1 303 892-1436, [31]. M-Sa 10AM-4PM. Historical and interactive exhibits, activities and special events celebrating Denver's firefighters. $6 adults, $5 seniors, $4 children.  edit
  • Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys, 1880 Gaylord St, +1 303 322-1053, [32]. W-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 1PM-4PM. Houses, trains, planes, circuses and more. Everything's tiny except the giant teddy bears! $6 adults, $5 seniors, $4 children (children under age 5 free).  edit
  • Forney Transportation Museum, 4303 Brighton Blvd, +1 303 297-1113, [33]. M-Sa 9AM-5PM. $7 adults, $6 seniors, children $4.50.  edit
  • Molly Brown House Museum, 1340 Pennsylvania St, [34]. This restored Victorian was once home to labor reformist, actress and Titanic survivor Margaret Brown. It now showcases that era of Colorado history through exhibits and special events.  edit
  • Museo de las Americas, 861 Santa Fe Dr, +1 303 571-4401, [35]. Tu-F 10AM-5PM, Sa-Su 12PM-5PM. Denver is home to a large and growing Latino population, and this museum focuses on their art and heritage. $4 adults, $3 students/seniors, children under age 13 free.  edit
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, 1485 Delgany St, +1 303 298-7554, [36]. Tu–Th 10AM–6PM, F 10AM–10PM, Sa-Su 10AM–6PM. Housed in an ultra-modern building downtown, this innovative museum seeks to engage the community with workshops, films, lectures, and a relaxing, open environment. Visit the rooftop deck for 360-degree views of Denver, grab a quick bite in the cafe, and check out the functional public performance space called The Lane. $10 adults, $5 students/seniors, children under 6 free.  edit
  • Denver Mint, 320 West Colfax Ave, [37]. Thanks to this place, more U.S. money is made in Denver than anywhere else in the world. Fish a coin out of your pocket and look for the "D" on the face side (usually in the bottom right quadrant). That means the money was minted in Denver. Advance registration is required for all mint tours.  edit
  • Platte Valley & Western Model Railroad Club, 1701 Wynkoop (Denver's Union Station) (basement of Denver's Union Station), 303-325-5143, [38]. F 7PM-9PM. A room that was used in the 1900s as the historic station’s jail has been remodeled to house two model railroads depicting Rocky Mountain routes of the 1950s. Check the club’s website for a full schedule of dates and activities. Free.   edit
  • City Park, (between Colorado Boulevard, York Street, 26th Avenue and 17th Avenue). Enjoy the Denver sunshine at this 330-acre urban park east of downtown. Two lakes, numerous fields, playgrounds, and a golf course.  edit
  • Washington Park. Beautiful and lush Denver park, with lakes, flower gardens, a recreation center, soccer fields and tennis courts.... Over 160 acres of natural beauty, surrounded by turn of the 19th Century homes. A favorite jogging destination.  edit
  • Denver Botanic Gardens, 1005 York St, +1 720 865-3500, [39]. Come for the array of flowers and plants from around the world, stay for the peace and quiet (and the free WiFi!), then check out the bonus attractions. Above the gardens' bistro, you'll find Denver's first public green roof, a living example of the benefits of green design. Space and science buffs won't want to miss the OmniGlobe exhibit, a spherical simulation of the Earth from space.  edit
  • Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele St, +1 303 376-4800, [40]. Open every day of the year, hours vary by season. Denver zoo's pride is Bear Mountain, created using casts of actual Colorado rock outcroppings to simulate the bears' natural habitat. For a different way to watch the wildlife, hop on the Pioneer Train, the first train in a U.S. zoo to be powered by natural gas. Other exhibits include an indoor rainforest and the 7-acre Primate Panorama. $5-12.  edit
  • Chamberlin Observatory, 2930 East Warren Ave, +1 303 871-5172, [41]. Built in 1890, this working observatory is a historic landmark and a pride of the University of Denver. Star Parties and other events are open to the public.  edit
Colorado State Capitol Building
Colorado State Capitol Building
  • Colorado State Capitol, 200 East Colfax Ave, +1 303 866-2604, [42]. Stand on the step that marks the exact point where the Mile High City reaches it's one-mile elevation! You can call yourself the Mile High Person.  edit


Late spring and early autumn are excellent seasons to do things outdoors in Denver. Besides the city's various lush green parks, there are plenty of outdoor festivals, sports, and gondola rides. (Yes, gondola rides.) In winter, the snow-peaked mountains in the distance and the crisp air on your cheeks make it the perfect time to tour Denver's famous breweries or check out the downtown arts scene.

