POPULATION: 663,862 (city), 2,754,258 (metro) | TIME ZONE: Mountain | CLIMATE: Semi-arid, continental climate zone (Four distinct seasons, modest precipitation throughout the year)
In 1858, a land speculator staked a claim by placing cottonwood logs on a bluff overlooking the spot where the South Platte River and Cherry Creek come together. He named the site Denver City inaneffort to ingratiate himself with Governor James W. Denver. Little did he know that Governor Denver had recently resigned from office.
Established as a frontier town, Denver City’s economy was linked to the local mining culture, providing the miners with gambling, saloons, livestock and trading. In 1859 came the region's first overland wagon route. In 1863, Western Union chose Denver for its regional terminus, furthering Denver's authority and significance. Later, Denver visionaries helped link their city by rail to the first transcontinental railroad in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Denver subsequently became attractive to millionaires, and various city fathers were intent on turning Denver into a world-class destination.
Denver has the dubious distinction of being the first city to ever decline being a host for an Olympic games (in 1976). With a burgeoning cultural scene, art galleries, restaurants, bars and clubs, Denver has repeatedly topped the Forbes list of America's "Best Cities for Singles." It’s also worth noting that a 2009 study by the Pew Research Center, using where people want to live as its basis, ranked Denver as the most popular American city.
The Mile-High City
Queen City of the West
Queen City of the Plains
West Convention City
Nil Sine Numine (Nothing Without the Deity) It’s our nature
RANDOM SONG ABOUT THE CITY
"Get Out Of Denver," by Bob Seger
PRO SPORTS TEAMS
Denver Broncos (NFL)
Colorado Rockies (MLB)
Colorado Avalanche (NHL)
Colorado Rapids (MLS)
Denver Nuggets (NBA)
Furniture Row Racing (NASCAR)
Colorado Mammoth (NLL)
Denver Outlaws (MLL)
Denver Dynamite (PASL)
Denver Bulldogs (USAFL)
Denver Barbarians (USA RSL)
Glendale Raptors (PRP)
Women’s Glendale Raptors (WPL)
ALSO KNOWN FOR...
Being exactly one mile high in elevation
Its own bison herd
300 days of sunshine annually
The nation’s second largest performing arts complex after Lincoln Center
More beer brewing than any other city
Independent radio and bookstores
Amendment 64 (legalized marijuana)
Red Rocks Amphitheater
Tim Allen, Roseanne Barr, Douglas Fairbanks, David Fincher, The Lumineers, Karl Rove, Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Pam Grier, Condoleezza Rice
Known for its gentrification and active-outdoor population, The Highlands neighborhood comes with everything from noted restaurants and recreation centers to a summertime Shakespeare Festival. This is very much a Subaru-driving, outdoor-doing culture. Stapleton is an unusual urban neighborhood with a small-town feel and an emphasis on sustainability. Stapleton has an 80-acre park and 38-mile trail network, and has become an internationally recognized model town for the New Urbanism.
Riverfront is a hipster neighborhood growing out of repurposed industrial spaces. Despite the hipster reputation, it’s also home to attractions like the Downtown Aquarium, Pepsi Center arena and the Children’s Museum of Denver. As seems to happen with so many state-capitol neighborhoods, Capitol Hill is on the edgy side and also has a flamboyant streak. The densely populated neighborhood is noted for its late 19th- and early 20th-century mansions. (Titanic survivor Molly Brown’s is among them and is open for tours.) There are also high-rises, lofts, smaller homes and apartment buildings.
A sought after, burgeoning arty neighborhood, Golden Triangle includes the Denver Art Museum and a free Art Bus for things like art gallery openings. Cheeseman Park is the former home of Denver’s original cemetery, and the park itself is reputed to be haunted. That hasn’t stopped it from becoming a densely populated urban neighborhood that is ever growing and evolving. Uptown is often regarded as charming, with a mellow neighborhood demeanor. A lot of the city’s good hospitals are in Uptown, along with historic mansions, condo and loft projects, and 17th Street’s Restaurant Row.
