Things to do in Denver
Lower Downtown -- LoDo -- is now one of Denver's top 10 tourist destinations. But it's certainly not the only stop for visitors -- or residents.
The 50,000-seat Coors Field, home of Major League Baseball's Colorado Rockies, is another downtown gem. The Rockies sell out almost every game in a stadium that draws on the look and feel of older ballparks.
Denver is also home to the National Basketball Association's Nuggets, the National Football League's Broncos, and 1996 hockey Stanley Cup champs, the Colorado Avalanche.
Museums, theaters and the Denver Zoo are popular draws, and an aquarium is under construction, as is a new sports complex.
The 60-acre Elitch Gardens amusement park, located downtown, features the Mind Eraser looping suspended roller coaster, the 210-foot free-falling Tower of Doom, ShipWreck Falls water ride and a water park. Built in 1995, Elitch Gardens was the first amusement park constructed in a major U.S. city in 30 years.
More to come?
No fewer than 40 restaurants are expected to open by year's end -- most in LoDo. Tourism is booming, too -- almost six million visitors came to Denver in 1996 (600,000 more than in 1995), and more are expected this year.
There are conflicting opinions on how long this current boom will last. Historian Tom Noel says that the city has "had a boom every generation and a bust every generation," but Mayor Wellington Webb disagrees.
"It's a great time for Denver," the mayor says. "Our economy is much more diversified, where before we only focused in on oil and gas. Now ... our economy doesn't have a boom and bust cycle to it."
Either way, the leaders of the G7 nations will see a shining example of American adaptability next week when they convene in mile-high Denver. They'll also see a mix of old and new unique to the American West -- a cowtown, founded on gold fever, turned transportation and tourism capital, all in a majestic Rocky Mountain setting.