  • Butterfly Pavilion, 6252 West 104th Ave, Westminster (12 miles northwest of downtown Denver), +1 303 469-5441, [43]. 9AM-4:15PM daily. Learn about invertebrates, science and conservation through fun, interactive exhibits ideal for families with kids. All ages enjoy visiting their tropical conservatory, which is filled with 1,200 free-flying butterflies. $5-8.  edit
  • Six Flags Elitch Gardens, [44]. A huge amusement park with rides and family entertainment.  edit
  • Waterworld, [45]. Open last weekend in May through Labor Day. One of the largest family water parks in the U.S.  edit
  • Colorado Avalanche, Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Circle, +1 303 405-1100, [46]. National Hockey League.
  • Colorado Rockies, Coors Field, 2001 Blake Street, +1 303 762-5437, [47]. Major League Baseball.
  • Denver Broncos, Invesco Field at Mile High, 1701 Bryant Street, +1 720 258-3333, [48]. National Football League.
  • Denver Nuggets, Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Circle, +1 303 405-1100, [49]. National Basketball Association.
  • Colorado Mammoth, Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Circle, +1 303 405-1100, [50]. National Lacrosse League.
  • Colorado Rapids, Dick's Sporting Goods Park, 6000 Victory Way, Commerce City +1 303 727-3500, [51]. Major League Soccer.
  • Coors Brewery, 17735 W 32nd Avenue, Golden, +1 303 277-2337, [52]. Coors is brewed with Rocky Mountain water, and you can taste some after you tour the original brewery in Golden. Kids are welcome, if accompanied by an adult.  edit
  • Great Divide Brewing Company, 2201 Arapahoe Street, +1 303 296-9460, [53]. This celebrated local microbrewery is helping make Denver an international destination for beer-lovers. Learn firsthand how they do it. Tours happen Monday-Saturday. Free.  edit
  • Venice on the Creek, Creekfront Plaza (Larimer St between Speer Blvd and 14th St), +1 303 893-0750, [54]. June-August: Th-Su 5PM-10PM. It's just like you're in Venice. Only you're in Denver. Take a relaxing ride in a punt (very similar to an Italian gondola) on Cherry Creek. Your guide will tell you about city history while navigating the shallow waters around downtown. Tours leave every 15 minutes, and reservations are recommended. $20-75.  edit
  • Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Denver Performing Arts Complex (Speer St and Arapahoe St), +1 303 893-4100, [55]. Spend an evening at the theater watching anything from revivals to world premieres. The center hosts a Tony Award-winning professional resident company, as well as touring productions.  edit
  • Colorado Ballet, Ellie Caulkins Opera House (in the Denver Performing Arts Complex), +1 303 837-8888, [56]. September-April. Founded in 1951, this internationally acclaimed company presents classical and contemporary ballets.  edit
  • Opera Colorado, Ellie Caulkins Opera House (in the Denver Performing Arts Complex), +1 303 778-1500, [57]. November-May. This young company performs classic operas in their downtown venue. $30-160.  edit
  • Bovine Metropolis Theater, 1527 Champa St, +1 303 758-4722, [58]. Nope, no cows on stage. Just exciting and surprising improv comedy shows five nights a week. All ages. $5-16.  edit
  • Comedy Works, 1226 15th St (between Larimer and Lawrence in Larimer Square), +1 303 595-3637, [59]. Laugh it up with local comedians as well as big name acts. 21 and up. $10-30 tickets.  edit
  • Impulse Theater, 1634 18th St, +1 303 297-2111, [60]. Th-Sa. At Denver's original improv comedy venue, no two shows are ever the same! Great for group events and appropriate for all ages. $18.  edit
  • January National Western Stock Show & Rodeo, Martin Luther King Parade, Indian Market
  • February Colorado Garden and Home Show, Denver Restaurant Week, Buffalo Bill's Birthday Party
  • March St. Patrick's Day Parade, Denver March Powwow, Starz Global Lens Film Festival
  • April Doors Open Denver, Colorado Rockies Home Opener, KBCO Kinetics
  • May Cinco de Mayo, Tesoro Indian Market and Powwow, Downtown Denver Festival of the Arts, Colorado Colfax Marathon also includes Denver's Navy Week.
  • June Colorado Renaissance Festival, Cherry Blossom Festival, Comcast La Piazza dell’Arte, Do At The Zoo, PrideFest, The People's Fair, Highland Street Fair
  • July Cherry Creek Arts Festival, The INTERNATIONAL at Castle Pines, Colorado Irish Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Evergreen Jazz Festival
  • August Rocky Mountain Balloon Festival (the website says 2009 is cancelled)
  • September A Taste of Colorado, Brew At The Zoo, Annual Oktoberfest, Festival Italiano
  • October Fright Fest, Great American Beer Festival, Denver Mariachi Festival, Denver Marathon
  • November Starz International Film Festival, Denver International Wine Festival, Downtown Denver, Grand Illumination
  • December Mile High Holidays, Blossoms of Light, Zoo Lights, 9News Parade of Lights
  • Art Institute of Colorado, [61] 1200 Lincoln Street, +1 303 837-0825 (Toll Free: +1 800-275-2420).
  • Central Library, 10 W 14th Ave Pkwy, +1 720-865-1111, [62]. "M-Tu 10AM-8PM, W-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM" Denver Public Library's Central Library was designed by acclaimed architect Michael Graves, was host to the G7 Summit in 1997 and offers a wealth of books and publications of all kinds. The library also has free Internet access and its Western History collection is considered one of the best in the world. Visit the Denver Public Library's website [63] for details on this and other branches.
  • Community College of Denver, [64]
  • Emily Griffith Opportunity School, [65]. The oldest adult vocational/technical school in the United States.
  • Johnson & Wales University, 7150 Montview Boulevard, +1 303 256-9300 (Toll Free: +1 877 JWU-DENVER), [66].
  • Metropolitan State College of Denver, [67].
  • University of Colorado Denver, 1380 Lawrence St, +1 303 556-5970, [68].
  • University of Denver, 2199 S University Blvd, +1 303 871-2000, [69].


Denver is the main business center of the Mountain West, with major industries in the Denver metro area including Technology, Telecom, Defense, and Tourism.

16th Street and the State Capitol during the holiday season.
16th Street and the State Capitol during the holiday season.


There are a number of shopping areas in Denver. The two most prominent are the 16th Street Mall, and the Cherry Creek Shopping District.

