Denver is a clean, young and green city with over 200 parks and dozens of tree-lined boulevards. The architecture reflects the city’s three boom periods: Victorian, when silver was discovered in Leadville; turn-of-the-century, when gold was discovered in Cripple Creek; and contemporary, when the energy boom added 16 skyscrapers to the downtown skyline in a three year period, 1980-1983.
Unlike some Western cities, Denver has a central downtown area. Here, within easy walking distance, are 5,200 hotel rooms, the city’s convention complex, performing arts complex, and a wide variety of shops, department stores, restaurants, and nightspots. Also within easy walking distance are some of the city’s top attractions including the Denver Pavilions, Denver Art Museum and
Colorado History Museum. A mile-long pedestrian mall cuts through the heart of downtown Denver and is surrounded by a series of parks and plazas that soften the towering skyscrapers and provide viewpoints from which to see and appreciate the modern architecture.
Lower Downtown (called “LoDo” by locals) is on the northern edge of downtown Denver and offers one of the nation’s greatest concentrations of Victorian buildings and warehouses, many of which have been refurbished to house restaurants, art galleries, offices and shops. This is the center of the city’s brew pubs, with six large brew pubs and micro breweries, each brewing six to eight exclusive beers, all within easy walking distance of each other. Downtown is also the home of Auraria Campus where three colleges have over 30,000 students.
In May of 1995, Six Flags Elitch Gardens moved to downtown Denver with a year-round amusement park similar to Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens offering 48 thrill rides, formal gardens, restaurants and shops. Also in May 1995, downtown Denver unveiled a new 50,000-seat stadium, Coors Field, for the Colorado Rockies, Denver’s Major League Baseball team. Another large attraction in this area is Colorado’s Ocean Journey, a large aquarium that features salt and fresh water animal life, which opened on June 21, 1999.
The Mile High Trail is a series of six walking tours throughout the downtown area. Copies can be obtained from the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau Information Center in the Tabor Center, located on the 16th Street Mall.