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Being A Tourist In Denver

Visiting Colorado state has been on my Bucket List for a long time. For years, tourists have been enticed to Colorado for the mountains, which offer opportunities for recreation, scenery, and a climate conductive to good health. For many outdoorsmen like myself, Colorado has long been associated with great powder skiing and riding.

But for me, Colorado has become more than just ski resorts and the great outdoors. The great outdoors, culture and nature of Colorado go hand in hand. You can also find Colorado in ancient cliff dwellings, historic railroads, ghost towns, museums and scenic byways.

Just like for many tourists, my introduction to Colorado started with visiting its capitol - Denver.

Most visitors only see it on their way to or from the legendary ski resorts in the Colorado Rocky Mountains – if they see it at all. It's too sad, because the "mile high city", as Denver is known, is the beautiful historic and cultural center of a wide area extending over the Great Plains and into the Rockies. But its touristy part is found in the heart of downtown -  the main financial, commercial, and entertainment district.

I found downtown Denver to be both pedestrian and bicycle friendly. 

Though Denver has a comprehensive bus system and an expanding light rail and commuter rail network, the most fun form of public transportation here are Denver’s community bicycles.

Denver is one of few American towns that offers bike sharing program. As a matter of fact, Denver was the first city in the United States to find sustained success using the bicycle as a large-scale form of public transportation, and bicycle sharing stations have been popping up all over the city since. For just a few dollars, guests can pick up a bicycle at one of the check-out stations and ride it all over town before checking it back in to another station.

But walking around downtown allowed me to get to know this beautiful city a bit more closely. 

Denver is a world-class metropolis with all the familiar urban sights and sounds. Just like most American capitals it has its own "standard" landmarks and attractions. Though Denver has many of the same attractions and amenities of most major US cities, being at the foot of the largest mountain range in North America adds the benefits that go along with that distinction.

In he heart of downtown you'll see its Capitol State Building. Designed in the 19th century by architect Elijah E. Myers, the Colorado State Capitol Building echoes the classical lines of the nation's capitol. The capitol is exactly one mile high at 5,280 feet, lending Denver its nickname of the "Mile High City."

The nearby Denver's 16th Street Mall, is an outdoor shopping and dining center in the Mile High City. Even if you're not a big shopper, walking along its streets ( especially in the evening) is a great way to enjoy this beautiful town.

The big blue bear that peers into Denver's convention center is another fun local landmark popular among tourists and photographers.

Truth to tell, I found a lot of interesting sculptures, and statues around downtown. Felt like Denverites are especially in love with cows and buffalo.

I also found Denver to be a lot like Slat Lake City dotted with many beautiful cathedrals and churches. The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception located just a block away from Capitol Building is breath taken any time of the day or this beautiful Trinity Methodist Church.

Though not a big fan of Coors beer and baseball, I stopped by Denver's famous Coors Field. 
I also found the field to be home to my favorite Blue Moon Brewery.

Denver may be a world-class metropolis with all the familiar urban sights and sounds, but no matter where you find yourself in the city, you’re likely to be only a few steps away from a lush and relaxing green space.

Denver's City Park is a huge urban park that contains the Denver Zoo; the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and IMAX. The initial park layout was designed by Henry Meryweather in 1882 in the tradition of both English pastoral gardens and Central Park in New York City with a flowing, casual design. City Park is the largest and most notable park in Denver. I found especially interesting and informative to see here Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monument.

In conclusion:

Many online and offline travel sources list a lot more Denver landmarks and things to see, and places to visit. But as I've mentioned above, Denver is just another big metropolis with its "standard" landmarks ( museums, art galleries, zoo, aquarium, parks...). 

What truly stands Denver apart from many other American capitols is  its proximity to the great outdoors ! Just 1 hour 30 min away from Denver you'll find yourself in absolutely breath taking scenery and very peaceful Rocky Mountain National Park. Or the same hour and a half west on I-70, and you'll be skiing the untouched powder of the  famous Breckenridge Ski Resort. 

The point is, Denver is a perfect adventure hub for both thrill seekers, and history/culture buffs !

Tips, Tricks, and Guide Books:

If you're old-fashioned ( like me ), you still use paper guide books like Lonely Planet or Insider's Guide Series to research your future destination. But honestly, I found Pinterest to be more useful, and detailed than most on/offline publications.

Many people ( including me ) who use Pinterest,  love this social platform. It makes it extremely easy to plan and organize your next trip. Many "pins" are submitted by folks who have personally visited a site, and can provide great insights.

Check out a few pins of my own. Thanks to Pinterest, during my trip to Colorado, I manged to cross a few things off my Bucket List !

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