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Legend has it that the first permanent structure in Denver was a saloon. And while it’s grown up a lot since its hardscrabble beginnings in 1858, the Mile High City has always retained a certain renegade, pioneer spirit. Like their adventurous forebears, Denver residents are notoriously passionate about the outdoors. Explore Roxborough State Park, just a short drive from downtown, and you’ll see why: the red rock formations are truly awe-inspiring. Gear up for your hike at the sprawling Flagship REI Store.

Another thing people in Denver love is beer. And on the outskirts of town, you can tour the biggest brewery in the world, the MillerCoors Brewery, which opened in 1873. Or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, try the Rock Bottom Brewery, where every beer is handcrafted on premises. It’s located on the 16th Street Mall, a scenic pedestrian shopping and dining destination that boasts some 500 restaurants, shops and bars.

The Harlem of the West

Five Points, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Denver, has been enjoying a renaissance. Known for decades as "the Harlem of the West,” some of the 20th century’s greatest jazz musicians played its clubs, including Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Miles Davis. Now it offers an eclectic mix of restaurants from Creole and Caribbean to BBQ. And at the innovative RedLine Art Gallery nearby, you can watch artists-in-residence work in real time.

Denverians are notoriously passionate sports fans and they scream all year long for teams in all four professional sports — especially their beloved Broncos. Tickets are hard to come by, but there’s no shortage of friendly sports bars in which to watch them.

It’s hard to beat the fresh air and scenic vistas of the western U.S. You might also want to explore Reno/Tahoe and Jackson Hole.