Denver, Colorado, is not the most famous city of the United States, but if destiny brought you here you would find a couple of unusual and interesting things. Would it be ancient castles, medieval ruins, or mystical temples? No. It would be, first of all, mountains and crystal clear air. Any place near the mountains can’t be ordinary. What could be better than the mountains? Only more mountains.
Here, near Denver, you will find the biggest mountain system in North America. Maybe that is one of the reasons why Denver will be the capital of the USA in an emergency. People say everything is “at the ready” here for the work of the government: nuclear buttons, kilometers of cables, underground bunkers, satellite antennas, etc. Look at Denver’s airport. It is very modern, and much better than Chicago, for example. This is the center of America. The best place for the capital in case of a war is one that is hard to find. You would not see all these underground constructions because it is a big secret.
Although Denver started its history in 1858 as a mining town during the Colorado Gold Rush, it now has some skyscrapers. Not as high as in New York, but not just a couple of floors either. I understand you are tired of skyscrapers, so let’s take bicycles and ride around the city. There is a well-developed system of bicycle rentals here. You can pick up a bike in one station, use it anywhere, and then return it to any other station. Maybe, Denver’s destiny will match Amsterdam’s—more bicycles than cars. Why not? The air will be cleaner, although I don’t think that is possible.
By the way, the citizens of Denver show the lowest level of obesity in the whole country. This is a city of healthy people.
Choosing a hotel, we found one that is 120 years old. The Oxford Hotel is very cozy. They still give you keys with a tassel; not card keys, and the rooms feature European antiques. The old-style lobby is a real work of art. However, there are all the modern facilities here: fitness center, spa, Wi-Fi, CD player, satellite TV, etc.
Cuisine is not the city’s strong suit; however, local people can show you some decent places. I don’t like hotdogs, but I like sausages. (Excuse me, but even a personal fitness trainer can have some weakness.) If you are with me, let’s go to Biker Jim’s, and eat the best sausages in Denver.
The next is the Hard Rock Cafe. This is a special place for me in every part of the world, because of my former profession and hobby, a solo guitar player. Recitals, concerts, concert tours; Germany, Sweden, Russia, Finland… All in the past. Now, I can sit in some Hard Rock Cafe, drink my wine, look at the guitar of David Byrne, and dream about the best period of my life. There are the guitar of Motley Cru, the costume of John Lennon, and some other rarities in the Hard Rock Cafe of Denver.
Do you know where the cheeseburger was invented? Here, in Denver. In 1935, Louis Ballast patented it. Did he become a millionaire? Of course! This is America.
You’ll be surprised to learn about Denver’s special regional delicacy—Rocky Mountain oysters. In reality it is deep-fried bull testicles. However, I suspect that the locals propose this dish only to the tourists to have some fun. The oldest restaurant of Denver, Buckhorn Exchange, will show you liquor license #0001, the first in the State of Colorado. The Santiago’s restaurant will offer very good Mexican cuisine.
Did you know that 100 new breweries open in Denver every year? They have the Great American Beer Festival here, which takes place in October. Of course, you will find a huge number of varieties of beer at the Fest.
Do you want to see how other people make a lot of money? Let’s go to the U.S. Mint, one of six in the country. When you see the letter D on any U.S. coin, that means it was made in Denver. You can visit the U.S. Mint every working day for free. Tours start on the hour from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., but you need to make a reservation ahead.
Another of Denver’s attractions is squirrels. I have never seen so many squirrels in a city park. In the last decades they migrated from the neighboring forests to the parks, and now live only with the help of people.
LoDo is the heart and the cradle of Denver. Now it is an area with numerous restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops. The 16th Street Mall is a pedestrian-only shopping district.
Denver has a zoo with more than 4000 animals, museums including The Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab (CELL) and Colorado Railroad Museum, an aquarium, and theaters. I was impressed by how people dress for the theaer—only evening dresses and suits. They looked elegant compared with Paris where people go to the opera in jeans.
Are you impressed by zoos? How about the unique insect zoo (Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center)? Probably, it is the only insect zoo in the world. Can you imagine 7000 free-flying butterflies in one place? They are released between 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. every day in Butterfly Pavilion. But if you don’t like butterflies, the Insect Center will offer you scorpions, tarantulas, frogs, fishes, and giant millipedes…. Enjoy.
The wonderful amphitheater of Denver is built on the hillside like in ancient Greece. Some of the greatest music stars performed here.
Still, the main attraction of Denver is the mountains with many picturesque parks and lakes. Be you skier or hiker, fisher or photographer, you will find any activity here. The highest point of skiing in the mountains is 3,900 meters. The highest asphalted road in the USA will bring you to Mount Evans. At some height you will meet the mountain goats, which are always ready to pose for you.
Denver is nicknamed the “Mile High City” (one mile above sea level) which is confirmed with a special bronze plaque on one of the steps of the Capitol Building.
By the way, the locals say that all the onyx of Colorado was used for covering the inner walls of the Capitol; there is no more onyx in the state.
All in all, if you are tired of cities and people, Denver with its Rocky Mountains is for you.