Big, Beautiful and Fun: 7 Things that Set Colorado Apart

The Centennial State is one of truly unique places in America

The state of Colorado encompasses some 104,000 square miles and is geographically the eighth largest state in the union. It also encompasses most of the southern Rockies, as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau. Over 5.6 million people make their home in the Centennial State (so-called because it became the 38th state in 1876—100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence). It’s your go-to state for skiing, hiking, fishing, sightseeing, mountaineering and of course, the Rocky Mountain National Park. Here are a few more things that are unique to Colorado.

Dale Cruse / Flickr

The cheeseburger was born in Colorado.

The trademark for the name “cheeseburger” was granted on March 5, 1935, to a man named Louis Ballast. Ballast owned Humpty Dumpty Restaurant on North Speer Boulevard in Denver. Who would have thought the cheeseburger was born near the Rockies?

Colorado is the only state to have ever refused to host the Olympics.

Olympic Committee: Denver, how about it?

Colorado: No thank you.

The Winter Olympic Games were to be held in Denver, Colorado in 1976. But voters said no because of the cost and because of the pollution and population boom they felt the games would cause. In fact, 62% of those who voted were opposed to the idea of hosting such an event.

Sheila Sund / Flickr

Colorado is home to the Mile-High City.

On the 13th step of the state capital building in Denver, the words “one mile above sea level” are printed. That step is situated at exactly 5,280 feet in elevation. This is why Denver has been nicknamed “The Mile-High City.”

Ben Clark / Flickr

Colorado is home to the Dwight Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel.

The Dwight Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel, named obviously for our nation’s 34th President, holds a record. The tunnel is the highest automobile tunnel on earth. It was bored at an elevation of 11,000 feet, just under the Continental Divide. It’s nearly 9,000 feet long and sees an average of 26,000 vehicles per day.

Eric Lumsden / Flickr

Colorado is also home to the longest street in the country.

If you ever visit the beautiful city of Denver, Colorado, you might find yourself on Colfax Avenue. It’s unique in that it is the longest continuous commercial street in the United States. It’s 26.5 miles long! That’s equivalent to approximately 22,380 standard size vehicles parked next to each other.

Phillip Capper / Flickr

Leadville, Colorado is the nation’s highest city.

The city of Leadville sits almost in the center of the state of Colorado. Before the city was named, there were many other cities in Colorado with the name “Silver” in them (Silver Springs, Silver Spruce, Silver Heights, Silver Cliff, among others), so the founding fathers opted to name the city “Lead”ville as a mark of distinction. Leadville is also known for having more museums per capita than any other city in the state of Colorado.


Lots of “Fourteeners” are here.

Colorado is home to a large part of the southern Rocky Mountains. In the Rockies, peaks that stand higher than 14,000 feet in elevation are referred to as “fourteeners.” There are 52 fourteeners in the state of Colorado! Certainly not Everest, but one of the fourteeners—Pikes Peak in the Colorado Springs area—stands high at 14,110 feet, and more than 400,000 people scale the peak every year.

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