Founded in 1858 // Mile-High City // Rocky Mountains // Genesee Park // Molson Coors Brewery HQ // Denver Broncos...
Established in the flurry of America’s gold rush, Denver, Colorado has retained its adventurous spirit and rowdy youthfulness ever since. From serving as the West Coast bastion of the folk music movement, to launching the trend of “healthy” fast food – from declining its selection as a host of the Winter Olympics, to legalizing marijuana use – Denver has always played by its own rules.
Known popularly as the Mile-High City for its 5,280-foot elevation above sea level, Denver’s sunny, dry climate and proximity to the Rocky Mountains make it a mecca of outdoor sports. Skiing, climbing, kayaking, and rafting are regular weekend pursuits for the city’s hardy locals; those looking for a gentler pursuit should be advised that the local standard for a hike is a “fourteener,” or a mountain peak that exceeds 14,000 feet elevation. On the upside, it is common practice to reward your exhaustion by a visit to one of Denver’s many local breweries.
In the past several years, the population boom in Denver and its surrounding cities has brought an exciting influx of new restaurants, bars, shopping and nightlife. Historic Lower Downtown (“LoDo,” as it’s called) revolves around Laramie Street, a thoroughfare with cobblestones underfoot and café lights strung overhead.
Getting Around The Denver light rail serves a 35-mile stretch between the suburbs and the city center, making stops at 36 stations along the way. Trains generally follow Interstate 25, the city’s main highway. The light rail is well-maintained, affordable and reliable, and offers access to bicycles with the use of a free downloadable permit.
The Denver city bus, in addition to offering service around town, provides hourly runs to and from Denver International Airport from 18 park-and-ride lots throughout the city.
The 16th Street Shuttle, also known as the MallRide, is a free hybrid vehicle servicing the main retail street of downtown Denver, between Civic Center Station (near the state capitol) on the east end and Union Station on the west. It also connects to many light rail stops.
As one of the US’ fittest cities, it’s no surprise that Denver’s favorite means of transportation is the bicycle. And there’s no need to bring your own: the city’s bike sharing program, Denver B-Cycle, offers more than 800 brand-new red bicycles outfitted with baskets, lights and locks. The bikes are available for 30 minutes or less at no charge; an hour-long ride costs only a dollar; for $8, Denver visitors can pick up and drop off a B-Cycle at any of 83 stations around the city within a 24-hour period. For more information, call 720-865-BIKE.
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Chelsea Batten is an itinerant journalist and photographer