  • The 16th Street Mall runs the near entire length of 16th St. in downtown Denver. It is home to a number of chain stores, as well as novelty shops. It is dominated by the Denver Pavilions, an "urban mall," on the southeast end of the street.
  • The Cherry Creek Shopping District [70] sits southeast of downtown Denver, and hosts some of the most expensive stores in the metropolitan area. The Cherry Creek Shopping Mall is the epicenter of this district.
  • Larimer Square offers some of the best shopping districts in the city and was one of the first urban shopping concept, dating back to the 1960's. The area is full of all kinds of stuff from clothing to furniture. Check out the district's rich history, as well. It is a nice place because almost everything is very architecturally eye-pleasing, which is nice when shopping. Check the area between 14th Street and 16th.
  • Colfax Avenue and Capitol Hill offer some of the most eclectic retailers including Hollywood Posters [71], Capitol Hill Books [72], and Independent Records [73].
  • The Tattered Cover, 2526 East Colfax Ave, +1 303 322-7727, [74]. The area's largest and best-known bookstore, selling new books. The bookstore hosts author readings and other educational programs.  edit


Mexican food is abundant and satisfying and takes a local Denver flavor. Green Chili is the order of the day: a brown, chunky and spicy sauce made from pork and Pueblo or Hatch green chilies that works well on everything from chorizo and eggs to tamales. Denver is also known for "western" food using ingredients such as angus beef, buffalo, rattlesnake, cutthroat trout and Rocky Mountain oysters. The city also embraces its cultural diversity with a wide-range of ethnic restaurants. Southeast Asian restaurants are especially abundant with a multitude of Thai and Vietnamese restaurants in every style and price range. Denver has most types of cuisine as other large cities and has several restaurants recently noted in top food publications. A recently passed bill had outlawed smoking in bars and restaurants statewide. However, some places with outdoor patios still allow smoking there.

The restaurant section of the weekly independent newspaper Westword [75] (available for free every Thursday at newsstands and locations across the city) is a good place to find the food your interested in for your price-range and location. Below is a sampling of some consistently good choices.

  • Benny Blanco's Slice of the Bronx, 616 E. 13th Ave., +1 303-831-1346. Benny Blanco's is a classic hole-in-the-wall pizza joint, and in this case the phrase is literal. There's no seating, but big, New York-style slices fresh from the oven can be had for as little as $2 a slice.
  • Blue Bonnet, 457 S Broadway, +1 303-778-0147. A noisy bar featuring southwest/Tex-Mex in Denver with most items under $10. There is patio seating and two separate dining rooms that are a bit quieter than the main bar. Consistently rated a "Best Of" in various local polls.
  • Breakfast King, 300 W Mississippi, +1 303-733-0795. The Breakfast King is a late night staple of Denver, and one of the best greasy spoons. Open 24 hours and it's also walking distance from the Broadway LR station.
  • Buenos Aires Pizzeria, 1319 22nd St., +1 303-296-6710. An Argentinean-style pizza joint with unusual topping choices and plenty of $2 empanada (small savory turnovers) offerings.
  • Casa Bonita, 6715 W. Colfax, +1 303-232-5115. A gargantuan (52,000 sq. ft.) Mexican restaurant in Lakewood known more for the entertainment than for the food. An inexpensive place to bring the family, the kids will love the cliff divers, trained "gorilla", video arcade and other entertainment.
  • Clancy's Irish Pub, Located a wee bit west o' Kipling and 38th Ave. Daily 11AM-10PM. Clancy's serves a variety of Anglo-Irish and domestic favorites, including Corned Beef and Cabbage, Fish n' Chips, (listed by Westword as the best in town.) Shepard's Pie, Rueben sandwitches and pint after pint Guinness Stout on tap.
  • El Taco de Mexico, 714 Santa Fe Dr., +1 303-623-3926 [76]. This small Mexican lunch-counter offers many delicious food choices for the adventurous palate.
  • Heaven Dragon 16255 W 64th Ave, +1 720-898-9909. Though not in Denver proper (rather, it's in the suburb of Arvada) this often-overlooked Chinese restaurant may be among the best in the entire state of Colorado. With prices that will feed even a large family for under $40, its food is consistently ranked by reviewers as spectacular, to the point where visiting politicians (congressmen, governors, even President George W. Bush) often go out of their way to stop there. The atmosphere is superb--very formal and elegant, despite the low prices. A bit of a hike from the city, however--20 or 30 minutes from downtown on a good day.
  • Illegal Pete's 1530 16th St. #101, +1 303-623-2169, [77]. A local favorite hangout with great, cheap burritos! Its patio is located directly on the 16th St Mall, making it a great place to people watch.
  • Jerusalem, 1890 E Evans Ave., +1 303-777-8828. Open until 3AM, and within walking distance of the University of Denver, this small but excellent Middle Eastern restaurant offers great no-frills food in a laid-back and hip atmosphere.
  • Far East Center, on Federal Boulevard between Alameda and Mississippi. Several southeast Asian restaurants located in this area offer a wide variety of pho, noodle houses, upscale Vietnamese, dim sum and other Asian cuisines. Pho 95, Pho Duy, Super Star Asian and Saigon Bowl are a few of the places to try in this diverse and delicious culinary corridor.
  • Leela European Cafe, 820 15th St., +1 303-534-2255. Leela's is a combination bar/coffeehouse/cafe which is a favorite among the college crowd. There's good Italian coffee, great music (live on some nights), and great panini sandwiches. Leela's is open 24 hours as well, and free wireless internet is available, so you can be productive (or not) while waiting for your friends to arrive.
  • Pete's Kitchen, 1962 E. Colfax Avenue, +1 303-321-3139. [78] This combination Greek restaurant and short-order diner is open 24 hours a day and has a great Greek salad and French toast. It's a favorite of local celebrities as well.
  • Taqueria Patzcuaro, 2616 West 32nd, +1 303-455-4389. This neighborhood favorite has the most amazing tacos and green chili.
  • Tommy's Thai, 3410 East Colfax, +1 303-377-4244.
  • Two-Fisted Mario's Pizza, Market and 16th, +1 303-623-3523. Two-Fisted Mario's has excellent East-coast style pizza on the cheap ($2 a slice, and it's a big slice), and is open until 3AM, so you can grab a pie after drinking microbrews into the wee hours of the morning.
  • Bump n' Grind, 439 E 17th Ave, +1 303 861-4841. Tu 7AM-11:30AM, W 7AM-2:30PM, Th-F 7AM-11PM, Sa 10AM-11PM, Su 10AM-2:30PM. The fabulous and famous spot for Petticoat Brunch, where waiters become "waitresses" every weekend. The food is fresh and delicious western fare: generously portioned, creatively named, and served on kitschy dishes. The place is alive with bright colors, interestingly positioned Barbie Dolls and surprise lap dances. No drag on weekdays and evenings, but still a very fun place to be. $5-15.  edit
  • D Bar Desserts, 1475 E. 17th Avenue, "+1" 303-861-4710. Dessert is the main course at d Bar, especially with celebrity chef Keegan Gerhard making the delectable desserts. The menu does includes savory items as well as Allegro Coffee to go with your sweets.
  • Racine's, 650 Sherman St ., +1 303-595-0418. THE restaurant for both Denver's power brokers and proletariats with its simple yet elegant American menu and casual yet sophisticated decor.
  • Jack n Grill, 2524 Federal Blvd., +1 303-964-9544. Excellent New Mexico-style food with heaping portions usually soaked in your choice of a green or red chili or for the indecisive, both.
  • New Saigon, 630 S Federal Blvd., +1 303-936-4954, [79]. Denver is home to a sizable Southeast Asian population that shows off its unique culinary talents at this great Vietnamese community institution.
  • Empress Seafood, 2825 W Alameda Av., +1 303-922-2822. Empress has long been the queen of dim-sum and affordable yet flavorful seafood selections from all over Asia.
  • Le Central, 112 E. 8th Ave., +1 303-863-8094. A surprisingly affordable French restaurant in central Denver offers Provence-style French food such as moules et frites (mussels and fries). A great choice for the fancy dinner without the fancy check.
  • Imperial Chinese, 431 S. Broadway. +1 303-698-2800, [80]. Simply put, The Imperial is Denver's premier Chinese restaurant and has been for the over 20 years it's been in existence. Dinner entrées range from $10-$30, with all but the Peking Duck and various specials under $22.
  • 1515 Restaurant, 1515 Market St., +1 303 571-0011‎. Fine dining. Reservations are recommended.
  • The 9th Door, 1808 Blake Street, +1 303 293-2111, [81] Spanish tapas and wine, desserts and atmosphere.
  • Barolo Grill, 3030 E 6th Av., +1 303-393-1040. Decadent Italian.
  • The Black Pearl, 1529 S Pearl St, +1 303-777-0500, [82]
  • Buckhorn Exchange, 1000 Osage Street, +1 303-534-9505, [83] The oldest continuously operating restaurant in Denver, noted for its "western" menu and decor. Right next to the 10th and Osage light rail stop. Famous for offering game meat such as elk, bison, and venison.
  • The Fort, 19192 Highway 8, Morrison. Though a bit of a drive, The Fort is possibly Denver's most famous restaurant. It sits just on the edge of suburban Denver and is perhaps most famous for hosting a dinner during the G7 conference in 1997. Reservations highly recommended.
  • Lime Restaurant, 1416 Larimer St # C, +1 303 893-5463‎. A favorite for Mexican and margaritas.
  • Luca d'Italia, 711 Grant St., +1 303-832-6600, [84]
  • Mizuna, 225 E 7th Av., +1 303-832-4778, [85]
  • Strings, 1700 Humboldt St. Near the heart of downtown Strings is a fantastic restaurant with entrée prices ranging from $12-40 or so, and an excellent wine list. Reservations highly recommended.
  • Sushi Den, 1487 S Pearl St, +1 303-777-0826, [86]
  • Venice Ristorante Italiano, 1700 Wynkoop St. Amazing, authentic Italian. Very expensive. Very romantic. Very Good. Reservations highly recommended.
  • Vesta Dipping Grill, 1822 Blake St., LoDo, +1 303-296-1970, [87] Each menu item at this hip LoDo restaurant comes with your choice of three dipping sauces for a unique and interactive meal.
  • Zengo Restaurant, 1610 Little Raven St, +1 720 904-0965‎, [88]. Fusion dining in a trendy establishment.


