Denver is the largest city and the capital of the State of Colorado. With a population of about 735,538 in the city proper (as of 2020) and nearly 3,000,000 in the metro area, and in one of the more sparsely populated regions of the country, it is also the largest city for nearly 600 miles in every direction note . It is nicknamed the "Mile High City", due to its elevation of 5,280 feet (1 mile) above sea level. It has sports teams in all four American major leagues, (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) as well as having teams in other sports (Soccer, Lacrosse, Arena Football, Rugby, a few minor league teams, and even served until 2018 as the home base of Furniture Row Racing, one of the few NASCAR teams based outside Charlotte, North Carolina; let's just say it's a sports obsessed town). The team with the biggest following is the NFL's Denver Broncos.
It is home to several universities, among them Metropolitan State University of Denver ("Metro State"), University of Colorado Denver, University of Denver, and Regis University. The Molly Brown House, residence of one of the most famous Titanic survivors, is there. The South Platte River flows through the city.
Despite having a high level of local government corruption (police corruption was once ranked as highest in the US) and ranking fourteen in the US for ozone pollution, Denver is generally portrayed as clean. Though the city is typically shown with the nearby Rocky Mountains in the background, Denver lies on the high plainsnote and late spring through early fall can be hot, while fall through early spring can be significantly colder. Throughout the year Denver is mostly dry, and due to the lack of a large body of water nearby, the temperature can fluctuate as much as 45° F in a day. Climatically Denver is on the edge of a climate more typical of mountains and a climate more typical of the high plains, both being semi-arid.
Due to its location, the city has a very outdoorsy culture. Residents naturally love heading up to the mountains on weekends for activities like skiing, camping, hiking, and kayaking. Denver is also a very 'blue' city, almost always being represented by a Democrat, which is partly due to being more diverse than most other places in Colorado. A quarter of the city is Hispanic and around a fifth speaks Spanish at home. There are also significant Asian and African-American minority groups in the city.
Much of both the city of Denver and the state as a whole migrates from other parts of the country; as a result the accent is sometimes perceived as 'neutral' due to having similarities with areas all over the country. This has also caused a great deal of traffic and gridlock.
Beginning around the turn of the millennium (these sorts of timelines are never precise), Denver became something of a magnet for young, well-educated professionals looking for a "cool" place to live that wasn't a hideously expensive coastal city. Proximity to winter sports sites, a thriving downtown area and and a growing tech scene made Denver an attractive option. That put Denver on a lot of "best places to live" lists, which, in turn, attracted even more people. The explosive population growth in Denver has had significant effects on state politics (Colorado has evolved into a solidly Democratic state, thanks mostly to the Denver area) and the local economy — Denver might have been an affordable option in 2000, but it's now one of the most expensive cities in the country (albeit still cheaper than New York or San Francisco).
Denver in fiction:
- Dynasty (1981).
- South Park ventures there on occasion, and South Park itself is "close enough" to Denver anyway (the real place is a street in Littleton, a suburb near Denver).
- Featured as "Devil's Grief" in Horizon Zero Dawn.
- The Eddie Murphy film Imagine That was set here.
- Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead: Yeah....
- We're the Millers starts here before the main characters drive to Mexico.
- In some episodes of Mork & Mindy (set in nearby Boulder), the gang would come to Denver.
- It gets blown up in the novel The Sum of All Fears. This is changed to Baltimore in the Film of the Book.
- It gets destroyed by a nuclear bomb in Jericho (2006) too.
- About Schmidt is partly set in Denver.
- Community (Jeff and Shirley are from there, and Greendale is implied to be located near Denver and/or Colorado Springs.)
- Warehouse 13 sets several episodes here, as Mycah is a native of nearby Colorado Springs, and her My Greatest Failure moment occurred in Denver.
- Denver is visited by Raiden in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. The town has a privatized police force made up of cyborg PMCs due to being the headquarters of World Marshal Inc., of which Colorado Senator Steven Armstrong is a backer.
- At the start of The War Against the Chtorr series, Denver is the capital of the United States, though it's eventually evacuated as it's impossible to keep secure.
- Denver also becomes the U.S. capital in Robert A. Heinlein's The Door into Summer (after The Six Weeks War devastates the Northeast) and Marvel Comics' New Universe (after Washington, D.C. is trashed by a fight between two paranormals).
