“Here I was in Denver… I stumbled along with the most wicked grin of joy in the world, among the bums and beat cowboys of Larimer Street.” – Jack Kerouac
Perched roughly 5,280 feet above sea-level, Denver stands tall along the edge of the Colorado front line. The highways and byways of the American Midwest cross the breadbasket of the country, with many leading here to Denver – the largest metropolis heading west toward the Rocky Mountains. The city grew during the mining booms of the 1800s, eventually leading to the largest United States Mint to become based here. Today, due to its strategic location and economic importance, the city is home to more federal employees than any other metro area besides Washington, D.C.
The hinterland of the city spreads in all directions, and the economic net the city casts can be felt for at least six hours drive in all directions. Culturally, Denver has grown up respecting its western roots while still emerging as a progressive urban center. While single-family homes denote the primary architectural style of the neighborhood, new developments are reshaping the skyline and the core areas of Denver, especially as one walks the streets of LoDo (lower downtown) and Highland Park. Murals and public art are filling the streets and boutiques and galleries are opening across the center city.
Denver’s main downtown street is the famous 16th Street Mall – a pedestrian-rich civic kaleidoscope of Denver life. However, Denver is still actively working on ensuring the city’s vitality is felt beyond the business day and tourism-centric areas. The city has courted developers to build high-rise residential towers downtown, adding new color and dimension to the 1980s-era, post-modernism towers that defined the skyline. The region’s sports teams enlist fans from across the American west – from New Mexico to Montana.
The city has developed a 21st Century infrastructure as it boomed. Three major interstates converge on the city, bringing in farm products from Kansas and minerals from Wyoming all heading to market. Denver International Airport, a hub for United Airlines, has emerged as one of the largest airports in the world. As the city has increased its population density, a light rail system has been constructed. Surely, Denver stands tall against the mountainous landscape as a beacon of urban lights on our long journey to the west.