Founded at the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, Denver was an 1850s Colorado boomtown for ranchers and prospectors who struck silver and gold in the Rocky Mountains just 15 miles west. A lot of that old-school flavor lives on in Lower Downtown’s hip warehouse district and in the turn-of-the-century mansions of Capitol Hill.

Denver has one of the fastest-growing metropolitan populations in the country, and its big-city amenities are increasing all the time, with acclaimed art museums, a vast performing arts complex, eight professional sports teams and plenty of palate-tempting dining options.

Urbanism aside, many visitors to Metro Denver come here to get outside. And from the ponderosa-wooded trails near Deckers to the rolling hills around Castle Rock to Red Rocks’ impressive outdoor amphitheater, there are plenty of opportunities to do so.

Use the articles below to plan your Denver vacation.