POPULATION: The seven-county metro area has a population of
2,085,000. Since 1993, the area's population has been growing at an
average of 2,000 people per week -- supporting local boosters'
claims that their city is one of the most livable in the U.S.
HISTORY: Denver was born during the "Pikes Peak or Bust" gold
rush of 1859. Though the discovery of gold transformed Denver into
a boomtown, in its early years its hardy citizens had to survive
two major fires, a flood, Indian attacks and even an invading force
of Confederates from Texas. In its heyday, the lively saloons and
gambling halls that lined its streets made it a mecca for
fun-seeking travelers and revelers. Civic pride and a desire for
respectability, however, overtook Denver around the turn of the
century, a period when many of its beautiful mansions, tree-lined
thoroughfares, public fountains and statues were built. This
reborn, cosmopolitan Denver became known as the Queen City of the
One of Denver's most historic districts, LoDo -- the local nickname
for Lower Downtown -- has been completely restored in recent years
and now sports some of the city's trendiest restaurants, shops,
galleries and entertainment spots, many of which are located in
LoDo's handsomely renovated red-brick period buildings.
CLIMATE: Denver's weather belies its image as a chilly spot. In
February, for instance, the average temperature is a mild 45
degrees -- warmer than St. Louis or New York. August temperatures
average 85 degrees and comfortably low humidity. Spring and fall,
when sunny Denver's temperatures are in the 60s and low 70s, are
perfect times to soak up the beauty of the Botanic Gardens and the
awesome scenery of the nearby mountains.
TRANSPORTATION: The $4.3 billion state-of-the-art Denver airport
opened in 1995. The facility has five full-service runways and a
landing rate of 120 flights per hour in good weather -- 36% higher
than the good-weather rate of 88 per hour at Stapleton, Denver's
previous airport. Denver airport has the capacity to be expanded to
11 runways serving 110 million passengers per year.
The Mile High City is also an important hub for intercity buses
with more than 60 daily arrivals and departures. It is also on
Amtrak's main east-west route, with three arrivals daily.
In addition, visitors can get around town by a convenient
light-rail system that started service in 1994 and is being
expanded to serve the suburbs and the entire Denver metro area.