Your Destination Guide to Denver

Destination Guide Denver - Your Destination Guide to Denver, CO

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© Eric Kilby

What started as a small prospecting settlement in the late 1850s has now blossomed into a central hub of intellect and entertainment in Downtown Denver. The Auraria district, its name derived from the Latin word for gold, is divided into two distinct parts along Auraria Parkway, separating the epicenter of sports and entertainment to the north from the expansive Auraria Higher Education Center to the south. Thankfully, the result is not civil war between leisure and education. Instead, Auraria offers a diversified representation of Denver's urban wonderland.

In the late 1960s, Auraria was chosen as the site for a new center of Higher Education, combining three campuses spread throughout the city—the Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and the University of Colorado Denver—into one, more convenient and centrally located complex. The goal was to provide low cost education to the many Denver residents who could not afford to leave home and work to pursue higher learning. Geared towards non-traditional students, the Auraria Center for Higher Education could accommodate all levels of prospective students, from those without high school diplomas to those pursuing postgraduate degrees. Today, the Auraria Campus boasts a combined enrollment of nearly 40,000 students and is one of the most efficient campuses across the nation.

The air of intellect and high culture continue to float a few blocks east into the Denver Center of Performing Arts, the Buell Theater, and even the Denver Convention Center. After seeing any of the fine performances these venues offer, a whole host of wonderful eating opportunities are well within walking distance. Favorites include Euclid Hall, located in luxurious Larimer Square, which is known for its upscale bar food and fantastically decadent Funnel Cake Fried Banana, and a number of small coffeehouses directly neighboring the theaters. Some of Denver's finest lodging can be found her as well, including the historic Hotel Teatro.

Crossing into the northern half of the Auraria district offers a vastly different array of worthwhile diversions. The Pepsi Center, home to four sporting teams depending on the season, also plays host to most of the big ticket events, from Monster Truck Rallies to legendary performers like the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. The laid back atmosphere of Brooklyn's bar and restaurant right next door is the perfect place to hang out before, during, and after just about any Pepsi Center event.

More family-friendly entertainment can be found at the nearby Downtown Aquarium ,featuring its own restaurant with a dining area surrounded by tanks of the aquatic wildlife, and the Children's Museum of Denver. Between April and Halloween, Elitch Gardens Theme Park has amusement outlets for everyone, including a water park, death-defying thrill rides, and its namesake gorgeous and historic gardens.

And, since Auraria is so centrally located, you can easily access the rest of Downtown Denver through the convenience of the RTD Lightrail and bus network.

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