The Insider Guide

Denver is the unofficial capital of the Rockies, where the great outdoors is huge. But if you pause and look out for the artsy and quirky details you'll be able to truly appreciate this city's true beauty.

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The Main Attractions

If you're heading to Denver, you can't ignore its nickname, Mile High City. A plaque in the steps of the Colorado State Capitol marks exactly 5,280ft above sea level – but to make the most of the altitude, head west to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre and watch a concert from a seat cut into the sandstone. Take the outdoorsy vibe to the heart of the city by hiring a bike and following the Cherry Creek Trail to the Lower Downtown district, where you can sample all-local produce at Denver Milk Market or watch the Colorado Rockies baseball team at Coors Field. If you're still craving outdoor space, head east to City Park, Denver, home of the city's zoo. Or, for free-ranging creatures, including bald eagles, bison and coyotes, tour the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, on the site of a former chemical weapons facility. If it's not one of the city's reputed 300 annual days of sunshine, stay indoors at Denver Mint – the world's largest producer of coins – and visit the Molly Brown House museum, one-time home of the “unsinkable” Titanic survivor. Kids will enjoy the interactive displays at the History Colorado Center, while culture buffs will be familiar with the nearby Denver Art Museum, with its angular design, famed for its Native American pieces. Housed in an equally imposing building is the Clyfford Still Museum, containing 95 percent of the abstract artist's work. To see the creative types emerging in the city today, head to RiNo Denver, a network spanning the Globeville, Elyria-Swansea, Five Points and Cole neighborhoods, where you can buy anything from functional pottery to abstract fiber paintings. Continue your quest for the quirky at Denver Zine Library in Five Points, and Fifty-Two '80s – a shop on S Broadway celebrating the decade of Atari and Care Bears. Chill at rooftop bar and restaurant Linger (a former mortuary) as you plan your next move.

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