Frequently Asked Questions About Denver
Have questions about Denver? We're here to help. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Denver, Colorado: everything from Where is Denver, Colorado? to What are the top Denver industries? to What is the population of Denver? to Why is Denver called the Mile-High City? This list is a great place to start learning about one of America's best cities.
(Click on any of the questions for full articles on the topic.)
East of the Rocky Mountains and west of the High Plains, Denver is situated in the Rocky Mountain Urban Corridor.
What is the population of Denver?
According to the 2010 census, City and County of Denver has 600,158 residents and is the 24th most populous city in the United States. The Denver Metro area is home to over 3 million residents and is the 16th most populous metro area in the U.S.
Denver is known as the Mile High City because its altitude is one mile – 5,280 feet – above sea level. Denver is the only state capitol located at exactly one mile in altitude. Although the 15th step of the Capitol Building was carved with the designation as “ONE MILE ABOVE SEA LEVEL,” Colorado State University engineering students in 1969 found that this was not the correct placement. Thus, there is a geodetic plug located on the 18th step. In 2003, a new measurement using modern methods was conducted which resulted in a third marker located on the 13th step of the capitol.
Denver was founded by General William Larimar as Denver City in November, 1858. It began as a mining town during the western Kansas Territory's Pike's Peak Gold Rush. The site is located on a bluff overlooking the joining of South Platte River and Cherry Creek. This original site of the city is now Confluence Park.
When was the Denver State Capitol Building built? How big is it?
The Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver was built in the 1890's. The three-story building has a footprint of nearly 68,000 square feet. The attention-grabbing dome was plated with 24-karat gold in 1908 to celebrate the Gold Rush.
Why are downtown Denver streets angled differently from surrounding areas?
The original streets of Denver, in what is now downtown, run diagonal to the four cardinal directions. These streets were laid out to run parallel and perpendicular to Cherry Creek at its confluence with the South Platte River. In 1964, a grid of streets running east-west/north-south was laid out to correspond to the four cardinal directions, according to federal land policy.
Who is Denver named after?
Denver was originally Denver City. The founder, General William Larimar, named the city after James W. Denver. Mr. Denver was the governor of Kansas Territory, in which the site was located, and Larimer named the city after Governor Denver in hopes of gaining favor for having the town become the county seat of Arapahoe County. Unbeknownst to Larimar, Governor Denver had resigned from the office before the town was named.
Is Denver in the mountains?
Denver is located at the base of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Situated at 5,280 feet above sea level, Denver is well below the state's average elevation of 6,800 feet above sea level. Denver's home is in the Front Range Urban Corridor, east of the Rocky Mountain range and west of the High Plains.
The weather is Denver's best-kept secret. Denver enjoys four distinct seasons and over 300 days of sunshine each year. Although overnight winter temperatures can reach below 0°F (-18°C), it is not uncommon to follow these nighttime freezing temperatures with daytime highs near 50°F (10°C). Snowfall usually comes in the months of October through April and averages around 54” (137 cm) total snowfall each year. The average temperature for July, Denver's warmest month, is near 75°F (24°C), with nighttime temperatures in the 50's (10°C).
What are the must-see sights in Denver?
- The Denver Mint offers free tours and a history of coin production.
- Learn about the life and times of “Unsinkable” Molly Brown in her restored Victorian house, the Molly Brown House Museum.
- The Denver Botanic Gardens offers a top-ranked U.S. botanical garden, outdoor art exhibits, gardening classes and workshops.
- The Denver Museum of Nature and Science's offerings include natural history exhibitions, IMAX and planetarium shows, activities and lectures that explore the wonders of science, Colorado, Earth and the universe.
- The Butterfly Pavilion is home to over 5,000 animals including Rosie the tarantula. Enter the tropical rainforest and be surrounded by 1,600 butterflies.
- The Denver Zoo is home to 3,500 animals including leopards, king cobras, black rhinos, elephants, zebras, vampire bats, gorillas and more.
What are popular activities in and around the city?
Popular activities in and around the city include all sorts of recreation: in the winter, skiing or snowboarding at resorts or in the backcountry is popular; in the summer, plan for hiking, camping, fishing and biking. There are outdoor festivals nearly every weekend during the spring-fall months. Brewery tours are always popular. Many music venues; including Red Rocks, the Fillmore, Bluebird, the Oriental, Ogden and the Gothic theaters; offer shows. Denver offers over 200 city parks, over 100 miles of trails and 11 dog parks for people-watching, fitness and relaxation.
The 16th Street Mall is a one-mile pedestrian mall on 16th Street in the heart of Downtown Denver. Renovated historic office buildings, shops, restaurants, retail stores and outdoor cafes line the street. A free shuttle runs the length of the mall. Additional attractions include plazas and fountains.
What is Denver famous for?
