Photo Courtesy of the Colorado Tourism Office

You need only look out a window to see what’s so appealing about living and playing in metro Denver. Stunning landscapes, a mild climate, and plentiful outdoor activities make this a year-round recreational haven. With 300 annual days of sunshine, Denver residents dabble in everything from skiing to hiking, mountain biking to river rafting. Perhaps that’s why Colorado has the lowest obesity rate and why the PEW Research Center ranked Denver the No. 1 city people most want to live.

Whether it’s freshwater fishing throughout western Colorado, or skiing, hiking or mountain biking in the world famous Rocky Mountains, all recreational tastes can be satisfied in the metro Denver area. A mild climate with plenty of sunshine and four distinct seasons allows for a variety of activities throughout the year.

Denver also has the largest public parks system of any U.S. city. Thousands of acres of open space dot the area, allowing citizens to hike, bike, and snowshoe right outside their backyards. Parks and greenbelts are located throughout the region and, for those who prefer participating in team sports, the area has recreational leagues for just about every sport under the sun.

Snow anyone? The spectacular Rocky Mountains, with its world-class ski resorts and scenery, are only minutes away and are a huge part of the area’s appeal.

Got sports? We do! With seven professional sports teams and plenty of spectator sports, residents could almost attend a different game or event every night. From football to baseball to soccer to hockey to auto racing, and much more, Denver is a sports fan’s dream.

For example, the Colorado Rockies baseball team had a great season in 2007, making it to the National League West finals and then to the World Series. Most people still think of the Denver Broncos in the John Elway years, and the team continues to impress with new young players on the roster. Today, John Elway owns a Mile High City car dealership, as well as two successful restaurants (see our listing in the Dining section for more information), and is still very involved in the Broncos community and as a dedicated Denver community advocate and supporter.

Lacrosse is big here, too. The Colorado Mammoth and the Colorado Outlaws have only boosted the popularity of the sport in Denver, with as many fans here as for Denver Nuggets basketball games. In fact, the Mammoth won the league championship in 2006, and momentum continues to grow as the teams gain more community fans and support. Denver even has a professional rugby team – the Denver Barbarians – and that’s a sport that’s also proven popular with area residents.

When it comes to culture, Denver has all the attractions you expect in a metropolitan hub—from museums to cultural events at the Denver Performing Arts Complex—the largest such facility in the country, amusement parks, zoos and more. For example, the Children’s Museum has been a popular and beloved attraction for “kids and their grownups” for more than 25 years, offering fun, interactive and educational learning experiences.

Denver also has an active theater, arts and cultural community, in part because of the city’s arts and culture initiative. In 1988, voters in metro Denver created the Scientific Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) to provide a consistent source of funding to both scientific and cultural organizations.

Since then, the SCFD has funded more than 300 organizations in the city’s seven-county metro area through a 0.1 percent retail sales and use tax (one penny on every $10). Nearly 900,000 out-of-state visitors defray the cost by spending millions of dollars on tourism, helping SCFD distribute more than $30 million annually to local organizations–and helping the city continue its thriving support of the arts.

There’s plenty to see, do, appreciate, and enjoy in the Mile High City. The following is a sampling of just some of Denver’s many leisure activities and things to do. Enjoy the city – and all it has to offer – and go experience Denver today!