14 Denver Facts You Probably Didn't Know (and A Few You Probably Did)

January 20, 2021

Denver, the capital of Colorado is home to over 700,000 happy Denverites. The mile-high city boasts 300 days of sunshine a year, the most changeable weather in the USA, more breweries than you can handle, a thriving restaurant scene and a whole lot more. Check out the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Denver.

Why is Denver called the mile-high city

Denver Capitol Building
The 13th step of the State Capitol building sits exactly one mile above sea level

As the name suggest, Denver is called the mile-high city because it sits exactly one mile above sea level. In fact, the 13th step of the state capital building is the precise point where the city hits the one mile point. Now that might sound high, but the award for the highest (populated) town in the US goes to Alma, Park County, Colorado which sits just over 2 metres above sea level. The highest town in the world is La Rinconada in Peru, sitting 3.17 miles above sea level , and for context, the highest point above sea level, the summit of Mt. Everest is 5.49 miles above sea level.

Being this high up does have some surprising effects. The high-altitude cause gold balls to travel further than at sea level (somewhere between 10 -15% further!). Water boils at 94 Celcius in Colorado and the sun feels hotter. The thin air also causes baseballs to travel a lot further, so hitting a home run at Coors Field is far easier than at any of the other MLB stadiums.

Will I get altitude sickness in Denver

30% of people travelling up to the Rockies may experience altitude sickness

Maybe yes. The Denver Post reported in 2018 that up to 10% of visitors to Denver can experience altitude sickness. This jumps up to 30% for anyone heading into the mountains. Altitude sickness is caused by lower pressure, which pushes less oxygen into your lungs when you breathe in, which can lead to headaches and nausea, as well as vomiting, lack of appetite and sleep problems. Most visitors will acclimatise within 24 hours but anyone, but if you are worried, you should seek medical help. The best way to help your body ease into the high altitude is to avoid alcohol and salty foods, and keep hydrated.

What’s the weather like in Denver

Sun over the rocky mountains
Denver boasts 300 days of sunshine every year. Some say a boast is all it is

When most people think of Denver, they think of the mountains and they think of the cold, when in fact Denver can see relatively mild winters, with daytime temperatures reaching up to 60f (15c), but evening out at about 45f (7c). Don’t be surprised if outdoor cafes are still open even in the middle of winter. That said, you can see some pretty cold snaps, and temperatures fulling to -20f (-28c) at night has been known. The highest recorded temperature was 105f (41c) in 2012, and the lowest -29f (-34c) in 1875, a pretty substantial temperature range!

The snow normally starts in mid October, and lasts until the end of April (though it has been seen in June!) Denver is also very dry, seeing only around 10-15 inches of rain every year. Which is similar to LA. IN the summer, the average daily highs are around 86f (30c). It’s widely reported that the city sees an average of 300 says of sunshine every year, a lot more than Miami’s 250, and even more than Los Angeles. Most Denverites and Coloradans however think the real number is a little bit lower!

The weather in Denver is notoriously changeable. A cold front can bring a 20 degree temperature drop in a matter of minutes. You can expect storms in May & June (when most of the rain falls) which means knowing what to wear for the weather is well…. Impossible. Sorry!

How many breweries are there in Denver?

At least 148. Honestly, Google it.

The history of brewing goes back to the founding of the city. in 1859, miners and pioneers flocked to the city to find the gold in the Platte River, and a whole hospitality industry grew to serve the needs of the residents of this new town, with bars and saloons popping up as the city grew. If you want to learn more about the history of Denver, try a walking tour with Historic Denver.

The Rocky Mountain Brewing Company was soon established, and breweries began popping up across the state. In 1873, Adolph Coor founded the Coors brewery, and the Colorado brewing phenomenon went country-wide. During prohibition from 1916, a number of speakeasy’s popped around the city, most notably in Gahan’s Saloon (now the Miller Building). Denver now brews more beer than any other city in the US, and the Great American Beer Festival, held every year in the city has more beers than anywhere else on earth (and that’s according to the Guinness book of records!). If you want to learn more, checkout the Denver Microbrew Tour.

How do I get to and from Denver Airport

Denver Airport
Denver Airport is just 40 minutes by train from downtown Denver

Denver airport (DEN) is 25 miles to the North East of downtown Denver. The cheapest way to get out to the airport is the A line commuter train, running every 15 – 30 minutes. The ride is less than 40 minutes. You can also take the ‘Sky Ride’ bus which is a little cheaper but takes around an hour. You can also get an Uber or a Lyft, to take you straight to your airline’s terminal. Expect to pay $40 (2021). You could also opt for a shared shuttle, though you would pay around $30. You could tae a taxi, the exact fare will depend where you are going to/from in Denver, with a flat rate of $56 for the downtown area (2021). Using a car service such as Groundlink or Blacklane will give you the most comfortable ride, but expect to pay around $100.

How to get around Denver

Denver light rail system
Denver's light rail system connects the city to the suburbs

Denver is a very walkable city, and if you’re staying in one of the 11,000 hotel rooms in the downtown area, exploring on foot directly from your hotel is simple. Try a free walking tour if you're not sure where to start

Denver’s light railway connects the city to the suburbs across 36 stations to get you into the city if you’re staying a bit further out. The light railway will take you to Empower field, Elitch Gardens and Denver’s Union Station. Denver also has regular bus services to get you round the city. The 16th Street Mall Ride runs up and down downtown Denver, and you can hop on or off at any intersection. Denver also has 100 miles of bike lanes, so hiring a bike to explore the city is also an option. You could opt for a Pedi-Cab. Mile High Pedi Cabs has the largest fleet and comes highly recommended.

How far are the Rocky Mountains from Denver?

Rocky Mountains, Denver, Colorado
Denver makes a great base for exploring the Rocky Mountains

Denver offers visitors spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains, the ‘Front Range’ being the iconic range that gives that picture postcard snapshot of the city. The Rocky Mountains National Park attracts 5 million visitors every year, a large number stopping off in Denver to enjoy the sights of the mile-high city. You can drive out to the Rockies in around half an hour from Denver, making Denver a great base for exploring the Park In the Rockies there are 77 mountains, Mount Elbert being the highest at over 14,000 feet 147 lakes and 355 miles of hiking trails. Check out Aspire Tours for some inspiration on where to go and what to see.

Some other interesting things you might not know about Denver

The Cheeseburger was invented right here in Denver, Colorado

Denver was home to the very first Chipotle, and claims to be home to the first cheeseburger. Bob Dylan lived in Denver for a little while, John Denver lived in Denver too but he wasn’t born here (he was born in Roswell, New Mexico). Denver steak didn’t originate in Denver but wheel clamps did (aka, the 'Denver Boot'). Denver airport (at 53 quare miles) is larger than Manhattan. It’s also larger than Miami and San Francisco. Colfax avenue in Denver is Colorado’s longest street (27 miles). It’s also the longest commercial street in the US, but the longest road is route 20 which is slightly longer (3,365 miles) and stretches from East to West of the USA. The longest road in the world id the 19,000 mile long Pan American Highway starting in Alaska, and carrying on through Canada, USA, Mexico and on and on and on.

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