The city of Denver is probably one of the most picturesque big cities anyone would be able to see. It lies on the north-central part of Colorado, just on the west-end of the “Great Plains.” Within viewing distance are the lofty mountains of the Rockies. Snuggled amid these magnificent ranges, the city is even more alluring because of the area that surrounds it. The capital of Colorado, Denver is the state’s political center, and a large city that offers every amenity one would expect from big cities anywhere in the world. A thickly populated area, it is also well-known for being home to the first cheeseburger of America. In spite of the fact that Denver is otherwise referred to as “Mile High City” and the entry point for visitors going towards the mountains, the city in itself is actually flat. The reason behind the title is due to its elevation, measuring about a mile high above the level of the sea. The city was founded sometime during the 19th century, 9 years following the “California Gold Rush,” and has quickly developed through the years to what it is at present, a bustling and diverse city in just about anything imaginable.
The city owes much of its prosperity to its mineral wealth, along with all of the fortune fluctuations that it involves. Although the city’s local resources have gradually been exhausted, it has been able to maintain its part as the state’s most significant commercial as well as transportation center. Denver’s original foundation back in 1858 had been a mere stroke of luck. It was in this area that small amounts of gold had first been discovered within Colorado. Despite the fact that the city had no important river or road, prospectors flocked to the area in spite of earlier land claims, the least of which were those made by the Arapahoe. They had purportedly been confirmed of ownership rights of the land by the “Fort Laramie Treaty” in 1851. Even if gold was not plentiful in Denver, it has survived through the years, gaining further prosperity especially when silver was discovered in the mountains. With the advent of the very first railroads that bypassed the city, a lot of communities did suffer. However, it simply took the citizens uniting and building up their very own connecting spur to improve conditions significantly.
Being the diverse city that it is, Denver is home to neighborhoods styled from the Victorian era, contemporary houses, and night spots for quality entertainment and recreation. It has a rich and assorted history with a huge number of landmarks attesting to the fact. It houses several museums together with other cultural facilities such as the Blair-Caldwell African-American Research Library, the Museo de las Americas and the African-American Heritage Center that showcase the culture and the history of Denver’s mixture of races and traditions of its peoples. Aside from these historical landmarks and sophisticated clubs, the city possesses a flourishing sports culture and numerous professional sports teams at the national level.
Denver has a metropolitan population of about 2.5 million comprising Asian-Americans, Hispanics and African-Americans. There are over 300 languages that are used in the United States, together with more than 170 languages that are indigenous to any particular area. In Denver, the most common language spoken is English but with the city’s increasing number of Hispanic immigrants, Spanish is one language that has become widely spoken, aside from English.
The city just 401.3 square kilometers or 154.9 square miles is size. Over 1% of the total area is covered by water while the rest or 397.2 square kilometers, which is about 153.3 square miles is land. With its nearly 620,000 city residents, the population density amounts to 1,510.9 people living within one square kilometer or 3,874.4 persons within each square mile.
Denver’s major tourist spots and entertainments districts like Larimer Square and Lo-Do are generally very safe, with police quite visible especially at nights. Nevertheless, it is still best to keep away from streets that are not well-lit or the unfamiliar sections of the city after dark. As much as possible, women should also avoid traveling unaccompanied at nights. It would be a wiser idea to take a cab when returning to one’s accommodation instead of walking back alone. Although theft may happen in the busier tourist areas and transport centers, a lot of these unlawful activities might be avoided by watching over one’s belongings closely, keeping cash out of sight, and trying not to display obvious signs that one is a visitor to the area. For rented cars, valuables must not be left overnight inside the vehicle, as it would be a strong temptation for break-ins.
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The city is served by the Denver International Airport that is the hub of Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines and United Airlines. Three other airports handle the general aviation requirements for Denver – Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, Front Range Airport and Centennial Airport. The Greyhound buses also serve the city as well as Amtrak’s California Zephyr.
