Denver is the capital city of Colorado, USA and the largest city in the state. Known as "The Mile-High City", Denver has an altitude of 5,280 feet/1,600 meters and lies where the Midwestern plains give way to the Rocky Mountains.
Denver is a bustling city of over 600,000 people supporting a fast growing metropolitan area of nearly 3 million people. The city embraces its cowboy and mining past, but also looks toward the future with a vibrant arts and performing arts scene, dozens of great outdoor festivals, and distinct neighborhoods each offering a unique experience. You'll find everything a cosmopolitan city has to offer, plus easy access to the beautiful Rocky Mountains, which are only 15 miles west of town.
Denver does have its growing pains. Urban sprawl is becoming a problem, with the metropolitan area sometimes growing faster than the infrastructure can really handle, especially with public transportation. Denver is generally a driving city, and problems with pollution and traffic are a part of everyday life. Large mass transportation and freeway expansion projects are underway to keep up with the city's growth, including the popular light rail system. Denver's street grid pattern is fairly efficient as well, though there is often confusion at the intersections of the NE-SW, NW-SE downtown grid, with the N-S, E-W grid of the rest of the city.
The winter months of December through March can and do bring biting temperatures and heavy snow to the region. While Denver does receive a major blizzard every 6 years on average, most snowstorms bring less than 8 inches of snow, and the foothills just west of Denver get a whole lot more. Winter is also when the Denver area gets pounded by a phenomenon known as the "chinook". That's when air flows over the mountains to the west and sinks on the leeward (eastern) slopes of the foothills and warms up. This raises air temperatures dramatically, bringing strong wind gusts and lasting for several days. If you're planning to visit Denver during the winter, be prepared with full winter gear, but consider packing a light sweater or t-shirt; you never know what you may be treated to (though it'll probably involve sun and blue skies).
Thunderstorms are common in late spring and fallSpring in Denver is pleasant, though generally rather brief. Trees begin budding by late March and are in full leaf by late April to mid May. March, on average, is Denver's snowiest month. Severe weather is most prominent in Denver during June, so keep your eyes to the skies (and the local weather reports) if you're visiting during this time.
By mid-June, Denver enters its summer season. Temperatures typically rise in earnest at this time, with most heat waves beginning toward the end of June and continuing through July, usually Denver's hottest month. By mid-July, the southwest monsoon kicks in. Temperatures rise rapidly from morning through early afternoon, when thunderstorms develop over the mountains and foothills to the west and spread east over the Denver area. These heavy afternoon rains can bring those high temps down fast. This trend generally sticks around until late August. By then, there's a noticeable difference in evening and night time temperatures as the days get shorter and average temperatures begin to drop. Slather on that sunscreen all summer long; the rays are strong and the air is dry, with temperatures often reaching the upper 90s in July and August.
Autumn is a peaceful time to visit, with mild temperatures, little severe weather and lots of that famous clear blue sky. You'll get to see the trees display their fall colors, which usually peak around mid-September in the mountains and October in the city itself. October usually brings the first snowfall of the season to Denver, although it's not usually heavy. By November, it's clear that winter is on its way, with plenty of clouds, some snow and much cooler temperatures
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