Colorado produces more beer by volume than any other state and Denver ranks first for US cities. In fact, Denver mayor John Hickenlooper was a microbrewer before running for office. Notable breweries in Denver and environs include:

  • Coors Brewery [89]
  • Great Divide Brewing Co. [90]
  • Flying Dog [91]
  • Breckenridge Brewery [92]
  • Wynkoop Brewing Company [93]
  • Bull & Bush [94].
  • New Belgium [95], maker of the very popular Fat Tire, is based to the north in Fort Collins.
  • Rock Bottom [96], a national chain of brewpubs, is based in Louisville (near Boulder).

One should keep in mind that the effects of alcohol are magnified at higher elevations, so people may find themselves inebriated more quickly and with greater effect than they would at lower altitudes. Moderation is probably a good idea until you understand your body's reaction to alcohol and can acclimatize to its effects at higher elevations.

That said, the following are some of the best bar-hopping locales in the city:

Bars in Lower Downtown (LoDo)

LoDo is the name Colorado locals have given the Lower Downtown district of Denver. It's a great place for meals, entertainment, and nightlife, where restored Victorian buildings now house more than 90 sports bars, brew pubs, jazz clubs, and restaurants.

  • My Brother's Bar (Brother's), 2376 15th St, +1 303-455-9991. Brother's is the oldest bar in Denver and steeped in the history of the Beat movement; Jack Kerouac was a regular here during his years in Denver. Massive selection of premium choices and a fantastic single-malt scotch selection. Classical music plays, but don't expect to hear it on a really busy night. Good food, including the JCB: a cheeseburger featuring Jalapeno Cream Cheese. There's no sign on the bar so don't look for one, but it's right on the southeast corner of 15th and Platte streets. This is where the locals go and regulars abound.
  • The Cruise Room, 1600 17th St, +1 303-825-1107, [97]. 1930's Art Deco Martini Bar inside the Oxford Hotel. Best Martinis in Denver! You can also order fresh seafood from McCormick's Fish House.
  • Double Daughter's Salotto, 1632 Market St, +1 303-623-3505. A modern and slightly goth bar for all the cool kids to hang out. The bar features some of the oddest and best ambiance in the city and is connected to Two Fisted Mario's, a pizza place that is open late so you can grab some grub after the bars close.
  • Fado Irish Pub, 1735 19th St, +1 303-297-0066, [98].
  • Falling Rock Tap House, 1919 Blake St, +1 303-293-8338. The Falling Rock is a beer snob's dream, with over 70 excellent beers on tap. The selection changes from week to week, too, keeping the locals entertained and tipsy off of fine Belgians and microbrews. It gets crowded after Rockies games, but during the offseason, it's a great place to eacape from the cold and warm up with a well-poured Belgian trippel.
  • Jet Bar, 1612 Wazee Street, +1303-572-3300, [99]. The Lobby (main bar) is a retro and contemporary design of lighting, shag rugs, and comfortable lounge seating, and Club Twenty is Jet Hotel's private club.
  • Lodo's Bar & Grill, 1946 Market St, +1 303-293-8555
  • Nallen's Irish Pub, 1429 Market St, +1 303-572-0667. A little piece of the Old Country in Denver, Nallen's has great nightly drink specials, authentic Irish ambience and a great Tuesday night pub quiz.
  • Pour House Pub, 1435 Market St, +1 303-623-7687
  • Sing Sing, 1735 19th St, +1 303-291-0880
  • Wynkoop Brewery, 1634 18th St, +1 303-297-2700, [100]. Fresh brews, billiard tables, and excellent food. Banquets and private parties. Historically significant architecture.
  • Capitol Hill is the neighborhood directly east and south of the Colorado State Capitol, located on Colfax Avenue and Grant Street. It has long held as place for young people, sub-cultures and the gay and lesbian community. Currently, it rivals LoDo as the place to party, no matter what your scene is.
  • Bender's Tavern, 314 E. 13th Ave. +1 303-361-7070, [101].
  • Charlie Brown's Bar & Grill, 980 Grant Street, +1 303-860-1655. Charlie Brown's in another beat era hangout located at a hotel where Ginsburg and the gang used to stay. Has great happy-hours, a mostly local crowd, good food, and an agile piano player belting out tunes while you drink.
  • City O City, E. 13th Ave. You will find a changing handful of unusual brews on tap. Grab a blueberry muffin or the vegan buffalo wings (which are excellent - and you can eat them without having to worry about a bone!) and people watch.
  • Funky Buddha Lounge, 776 Lincoln St, +1 303-832-5075.
  • Govnr's Park Restaurant & Tavern, 672 Logan St, +1 303-831-8605. Practically the after work bar for all of the state workers and lobbyists at the capitol, this comfortable place has great happy-hour specials and tasty food.
  • Park Tavern, 931 11th Ave.
  • Cricket on the Hill 1209 E. 13th Ave, +1 303-830-9020. Denver's preeminent punk bar/club offers almost nightly live music, great specials and some of the best clientele to people watch in the city.
  • The Church, 1160 Lincoln St., +1 303-832-2383, part of the "SoCo" (South of Colfax) club district, the Church is one of the most popular dance clubs in the city, and as its name suggests, is housed in a former Episcopalian church. That however, does not prevent hundreds if not thousands of people from descending on the dancefloor every night to shake what God has given them.

Bars On Colfax

Colfax Avenue, described by Playboy Magazine as the "longest, wickedest, street in America," stretches 26 miles through Denver and its suburbs. Colfax has long had a "gritty" reputation for being home to prostitution and drug peddlers. However, through much urban development work, Colfax has shed its past and emerged hipper, cleaner and more popular than ever. The many bars, restaurants and nightspots along the street give it a 24/7 ambience.