Because of Denver’s elevated geographical position, the weather here is more frequently mild and agreeable, with its winters short and moderate, and its summers long and pleasurable. Visitors would especially enjoy the amazing field of gorgeous wildflowers that thrive beautifully in the city’s almost perfect climate. The warmest months in Denver are from July to August, with daytime temperatures reaching about 30 °C (86 °F). Temperatures at night may drop to about 10 °C or 50 °F. Winters run from November up to March, with the coldest climate occurring in January till February. Temperatures during these months may drop to about 6 °C or 43 °F. Springtime in the city is both wet and warm with a possibility of snowfall. Autumn is especially pleasant here when the climate is warm, the days are sunny, and the nights are cool. The city also experiences minimal amounts of snowfall, which is why most of the resorts, as well as the other attractions of the city remain open all throughout the year. Denver enjoys about 300 sunshine-filled days every year, which makes it one of the best holiday destinations. At present, it is a friendly, welcoming city with a reasonably liberal stance. Tourism in Denver is founded on traveling the wonderful, great outdoors instead of going sight-seeing within the town. Just the same, the isolation of the city provides its population with a friendliness that is very refreshing. With a city accustomed to proffering its own brand of entertainment, there is always something here for everyone to do and enjoy.
History of Denver
Denver was originally established in 1858 during the “Pikes Peak Gold Rush” period. Initially, it was part of Kansas Territory since Colorado territory had not been founded up until 1861. Actually, Montana City was the original settlement within the current site, settled a number of months before General William Larimer arrived and founded the city of Denver in November of 1858.
Denver was established in order to accommodate the miners looking for gold as well as silver throughout the time of the “Pikes Peak Gold Rush,” which made it a significant frontier town within the region. It derived its name from James Denver who was formerly the governor of Kansas Territory. After Colorado was established in 1861 as a territory, the town of Denver had considerably progressed and by 1863, became an important city not only in the “Pikes Peak” area, but in the Colorado Territory too. It was also selected to be the “Denver Pacific Railway” terminus, taking in trains originating from a number of railway lines in 1880. As a matter of fact, Denver’s Union Station is still offering its services today, being the central station since 1861 for all of the rail operations of the city. Because of its noteworthy growth and development, Denver soon became Colorado Territory’s capital. To be able to understand more about the city’s early history, visitors might want to check out the “History Colorado Center’ that has been recently opened and highlights several important landmarks of the state. The establishment also offers guests a tour of Denver’s rich history.
During the latter part of the 19th century, Denver went through economic depression and experienced social issues in spite of the fact that it was already the biggest settlement in the state of Colorado. This was an obstruction to the city’s progress, and signaled the entry of the “Denver Depression” along with organized crime in 1893. There was a significant decline in mining while various other industries started to emerge during the 20th century. One of the more flourishing industrial developments during the early part of the 20th century was the “Brass Era” automobile company.
Between 1952 and1992, economic improvement was evident in the city, with the Department of Energy operating a facility for the production of nuclear weapons. However, it was also an environmental problem for Denver, causing health hazards due to nuclear waste contamination, though studies have disputed these results. Nevertheless, environmental restoration was done until 2005, together with a wildlife sanctuary being built up on what was once the industrial location.
Denver was selected to be host to the Winter Olympics of 1976 but problems on cost and other governmental issues resulted in the Games being hosted by Innsbruck, Austria instead. The city is actually the only one that has withdrawn from hosting the Olympic Games. Nonetheless, it has played host to the National Democratic Convention twice, once in 1908, and the other in 2008.
Demographics of Denver
Denver’s population has grown significantly since 1960, practically doubling up from how it was before. The city’s population as of 2011 was 619,968. Denver also ranks 20th among the largest metropolitan districts within the United States, and is 10th among those with the largest downtown areas. The city also has a diverse population with Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians, Native Americans, and a small percentage of multi-racial residents. Apart from this, Denver also boasts of having the biggest number of high school and college graduates in the United States, which is why it is considered to be the most-educated among all other cities in America.
