Denver - The Mile High CityIn the summer of 1858, a small group of prospectors from Georgia crossed the great plains of the Colorado Territory and made a region-changing discovery at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Gold. And although not much of the precious metal was found, the mere whisper of the word was enough to start a veritable stampede into the region. After all, the California Gold Rush had occurred just nine years earlier.

Just when people began settling into their new lives in Denver, a huge gold strike was discovered in the nearby mountain town of Central City. And as quickly as they came to Denver, the fortune-seekers packed up and headed to the hills –   leaving the city nearly deserted. Gradually, people returned to Denver as they battled harsh weather conditions in the mountains, figuring there were better ways to make their fortune. They were the first to discover and enjoy the mild, year-round climate Denver had to offer and began growing the city as a trade center.

Like any city, Denver suffered its growing pains in its early years. During the Civil War, a Confederate army from Texas marched on the state in hopes of seizing the gold fields. A volunteer army was hastily put together in Denver and, although they were hardly trained and badly outnumbered, they managed to defeat the Rebels from Texas at the Battle of Glorietta Pass, saving Colorado for the Union. And that was just the beginning of the challenges the city would face.

With a population that is 40% Hispanic and 10% African American, Denver is a dynamic city of diverse cultures, rewarding those who visit with a montage of sights, sounds, smells, and flavors. Check out an in-depth look at Hispanic Denver. A number of museums and cultural facilities, including the Stiles African American Heritage Center, Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, and the Museo de las Americas, showcase the arts and history of various peoples and traditions as surrounding neighborhoods fill the city with authentic restaurants and an array of cultural celebrations. Denver is also home to a sizable Asian American community.

From wheelchair-friendly trails and accommodations, to transportation services for the physically impaired, Denver is a city that can be enjoyed by all.