  • The Bank Bar & Grill, 2239E Colfax Ave, +1 303-320-9494 Check out their 2 for 1 drink special daily from 10PM til close. Bear Fights!!!!!
  • Charlie's, 900 E. Colfax Ave. +1 303-839-8890. Charlie's is simultaneously a gay bar and cultural landmark catering to the old west spirit and/or disco diva in all of us. Charlie's has a friendly clientele, a mix of country, pop, and dance music, and inexpensive drinks.
  • Goosetown Tavern, 3320 E Colfax Ave, +1 303-399-9703, [102].
  • Irish Snug Restaurant & Pub, 1201 E Colfax Ave # 100, +1 303-839-1394. The Snug (to the locals) is the best place in Denver to down a pint of Guinness with your mates. Excellent fish and chips will fill you up (if the Guinness doesn't first).
  • Lion's Lair, 2022 E Colfax Ave, +1 303-320-9200.
  • Mezcal, 3230 E Colfax Ave, +1 303-322-5219, Mezcal is a hip Mexican-themed bar/restaurant serveing excellent and cheap Mexican food along with its plentiful selection of great drinks, particularly tequilas.
  • Sancho's Broken Arrow, 741 E Colfax, +1 303-832-5288. One of the four Don Quixote themed bars in Denver, Sacho's is the best place in Denver to relive your old days with its Grateful Dead come alive decor and live rock and roll every Monday.
  • Streets of London Pub, 1502 E Colfax Ave, +1 303-861-9103. The closest thing to England you can get without a 10 hour flight, Streets of London has an abundant selection of ales, draughts and other favourites.
  • The Squire Lounge, 1800 E Colfax Ave, +1 303-333-9106.
  • Pablo's Coffee [103] , sw corner of 6th and Washington. Fresh roasted coffee roasted in the store, excellent barristas and a nice patio, no wi-fi so the number of student "campers" is a minimum, a great place for people looking for a great cup of coffee.
  • The Market, at Larimer Square. THE place for coffee shop people watching in Denver. Outstanding pastries, hot from the oven every day at 6:30AM. Also a great full service deli. Wifi/Laptop friendly.
  • St. Mark's, 17th and Race (20 blocks east of Broadway). Quintessential coffeehouse ambience. House made pastries. Lovely neighborhood block with a nice collection of restaurants.
  • Fluid, 19th and Pennsylvania. Modern. Gourmets: order an Artisan coffee made with the Clover machine. Light pre-packaged eats available. Wifi/Laptop friendly.
  • Daz Bog, 9th and Downing. Formerly Diedrich's. Lovely tree lined street. Nice selection of pastries and light bites. Significant portion of patrons are gay. Wifi/Laptop friendly.
  • Common Grounds Downtown, 17th and Wazee. An old mainstay in Denver. Between Union Station and Market Street RTD station. Wifi/Laptop friendly.
  • Metropolis, 11th and Cherokee and 17th and Champa. Modern. Wifi/Laptop friendly.
  • 15th St. Tavern, 623 15th St, +1 303-572-0822, [104]
  • Bender's Tavern, 314 E. 13th Ave. +1 303-361-7070, [105]
  • Bluebird Theater, 3317 E Colfax Ave, +1 303-322-2308, [106]
  • Climax Lounge, 2217 Welton St., [107]
  • Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt St., [108]
  • Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson St.
  • Gothic Theater, 3263 South Broadway, Englewood, [109].
  • Hi-Dive, 7 S Broadway (Cross Streets: Ellsworth & Broadway), [110]
  • Invesco Field at Mile High, 1701 Bryant St., [111]
  • Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer St, +1 303-291-1007, [112].
  • Lion's Lair, 3317 E Colfax Ave, +1 303-322-2308, [113]
  • Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax Ave, [114]
  • Oriental Theater, 4335 W 44th Ave, +1 303-455-2124, [115]
  • Red Rocks Amphitheater 16352 County Rd. # 93, Morrison, [116]
  • Budget Host Inn, 2747 Wyandot St. (Located across the I-25 from downtown Denver), +1 303-477-6299 (fax: +1'' 303-455-1642), [117].  edit
  • Hostel of the Rockies, 1717 Race Street, +1 303-861-7777 (), [118].  edit
  • Melbourne International Hotel & Hostel, 607 22nd Street, +1 303-292-6386 (), [119]. A pretty decent place with private rooms and dorms available. Doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside it is actually quite nice. Not exactly in a great part of town, but the rooms are well protected and it is very close to downtown, just two blocks away from a light rail station.  edit
  • Microtel Inn Denver International Airport, 18600 E. 63rd Avenue, +1 303-371-8300, [120].  edit
  • Ramada Gateway Downtown, 2601 Zuni St. (Located across the I-25 from downtown Denver), +1 303-433-6677 (fax: +1 303-455-1530), [121].  edit
  • AmeriSuites Denver Airport , 16250 East 40th Avenue, +1 303-371-0700, [122].
  • AmeriSuites Denver/Park Meadows, 9030 East Westview Road, +1 303-662-8500, [123].
  • Best Western Central Denver, 200 W 48th Avenue, +1 303-296-4000 (fax: +1 303-296-4000), [124].
  • Best Western Denver Southwest,3440 S. Vance St, +1 303-989-5500, [125]
  • Courtyard Denver Airport, 6901 Tower Road, +1 303-371-0300 (fax: +1 303-371-2480), [126]. Free 24 hour shuttle service to & from the airport.
  • Courtyard Denver Cherry Creek, 1475 S. Colorado Blvd, +1 303-757-8797 (fax: +1 303-758-0704), [127].
  • Courtyard Denver Downtown, 934 16th Street, +1 303-571-1114 (toll-free: 1-888-249-1810, fax: +1 303-571-1141), [128].
  • Courtyard Denver Stapleton, 7415 E 41st Avenue, +1 303-333-3303 (fax: +1 303-399-7356), [129]. Between the airport and downtown Denver. 24-hour market on-site.
