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Denver Attractions and Things to See

Denver is the capital and most populated city in Colorado, situated in the South Platte River valley on the west side of the High Plains, east of the Front Range of the fabulous Rocky Mountains, with its downtown area just east of the confluence of the Cherry Creek and South Platter River, some 12 miles east of the foothills of the Great Rocky Mountains. It has been nicknamed "the Mile-High City" since its official elevation is exactly one mile or 5,280 feet above sea level, founded in 1858, as a mining town during the Pikes Peak gold rush in western Kansas territory. That summer, a group of gold prospectors would arrive from Lawrence, Kansas and found Montana City on the banks of the South Platte, and become the first settlement that would grow up to become Denver. It wouldn't be long before that settlement would fade off in the distance, because by the summer of 1859, it would be abandoned for Auraria, that had been named after the gold-mining town of Auraria, Georgia and St. Charles City. The early Montana City site is now Grant-Frontier Park and contains a log cabin copy and historical mining equipment. It has a marvelous history, well worth investigating, and quite intriguing as one of the wild west cities that would see high crime and corruption. Denver has been known as the Queen City of the Plains, historically and as the Queen City of the West, since it would hold a significant part in the agricultural industry of the high plains region in eastern Colorado and by the foothills of the Colorado Front Range.

The city has two main interstates entering it, along with a good roadway system, with excellent mass transit systems located throughout the metro area, and more than a thousand buses to serve the eight counties around the city. It has five light rail lines, with a light rail/bus/rail expansion project that had been approved in 2004 and should be completed by now. Amtrak brings many visitors from the east and west regions of the United States, and the Denver International Airport serving the metro area and is the tenth busiest airport in the world, ranking fourth in the nation, with over 51 million folks passing through it in 2008.

Apollo Hall would open sometime after the city's founding in 1859 and be the center for many stage plays, and in the 1880s, Horace Tabor would build the city's first Opera House. After the turn of the century, city leaders would begin a beautification program that would create many museums, parks, parkways and the Municipal Auditorium that would become the showcase for the 1908 Democratic National Convention, and has since become the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. As the city and community continued to support the cultural events and facilities, in 1988, the city approved the Scientific and Cultural Facilities tax that is a one cent sales tax that contributes funds to numerous scientific and cultural venues around the city, and organizations throughout the region. It has been renewed a couple of times and is scheduled to end in 2018. The city has an excellent music scene, with jazz, pop, folk, classical and jam music offered, and has nurtured many artists and genres to the regional, national and international scene. The folk scene of the 1960s and 1970s is of particular note, with famous folk artists like John Denver, Bob Dylan and Judy Collins living in the city during this period and bringing national attention to the city and its excellent music scene.

Since it is located so near to the most fabulous mountains in the nation, it has gained a reputation for active recreational pursuits, with a majority of the locals heading to the mountains each weekend, skiing and other winter sports in the winters and kayaking, hiking, camping and lately climbing in the summer season. The region has grown some vary famous and excellent breweries, with many micro breweries in the local restaurants. Actually, the city ranks number 1 in the country in terms of beer production per capita and second in overall in the number of breweries. Each fall, they welcome people from around the globe with each famous Great American Beer Festival. The city has a number of sports teams and outstanding restaurants, that have made this city famous for New Mexican cuisine and the Chile. It is also well known for its outstanding rainbow trout, Rocky Mountain oyster and the Denver sandwich.