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Sid KaplanDenver, Colorado, situated on the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains, calls itself the Mile High City. A young city by anyone’s standards, it was founded in 1858 as a mining town during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. Colorado only became a state in 1876.

Cities have personalities, and this one’s all part of America’s wild west. When it was founded, there were seasonal encampments of Cheyenne and Arapaho Native Americans across from the site of the original town. In its early days, this was definitely a frontier town with cowboys and cattle, miners and saloons and Indians.

Native Americans celebrate their heritage now with the  Denver Pow Wow. It’s an enormous yearly event, usually held in March, and it features three days of traditional dancing and singing as well as a large marketplace of Native American goods and foods.

A town of cowboys and sophisticates, Denver is a great place to visit when you’re looking for a combination of outdoor and big city experiences. The Denver Art Museum and the Colorado History Museum have excellent exhibits of contemporary and historical native art and artefacts.

If you’re a beer lover, the Mile High City area is home to a large number of local and national breweries. Many restaurants have on-site breweries, and some of the larger ones, including Coors and the New Belgium Brewing Company in Ft. Collins, offer tours. The city welcomes visitors from around the world when it hosts the Great American Beer Festival.

Great American cities all love their sports teams, and Denver is no exception: there are teams representing all of the major sports in America.

While you can find plenty to do in the city, you’ll probably want to get into the Rocky Mountains for some skiing or snowboarding in the winter, or hiking in the summer. There are some famous resorts nearby from which to explore the parks and towns nearby, including:

Boulder, located in the foothills of the Rockies, about 35 miles (56km) northwest of Denver. It’s a great little college town surrounded by trails and open spaces.

Estes Park, a small town that is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. The Park itself is a spectacular wilderness that has been maintained in as near to a totally natural state as possible. It’s a great place for hiking, backpacking, climbing, mountaineering and all kinds of winter sports. Commercial activity inside the park is limited. Stay in Estes Park if you’re not up for camping. If you want jaw-dropping views, wildlife encounters, and opportunities for outdoor adventure without the hassle of camping, Estes Park cabin rentals are a great way to experience the mountain retreat experience at its fullest.

If you’re a skier, there are famous ski areas nearby. Winter Park Resort is the closest; only about 112 km (70 miles) away. There are many other areas, from Aspen to Vail. Skiers go wild for that Rocky Mountain powder.

For a taste of the old Wild West, visit the Buffalo Bill Museum and grave in Golden, about 30 minutes west of the city. After a life of herding cattle, working on wagon trains, and mining for gold, it is his Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows for which people remember him.

If you want your vacation to include a little of the American Wild West, or you would love the peace and serenity of the mountains, include Denver Colorado in your itinerary.

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