Denver is the capital and the largest city in the state of Colorado. Known as the Mile-High City, because its elevation is exactly one mile above sea level, Denver is situated in north central Colorado. The city is surrounded by the Rocky Mountains to the west, and the High Plains to the east. This picturesque city has a population of nearly 700,000, and was listed as the No. 1 best place to live by US News & World Reports in 2016.
The mining town of Denver City was founded during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush in November 1858. Earlier that year, in the summer, prospectors from Kansas had established Montana City, which was the first settlement in what would later become Denver. However, the site faded and was abandoned by 1859. Later that year, General William Larimer, a land speculator, staked a claim on the bluff overlooking the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. Larimer named the site Denver City to win favor with James W. Denver, the Kansas Territorial Governor. The Colorado Territory was established in February of 1861, and Denver City was incorporated in November of that year. In 1867 Denver City became the territorial capital, and the name was shortened to Denver. In 1876, Colorado officially became a state.
There is no doubt about it, Denver is known for its snowfall and cold temperatures in the winter. It is ranked as the 18th coldest major U.S. city. The city has four distinct seasons, and is subject to sudden changes in weather. The climate in Denver tends to be very sunny, with over 3,000 hours of sunshine each year. July is the warmest summer month with average temperatures around 75°. The summer temperatures range from mild to hot, and are prone to afternoon thunder storms. The winters in Denver range from mild to bitter cold, with an average temperature of 30°. December is by far the coldest month of the year, when temperatures can drop to below 0°. Annual snowfall is common through the late fall, winter, and early spring, and averages almost 54 inches. Tornadoes in the Denver area are rare, but they have occurred in the spring and summer months on occasion.
Getting Around Denver
Denver, like most major cities, has a variety of transportation options. In the downtown area, you won’t need a car, as it can be navigated on foot or by city bus or rail transit. Additionally, the free 16th Street Mall shuttle, B-cycle bike sharing, and taxi and pedi-cab services let visitors and residents explore downtown without having to drive and find parking. Away from the downtown area, you will need a car to get around unless you are travelling to a destination that is on the city’s rail lines. The rail lines do not currently service the Denver International Airport (DEN), but construction to add service is currently underway. The Denver area has hundreds of miles of bike and pedestrian paths.
Commuting in Denver
Denver has three major Interstate highways – I-25, I-70, and I-80. It also has several U.S. Highways that pass through the Denver metropolitan area, however all of them are merged onto an Interstate at some point. Traffic is a problem during the snowy, winter months, and careful attention must be paid to weather and traffic reports for residents’ daily commutes. Workers have a fairly long average commute time of 26 minutes.
The Denver Post is the daily newspaper for Denver, and the city also has several weekly and monthly publications including The Advocate, The Denver Statesman, and Denver Business Journal. The city has more than 40 radio stations in various genres, and is the country’s 16th largest market for television.
Denver is not only beautiful year-round, it also offers visitors and residents lots to do. The city is a mecca for sports fans being the home to all categories of major professional sports teams. The Broncos, Avalanche, Nuggets, and Rockies cover football, hockey, basketball, and baseball, so there is no shortage of teams to get out of your Denver apartment and root for. Additionally, Denver has much to offer, including family fun, outdoor activities, art and culture and history.
Denver has various landmarks including the Denver Mint, which is the largest producer of coins in the world, Union Station, a beautiful and historic three story rail station, and the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conceptions, a magnificent cathedral where Pope John Paul II performed mass twice in 1993
Things to do in Denver
The list of things to do get out of your apartments in Denver and see is a long one. Of course sports fans have the option of taking in a Rockies, Broncos, Avalanche or Nuggets game, while art and culture lovers have wonderful options around town like the Avenue Theater, Denver Performing Arts Complex and Denver Art Museum. 16th Street Mall provides local residents with a prime shopping area downtown with over 350 shops and restaurants. Folks looking to soak up the sun at an outdoor activity can check out the Denver Botanic Gardens or Confluence Park. No Denver adventure would be complete without a trip out to Richtofen Castle to see a castle built by the uncle of the infamous World War I pilot the Red baron.
The National Western Stock Show is one of Denver’s major festivals. Held every January, this rodeo and livestock show is the 2nd largest in the country, and lasts 16 days and is spread over 100 acres. January’s Colorado Indian Market and Southwest Showcase is a festival that features a range of events relating to Indian heritage and culture. In July the Cherry Creek Arts Festival takes place. The festival features a unique mix of visual and performing arts, and live musical performances from over 200 artists. The festival attracts more than 350,000 visitors each year.
Denver Vacation spots
Rocky Mountain National park is a hotspot for Denver residents in both summer and winter. At only an hour and a half away, it makes for a quick and fun day trip or vacation. Fort Collins, Colorado is just a little over an hour away from Denver, and it offers all kinds of outdoor activities in its 50 state parks and over 280 miles of hiking trails. Downtown in Fort Collins is a hub of fine-dining, nightlife, and great shopping. The city of Colorado Springs is just about an hour and a half away, and it is home to the Broadmoor Resort, the Garden of the Gods, and the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
Where to move in Denver
Three of the best Denver neighborhoods for young professionals are downtown’s LoDo and Capitol Hill, and outside of downtown, Platt Park. All of these neighborhoods offer nightlife and activity. For families, the best neighborhoods include Washington Park, Littleton, and Highlands Ranch. Whether you plan to live or just visit Denver, Colorado, you will find beautiful landscapes, lots of sporting and rodeo events, and an art and music scene second to none. If you can bear the cold in the winter, Denver may be just right for you.