  • Crowne Plaza Denver - City Center, 1450 Glenarm Place, +1 303-573-1450, [130]. Rooms are reasonably spacious and have free broadband internet access and a desk. Breakfast is modestly priced and modest in style. The lobby is typical Holiday Inn. Given the size of the hotel, reception and concierge staff numbers are small but there still seem to be no queues for their services. Stay high in a room on the Glenarm St side if you want a mountain view. Airport shuttles ($21 to international) serve the hotel.
  • Crowne Plaza Denver International Airport, 15500 East 40th Avenue, +1 303-371-9494, [131].
  • Drury Inn, 9445 E Dry Creek Road, near the Tech Center. Low cost, solid rooms and free breakfast and dinner of pizza and salad.
  • Embassy Suites Denver Airport, 7001 Yampa St. +1 303 574-3000, [132]. Full-service hotel six miles from the airport. Complimentary 24-hour airport shuttle.
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites Denver Cherry Creek, 1680 South Colorado Blvd, +1 303-691-2223 (toll-free: 1-800-690-9799, fax: +1 303-691-0062), [133].
  • Fairfield Inn Denver Airport, 6851 Tower Road, +1 303-576-9640 (fax: +1 303-574-9638), [134].
  • Four Points by Sheraton Denver Southeast, 6363 E. Hampden Avenue, 1-866-716-8133, [135]. Rooms with mountain views, free Internet access, free bottled water and in-room movies. Heated indoor and outdoor (seasonal) swimming pools, two on-site restaurants and a fitness center.
  • Holiday Inn - Denver North Coliseum, 4849 Bannock Street, +1 303-292-9500, [136].
  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 7010 Tower Road, +1 303-373-4100, [137].
  • Holiday Inn Select, 455 South Colorado Blvd, +1 303-388-5561, [138].
  • Hyatt Regency Tech Center - Denver, 7800 East Tufts Avenue, [139].  edit
  • Magnolia Hotel Denver, 818 17th Street, +1 888-915-1110, [140]. Downtown Denver hotel.
  • Motel 6, 3050 W 49th Avenue, +1 303-455-8888 (fax: +1 303-433-2218), [141].
  • Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, 1550 Court Place, 1-866-716-8134, [142]. On the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall in downtown, 3 1/2 blocks from the Denver Convention Center.
  • Sheraton Denver West, 360 Union Boulevard, 1-866-716-8134, [143].
  • Sheraton Denver Tech Center, 7007 South Clinton Street, 1-866-716-8134, [144]. At the Denver Tech Center, near the Inverness and Meridian office parks as well as shopping at Park Meadows Mall.
  • Sleep Inn Denver Tech Center, 9257 E. Costilla Avenue, +1 303-662-9950 (fax: +1 303-662-9951), [145].
  • Wingate by Wyndham Denver Tech Center, 8000 E Peakview Ave, Greenwood Village, CO 80111, 303-221-0383, [146].  edit
  • Brown Palace Hotel, 321 17th Street, 1-800-321-2599, [147]. An elegant, historic hotel in downtown Denver, the Brown Palace has catered to congressmen, US presidents, and countless foreign dignitaries.
  • The Burnsley, +1 303-830-1000, [148], Luxurious hotel right in the heart of downtown and offering 80 suite accommodations.
  • Denver Marriott City Center, 1701 California Street, +1 303-297-1300 (toll-free: 1-800-228-9290, fax: +1 303-298-7474), [149],a beautiful hotel in downtown Denver, Colorado offering panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains and the city skyline.
  • Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 South Syracuse, +1 303-779-1100 (fax: +1 303-740-2523), [150].
  • Embassy Suites - Downtown, 1881 Curtis St., [151]. An all-suite, full service hotel.
  • Grand Hyatt Denver, 1750 Welton Street, +1 303 295 1234 (fax: +1 303 292 2472), [152]. Luxury downtown Denver hotel. 512 rooms with city views. Features the Hyatt Grand Bed, free 24 hour fitness facility, indoor pool, room service around the clock, well-lit work stations and high-speed internet access.  edit
  • Hotel Monaco, 1717 Champa Street, +1 303-296-1717, [153].
  • Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, 650 15th Street, (fax: +1 303 486 4450), [154]. New thirty-seven story downtown hotel, adjacent to the Colorado Convention Center. 1,100 guest rooms, with views of the mountain and downtown.   edit
  • The Inverness Hotel & Conference Center, 200 Inverness Drive West, Englewood, 1-800-832-9053, [155] This hotel provides a number of meeting venues available for meetings, weddings, conferences and other events. Other amenities include a championship golf course and a luxury spa specializing in a variety of traditional pampering treatments.
  • The Oxford Hotel, [156]. The historic hotel provides a romantic retreat located in the midst of Denver’s lively LoDo district.
  • Jet Hotel, [157] 1612 Wazee Street, Denver, +1 303-572-3300 (fax:+1 303-623-0770),Special Rates November & December In the heart of Lower Downtown. Has a private night club and a bar.
  • JW Marriott Denver at Cherry Creek, 150 Clayton Lane, +1 303-316-2700 (fax: +1 303-316-4697), [158].
  • Loews Denver Hotel 4150 East Mississippi Ave., +1 303-782-9300, [159].
  • Renaissance Denver Hotel, 3801 Quebec Street, +1 303-399-7500 (fax: +1 303-321-1966), [160].
  • Summerfield Suites Hotel by Wyndham, 9280 East Costilla Avenue, +1 303-706-1945, [161]. Within Denver Tech Center's corporate park and just a short drive from the Rocky Mountains' finest resort cities.
  • Wyndham Denver Tech Center Hotel, 7675 East Union Avenue, +1 303-770-4200, [162]. In the heart of Denver's most prestigious business center.
  • The Westin Tabor Center, 1672 Lawrence Street, 1-866-716-8137, [163]. Four-diamond hotel in downtown Denver.
  • The Westin Westminster, 10600 Westminster Boulevard, 1-866-716-8137, [164]. Spacious rooms with beautiful décor.

