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Known as the "Mile High City," Denver sits exactly one mile above sea level, making it the highest major city in the U.S. This Colorado capital city consistently ranks as one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, due in part to its repeated categorization as one of the best places to live in the U.S.
Denver was originally called Montana City, established by prospectors who flocked to the area when gold was discovered on the shores of Cherry Creek in the late 1850s. Its name was later changed to Denver City by a land speculator who was hoping to earn the favor of Kansas Territorial Governor James W. Denver. In the 1860s, the Colorado Territory was established, and Denver earned capital city status and its final name by 1867.
Once the Denver-Pacific Railroad was completed in 1870, Denver was finally linked to the rest of the nation. The city grew through several industrial booms, and established itself as an important hub of commerce in the western United States.
Today, Denver is regarded as one of America's most important commercial, industrial and transportation hubs. The telecommunications, biomedical technology, mining, real estate, tourism and construction industries have helped Denver's economy grow strong.
Living and Working in Denver
If you're considering moving to Denver, you're in good company. Colorado's state capital has experienced positive population growth in recent years thanks to its strong economy, attractive recreational options and vibrant arts scene.
Denver's diverse economy helps keep its unemployment rate below the national average. Denver's energy industry, including fossil fuels and clean technology, has grown rapidly in recent years, as has its aerospace industry. Tourism continues to be a force in Denver, thanks to its many nearby ski resorts, museums, recreational centers and performing arts venues.
The U.S. government, HealthONE Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corporation and CenturyLink are among the largest employers in Denver.
Here are a few neighborhoods in Denver that are worth checking out:
LoDo is shorthand for Lower Downtown, and is Denver's oldest neighborhood. Many of its historic buildings have been revitalized as trendy lofts, hip restaurants and unique shops, with Coors Field (home of the Colorado Rockies) at the edge of LoDo's borders.
In Cherry Creek, you can find a mix of historic homes and newly constructed residences just a few minutes from downtown. The neighborhood is the site of the annual Cherry Creek Sneak, a footrace that takes runners on a five-mile route through its city streets and parks.
A distinct bohemian vibe infuses Capitol Hill, with many Denver artists and musicians settling down in its historic mansions and condo buildings. Well-known authors Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg both lived in the neighborhood's Colburn Hotel.
A massive urban park is at the heart of the Washington Park neighborhood, earning it comparisons to New York's iconic Central Park. Originally designed by a German landscape architect, this Denver neighborhood is a lush retreat filled with trees, gardens and grassy meadows.
Denver School Information
The Denver Public School system was founded over 100 years ago, and is currently responsible for more than 200 schools in the city. You have a range of educational options within the district, with school choices including traditional, magnet, charter and pathways schools.
If you're hoping to pursue your own education, there are several universities and community colleges to choose from, including the University of Colorado (Denver) and the Community College of Denver.
Moving to Denver
Here are a few things that can make your move to Denver a little easier:
- Power and Water: Metro Denver and Denver Water are the two main service companies for the city's utilities.
Garbage and Recycling: The City of Denver provides curbside collection of residential trash and recyclables. You can also schedule free pick-up and recycling of large appliances, which can be especially handy when moving in or out of a home.
Public Transit: Bus and light rail service makes it quick and easy to get around the downtown Denver area, with bikes, pedicabs and scooters also being popular in the city.
Denver Housing Options
Denver offers a variety of properties to suit all tastes and budgets. If you want to live close to downtown, consider the former industrial areas around the city, which feature quirky homes made from converted commercial and factory buildings. More traditional homes can be found in the older neighborhoods to the east and south of the city center. There are some modern high-rises at the city's edges, but most of the dwellings are single-family homes dating back to the early 20th century.