There were problems. The new 1.6-mile road course around the Pepsi Center was by turns too rough and too slick. The pedestrian bridges were overcrowded. A stand of young trees along Auraria Parkway blocked the view of high-rollers holding $800 tickets. But the return of Indy car racing to the streets of the Mile High City -- the first Shell Grand Prix of Denver -- proved an exciting diversion for 40,000 motorheads who crowded into the sun-kissed venue on Labor Day. The race's sanctioning body, Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), faces defections by some top drivers and engine-makers, but the show will go on again this summer. Meanwhile, the best T-shirt spotted at the inaugural race on September 1: "Too Dumb for Opera. Too Smart for NASCAR."

Best Colorado Contribution to the Super Bowl

Malcolm Farley

Denver sports artist Malcolm Farley was hired by Pepsi to paint original art to grace the outside of 800 million soft-drink cans. The "Official 2003 Super Bowl Party Cans" sported Farley's signature along with a painting featuring a Super Bowl championship team, player or coach. Proceeds from auctions of the originals went to NFL charities and Farley's own pick, the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The artist, who began painting athletes at a young age, prefers to create his works live in a public venue, with as many people watching as possible. He has painted at such events as the U.S. Open, the Super Bowl, the 2002 Olympics in Sydney and the Stanley Cup championships. Next stop...the Pepsi Center?

Best Colorado Contribution to the Super Bowl

Malcolm Farley

Denver sports artist Malcolm Farley was hired by Pepsi to paint original art to grace the outside of 800 million soft-drink cans. The "Official 2003 Super Bowl Party Cans" sported Farley's signature along with a painting featuring a Super Bowl championship team, player or coach. Proceeds from auctions of the originals went to NFL charities and Farley's own pick, the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The artist, who began painting athletes at a young age, prefers to create his works live in a public venue, with as many people watching as possible. He has painted at such events as the U.S. Open, the Super Bowl, the 2002 Olympics in Sydney and the Stanley Cup championships. Next stop...the Pepsi Center?


The entire history of Denver's hapless and benighted major-league baseball franchise has been a losing battle against the physics of altitude -- specifically, the thin air that torments pitchers trying to throw curveballs at Coors Field, and that allegedly puts Rockies batters off their stride when they play on the road. Last year, the Rox installed a humidor meant to cool and moisturize their baseballs so the ol' horsehide would react as at sea level. The jury's still out on that move. This time, manager Clint Hurdle has positioned a time clock by the entry to the dugout as a reminder to the Rockies that they have to work each day. But that's not all. The scientific wizards of Rockiedom are talking about using a fancy hyperbaric chamber that would simulate the atmospheric conditions of full-speed batting practice in, say, Philadelphia or Chicago -- although it won't replicate the breeze at Wrigley Field. Will the new contraption make any difference to a club that collectively batted 79 points lower on the road than at home last year? Who knows? Ask Todd Helton and Larry Walker come mid-July.
The entire history of Denver's hapless and benighted major-league baseball franchise has been a losing battle against the physics of altitude -- specifically, the thin air that torments pitchers trying to throw curveballs at Coors Field, and that allegedly puts Rockies batters off their stride when they play on the road. Last year, the Rox installed a humidor meant to cool and moisturize their baseballs so the ol' horsehide would react as at sea level. The jury's still out on that move. This time, manager Clint Hurdle has positioned a time clock by the entry to the dugout as a reminder to the Rockies that they have to work each day. But that's not all. The scientific wizards of Rockiedom are talking about using a fancy hyperbaric chamber that would simulate the atmospheric conditions of full-speed batting practice in, say, Philadelphia or Chicago -- although it won't replicate the breeze at Wrigley Field. Will the new contraption make any difference to a club that collectively batted 79 points lower on the road than at home last year? Who knows? Ask Todd Helton and Larry Walker come mid-July.


Who knew? History can be fun. And the Colorado Historical Society's experts, who know the state like the backs of their own hands, have a great handle on how to impart that knowledge without being the least bit stodgy. Focusing on locations and themes ranging from the bowels of Denver's rapidly disappearing skid row to the throwback tourist havens of Manitou or Eldorado Springs, the year-round tours they lead have the character of a downright lark through time; participants leave at the end of the day feeling both relaxed and informed. Upcoming treks include "A Tasty Tour of Boulder County," featuring visits to local makers of goat cheese, mead and other gourmet oddities, and a three-day summer raft trip following John Wesley Powell's route down the Green River. Make your reservations early.
Who knew? History can be fun. And the Colorado Historical Society's experts, who know the state like the backs of their own hands, have a great handle on how to impart that knowledge without being the least bit stodgy. Focusing on locations and themes ranging from the bowels of Denver's rapidly disappearing skid row to the throwback tourist havens of Manitou or Eldorado Springs, the year-round tours they lead have the character of a downright lark through time; participants leave at the end of the day feeling both relaxed and informed. Upcoming treks include "A Tasty Tour of Boulder County," featuring visits to local makers of goat cheese, mead and other gourmet oddities, and a three-day summer raft trip following John Wesley Powell's route down the Green River. Make your reservations early.
If you've ever sat on a hillside and wondered what the land you survey looked like one hundred years ago, imagine what visions came to DMNS paleontologist Kirk Johnson and a trio of seasoned paleoartists when they looked over the local landscape. Actually, you don't have to: Johnson and company took the initiative last year and created Ancient Denvers, an exhibit and accompanying coffee-table book that feature scientifically correct images of Front Range locales as they probably appeared during various periods over the last 300 million years. Some of our most familiar geological landmarks of today -- including Red Rocks, Garden of the Gods and the Dakota Hogback -- were given the way-back treatment with brilliant results, but who'da thunk their back yard might ever have been a dank, disgusting swamp to rival the one surrounding the outlands of Mordor? Truth can be stranger than fiction.
If you've ever sat on a hillside and wondered what the land you survey looked like one hundred years ago, imagine what visions came to DMNS paleontologist Kirk Johnson and a trio of seasoned paleoartists when they looked over the local landscape. Actually, you don't have to: Johnson and company took the initiative last year and created Ancient Denvers, an exhibit and accompanying coffee-table book that feature scientifically correct images of Front Range locales as they probably appeared during various periods over the last 300 million years. Some of our most familiar geological landmarks of today -- including Red Rocks, Garden of the Gods and the Dakota Hogback -- were given the way-back treatment with brilliant results, but who'da thunk their back yard might ever have been a dank, disgusting swamp to rival the one surrounding the outlands of Mordor? Truth can be stranger than fiction.


After months of construction, the DMNS finally opened its beautifully restructured three-story west atrium, featuring the museum's famous vantage-point view of City Park, downtown Denver and the mountain skyline beyond, stretching south to Pikes Peak and north to Longs Peak. Old-time Denverites grew up with it, but they'll only appreciate it more now that it's packaged in its sleek, new multi-leveled form. Better yet, on the fourth floor, there's an open-air Sky Terrace perfect for viewing both the land and the sky. What a place! Bring your telescopes: It's got star quality.

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