Perhaps some of you can still remember: The US television series “Dynasty” ran in Germany under the name of the “Denver Clan” in the evening program and in the 1980s attracted an audience of millions in front of the TV screens. The Denver the series portrayed at the time was a city defined by greed for money, power, love, and a skyline of skyscrapers. If you travel to Colorado today, you will experience Denver completely differently.
This city welcomes its guests openly and with warm hospitality. It has a lot to offer culturally and, with its location at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, is the gateway to grandiose natural landscapes and national parks. By the way, its residents know how to live! A lively gastronomic scene as well as great shopping opportunities herald this. You can find the latter elsewhere in the US too? That’s right, and yet Denver has that certain something more. Not least because of this, the city was named the “most liveable place in the USA” in 2016.
Denver facts and figures
According to acronymmonster, Denver is not only the largest city in Colorado by area, but also the capital of the state. Even more: with a good 600,000 residents, it even has the largest population within a radius of 800 kilometers.
Denver got the second name “Mile High City” because of its mountain location at an altitude of 1,600 meters, which corresponds to about one mile above sea level. Here at the foot of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, there is a dry mountain climate, which on the one hand brings little rainfall, but on the other hand brings significant temperature fluctuations. In fact, Denver is a year-round destination. With cold, but dry and sunny winter days, it is a great alternative to classic winter holidays in Europe. The ski resorts very close by really need not shy away from any comparison. In fact, Denver could have hosted the 1976 Winter Olympics. The Olympic Committee had chosen the location; however, the governor and residents voted against it two years later because of the high cost. Then Innsbruck in Austria stepped in as the venue.
Of course, the summers in Denver are also tough. From June to August it can easily get 30 degrees Celsius, in May and September travelers can expect around 25 degrees. These are the best prerequisites for exploring the city as well as for trips to the Rockys.
Finally, a few historical facts. In the middle of the 19th century, the first gold diggers from Mexico came to what is now Denver. They quickly found what they were looking for and temporarily settled down. Together with a few other settlements, a place was created that was recognized as a city on November 7, 1861 and was initially named “Denver City”. The connection to the railroad went uphill, silver finds in the Rocky Mountains did the rest to let the city grow and prosper. In 1890 Denver already had over 100,000 residents. But there have also been times of economic depression. When the silver mines in the Rocky Mountains had to close, a significant decline set in. There was a renewed upswing only in the early 1980s when oil and other mineral resources were discovered. The rival oil barons were the subject of the aforementioned television series. By the way, the mansion in which it all took place wasn’t in Denver. This is the historical “Villa Filoli”, which is located in a huge park area in California, in the mountains between San José and San Francisco.
Now let’s start with the sights!
Downtown Denver is very pedestrian-friendly and leads to many sights within a long walk. This includes, for example, the “Denver Art Museum” (100 W 14th Avenue Pkwy, denverartmuseum.org), which has an impressive collection of Native American art. In addition, important works from many other countries and epochs are exhibited. The “DAM” also regularly shows top-class special exhibitions. Currently (as of March 2018), for example, over 100 works by the French artist Edgar Degas are on display. If you don’t have time to visit, you should at least take a look at the building. Frederic C. Hamilton’s architecture is spectacular.
With the “History Colorado Center” (1200 Broadway, www.historycolorado.org) one of the youngest and most modern museums in the city awaits visitors. The building was built on the foundations of the historical museum, which closed in 2010. In 2012 the new building opened, introducing all facets of history, culture and life in Colorado.
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science (2001 Colorado Boulevard, www.dmns.org), which is also ideal for a visit with children. Last but not least, you will love the dinosaurs on display and the journey through prehistoric times. But topics such as space, the Egyptian art of mummification, how humans work and much more are presented in an exciting and instructive way.
Finally, back to the fine arts. At the “Clyfford Still Museum” (1250 Bannock Street, clyffordstillmuseum.org) art lovers can encounter the works of one of the most important US painters of the 20th century. Clyfford Still is one of the outstanding artists of abstract expressionism; but without enjoying the fame it deserves in Europe. Art lovers can make a real discovery here.
Time to get some fresh air and something to eat and drink
Spiritual pleasures are one thing. In Denver, however, the physical well-being is certainly not neglected. The city center is buzzing with pretty cafes, restaurants and wine bars. But above all, you can have a good beer here. The city is famous for its independent brewing culture, which is best experienced on the Denver Beer Trail. What is also essential is a Western-style shopping spree. So be sure to go to “Rockmount Ranch Wear” (1626 Wazee Street, www.rockmount.com) drop by; there the cowboy shirt with snap fastener was invented. The 105th west longitude runs right through the newly renovated “Union Station”. Reason enough to stop by for a drink in the “Terminal Bar”.
Also worth a visit is the Botanical Gardens (Botanical Gardens, 1007 York Street, www.botanicgardens.org). Various individual parks with their own themes were planted on the huge, publicly accessible area. Concerts are held in a sunken amphitheater in summer.
And of course – the Rocky Mountains!
Unthinkable not to take a tour of the Rocky Mountains from Denver. National parks, great hiking trails and climbing routes can be reached in no time and are an essential part of a visit to the capital of Colorado.
Denver at a glance
- Located at 1600 meters above sea level at the eastern foot of the Rocky Mountains
- A destination for the whole year
- Cold winters, hot summers, little rainfall
- Exquisite collection of Indian art at the Denver Art Museum
- Dinosaurs, Mummies, and Galaxies at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
- The Colorado History Center opens up the history of the state
- The Clyfford Still Museum shows abstract expressionism in a class of its own
- The 105th west longitude runs right through the “Union Station” station