Long before Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational cannabis, its capital city was nicknamed the "Mile High City."
This moniker reflected not the state of Denver's inhabitants, but the city's mile-high elevation, give or take a few hundred feet. But there are definitely spots around town that measure exactly 5,280 feet above sea level...including one new to the lineup.
Here are a half-dozen Denver locations that measure up:
The most obvious: When Coors Field debuted in 1995, it sported an amenity only possible in the Mile High City. In the twentieth row of the nosebleed, upper 300 sections, stretching from the left-field foul pole all the way to above the visitors' bullpen, there are 865 purple seats, marking where the ballpark measured exactly 5,280 feet on that first opening day. Have the seats settled since then? Fans' hopes for a winning season sure have.
The most scenic: The Sky Terrace on the west side of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science has a scenic view of the city and the Front Range beyond...and the deck happens to be at exactly 5,280 feet.
The most athletic: The Mile High Loop was completed in 2009; it follows a full 5k route around City Park over to East High School and back, with signage pointing to where spots on the trail measure a mile high.
The most obscure: When John Hickenlooper, a major baseball fan (though "just about the worst baseball player Little League had ever seen," he confesses), was mayor of Denver, he had a purple stripe painted in his third-floor office at the City and County Building at 5,280 feet — about a foot below the ceiling.
The most visited: The west side of the Colorado Capitol has not one, not two, but three markers commemorating the altitude. The words "One Mile Above Sea Level" were carved into the fifteenth step in 1947, after thieves made off with a circa 1903 plaque that said the same thing. After some measuring, a revisionist brass marker was installed on the eighteenth step in 1969. And in 2003, as Denver settled down, then-Governor Bill Owens presided over the installation of a revised revisionist marker placed on the thirteenth step, at what was then precisely 5,280 feet.
The latest: The 176-room Rally Hotel, part of the Colorado Rockies' McGregor Square project, opened just in time for the 2021 baseball season. The eighth floor of the hotel — dubbed the “Mile High Floor" — is right at 5,280 feet, in line with the purple seats at Coors Field, and also decked out in purple.
Tempted to join the Mile High Club here? Fair warning: Those big windows that alternately offer stunning views of the ballpark, the mountains and downtown could also provide stunning views of the activities inside your hotel room.
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