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An introduction to the Mile High City
DENVER, Colorado – You start your day by sitting at one of downtown Denver’s outdoor cafés to sip a hot coffee and let the warm sun shine on your face. And it’s the middle of January.
This is Denver, with more sunny days annually than some coastal cities. Now you just have to decide if you want to ride a bike along Cherry Creek or the South Platte River, stroll to the renowned Denver Art Museum or hike up the 99 steps inside the Colorado State Capitol Building’s gold dome. The opportunities abound in Denver at any time of day in any season. (Check out our Denver video guide).
Denver is often believed to be closer to the mountains than it actually is-or even in the mountains. The foothills of the Rocky Mountains are about 30 miles away from downtown Denver, where the city sits at exactly one mile high, or 5,280 feet, above sea level. This means that while it’s deep winter in the mountains, it can be downright balmy in the eastern plains city. That’s part of the appeal of Denver, where people can enjoy a mild climate and have easy access to world-class skiing only an hour or two drive to the west.
Denver has old and new
Denver is still a relatively young city at 150 years old in 2009, but in recent years it’s grown up a lot to offer sophisticated amenities with historic charm. Grown-up Denver is a blend of the old and new, as vestiges of the past can be seen and heard daily. Coal trains loudly rumble past new million-dollar townhouses on the edge of downtown while their haunting whistles echo off the city’s skyscrapers. People frolic and listen to the sounds of rushing water around Confluence Park in the same area where Native Americans once made seasonal camps near the convergence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. Walking tours tell the story of the city’s bawdy past, where there are now elegant hotels, stylish boutiques and distinctive restaurants.
Denver is green
With the largest city park system in the country, Denver touts recreation as a way of life for the increasingly urban population drawn to the latest infill developments such as Stapleton and lofts and condominiums in the Platte River Valley.
There are 20,000 acres of city parks and over 200 miles of bicycling and jogging trails in Denver.
And not only do people want to be out enjoying the greenery, they can brag about how environmentally green the city is becoming in a variety of ways. The Museum of Contemporary Art|Denver was designed and built with a goal of LEED certification and Mayor John Hickenlooper’s Greenprint Denver includes a plan to plant one million trees around the city by 2025.
It’s this combination of past and present, the West and modern styles and ideas woven together that makes Denver the reigning unofficial capital of the Rocky Mountain West, attracting such significant events as the 1997 Summit of the Eight and the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
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