Denver - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Denver


Although it is literally a 'Mile High City', being sited one mile (1.6km) above sea level, Denver is flat and sprawling, overwhelmed by the backdrop of the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

It was founded as a gold mining camp in 1859, and at the centre of the Old West it was filled with cowboys, gamblers, saloons, gunslingers, Native Americans, and crooked characters such as the infamous Jefferson 'Soapy' Smith. Although very little gold was discovered, a city was laid out and the name Denver attributed it.

Having since shed its cow-town image and evidence of its western past, it 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 and 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. 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.

Most residents are active nature lovers who take advantage of the city's 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 is a major destination for tourists heading into the mountains. Visitors to Denver will be pleasantly surprised by its welcoming and friendly nature.

Information & Facts


Denver experiences a semi-arid climate with typical dry, cold winters, warm summers, showery springs and pleasant autumns. The weather in Denver is influenced by the nearby Rocky Mountains, which block the winter storms somewhat. In summer the humidity from the Gulf of Mexico causes afternoon thunderstorms. Denver's weather can also be unpredictable, with unseasonal snowstorms occurring. The average annual rainfall is low, and sunny skies are the norm, and in winter around 60 inches of snow usually falls.

Getting Around

The public transport system in Denver is excellent with an outstanding, comprehensive bus network that is supplemented by a light rail line operating throughout the metropolitan area and outlying towns. Along the 16th Street Mall, bus shuttles provide free service, and from June to September, a hop-on, hop-off trolley links the main city centre attractions. Taxis can be hailed on the streets, but it is better to find them at taxi ranks or to order them by phone; they can be difficult to find on the street around 2am when the bars close. Cars are not necessary for downtown, and parking is expensive.

English is the most common language but Spanish is often spoken in south-western states.

The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.

Housing one of the largest Native American art collections in the country, the Denver Art Museum is a huge, seven-storey structure that also features the works of American Western artists, and art from Africa, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. The growing American Indian collection displays work from 150 tribes throughout the country, arranged geographically and spanning almost 2,000 years. Discovery Libraries contain shelves of art objects and prints, a costume closet that allows visitors to try on olden-day clothing, as well as reading corners.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is one of those rare attractions that is as entertaining as it is educational, and as suitable for kids as it is fascinating for grown-ups. The museum draws nearly 180,000 teachers and students each year, and countless more tourists, all of whom value the unique, hands-on presentation style of the exhibitions. Boasting an IMAX theatre and an assortment of high-tech, interactive 'discovery areas' (most famously, the Space Odysseyand Prehistoric Journeysections), visitors of all ages are sure to come away from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science enriched, and more enthusiastic about the world's natural treasures. The museum also houses plenty of good food stores, and a popular gift shop.

Documenting the colourful history of Colorado and the stories of those who lived here, the History Colorado Museum brings to life the history of cowboys and gunfighters, Native Americans, miners and gold panners, explorers, buffalo hunters, wagon trains and railroads. The museum is hugely innovative, blending technology with fascinating artefacts: explore an enormous map of the state with a storytelling time machine, grab a headlamp and enter a hard-rock mine, traverse the plains in a Model T, then soar off the world's first ski jump. Exhibits include portrayals of life in 19th century Denver, Buffalo Soldiers and the Mesa Verde cliff.

Mount Evans, with an altitude of over 14,000 feet, offers visitors truly spectacular views from its summit, as well as the opportunity to see various forms of Rocky Mountain wildlife (American Elk, mountain goats, marmots, big horn sheep) in their natural habitats. Just 65 miles (about 100km) from Denver - including an exhilarating 15 miles on 'America's highest paved road', the Mount Evans Scenic Byway - Mount Evans is perhaps the easiest way for visitors to Colorado to get an authentic 'Rocky Mountain experience'. Mount Evans also offers fishing opportunities, and hiking and bicycle trails; although it probably remains an ideal destination for a day-trip, in a car full of your nearest and dearest. Remember to pack a lunch for the summit, as the views will keep you up there for hours.

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