- Also the US Capital in Resistance 2, after DC is trashed by the Chimera in the tie-in book The Gathering Storm. The city is destroyed off-screen (and most of the government killed) late in the game.
- In World War Denver becomes capital of the US after Washington DC and other East Coast cities are lost to the Race.
- The Perry Mason TV movies of the 1980s and 1990s were set in Denver.
- Percy Jackson and friends have a run-in with Ares here in The Lightning Thief.
- It's implied that The Capitol of Panem, from The Hunger Games, is located in what was once Denver (the book describes the "Rocky Mountains", and the film series definitely evokes the "mountainous" feel).
- In The Death Cure, Thomas and co. visit Denver in search for a former WICKED scientist who can remove the mind-controlling chip from Thomas and Minho. It's also revealed to house the other surviving Gladers after WICKED released them.
- Denver International Airport infamously became a darling of Conspiracy Theories after somebody came up with the idea that the airport, in aerial photos, looks a bit like a swastika if you squint and believe in it really hard. It's also decorated with Uncanny Valley-style murals, so it must obviously be an obvious secret NWO headquarters. The conspiracy theories have been around for so long that airport officials now gleefully play along with them and put out marketing materials riffing on them.
- In what is almost certainly a nod to the above theory, the final mission of Splinter Cell: Blacklist takes place in an Elaborate Underground Base beneath Denver International Airport called "Site F."
- The world map in Mega Man 8 heavily suggests that Dr. Light's laboratory is located in Denver. The city itself is never seen, though Mega Man can visit Light Labs to obtain upgrades using bolts collected in-game. It is also unknown if certain levels in other titles like the opening stage of Mega Man 7, the Robot Museum in MM7 and Mega Man & Bass, and the Towntown Stage in Mega Man Powered Up are meant to represent various locations in Denver.
- The Centurions episode "Denver Is Down" has Big Bad Doc Terror sinking the entire city into an underground cavern, where he intends to turn the populace into cyborgs.
- It's off-handedly mentioned to be under siege by the Soviet Army in Red Dawn (1984). Red Dawn +20 expanded on this.
- The 2005 version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had Mike Teavee and his family be from suburban Denver. Given that his vice had been updated from watching too much TV to playing too many violent video games, and that our introduction to him is of the sound of gunfire and flashes of light in the windows of his home (before we find out that it's a game), the choice of hometown was likely a reference to the Columbine massacre, which took place in a Denver suburb. (Ironically, AnnaSophia Robb, who played Atlanta-based Violet Beauregarde in the film, is actually from Denver.)
- Mentioned in Fallout: New Vegas as the furthest eastward expansion of Caesar's Legion due to a grueling attrition war between the Legion and the tribes living there. Known as "Dog City" as the city is overrun with packs of ferocious feral dogs, but some of the finest canines in all the wasteland come from there (including the Legion's mongrels and the recruitable cyberdog companion Rex).
- It's also the main setting for the New Vegas mod Dog City Denver.
- Wasteland 3: the bombed out post-apocalyptic ruins of Denver are home to a fanatic cult known as "The Gippers" who have taken up residence in the Colorado State Capitol and worship an AI copy of Ronald Reagan's brain as a living god.
- Identity Thief partly takes place in Denver, since the protagonist's from there.
- Criminal Minds had an episode set in Cherry Creek, a Denver suburb.
- Shoplifters Of The World is set in Denver during 1987 just after The Smiths broke up, with their fans mourning the fact (one goes so far as to hold a radio DJ hostage, making him play their music over the entire night).
Shows based in Denver:
- As the hometown of Duane "Dog" Chapman and his wife Beth, it's frequently featured in Dog the Bounty Hunter.
- The Animal Planet series Emergency Vets and its spinoff E-Vets Interns were shot at the city's Alameda East Veterinary Hospital.
- The Fast Lane is based in the Denver area, and has taken advantage of its location with, among other things, its "Ike Gauntlet" high-altitude towing tests where pickup trucks and the like are loaded to capacity and run from Silverthorne to the Eisenhower Tunnel, a rise from 9035' to 11,158' in eight miles' road distance (2754m to 3401m in about 13 km) and down again from there.