The city of Denver is also regarded as the “baby boomer capital” of the nation, having the most boomers compared to any of the major cities, based in the U.S. Census of 1998. It is also considered to be America’s “thinnest city,” much like Colorado is to Hawaii. According to a 1996 federal report, roughly one half the adults in America suffer from weight problems. Colorado is an exception as it has only about 20% or less of its adults who are overweight. This is most probably because of the city’s active lifestyle, its perfect climate, recreational activities, and its high level of education.
Over half of Denver’s population is religious. The Catholics dominate with 27.39%. There are about 6.41% Jewish faithful in the city, while 1.15% follows Islam. Other Christian religions, including the Latter Day Saints make up 5.11%.
Economy of Denver
Being the biggest city within the area of the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains, Denver functions as the regional core, especially when it comes to transportation, finance, and wholesaling. Although manufacturing is a major factor in the economy of Denver, it is not the main industry. A lot of the city’s industries like refining of beet sugar, meat packing, and grain milling, entail the processing of products from ranches and farms coming from its surrounding area. The other types of industries within Denver or close to the city include the manufacture of metal products, machines, rubber goods, missiles, petroleum-based products, equipment for transportation, clothes, leather goods, and electronic products. Various telecommunications industries serving South America, Asia, Europe and parts of North America operate from Denver, including DIRECTV, Dish Network Corporation, Comcast, Dish Network Corporation and Qwest Communications.
The city of Denver is also an important hub for companies that work on the utilization of petroleum, coal, uranium, natural gas, and other energy resources. Included in the list of other major industries in Denver are printing, publishing, and tourism. Insurance is also a thriving industry in the city. Denver is the headquarters of large companies such as Lockheed Martin, Xcel Energy, United Airlines, MapQuest and Kroger Co. It is also the location of the regional wholesale distributorship of Molson Coors Brewing Company and the offices of Newmont Mining Corporation, North America’s second largest gold producer. This is also where you would find the Denver Mint, the Denver Federal Center, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. The latter was established in 2007 over land that was formerly a nuclear weapons plant. The city is also home to the local offices of Rio Tinto Group, Noble Energy, Smith International, EnCana, Anadarko and Halliburton. The city expanded its Colorado Convention Center in its bid to become one of the top-draw convention venues in the United States.
Employment in Denver for a huge number of the city’s population is provided for by concentrated on various federal agencies, as well as military installations that are present in the city’s metropolitan district. Some of the biggest employers in Denver are the Denver Federal Center, Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center, and Rocky Mountain Arsenal, to name a few. Because of the city’s location, it is among the few cities considered to be a major focal point with regards to transportation within the nation’s western section. Denver has several railways and airline. It also has numerous highways that include 3 interstate highways, as well as the Denver-Boulder Turnpike.
The bright and striking city of Denver is not shy when it comes to attractions that would keep visitors enthralled. It has a large collection of museums that showcase the city’s pioneer heritage, nature and science, transportation, toys and the arts, as well as beautiful parks, with manicured and well-kept gardens with plenty of blooming plants, lakes with crystal-clear water and meandering paths that invite you to talk a long and leisurely walk among nature’s vibrant scenery.
You would be brought back in time during the pioneering days of cowboys when you visit the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center. Here you would be able to see the chronicles of the lives of those pioneering Black men and women who literally formed the foundation of the American West, housed in the home of the first Black woman doctor in Denver, Dr. Justina Ford. The Byers-Evans House Museum is a very important historical landmark in Denver. The house was built in 1883 and showcases original furniture from that era as well as artifacts from the lives of two pioneer families from Colorado.
