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Denver Basics


Photo by Rich Grant, VISIT DENVER

“Please come to Denver ...” goes the classic rock anthem, and once you visit the Mile High City, you’ll be saying it to everyone you know. And you’ll be saying it no matter the season: With 300 days of sunshine a year and some of the world’s best skiing just two hours away, Denver is a year-round town with equal doses of urban sophistication and rugged outdoor appeal.

Look west from Denver’s valley floor—itself more than 5,000 feet above sea level—and you’re gazing at the 14,000-foot peaks of “Rocky Mountain High.” Look east and the peaks are almost as lofty, though the terrain is drier and less dramatic. But what really define Denver are the distances; the next big city is more than 600 miles away, giving Denver the feel of an urban outpost or way station. Which is exactly what it is, defined even today by its vivid history as the last stop before the westward push of the Gold Rush.

But Denver is no living history center. In the past decade, Denver has drawn scads of new residents, many of them students who arrived to attend the University of Colorado and then never left, ski bums who’ve come down from the mountains or young families drawn by a high standard of living at an affordable price. The ultimate “green” city, Denver boasts the largest city park system in the nation, with 205 parks within city limits and 20,000 acres of parks in the nearby mountains. Spurred by a healthy economy, Denver’s nightlife is more along the lines of what you’d expect from Los Angeles or Washington, D.C.; in some neighborhoods it feels like there’s a bar on every corner and five restaurants worth trying on every block.

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