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Denver is the capital of Colorado and the largest city in the Rocky Mountains region of the United States. Known as "The Mile-High City", Denver sits at an altitude of 5,280 feet (1,600 m) above sea level and lies where the Great Plains give way to the Rocky Mountains. Denver is a large city and one of the fastest growing in the U.S.
Denver International Airport, (DEN). Commonly referred to as DIA, it is located about 18 miles (29 km) northeast of downtown. Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines all maintain hubs in Concourses A, B, and C respectively. Most other major domestic carriers also have service here. In addition, Aeroméxico, Air Canada, British Airways, Icelandair, Lufthansa, and Volaris offer service to international destinations.
Frontier Airlines. Discount carrier with its hub at DIA's Concourse A and service to and from over 60 cities in the United States and Mexico.
United Airlines. The largest carrier at the airport, with service across the nation and the world from Concourse B.
Southwest Airlines. The quintessential discount airline maintains its fastest-growing hub in Concourse C.
The airport is set amidst rolling plains with the towering Rocky Mountains and Denver to the west. DIA is located in a rural area of Adams County, quite far from any conceivable local destination. This was a deliberate choice, to avoid the problem of being walled in over many years by development (which was why Denver had to replace its old international airport, Stapleton). Unfortunately, this also means DIA is very far from off-airport hotels and restaurants. Efforts by Denver to develop airport land for such uses have been resisted by Adams County, since Adams would be stuck with the expense of supporting new residents who would commute to such businesses, while Denver would reap the tax revenue.
I-25 (north and south), I-70 (east and west), and I-76 (northeast) are the major interstates leading in and out of the city. I-225 and I-270 cross the Denver area.
U.S. Highway 40 connects Denver to Salt Lake City to the west.
Interstate 70 connects Denver to Summit County, the location of many major ski areas, to the west.
Interstate 25 connects Denver to Colorado Springs in the south and Cheyenne, Wyoming in the north.
U.S. Highway 36 connects to the northwestern suburbs and on to Boulder.
C-470 Connects to the southern end of E-470 (also accessible from I-25) leading to the south, southwest, and western suburbs.
Toll Roads There are a couple of major toll roads in the Denver area, and they can help you avoid some serious rush hour traffic on I-70 and I-25.
E-470 connects the airport to the southeast, east, northeast and northwest suburbs, C-470 at its southern terminus, and the Northwest Parkway at its northern terminus, leading to Boulder. E-470 is a "cashless" toll road - there are no longer any toll plazas and no way to pay tolls except via an in-car device or a billing service. If renting a car, check to see if the rental car agency provides for proper billing; otherwise, you may be subject to billed tolls and hefty service charges. Tolls are $2-4 and without an in-car device, service charges can run to $25 or more.
Amtrak's California Zephyr stops in Denver once a day at unnion Station, continuing east to Chicago and west to Emeryville, California. trains Connections are available to all light rail lines that serve Denver at this station, as well as a free shuttle which can take you further into downtown and to the State Capitol.
Greyhound. The bus station is downtown at 1055 19th Street, just a few blocks away from Coors Field and other central attractions. Serviced by Greyhound and skyRide buses, the station also has storage lockers that can be rented hourly. Expect the bus station to be crowded and dirty.
Autobus Americanos, Provides bus service to/from Mexico. The bus stop is located at 2147 N Broadway.
Numbered streets run east-west in the north half of the metro area, including suburbs. Ellsworth Avenue is the "equatorial" street. Numbered streets increase as you travel north and are generally called avenues. Avenues south of Ellsworth are named.
Named streets run north-south. Broadway is the "meridian" street. Ordered alphabetically going up as you travel east or west away from city center. Addresses on named streets correspond to intersecting numbered streets, so "1701 Broadway" is at 17th and Broadway. North-south streets are generally called streets, not avenues.
Downtown streets: The diagonal layout of the downtown area can be tricky, especially for first-time visitors. North of Colfax and west of Broadway, the streets are canted 45 degrees from all other streets in the city. The transition between the two systems is confusing even for locals. Southeast-northwest streets are numbered, while southwest-northeast streets are named. As this was the original grid system of Denver, some vestiges of it exist outside of downtown, creating diagonal cuts in certain parts of the city. Some of those streets include Park Avenue, Speer Boulevard and Morrison Road.
