Welcome to the Mile High City and home of the Super Bowl champions!

There is a lot to love about Colorado, from purple mountain majesties to 300 days of sunshine a year. There are very few people who visit and don’t find a reason to stay. Which explains why Colorado saw the seventh-highest increase in population out of all 50 states, and the Denver metro area is consistently ranked as one of the fastest growing areas in the region. The state slogan, “Colorado Above All,” rings true for many!

Your time in Denver, for the NAFSA 2016 Annual Conference & Expo, will certainly be unforgettable. Over the next several months, I look forward to sharing some highlights, quick tips, and fun facts about my favorite city, Denver, Colorado.

Conference Location: Colorado Convention Center

The Colorado Convention Center, ranked among the top meeting and event centers in the United States, is located in beautiful downtown Denver. Over 250 events take place here annually. Over the past few years, the center has implemented a series of sustainability and energy efficiency initiatives to make the center more green, and in May 2014, the center achieved LEED Gold status by the U.S. Green Building Council. The location of the center is ideal, with more than 8,700 hotel rooms, 300 restaurants, nine theatres, and a wide variety of shopping and retail outlets all within walking distance.

Getting Here

The Denver International Airport (DIA) is the 5th busiest airport in the United States. Over 53 million people travel through the airport each year. When the doors opened in 1995, DIA captured the world’s attention with its striking tented roof structure and technologically advanced operations. There is a Westin Hotel and conference center located steps away from the main terminal. In April (just in time for NAFSA 2016), the city will launch a new commuter rail connecting passengers from the airport to downtown Denver in about 35 minutes.

Denver Weather

The weather in Denver is spectacular throughout the year. In May and June, the average high is in the mid-70s and there is very little humidity. The evenings are cool and comfortable.

Early Denver History

In the summer of 1858, a group of prospectors from the state of Georgia crossed the Great Plains and made an incredible discovery at the base of the Rocky Mountains—gold! It didn’t take long for a stampede to rush the banks of the South Platte River, each seeking his own fortune. After all, the California Gold Rush did just occur nine years earlier. Pikes Peak, a 14,000-foot mountain slightly south of the river, served as a landmark for the territory. Cities soon developed on both sides of the South Platte River and Montana City, Colorado, was established. This was the first settlement in what was later to become the city of Denver. The city is now home to more than 660,000 residents.

10 Fun Facts about Denver

  • Denver is nicknamed the “Mile High City” because it sits at an elevation of exactly one mile, or 5,280 feet above sea level.
  • Denver has the largest city park system in the United States, with 14,000 acres of mountain parks and 2,500 acres of natural areas.
  • There are 200 named peaks that are visible from Denver. Thirty-two of them tower at 13,000 feet and above.
  • The first permanent structure in Denver was not a hospital, bank, or house—it was a saloon.
  • The dome of the Colorado State Capitol building is plated with real 24 karat gold. However, the true rarity is on the inside. The building’s interior is adorned with the entire known supply of Colorado rose onyx.
  • The Denver Performing Arts Complex is the largest performing arts complex under one roof.
  • Denver was the first city to ever turn down the opportunity to host the Olympics. The community voted against hosting the 1976 Winter Olympics after the city was given the bid.
  • Due to the altitude, golf balls go about 10 percent further than they would at sea level.
  • Denver brews more beer than any other city in the United States, with over 200 different beers brewed daily.
  • The legendary band Led Zeppelin played their first show in the United States at the Denver Auditorium Arena on December 26, 1968.
  • Registration for the NAFSA 2016 Annual Conference & Expo in Denver, Colorado, opens on March 1, 2016. In order to apply the early-bird discount, NAFSA must receive your registration form by April 15, 2016.
  • Hotel reservations close on May 6, 2016.
  • Online registration closes on June 3, 2016.

Michele Friedmann is the Local Arrangements Team (LAT) communications chair for the NAFSA 2016 Annual Conference & Expo. Michele was born and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania. She attended Gettysburg College where her love for study abroad began. Michele spent a semester in Australia, circumnavigated the globe on Semester at Sea, and student taught in London. Michele earned a master’s degree from the School for International Training in the area of international education. She interned for Barcelona SAE as a program and student adviser. She has worked for the Institute of International Education and the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. Michele is currently the student and program manager for Global Players, a study abroad program geared toward student athletes.