Stay safe

Denver is pretty safe for a city its size. Use your common sense when traveling, particularly in downtown and some of the other inner-city neighborhoods. Denver does have a higher than usual population of homeless people, but the city has strict laws about accosting for money. In general, they are not really harming anyone. Downtown has a fairly active 24/7 population, especially in LoDo, so it's generally safe. Still, it may be a good idea to not travel alone, especially at night, and especially in some of the neighborhoods surrounding downtown. Although the inner-city neighborhoods are not as bad as those in some other cities, they have a very high rate of violent crime. Avoid Montbello (Northeast, near airport), Sun Valley (the housing projects, near Invesco Field), Five Points (North of downtown), Northeast Parkhill (Denver's worst neighborhood- high murder and assault rates). Most of Denver is pretty safe, though.

Altitude Sickness

Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness is an ailment that potentially anyone can have when they visit areas with higher altitudes than they are used to, due to decreases in barometric pressure (though not oxygen content). Denver is called the Mile High City for a reason -- at an altitude of a mile above sea level, one can start to experience some of the effects of altitude sickness, though generally this condition becomes more pronounced at elevations around 8,000 feet (2,500 meters) and above. Some normal changes may occur when people travel to higher altitudes that are not altitude sickness. These include:

  • Hyperventilation (breathing faster, and/or deeper than normal)
  • Shortness of breath after exertion
  • Changes in nightly breathing
  • Awaking at night
  • Increased urination

The above are generally nothing to worry about, though problems with breathing may be helped by a drug called acetazolamide. If you think you may have problems, get advice from your doctor before traveling to Denver.

