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Built on the profits of gold and oil, and once the domain of cowboys, Denver is a modern, cosmopolitan city on the cusp of the Rocky Mountains, whose snowy peaks rise and fall on the western horizon. Here, you can enjoy a taste of the West while also exploring art galleries and museums, touring craft breweries, watching major league baseball games or attending live music performances. Pair this with time in the foothills with a local guide, taking in views over mountains and plains.

DenverExploring on your own, you could visit the Union Station, whose grand Beaux-Arts building has welcomed visitors since 1914, and take a stroll through the historic Lower Downtown (LoDo) district, which is lined with Victorian mansions.

We also suggest heading to the Golden Triangle Creative District, where you’ll find museums, galleries, shops, restaurants and the leafy Civic Center Park.

Within the triangle is the History Colorado Center, which tells the story of the state’s cultures and landscapes through interactive exhibits, from the rip-roaring lifestyles of newly rich gold prospectors to the traditions of Ancestral Puebloans — American Indians native to the US’s southwest.

Denver Art Museum is another highlight of the district, housing an excellent collection of American Indian art from across North America, from sculptures and ceramics to paintings and textiles. You can also browse collections on European, Spanish colonial, African and Asian art.

Although, you don’t have to enter a museum to see Denver’s art — wander through the regenerated River North (RiNo) Art District and you’ll pass huge murals, graffiti and street art emblazoned on old warehouses and factory buildings. From vivid geometric patterns to thought-provoking social and political statements, the art brightens up this former industrial area.

The best-known artwork in Denver, though, is the 12 m (40 ft) Big Blue Bear sculpture. Created by late local artist Lawrence Argent, the giant bear peers curiously into the Colorado Convention Center. With its nose pressed against the glass, it has doubtless appeared in most visitors’ camera reels.

Denver is home to a number of popular American football and baseball teams. During your stay, we can arrange for you to watch the Colorado Rockies major-league baseball team, joining a 40,000-strong crowd at the Coors Field baseball park.

The Red Rocks Amphitheatre, just west of Denver, has an equally exhilarating atmosphere. Arguably the US’s most distinctive music venue, the open-air stage here is set among the steep, angular stone of Red Rock Park, which adds to the acoustics of musical performances. Concerts have been held here since 1941 and vary from reggae, rap and rock music to classical and jazz.

Around the city, you might notice quite a few craft beer establishments. Denver is one of the largest craft beer producers in the country, and holds its Great American Beer Festival for three days each year in late September or early October. But, you’ll find a wide variety of beers in the city’s bars and restaurants whenever you visit.

We can arrange for you to join a guided tour of some of the city’s microbreweries. Over the space of three hours, you’ll visit a number of establishments, sampling 12 different beers in total. Along the way, your guide tells you about the process of producing craft beer and you’ll meet some of the local brewers, who’ll share their knowledge and passion for their products.

Exploring the great outdoors beyond Denver

Red Rocks Amphitheatre in DenverDenver, despite now being a large, glitzy city, has managed to maintain its earthiness, and outdoor recreation is still a major draw. With 205 parks in the city and vast protected habitats in the nearby mountains, there's ample opportunity for hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and white-water rafting.

As a break from the city streets, you could join a guided tour that takes you out into the surrounding foothills. As your guide drives you out of the Great Plains Valley and you head toward the steep, crumpled mountains, the entire city stretches out below.

You make stops at the red Rocks Amphitheatre and at Lookout Mountain, where you can take in more vistas over the Rockies and the Great Plains.

Other highlights include visiting the grave of Buffalo Bill Cody and the museum dedicated to his life, which details how he founded his ‘Buffalo Bill’s Wild West’ touring show. You can also stop at Dinosaur Ridge, where many dinosaur bones and fossils have been discovered. Footprints and bones are still visible in the rock as you walk along the trail in search of fossils.

Best time to visit Denver

Denver is best visited in April and May (though you can expect some rain) or September and October, when temperatures are warm and there are fewer visitors. Several food and drink festivals take place in September and October, which are fun to attend but do attract more visitors. The summer months get fairly hot and can become busy, with heavy rainfall common in July.

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