Denver, the capital of Colorado, is an American metropolis dating to the Old West era. Larimer Square, the city’s oldest block, still features landmark 19th-century buildings. Museums include the Denver Art Museum, an ultramodern complex known for its indigenous works collection, and the mansion of famed Titanic survivor Molly Brown. Denver is also a jumping-off point for skiing in the nearby Rocky Mountains.
The rich ethnic history and diverse cultural heritage of the city are celebrated with a number of events throughout the year, from the nation's largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the spring to the Longs Peak Scottish Irish Festival in the fall. Summer brings the Colorado Gay Rodeo and Denver PrideFest, a celebration of community and culture. The historically rich African-American Five Points neighborhood is home to the Black American West Museum (3091 California St.), while the Museo de las Americas (861 Santa Fe Dr.) hosts some of the world's top contemporary artists from Latin America. A trip to The Mile High City will find no shortage of year-round cultural activity.
TOP ATTRACTIONS TO SEE IN DENVER
|Lined with 200 trees and 50,000 flowers, this festive, mile-long 16th Street Mall has 28 outdoor cafes and offers Denver's best people-watching. Renowned architect I.M. Pei designed the gray and pink granite pathway to resemble the pattern of a diamondback rattlesnake. Hop on the bus – they're free and stop on every corner. After dark, horse-drawn carriages clatter up and down the Mall.|
|The Denver Art Museum is made up of two architecturally stunning buildings – one a fortress-like structure from Italian architect Gio Ponti, the other, a structure that resembles a titanium crystal with peaks and shards designed by Daniel Libeskind. Inside, find the world's greatest collection of Native American art and 68,000 other art objects, including works from European masters, Old West classics and phenomenal traveling exhibits.|
|Stand exactly 5,280 feet above sea level (one mile high!) on the west steps of the Colorado State Capitol, then climb to the rotunda for a panorama of snowcapped peaks. It is against state law to block the view of the 200 named mountains visible from the dome. Free tours are available on weekdays.|
|Larimer Square is a trendy block of Victorian buildings is home to chic shopping, dance clubs, a comedy club, outdoor cafes and a dozen of Denver's best restaurants. For 40 years in downtown Denver, it's hip to be at the "Square."|
|Clyfford Still, considered one of the most important painters of the 20th century, was among the first generation of Abstract Expressionist artists. The Clyfford Still Museum, which opened at the end of 2011, was founded to promote the late artist's work and legacy. Still's estate - 2,400 artworks - has been sealed off from the public since 1980.|
|The Colorado Convention Center is home to “I See What You Mean,” AKA the giant Blue Bear that peers into the Center’s interior. Created by Colorado-based artist Lawrence Argent, the curious blue bear stands 40 feet tall – you can walk under it and get a great photo.|
|Denver's happening historic district is filled with turn-of-the-century warehouses, now home to 90 brewpubs, sports bars, restaurants and rooftop cafes. While you're in LoDo, stop by Rockmount Ranchwear for a snap button Western shirt at the store where they were invented; browse from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Bookstore; listen to jazz at El Chapultepec, one of Esquire Magazine's 50 best bars; or sip a handcrafted beer at the Wynkoop Brewing Company, Denver's first brewpub opened by former Denver Mayor (now Colorado Governor), John Hickenlooper.|
|Denver was founded at Confluence Park as a gold mining camp in 1858. Today, the river park is the heart of Denver's 85-mile bike trail network, and is surrounded by attractions. Ride the Platte River Trolley to the Downtown Aquarium to see stingrays and sharks and The Children's Museum of Denver, with dozens of interactive "playscapes" for younger kids; eat and drink in the nearby neighborhoods of Riverfront, LoHi and Highlands.|
|The only downtown theme park in America is really two parks in one: on one side of Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park, experience 53 thrill rides, including looping roller coasters; on the other side, cool off in a wet 'n' wild water park with tubes waterslides and wave pools. The park is open from early May to early November.|
|More than 500 department stores, boutiques, galleries, spas, and one-of-a-kind shops grace this browsing paradise – the largest concentration of stores between St. Louis and San Francisco. Cherry Creek Shopping Center is an ultra upscale mall with Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Tiffany's, while across 1st Ave., Cherry Creek North offers tree-line streets with cafes, spas and galleries amidst fountains and public art.|
|Denver Botanic Gardens, a 23-acre oasis in the middle of the city, has 45 different gardens (some 33,000 plants), as well as one of the nation's top 10 conservatories. Relax in the Japanese Garden, climb through the Rock Alpine Garden and explore the new Mordecai Children's Garden. The Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory is the largest single structure tropical conservatory in the U.S., including banyan tree roots and cloud forest orchids.|
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