Downtown Denver is not just the downtown of the City and County of Denver, but for the entire Denver metropolitan area. This may not be the case in every major city, but I believe it to be true here in Denver. Let me explain…

The vast majority of metro Denver communities do not have a traditional downtown of their own. Unlike many big cities back East where small towns, with centuries of history and their own traditional downtowns, were later subsumed as part of a metropolitan area, there really wasn’t much else in the metropolitan Denver area but Denver for a long time. During those first decades of the 1860s and 1870s, Denver had only two regional peers, Golden and Boulder, which explains why those communities have two of the few real downtowns found in the metropolitan area today. But by 1890, with its population over 100,000 (compared to Boulder’s 3,000 and Golden’s 2,000), Denver had already grown to completely dominate everything else around it. Denver was its own metropolitan area, and Downtown Denver was, simply, Downtown.


Notwithstanding that the metropolitan area is now fractured into over 40 municipalities, Downtown Denver remains the region’s downtown. Its age, size, and lack of competing historic downtowns nearby, its status as the seat of state government, and the fact that after a century of regional expansion, it remains in the geographic center of the metro area, has helped sustain Downtown Denver’s predominence. The city has also heavily invested in new transportation and civic infrastructure to keep Downtown vibrant, and metro area voters have done their share by approving measures such as FasTracks and the new baseball and football stadiums. Shopping is no longer dominated by Downtown Denver unfortunately, but Downtown remains the undisputed king of the metro area’s restaurant/nightlife, professional sports, entertainment, arts, and culture scenes. Generally speaking, in metro Denver, when the word “Downtown” is referred to with no city name attached, it is assumed to be Downtown Denver. That, perhaps, is the best indication that Downtown Denver is everyone’s downtown… and that is a good thing for our city.