The Denver Art Museum presents a startling contrast between the old and the new. From a small house that was converted into a museum, it now has several additions, including the 24-side, seven stories-tall ultra-modern North Wing covered with Dow Corning’s specially-made gray tiles. Gio Ponti, an Italian architect and James Sudler from Denver, designed the building, which looks like a fortress. Another building, designed by Daniel Libeskind, looks like a piece of titanium crystal. The museum has changing exhibitions of American and European decorative arts, the largest Native American art collection in the world and about 68,000 items of African, Asian, Oceanic, pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial, and contemporary and modern art. Some of the notable items in the collection include the realistic and life-size polyvinyl sculpture of a woman sleeping that is named Linda and the controversial pop-art sculpture entitled The Shootout between an Indian and a cowboy.
The Molly Brown House Museum is a National Register of Historic Places-listed museum. The house was constructed around the 1880s in the Queen Anne style of architecture and has been preserved to house the memoirs of the owner, Margaret Brown, who survived the sinking of RMS Titanic. It also features the lifestyle in Denver during the Victorian era.
With the large number of Latinos in Denver, it is not surprising that the city has a museum, the Museo de las Americas that is solely dedicated to the culture, art and history of the Latinos from the pre-Columbian times up to the Spanish colonial area around the 17th and 18th centuries.
Just by the edge of the city’s downtown area, you would find the Colorado State Capitol building. It is very distinctive as the whole top dome of the building is made of real gold plate, as a remembrance of the gold rush period in Denver. It was constructed in 1890 and used Colorado white granite, rare Colorado rose onyx and white Yule marble. The stained glass windows depict events and people related to Colorado’s history and portraits of all the presidents of the United States decorate its halls. Another distinctive feature of the capitol building is the mile-high marker. Actually there are now three markers that decorate the steps to the building. The first marker was placed on the 15th step when the building was built, indicating the exact measurement denoting that the area was exactly one mile above sea level. The students of the Colorado State University made another measurement in 1969 and a marker was placed on the 18th step. The most recent and most accurate measurement was done in 2003 and the marker could now be seen on the 13th step.
You would find the Colorado History Museum close to the Capitol building, where you get to see a huge display of American-Indian exhibits. Another museum you would surely enjoy exploring is the Museum of Western Art. As you walk around Larimer Square, there are a number of galleries and fine shops, together with great cafes to while the time away. For more of the arts, the Denver Center for Performing Arts is a place worth visiting. It is home to theaters and different facilities especially for Denver’s symphony orchestra, opera company and ballet. The city also has the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Forney Transportation Museum, and the Platte Valley & Western Model Railroad Club.
Your visit to Denver would not be complete without taking a tour of the Denver Mint, a United States mint. It first started operation way back on the second month of 1906 and has been producing coins for circulation since then. It also produces commemorative coins and mint sets. Coins produced in the mint in Denver bears the letter D, found on the bottom right of the face side of the coin. The mint is still the world’s single largest coin producer.
There are several parks and other recreational areas in Denver, the largest being the City Park located on the east side of the city. Here, you would be able to see the Denver Museum of Nature and Science that features displays of various birds and animals, American-Indian artifacts and mineral exhibits. Also in the park is the Denver Zoo that features the Bear Mountain. The Cheesman Park that lies nearby gives you a scenic view of the magnificent Rockies in an Acropolis setting. The Denver Botanical Gardens is adjacent to the park and features flowers and trees from around the world and a beautiful tropical conservatory. The Elitch Gardens on the other hand, is well-known for its formal gardens and a themed amusement park. Another park worth visiting is the Red Rocks Park, featuring an amphitheater than can accommodate 10,000 people. The vast mountain park also features several red sandstone formations, the most visited of which are Stage Rock, Creation Rock, Ship Rock, Cave of the Seven Ladders and Seat of Pluto. Several concerts had been held here. Lookout Mountain is nearby and is the tomb site of William F. Cody, better known as “Buffalo Bill.”
The Colorado Convention Center is located in downtown Denver and is the biggest convention facility in the state. You might also catch one of the major events of Denver that happens annually – The National Western Livestock Show, Horse Show and Rodeo, an exciting event held in the Coliseum. Apart from all these, there are several famous universities in the city including the University of Denver and the University of Colorado, both of which are Denver’s largest educational institutions. Other notable institutes of learning are the Regis University and the Metropolitan State College of Denver. Denver also boasts of its professional sports teams that include the Nuggets, Broncos, Colorado Rockies and the Colorado Avalanche.
