Denver Travel Guide

Denver lies one mile (1.6km) above sea level and is the gateway to the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Home to brilliant blue skies and breathtaking mountain scenery, it was founded as a gold-mining camp in 1858, and was in the centre of the Old West. Naturally, it was filled with cowboys, gamblers, saloons, gunslingers, Native Americans and crooked characters such as the infamous con artist, Jefferson 'Soapy' Smith. Although very little gold was actually discovered in the area, Denver still grew from the gold rush.

Today, the 'Mile High City' has shed its cow-town image and most vestiges of its cowboy past, and has developed into a modern city with wonderful museums, historic architecture, cultural attractions, shopping venues and a world-class airport. It has more than 200 parks, tree-lined boulevards and a completely refurbished lower downtown area (LoDo to the locals), where blocks of old Victorian buildings and warehouses have been carefully restored to house restaurants, galleries, antique shops and jazz clubs. Historic Larimer Square is the heart of the dining and nightlife scene. Besides Chicago and San Diego, Denver brews more beer than any other city in America and most of it can be sampled in LoDo, where the city's brewpubs proliferate.

Beer lovers should also make a point of visiting Denver during October for the Great American Beer Festival, which sees beer brewers and tasters gather together for America's largest collection of beer served under one roof. More than 330 breweries are represented and there are close to 1,500 brands of beer on offer on the festival floor.

Most locals are active nature lovers who take advantage of the city's beautiful setting, the pleasant climate and unlimited outdoor adventures just minutes from the centre, including skiing, hiking, mountain biking and fishing. Tourism focuses on its natural setting and the outdoors, and as such it's a major destination for travellers heading into the mountains. Visitors to Denver will be pleasantly surprised by its welcoming and friendly nature and by how good-looking the city is.