Some people get Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), which can be serious, at the higher elevations you will experience if you are touring through the Rocky Mountains. A diagnosis of AMS is usually given if a person has a headache accompanied by one of more of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite, vomiting and/or nausea
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Insomnia, difficulty sleeping

Some people liken AMS to a bad hangover or worse. It occurs because your brain tissue swells at higher elevations than it is used to. If you are feeling unwell at high altitudes assume that you are suffering from AMS unless there is another logical explanation that would be accompanied by other symptoms (food poisoning or a viral infection). To avoid AMS, try to get to a lower elevation until your symptoms subside, drink lots of fluid to avoid dehydration, and avoid traveling at high rates of ascent. If the symptoms continue or worsen, travel to a lower altitude. AMS can turn into High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), a potentially fatal condition where the brain swells so much that it ceases to function properly. Symptoms of HACE include confusion, inability to think clearly, lethargy, ataxia (walking staggerdly, as if one was drunk), and changes in behavior. The person may not recognize they have HACE, but if you or a person you are with experiences any of these symptoms (especially ataxia), they need to immediately be taken to lower elevations for medical treatment.

Another very serious condition, called High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) causes fluid in the lungs. If someone suffers chest tightness, congestion, gurgling breaths, blue or gray fingers or lips, cough producing frothy or pink liquid, and difficulty breathing even at rest, they should be taken to a lower elevation and receive medical treatment immediately.

Although not particularly common, keep in mind that these illnesses are possible, and that anyone is susceptible to them, even if you have traveled to high elevations before. For more information about AMS and related illnesses, see [165].

Another medical concern at higher elevations, particularly those in Colorado and Denver, is sunburn and skin cancer. The higher elevation means that there is less atmosphere protecting the skin from harmful solar radiation. This is especially true in Colorado, with both dry air that saps the skin of protective moisture and with the beautifully sunny days we have in the state. Colorado actually has the highest rate of skin cancer in the country, so it's always a good idea to wear a lot of high SPF sun-screen, hats, long sleeve shirts and pants. Don't think that you are protected from the sun in the winter either. The sun's rays can actually be reflected by the snow on the ground, still causing skin damage, so when in Colorado, do as the locals do, and wear sunscreen on any exposed skin surface at any time of the year.

  • 16th Street Mall, [166]. Free Wifi along the pedestrian 16th Street Mall in the heart of Downtown.
  • Cherry Creek North, [167]. Entire area has free WiFi provided by the Cherry Creek North Business District.
  • Common Grounds, 3484 W 32nd Ave, +1 303-458-5248 or 1601 17th St, +1 303-296-9248. Both locations in the West Highlads and LoDo neighborhoods respectively, offer wireless Internet as well as a wide selection of coffee and coffeehouse food. The LoDo location also offers pay internet terminals.
  • Peaberry Coffee, [168]. Multiple locations. Free WiFi, but you have to ask the barrista for username and password. Use your browser to log in.
  • Paris on the Platte, 1553 Platte St, +1 303-455-2451. A funky little coffee shop down in LoDo. Good food, good art, great coffee. Free WiFi and even tables where you can plug in for power and even ethernet for those that lack wireless.
  • Panera Bread, Multiple locations [169]. Free Wifi at most if not all locations.
  • Avalokiteshvara Meditation Center , 1081 Marion Street, +1 303-813-9551, [170]. Offers relaxation meditations and meditation classes to increase inner peace.
  • The Acupuncture Resort , 700 and 750 E. Ninth Ave, +1 303-477-9256, [171]. Traditional Chinese Medicine in Denver, Capitol Hill and Wheatridge.

Get out

Winter Sports

For skiiers and snowboarders, winter is the best time to visit Denver. Hoards of people fly into Denver International Airport each season on their way up to the ski capitals of Summit and Eagle counties, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Loveland Basin, Arapahoe Basin, and Breckenridge, Winter Park; a little further away are Steamboat, and Aspen. You can find information on resort shuttles at the desks in DIA's main terminal.

There are many ski resorts about 1 1/2-2 hours west of Denver along I-70, but weekend traffic to them can be very slow, especially in inclement weather. Steer clear of the crowds by skiing during the week or planning your trip outside the busy season (Thanksgiving to New Year's). There are also plenty of mountain trails for snowshoers and cross-country skiers, which are generally free. You can also take the RTD [172] Ski-n-Ride service from Boulder to Eldora Ski Resort west of Boulder, which is the only resort with scheduled bus service.

  • Red Rocks Amphitheatre, [173]. In Morrison, Colorado on the western edge of Denver, this is a gorgeous outdoor concert venue set in a red sandstone paradise. There's a great view of Denver below. From Igor Stravinsky's North American debut of his 'Rite of Spring' at the park's opening in the '40s to the Jethro Tull, Grateful Dead and Phish riots of the '70s, '80s and '90s, Red Rocks's history is quirky and storied. It was also a stop on The Beatles famous British Invasion tour of America. But if you pay and visit Red Rocks only during a concert, you're seriously cheating yourself. Check out the Rock and Roll Museum at the top of Red Rocks, eat in the restaurant, hike the red sandstone and scrub oak trails for their scenic beauty and wildlife. It is illegal, however, to climb on the rocks themselves. If you can't bear to leave after the show, book a room or stay in a campground next to the amphitheater [174].
  • Travelers in Colorado often use Denver as a home base for forays into the neighboring mountains, to places like Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • Boulder is a laid-back university town about 25 minutes northwest of Denver. Snow-capped mountains can be seen for miles from the town.
  • Winery tours - Visit a Front Range or mountain winery, or even the vineyards themselves in Colorado's Wine Country. Various Wine Trails have been organized by the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board [175], a promotional entity funded by the state. The Wine Trails can be driven or biked.
Routes through Denver
Fort CollinsThornton  N noframe S  EnglewoodColorado Springs
Grand JunctionGolden  W noframe E  AuroraHays
END  W noframe E  Junction to North Platte
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  1. The capital of the US state of Colorado



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