Founded in the mid-1800s as a mining hub during the gold rush, Denver has come a long way since its Wild West days. Over time, its residents have evolved from gun-slinging gamblers into an easygoing crowd of ambitious, progressive-minded fitness fanatics and nature lovers who are eager to push the envelope on everything from civil rights to drug laws.
Nicknamed the Mile High City for its 5,280-foot elevation (although officially reported as 5,279 feet), Denver's location at the base of the Rocky Mountains provides a gateway to a slew of outdoor pursuits, although it is probably best known for its devout ski and snowboard enthusiasts.
Denver makes a great starting place for travelers venturing into the Rockies; those looking for a mountain experience can spend a day driving along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway. But be sure to devote some time to all that the Mile High City has to offer: Denver is home to numerous museums, galleries and restaurants. Sports fans are drawn to the lights of Coors Field and Sports Authority Field at Mile High, while families can spend hours exploring the Denver Museum of Nature & Science or the Denver Zoo. For a taste of old-time Denver, spend some time in Larimer Square, also a good place to sample some of the city's cuisine and, of course, beer.