Denver, founded in 1858, is the capital and most populated city of Colorado, with an estimated population close to 600,000, making it the 26th most populous city in the U.S. The 5-county Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated 2008 population over 2.5 million. Denver is the second largest city in the Mountain West after Phoenix.
The city has the 10th largest central business district in the United States. Because of its location relative to other major cities, Denver is a natural location for storage and distribution of goods and a key trade point. Denver is also considered a pioneer in the fast casual restaurant industry, with many popular restaurant chains founded and based in Denver, including Chipotle Mexican Grill and Quizno's.
Well-known neighborhoods include the historic and trendy LoDo ( "Lower Downtown"), part of the Union Station neighborhood; Capitol Hill, The Highlands, Washington Park, Lowry; Uptown, part of the North Capitol Hill neighborhood; Curtis Park, part of the Five Points neighborhood; Alamo Placita, the northern part of the Speer neighborhood; Park Hill; and Golden Triangle, in the Civic Center. Others are found in Baker, Park Hill, historic Montclair, Crestmoor/Hilltop, Highlands Ranch, and the Bluebird district.
Centers for higher education in Denver include the University of Denver, Johnson & Wales University, Catholic (Jesuit) Regis University, University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and Community College of Denver.
All 8 major sports are represented by Denver teams, including the NBA Denver Nuggets, the NFL Denver Broncos, MLB Colorado Rockies, and Colorado Avalanche of the NHL.