Due to the proximity of Denver to the mountains, as well as its generally nice climate and sunny weather, the city has earned the reputation of being highly energetic and outdoor-oriented. Most of the residents of Denver like spending their weekends on the mountains that surround them. They also like to ski during the winter, and go hiking, biking and climbing during the summer.
Denver, together with other cities that surround the Front Range has numerous breweries, local, as well as national. A lot of the restaurants and eating establishments here include on-site breweries. The bigger brewers in the area, such as Coors or New Belgium Brewing Company even offer tours for visitors and locals alike. Denver also hosts the Great American Beer Festival every year during autumn, and visitors coming from all parts of the world are welcome to participate in the event.
Because the city of Denver was once an important trading center in the business of beef as well as livestock, it hosts the National Western Stock Show every year in commemoration of that period in its history. This is held in the month of January in the city’s northeast downtown’s National Western Complex, bringing in close to 700,000 participants and about 10,000 animals. Denver is also host to four Mexican-American events – the Cinco de Mayo, the El Grito de la Independencia, the Lowrider Show, and the Dia De Los Muertos. Because of its large Mexican-American population, it is also a great place to savor New Mexican cuisine, as well as Southwest dishes. The Rocky Mountain Oysters, Denver Sandwich, and the Rainbow Trout are just a few of the popular foods one could enjoy while in Denver.
For its Chinese and Asian residents, Denver celebrates the Dragon Boat Festival on the month of July. In September, there is the Moon Festival, and of course, the Chinese New Year. There are at present two Chinese newspapers circulated in the city, the Colorado Chinese News, and the Chinese American Post, for the Chinese community of Denver.
Interesting Facts about Denver
When visiting the city of Denver, it is interesting to learn a few facts about the city that make it unique. It would certainly be a big help to know some important facts about the city should you decide to visit, or even when contemplating on taking up residency here.
• Denver has earned the title of being America’s most highly educated city, having the biggest number of graduates both in high school and in college, as compared to the other major metropolitan districts within the United States.
• The city of Denver’s history is closely associated with the gold rush of 1850. It was in fact a genuine frontier city where gold miners together with other pioneers lived. Typifying the Western spirit, Denver was home to saloons and gambling establishments, as well as several trading posts. Denver became an even more important city when it became capital to the Colorado territory that was newly formed in 1867.
• At present, the city of Denver is home to numerous federal agencies including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Denver Mint. The Denver International Airport is North America’s largest airport, covering all of 53 miles. Because of the city’s distinct geographical position, it is also a perfect spot for satellite communications. This is the reason why the city is a significant telecommunications center that serves not only the US, but other countries as well.
• There are various well-known companies that have been established in Denver or are headquartered in the city, including Samsonite, the largest manufacturer of luggage in the world; Newmont Mining Corporation, North America’s biggest gold producer; and AIMCO, biggest owner of numerous apartment communities within the country.
• The city is host to an active cultural life, with its famous museums and numerous cultural centers. It is home to the Denver Art Museum, which features some of the biggest Native American works of art, as well as the Black American Western Museum, established very especially for the history of the country’s Afro-American community.
• Denver is also one among the few cities hosting a sports team participating in four major leagues.
• Denver has been called the city for bicyclists with its 85-mile long off-road trails for runners and bikers. There are more than 130 miles of designated lanes and bike paths in the city with most of the paths linking many streets and the 205 parks in Denver.
• The city has 205 parks, three of which are national parks and 40 are state parks. It also has 25 ski resorts that are world-class and 75 private and public golf courses.
• The entire supply of the rare Colorado onyx in the world was used as wainscoting inside the Colorado State Capitol Building.
• Louis Ballast, running a Humpty Dumpty drive-in, invented the first cheeseburger in the world in 1935.