In addition to being the “Mile High City” Denver is famous for the relaxed attitude of its residents, its proximity to National Parks (including Rocky Mountain National Park) and State Parks (including Chatfield State Park), and all of the winter sports opportunities within driving distance (including world-class skiing) as the gateway to the Central Rocky Mountains. Colorado is also one of the top states in the nation for beer production, thanks to Coors Brewery (Golden, CO) and numerous local micro-breweries such as the Denver Beer Company and Wynkoop Brewery. A controversial notoriety is centered around Colorado's legalization of recreational marijuana and emerging cannabis culture. Denver's history of mining, cowboys and the Gold Rush is also recognized.
What are the best places to shop?
The 16th Street Mall includes retail shops, outdoor cafes and restaurants. Cherry Creek Mall includes more than 160 shops and dining choices. Colorado Mills is Denver's only outdoor outlet mall. Larimer Square includes shopping, restaurants and entertainment in Downtown Denver. Don't forget to stop by The Tattered Cover, one of the largest independent book stores in the nation, located on East Colfax.
What major sports teams play in Denver and where do they play?
The most popular major sports team in Denver is their NFL team, the Denver Broncos. The Broncos home stadium is Sports Authority Field at Mile High, located in the Sun Valley neighborhood at the northeast corner of Colfax and Federal Boulevard. Over 70,000 fans have attended each game since their AFL origins in the early 60's.
The Colorado Rockies, a National League West baseball team, also calls Denver “home.” Their field is Coors Field, located in the neighborhood of LoDo (Lower Downtown) at 20th and Blake. Formed in 1993, the Rockies earned their first trip to the World Series in 2007.
The Colorado Avalanche is the National Hockey League team representing Colorado and based in Denver. The Avalanche play at Pepsi Center, affectionately referred to as “The Can.” Pepsi Center is located between the South Platte River and Auraria Parkway.
The Denver Nuggets also play at The Can. The Nuggets are Colorado's professional basketball team. To end the 2012-2013 season, the Nuggets lost in the first round of the playoffs, the ninth first-round playoff loss of the past 10 years.
Denver hosts the only NASCAR team headquartered in Colorado. Furniture Row Racing, owned and sponsored by national furniture chain Furniture Row, fields Kurt Busch in the #78 Chevrolet SS.
Major League Lacrosse plays at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The team is the Denver Outlaws.
The Colorado Rapids, a Major League Soccer team, plays at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, located in the northern suburb of Commerce City.
Metro Denver’s employer base represents a cross-section of industries, with seven key industry clusters targeted for growth and expansion. These diverse industries are critical to the economic base of the nine-county metro Denver and northern Colorado regions and are primary targets for economic development efforts.
Forbes Magazine recently scored Denver as number six on it's ranking of “Best Places for Business and Careers.”
Because of its location near the Rocky Mountains, Denver was founded on mining and mining remains a key industry in the area. Telecommunications thrive in the area due to Denver's location, which makes same-day communication with both North American coasts, Asia, Europe and South America possible. Also because of location, Denver is a major storage and distribution hub for the country. Multiple national fast-food chain restaurants were founded in the Denver area, including Chipolte Mexican Grill, Noodles and Company, Qdoba Mexican Grill and Quiznos. The largest employers in the area are the United States Government and the State of Colorado. Click the above link to see the other 23 top employers.
What are the largest annual events in Denver?
January brings the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo. In addition to the rodeo and stock show, a local favorite is “mutton busting,” which is children trying to ride sheep.
The Denver March Powwow is held, fittingly, in March. It is a celebration of the heritage of Native American Indians.
The Cherry Creek Arts Festival is held each July and is a cultural celebration of the visual, culinary and performing arts.
A Taste of Colorado is held in September. This four-day festival during Labor Day weekend is a free-admission event featuring food, music and entertainment.
The Great American Beer Festival features 2,700 festival beers in 79 beer categories from 580 breweries and is held each October. It has been named the largest beer festival in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records.
The American College of Sports Medicine ranked Denver as one of the most fit cities in the U.S. in 2013, as did Shape magazine. Plenty of green space, bike rentals and paths throughout the city, as well as nearby recreation opportunities in the mountains combine to make Denver one of the fittest cities in the nation.
Denver International Airport (DIA) is the second largest airport in the world and the largest airport in the United State in terms of area. The airport encompasses 35,000 acres (140 square kilometers) and boasts the longest public use runway in the U.S.
Echo Mountain (Idaho Springs) – 35 mi/56 km
Eldora Ski Resort (Boulder) – 50 mi / 80 km
Loveland – 53 mi/85 km
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (Dillon) – also known as “A Basin” - 64 mi/103 km
Winter Park Ski Resort – 67 mi/108 km
Copper Mountain Ski Resort – 78 mi/125 km
Breckenridge Ski Resort – 82 mi/132 km
Vail Ski Resort – 97 mi/156 km
Steamboat Ski Resort – 154 mi/248 km
Snowmass Ski Resort (Aspen) – 158 mi/254 km
(According to 2010 US Census)
Denver is a young city. The median age is 33. Over 68% of residents are 44 or younger. 36% of the population is between the ages of 25 to 44. Just over 31% of residents are age 45 and older.
There are 100 females for every 102.1 males.