Denver, Colorado, is often associated with the Old West, but the New West has left a more visible mark. Modern Denver is the financial, business, administrative and transportation center of the Rocky Mountain region. The Denver area is a major livestock market and headquarters to mining companies. Denver's leading manufacturers produce aeronautic, telecommunication, electronic and other high-technology products.
Thanks to its wealth of nearby ski and mountain resorts, national parks and frontier historical sites, Denver is also an important tourist center. Denver attractions draw numerous visitors every year. Sports fans also flock to Denver to watch its many professional teams.
A skyline of gleaming glass graces downtown, and even the historic areas shine with fresh varnish. Nowhere is this clearer than in LoDo—Denver's Lower Downtown District—where run-down warehouses have been renovated into classy Denver attractions such as jazz clubs, bookstores, restaurants and art galleries. High-rises offer chic downtown living alongside historic buildings that have been transformed into lofts. It all takes place against the glorious backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.
Denver's rapid growth hasn't been without consequences, however. Air pollution is a serious problem, and increased traffic around the city and into the mountains is a major contributing factor. (Although the infamous "brown cloud" is not as dark as it used to be.) Still, Denverites consider the natural environment precious, and many spend their weekends skiing, biking, hiking and camping.
Balancing growth with environmental concerns has become a regional priority. Light-rail lines stretch out into Denver's suburbs to relieve traffic snarls, and open land inside and outside Denver has been set aside for parks and recreation areas, including an excellent network of cycling trails.
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