Though Denver is sometimes assumed to be a mountain town, the city is actually about 15 miles from the base of the Rocky Mountains. Denver is a picturesque, walkable city dotted with more than 200 parks and literally dozens of attractive boulevards framed by tall trees. The city's neighborhoods and skyline offer many hints into Denver's past. Beautiful Victorian buildings hark back to the city's days as a hub for the great Colorado Gold Rush, and the 16 skyscrapers celebrate Denver's return to prominence during the energy boom in the 1970s. Though the city struggled during the energy downturn in the 1980s, it has since fully recovered and become one of the nation's most popular destinations for meetings, conferences and large events.
Despite the fact that many Western cities in the United States are characterized by urban sprawls, Denver actually has a well-defined and central downtown. Based on the number of workers and retail numbers, the city is the 10th largest in the United States. Nevertheless, Denver's downtown can be easily explored on foot, which makes it a great city for visitors who want to take in all the sights without hopping into their cars. In addition to the city's huge and newly refurbished convention center, Denver offers a plethora of shops and boutiques, hundreds of restaurants and ample nightlife options. So, keep in mind that when doing any type of event or meeting planning in Denver, being downtown can certainly be desirable for attendees.
Cultural offerings abound as well - the Denver Pavilions, Denver Art Museum and Colorado History Museum are all downtown and frequently feature world-renowned exhibitions and showings. One of Denver's most frequently visited landmarks, the 16th Street mall is a both a bustling pedestrian mall as well as an amazing work of art. A mile long, the mall winds through a large number of parks and beautiful plazas, all of which are framed by the soaring skyscrapers. One of the mall's best features, however, can really only be appreciated from above - the pedestrian walkway was designed by the artist to look like an enormous diamondback rattlesnake, a well-known symbol in the Denver area.
Visitors to Denver are often surprised by the variety and character of the neighborhoods which make up the downtown area. Each neighborhood possesses its own distinct personality and history. Lower Downtown, affectionately referred to as "LoDo" by locals, is located on the city's north side. This neighborhood features an impressive collection of some of the city's best-preserved Victorian and turn-of-the-century buildings and warehouses. Many of them have been converted into trendy restaurants, galleries and boutique shops. Night owls also know this part of town for its thriving brewpub scene and nightlife attractions. Some of Denver's other well-known neighborhoods include Capitol Hill, Highland, Washington Park and the Golden Triangle Area. Those neighborhoods closer to downtown tend to display more historic charm and are built with brick. Peripheral neighborhoods are newer and are generally built with more modernized materials.
The City and County of Denver is only one of seven counties in the metro area, all of which are known for their outstanding recreational opportunities. The Denver area has over 14,000 acres of mountain parks including Red Rocks Park, and it owns the hill on which Winter Park Resort sits. Denver's terrific skiing brings thousands of tourists to the city area every winter. These activities are, as you can guess, also tremendous perks for the Denver meeting planning community. Denver's reputation as the "Mile High City" is not just a casual reference to its altitude - it turns out the steps on the Denver State Capitol building are exactly 5,280 feet above sea level. Golfers love this fact, as their shots go over 10 percent farther than usual, and newcomers to the city have to use caution on a night out on the town - a few drinks go a lot farther as well.
Sports enthusiasts will appreciate Denver's large concentration of athletic teams and sporting facilities. The city is home to three major sports stadiums and has eight professional athletic teams. One of these stadiums, Coors Field, was added to downtown Denver in May 1995 to host the Colorado Rockies, Denver's Major League baseball team.