What to see
Denver is a vibrant city with plenty of attractions for visitors, plus a diverse collection of neighborhoods that can be attractions in themselves. Many of Denver's older areas are the perfect density for exploration; you'll find an interesting mix of apartments and homes with flowery front gardens, wide flagstone sidewalks, bright green lawns and big, shady trees. Capitol Hill, Highlands, Baker, Berkeley, Uptown, Sloan's Lake, Cheesman, Washington, City and Congress Parks are just some of the neighborhoods bustling with people and places to see.
Denver has many beautiful parks that are full of colorful gardens, meandering paths, crystal clear lakes, abundant wildlife and recreation opportunities. The city has a rich pioneer history, and there are plenty of museums where you can learn all about it. It's also a very environmentally conscious city, with one of the nation’s first municipal “Green Fleets”, public transit vehicles using hybrid and alternative fuel and a city tree-planting initiative. Hop on a green bus, grab a bike or just walk around to discover Denver.
What to do
Late spring and early autumn are excellent seasons to do things outdoors in Denver. Besides the city's various lush green parks, there are plenty of outdoor festivals, sports, and gondola rides. (Yes, gondola rides.) In winter, the snow-peaked mountains in the distance and the crisp air on your cheeks make it the perfect time to tour Denver's famous breweries or check out the downtown arts scene.
Butterfly Pavilion, 6252 W 104th Ave, Westminster. 9AM-4:15PM daily. Learn about invertebrates, science and conservation through fun, interactive exhibits ideal for families with kids. All ages enjoy visiting their tropical conservatory, which is filled with 1,200 free-flying butterflies. $5-8.
Elitch Gardens. A huge amusement park with rides and family entertainment.
Waterworld Open last weekend in May-first M of Sep (Labor Day).
Lakeside, 4601 Sheridan Blvd. A throwback from Denver's past, Lakeside is an amusement park like they used to make; without all the corporate branding and commercialism. While it may have a somewhat seedy exterior, Lakeside is still a staple of local kids' upbringings, and remains a fixture of Denver culture as well as a much cheaper alternative to Elitch Gardens. Coaster buffs will squeal with glee over the Cyclone, the park's original 1940 Edward Vettel-designed wood coaster.
Bovine Metropolis Theater, 1527 Champa St. Nope, no cows on stage. Just exciting and surprising improv comedy shows five nights a week. All ages. $5-16.
Comedy Works, 1226 15th St (between Larimer and Lawrence in Larimer Square). Laugh it up with local comedians as well as big name acts. 21 and up. $10-30 tickets.
Impulse Theater, 1634 18th St. Th-Sa. At Denver's original improv comedy venue, no two shows are ever the same! Great for group events and appropriate for all ages. $18.
Festivals & Events
January National Western Stock Show & Rodeo, Martin Luther King Parade, Indian Market, Mile High Snowfest
February Colorado Garden and Home Show, Denver Restaurant Week, Buffalo Bill's Birthday Party
March St. Patrick's Day Parade, Denver March Powwow, Starz Global Lens Film Festival
April Doors Open Denver, Colorado Rockies Home Opener, KBCO Kinetics
May Cinco de Mayo, Tesoro Indian Market and Powwow, Downtown Denver Festival of the Arts, Denver Day of Rock, Colorado Colfax Marathon also includes Denver's Navy Week.
June Colorado Renaissance Festival, Cherry Blossom Festival, Comcast La Piazza dell’Arte, Do At The Zoo, PrideFest, The People's Fair, Highland Street Fair
July Cherry Creek Arts Festival, The INTERNATIONAL at Castle Pines, Colorado Irish Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Evergreen Jazz Festival
September A Taste of Colorado, Brew At The Zoo, Annual Oktoberfest, Festival Italiano, Denver Beer Fest
October Fright Fest, Great American Beer Festival, Denver Mariachi Festival, Denver Marathon
November Denver Arts Week, Starz International Film Festival, Denver International Wine Festival, Downtown Denver, Grand Illumination
December Mile High Holidays, Blossoms of Light, Zoo Lights, 9News Parade of Lights, New Year's Eve Downtown Fireworks
Avalokiteshvara Meditation Center , 1081 Marion St. Offers relaxation meditations and meditation classes to increase inner peace.
The Science of Natural Medicine. An acupuncture clinic in Denver offering acupuncture, massage, nutrition, lifestyle counseling, using traditional Chinese medicine.
Tentiko (all of Denver), Offers unique, local experiences.
White Water Rafting Colorado (all of Denver), Great for adventurous thrill seekers .