LoDo s the lower downtown area. The city’s original settlement, it’s a mixed-use historic district that is recognized as an example of successful urban revitalization. Galleries, restaurants, clubs and retail inhabit some historic old buildings—as do its residents. LoDo is a happening luxury neighborhood. The Central Business District is also loft central. A vibrant urban neighborhood, the Central Business District also offers apartment complexes. With easy access to downtown, this is the kind of place where you can get that distinctly urban neighborhood feel.
Washington Park, or Wash Park, is a blend of classic and contemporary. The park itself was originally influenced by the Unsinkable Molly Brown, among others. And so successful was the park’s design and the neighborhood’s rise of late, the American Planning Association has called it one of the Great Public Spaces in America. River North, or RiNo, is another arts district and trendy neighborhood with an industrial feel. From breweries to eateries to galleries (with a monthly art walk), RiNo is a place for anyone feeling a need to ride a wave of hip and happeningness.
The Country Club neighborhood is one of Denver’s smallest by number of homes, has some of the largest homes and lots, and is probably exactly what you’re imagining from the name. Established in the early 1900s, Country Club became attractive to the region’s most famous architects of the time. Some of them even designed and built their own homes here. Cherry Creek could be called Country Club adjacent. Also upscale, it may not be quite as steeped in luxury history as Country Club—but boy, is it steeped in shopping. Cherry Creek Shopping Center is considered to be one of the world’s best malls. There are also galleries, boutiques, eateries and enough else to make Cherry Creek a destination. There are also luxury condos and townhouses, and plenty of parks.
Englewood is a fine example of how an urban center and sprawl can come together in a community that seems to straddle the line between urban and suburban. The people who love it find it just city enough and just suburb enough. If you’re looking for a suburban oasis, Lone Tree is a place to find new homes on large lots with plenty of land. It also offers cultural amenities, like an arts center and a symphony orchestra, good shopping, and a golf club and lake for fishing and watersports.
Lakewood has a reputation as a modest place of townhouses and single-family homes. In2011,Lakewood was honored by The National Civic League as an All-America City. The award recognizes communities meeting challenges together and achieving exceptional results. Wheat Ridge was once a popular rest stop for 1850s Gold Rush travelers. Later, with agriculture becoming a significant driver, it became known as The Carnation City. Today, it’s known for its large residential lots and a mix of residential, commercial and agricultural—not to mention the continuing Annual Carnation Festival. The suburb of Littleton is a fabled place in the minds of many who consider it a quintessential Denver suburb for families with kids.
Westminster is considered a good middle ground between urban and suburban. Plenty of condo dwellers and foodie joints, as well as big homes with sizeable yards, championship golf courses and outdoor recreation. Interestingly, the town of Longmont was founded by a bunch of folks from Chicago in the 1800s. It has been called diverse and multicultural, with good parks and recreation, and a range of real estate options including good starter homes. Broomfield is a desirable if pricey community whose higher cost of living also comes with the kinds of things you’d expect, like very low crime rates and really good schools. With single-family homes on large lots, there’s room to spread out. And if the idea of public arts holds any appeal, the Broomfield Sculpture Trail is for you. Similarly, you’ll pay dearly to live in Greenwood Village. But once again—good schools, low crime, and some tout all the amenities of living in Denver without the urban congestion.
Greenwood Village also claims part of the Denver Tech Center, an urban village that has a surprisingly vibrant community and quality of life despite all the big businesses there. DTC also has a reputation for not being quite as exciting a community as some others. Louisville has repeatedly ranked near the top of CNN and Money Magazine’s lists of100 Best Places To Live. Additionally, Family Circle rates it as one of the best towns in America for families. Of course, it all comes at a price. And while Boulder is easily a half hour drive from downtown Denver, it has a colorful history and all of the energy that goes with being a college town. The main campus of the University of Colorado is there, it has a bold hippie past, and continually ranks on many lists of desirability for everything from housing to entrepreneurship.