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Did you know that Denver has more hours of sunshine than San Diego or Miami Beach? Many people are lured by the mild climate of the city and therefore the population is growing strongly. The city was once the entertainment center for cowboys and the first permanent building was a saloon. Those years are far behind the city and Denver has evolved into a modern metropolis.
Denver's nickname is 'The Mile High City', because the city is situated 1600 meters above sea level. That exact point of 1 mile above sea level is indicated on the steps at the Colorado State Capitol. The dome of this building gleams in the sunlight due to its gold leaf application. A steep staircase takes you to the top of the dome, where you can enjoy a nice view of the Rocky Mountains.
The Denver Art Museum is especially famous for the art collection from the original Americans, the Indians. Also, an entire floor has been dedicated to ancient art from Latin America from before the discovery by Columbus. The building is already an attraction in itself. It was designed by architect Pei, who also designed the pyramid at the Louvre in Paris.
The theme of the Ocean Journey is special. It consists of two rivers who flow into the same ocean - the Pacific Ocean - the Colorado river and the Kampar River on Sumatra. Granted, some American geographic fantasy is needed, but the concept is fun: visitors follow the course of both rivers through completely different ecosystems. The Ocean Journey is a combination of aquarium, zoo and theme park.
You are brought back in a realistic way to the era of dinosaurs in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. The newest addition to this museum is Space Odyssey, which isn't just an interesting exhibition about space, but where you can make a virtual trip into space too.
In a house on Pennsylvania Street lived Margaret Brown until the day she died in 1932. Doesn't ring a bell? Margaret, better known as The Unsinkable Molly Brown, was the most famous survivor from the Titanic shipwreck incident. Molly was a forefront fighter of women's right, collected money after the Titanic disaster for the survivors and took care of wounded soldiers during the First World War. The Molly Brown House Museum is a tribute to her work, but it also shows the life style of wealthy Americans in the early twentieth century.
Molly and her husband James Joseph became millionaires after James, who was a miner, struck gold. That gold fever comes to live in the Colorado History Museum, which also focuses on Indians, buffalo hunters and the construction of the railway.
The 'Cowboy city' that Denver used to be has left its traces in the large number of beer breweries in the city. It includes the largest brewery of the world - Coors Brewery. You can visit the brewery and of course enjoy a beer, although you have to be 21 years or older in Colorado. There are many mini and house breweries too, where special beers are made. Some of the best are Wynkoop, Rock Bottom and Breckenridge. The Great American Beer Festival is held every October in Denver. Products of more than 300 breweries from all over the country are tested during the festival. The real cowboy feeling is still alive in the Buckhorn Exchange which has been serving a famous bean soup since the opening in 1893, alongside buffalo steak and crocodile tail. The salon is not just a place to eat and drink; the establishment is packed with memorials of the Wild West.
The fact that many gold seekers in this region tried their luck is proven in the name of the town Golden, just over 20 kilometers west of Denver. The historical center is nicely restored. The buildings with wooden canopies now house shops, galleries and restaurants. In addition, Golden has the Colorado Railroad Museum.
Even further west, about 70 kilometers from Denver, you'll end up in Georgetown. Another mine town with a restored center. This town is situated in a beautiful mountain valley and is an excellent base for trips in the region. For example, drive your rental car up north through the mountains of Arapaho Forest to the Grand Lake. You can continue over the Trail Ridge Road through the Rocky Mountain National Park.
It is hard to find a free parking space on working days in Denver. You can usually park your car just outside downtown (20th St, Speer, Wynkoop St, Colfax and Broadway). However, you do have to pay until 6 o'clock in the evening on working days. Just northwest of the center, behind the railway track you can park your car for free for up to two hours.
Denver International Airport is located thirty kilometers northeast of the city center. The airport is accessible from that center by rental car in about half an hour. Peña Boulevard is the main road to the airport, accessible from the I-70, Tower Road and the toll road E-470.