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Denver, Colorado

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Denver, Colorado By David Herrera from Albuquerque, NM, Bernalillo [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons / Retouched from original

Denver as a city had its beginnings like no other. In 1858, gold was discovered at the base of the Rocky Mountains creating a stampede into the region. "Pikes Peak or Bust!" became a rallying cry for those flooding to the area. Famed American author Horace Greeley described the rapidly growing metropolis as a "log city of 150 dwellings, not three-fourths completed nor two-thirds inhabited, nor one-third fit to be." With some effort, and over a barrel of whisky, it gradually sorted itself and became the city of Denver. Fittingly enough, the first permanent structure in Denver was a saloon!

Denver is a city founded on great hardships which included; almost abandonment as fortune seekers followed the gold rush to Central City, the attack of Confederate soldiers in the Civil War, and the great fire of 1863, to become one of the most important cities in the United States today.
The sprawling Denver Performing Arts Complex is the second-largest arts campus of its kind in the nation, and it's home to the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Opera Colorado, Denver Center Theater Company, and the Colorado Ballet, the region's largest.

Top-notch museums like the Denver Art Museum, where great western art is on display; the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, where visitors can experience Colorado's earliest human residents, the Ancestral Puebloans;  the Dinosaur Journey Museum,  and the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, explore interactive exhibits about Colorado dinosaurs and learn about other creatures from Colorado's history. The Clyfford Sill Museum and the Children's Museum of Denver are great places to get an up close experience of its unique history. All this, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, give Denver visual-arts credibility.

Denver's creative community is alive and well in neighborhood art districts where works from both local and national artists and photographers are available.  Large arts-and-crafts festivals like The Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver, and the Estes Park Fine Arts and Crafts Festival, lure thousands to the area.

Featured Attractions include Denver's Museum of Nature & Science, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Denver is a great place to visit Old West attractions such as the Buffalo Bill Gravesite & Museum and the Colorado History Center. The Elitch Gardens, Lakeside Amusement Park, and Water World are real family pleasers and well worth the time.

Denver is now a pro sports paradise fielding eight professional teams including baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer, lacrosse, and rugby. Most of these teams offer behind the scenes tours that are quite interesting, including the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.

There are also many outdoor activities to enjoy, such as wild Denver, the Denver Zoo, and any of the great Denver Parks. Known to produce excellent beer, there are many brewery tours and winery tours to enjoy in the Denver beer triangle.

Shopping opportunities are second to none including the downtown 16th street mall, the Denver Pavilions, and Larimer Square. Cherry Creek Shopping Center boasts 169 shops and is considered the Rocky Mountain region's premier shopping environment. Belmar's outdoor shopping and dining district and Denver's diverse neighborhoods are great places to shop as well. The Outlets at Castle Rock is home to the largest open-air outlet center in Colorado, with over 100 designer brand name stores.

Speaking of the great outdoors, Denver is arguably the gateway city to the western USA's greatest snow skiing!

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