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Great American Cities – Denver Posted by on Oct 12, 2016 in Culture, Travel

After exploring the Pacific Northwest in Seattle, Portland, and Bend, we’re headed to the Rocky Mountains and the great city of Denver.

Colorado State Capitol

Colorado State Capitol

Name – The city’s name was chosen at the time to honor the governor of the Kansas Territory where it was located. His name was James W. Denver. The founder of Denver hoped that naming the city after the governor would win him some political favor. He hoped that Denver would name the new city the county seat. Unfortunately for Larimer, Denver had already resigned and was no longer governor.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Location – Denver is located in the state of Colorado. As far as what region of the US this is, that’s up for debate. Some claim Colorado is in the Midwest, some say the Southwest, while others say the Mountain.

Nicknames – As its exactly one mile (5,280 ft or 1,610 m) above sea level, Denver’s most common nickname is The Mile High City. Other nicknames include the City of the Plains, thanks to its location, and Broncoville, after the city’s famous football team.

Downtown Denver

Downtown Denver

Year Founded – The city was founded in November 1858 as a mining town. This was during the time of the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush in the Kansas Territory. A prospector named William Larimer placed cottonwood logs here to stake his claim.

Population – Denver is one of the fastest growing cities in the US. As of the 2010 census, there were just over 600,000 people there. The 2015 estimate is over 682,000, an increase of 13% in that time. Non-Hispanic whites make up around 52% of the population. Hispanics or Latinos are nearly 32% – Mexican Americans alone account for 25%. About 10% of Denver’s population are Black/African American, and 3.5% are Asian.

Union Station

Union Station

Transportation – There’s a major international airport in Denver, making it an easy city to reach. You could also arrive by train or bus downtown at Union Station. The RTD (Regional Transportation District) operates public transportation in the Denver area. There’s a light rail system and there are also many bus lines. Denver also has a large number of bike trails, making it one of the most cycle-friendly cities in the US.

Some famous symbols of the city.

Some famous symbols of the city.

Famous Places – While Denver doesn’t have as many famous sites as bigger cities like New York or Chicago, there’s still plenty to see and do here. Visit the Colorado State Capitol to get your picture taken with the “One Mile Above Sea Level” engraving on the steps. Other famous symbols of the city are the Big, Blue Bear and the Dancers – giant statues welcoming visitors to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

City Park

City Park

Colorado is all about the great outdoors, so it should come as no surprise that Denver is a city full of parks. Spend a day exploring City Park, where you’ll also find the Denver Zoo and Museum of Nature and Science. Other parks include Cheesman Park, the Denver Botanic Gardens, and Washington Park.

While it’s not technically in the city, no visit to Denver would be complete without a trip up to Rocky Mountain National Park. Take in the beautiful mountain scenery, go for a hike, spot wildlife, go camping, and so much more.

Denver Art Museum

Denver Art Museum

Culture – Denver is a city that actively supports culture. There are many incredible museums here, such as the Denver Art Museum. You can also visit the History Colorado Center, where you can learn all about the history of the state.

Red Rocks

Red Rocks

The performing arts scene in Denver is very popular. Just about any night of the week, you can see some type of concert or live performance. One of the most scenic music venues in the country – Red Rocks Amphitheater – is just a 30-minute drive from downtown.

Cheers to beers!

Cheers to beers!

Beer is also a big part of the culture of Denver. The city and the surrounding area are home to a wide variety of breweries, big and small. The city also welcomes the Great American Beer Festival each fall.

Since marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2014, the counterculture has become mainstream here. People over 21 can now legally buy marijuana in Colorado, leading to a huge boom some are calling the “Green Rush.”

Learn about the “Green Rush” in this series from Business Insider.

Sports – Denver is the smallest metropolitan area in the US to have teams in all four major sports. The city is also home to a Major League Soccer team:

Coors Field, home of the Rockies.

Coors Field, home of the Rockies.

  • NFL – Denver Broncos
  • NHL – Colorado Avalanche
  • NBA – Denver Nuggets
  • MLB – Denver Rockies
  • MLS – Colorado Rapids

Of all their teams, the Broncos have had the most success. They’ve sold out every game except for strike-replacement games since 1970, and they’ve been to eight Super Bowls. They won back-to-back championships in ’97 and ’98, and won again last year.

 

If you enjoy the great outdoors, music, art, sports, and beer, Denver just might be the city for you! Let us know if you’ve been or if you’d like to visit by leaving a comment below.

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About the Author:sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.