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Taking the Kids: Visiting the All-star city

Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

Watch your step! You don’t want to miss taking a selfie when you are exactly a mile high, 5,280 feet — on the 13th step of the west side of the State Capitol Building (check out the Gold Dome!) in downtown Denver.

That’s why, of course, Denver’s moniker is The Mile High City.

But it took a group of kids to get it right. At first, the 15th step got the mile-high designation. But then some college kids, using GPS equipment, figured out the experts were wrong, and the correct mile-high step was the 13th.

All eyes have been on Denver with the All-Star Game on July 13 — and all kinds of fun activities downtown as a result. The city certainly has come a long way from the mining camp established during the 1858 Gold Rush.

Denver boasts 300 days of sunshine a year, the largest city park system in the country — 205 parks where you can play, bike and hike — a big food scene (gotta love the food trucks in Civic Center Park across from the Capitol every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday), music (did you know Red Rocks Amphitheater is the only naturally occurring acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world), art ( the immensely popular Van Gogh Alive until the end of September) museums (kids love the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Don’t miss the mirror maze at the special Numbers in Nature exhibit) and a walkable downtown. (The 16th Street Mall is a mile-long pedestrian promenade that cuts through the center of downtown.) For the adults, let’s not forget that Denver brews more beer than any other city. The first building in Denver, after all, was a saloon. Learn more Colorado and Denver history at the engaging interactive History Colorado Center.

Denver is the gateway to the Colorado Rockies and famous mountain towns, including Breckenridge, Vail, Steamboat Springs and Aspen among them. And they’ve never been more popular as travelers continue to seek places with plenty of fresh air where they can spend most of their time outdoors this summer.


But too many people head straight to the mountains without stopping to enjoy Denver. (Maybe I’m biased because I live here, but I loved Denver even when I lived far from here.) Metro Denver, in fact, is home to more than 850 miles of off-street bike paths, one of the largest systems in the country, and 90 golf courses.

Perhaps all of those heading to the All-Star Game will encourage others to spend a few days here and discover why so many people love Denver. More than a million people have moved here in the last decade or so.

You certainly can feel safe. Not only is half the city fully vaccinated,, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment moved Denver to a far less restrictive Level Blue on the State's COVID-19 dial last April. It’s great to see Denverites out again enjoying restaurants, museums, playing in the parks and, of course, cheering on the Rockies at Coors Field. Still, some places still require advanced reservations and other COVID-19 restrictions. Check before you visit.

You may not realize that Denver is not in the mountains, but on high rolling plains, 12 miles east of the “foothills” and just beyond the Front Range of the Rockies. There are still plenty of spectacular mountain views here and state law forbids building anything that would block the view from the Colorado State Capitol.


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