Denver began as a gold mining town in 1857, when gold was discovered along the South Platte River in what is now the Cherry Creek and Overland Park neighborhoods. Little was found, but the idea of finding more brought settlers and speculators. The railroad soon transformed Denver into a gateway for the Rocky Mountains and the town has never been the same. Today this cosmopolitan city sits on a sprawling plain at the foothills of front range and still serves as the gateway to adventure in the mountains.
There are year-round activities for every interest and skill level. You can easily make Denver your base for day trips into the mountains for skiing, fishing and hiking. As with any major city you’ll find couture shopping in the Cherry Creek neighborhood and plenty of dining options, from the quick and inexpensive fresh food in small cafes to the expensive steak houses. Plan ahead and find a hotel with just enough of what you want. Denver is about action and there is always something new happening, from art gallery open houses offering free wine and beer to great local bands playing every night of the week.
Boutique hotels are popping up with affordable prices and skip the taxi or airport shuttle into town; they are not cheap and take much too long. Pay for the rental car and enjoy the whole city and still be able to go out to Red Rocks for a major concert or a hike in the Rocky Mountain National Park a few hours north. If you decide to head south to Pike’s Peak, you should first ask if you are allowed to drive the car up the mountain. Some companies don’t want you to wear out the brakes on the way down.
Denver is now a cosmopolitan city at the base of the Rockies. While the airport may be an enduring 30-minute drive east of the city, Denver is still the gateway to the high country where you’ll find some of the best rock-climbing, fishing, skiing, and mountain biking a mere two hours away. While these are great reasons to head west, Denver itself has so much to offer the traveling man with museums, nightclubs and concerts. Most Denver residents spend long weekends up in the high country or share small condos in the ski towns for quick getaways.
However, Denver is an active city with long bike trails and jogging paths through parks and neighborhoods. The emphasis is on living life outside and this is one of the few cities where you’ll always have something to do. Find a place in the Cherry Creek neighborhood and you’ll have the best of the best in dining, shopping, entertainment, and the outdoor life. In warmer months you can walk, bike or jog along the park trails. In winter you can cross-country ski in the morning and hop in your car for a quick ride to Vail or Copper Mountain in the high country for an afternoon of downhill skiing.