Denver, officially the City and County of Denver, is the capital and most-populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Denver is nicknamed the Mile High City because its official elevation is exactly one mile above sea level. The 105th meridian west of Greenwich, the longitudinal reference for the Mountain Time Zone, passes directly through Denver Union Station.
The metropolitan area surrounding Denver represents a majority of the population and economic activity in the Front Range region, the area where an estimated 85% of Colorado's population lives. The 12-county Denver-Aurora, CO Combined Statistical Area is the 15th most populous in the U.S. and the second-most populous city in the Mountain West. Denver was named the best place to live in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.
The Denver MSA has a gross metropolitan product of over $157.6 billion, making it the 18th largest metro economy in the United States. Denver's economy is based partially on its geographic position and its connection to some of the country's major transportation systems. Because Denver is the largest city within 500 miles (800 km), it has become a natural location for storage and distribution of goods and services to the Mountain States, Southwest states, as well as all western states. Another benefit for distribution is that Denver is nearly equidistant from large cities of the Midwest, such as Chicago and St. Louis and some large cities of the West Coast, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Over the years, the city has been home to other large corporations in the central United States, making Denver a key trade point for the country. Several well-known companies originated in or have relocated to Denver. AIMCO —the largest owner and operator of apartment communities in the United States, with approximately 870 communities comprising nearly 136,000 units in 44 states—is headquartered in Denver, employing approximately 3,500 people. The Mountain States Telephone & Telegraph Company, founded in Denver in 1911, is now a part of telecommunications giant Lumen Technologies.
MediaNews Group purchased the Denver Post in 1987; the company is based in Denver. The Gates Corporation, the world's largest producer of automotive belts and hoses, was established in S. Denver in 1919. The Wright & McGill Company has been making its Eagle Claw brand of fishing gear in NE Denver since 1925. Frontier Airlines operates at Denver International Airport. Scott's Liquid Gold, Inc., has been making furniture polish in Denver since 1954. Village Inn restaurants began as a single pancake house in Denver in 1958. Big O Tires, LLC, of Centennial opened its first franchise in 1962 in Denver. The Shane Company sold its first diamond jewellery in 1971 in Denver. In 1973 Re/Max made Denver its headquarters. CH2M Hill, an engineering and construction firm, relocated from Oregon to the Denver Technological Center in 1980. The Ball Corporation operates from suburban Broomfield and has several operations in greater Denver.
The regional wholesale distributor, Coors Distributing Company, is in NW Denver. The Newmont Mining Corporation, the second-largest gold producer in North America and one of the largest in the world, is headquartered in Denver. MapQuest, an online site for maps, directions and business listings, is headquartered in Denver's LoDo district. Large Denver-area employers that have headquarters elsewhere include Lockheed Martin Corp., United Airlines, Kroger Co. and Xcel Energy, Inc.
Geography also allows Denver to have a considerable government presence, with many federal agencies based or having offices in the Denver area. Along with federal agencies come many companies based on US defence and space projects, and more jobs are brought to the city by virtue of its being the capital of the state of Colorado. The Denver area is home to the former nuclear weapons plant Rocky Flats, the Denver Federal Center, Byron G. Rogers Federal Building and United States Courthouse, the Denver Mint, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The Colorado Convention Center makes the city one of the top 10 cities in the nation for holding a convention.
Denver's position near the mineral-rich Rocky Mountains encouraged mining and energy companies to spring up in the area. Denver has 700 employed petroleum engineers. Advances in hydraulic fracturing have made the DJ Basin of Colorado into an accessible and lucrative oil company. Energy and mining are still important in Denver's economy today, with companies such as Ovintiv, Halliburton, Smith International, Rio Tinto Group, Newmont Mining, and Chevron Corporation, headquartered or having significant operations. Denver is in 149th place in terms of the cost of doing business in the United States.
Denver's west-central geographic location in the Mountain Time Zone (UTC−7) also benefits the telecommunications industry by allowing communication with both North American coasts, South America, Europe, and Asia on the same business day. Denver's location on the 105th meridian at over one mile (1.6 km) in elevation also enables it to be the largest city in the U.S. to offer a "one-bounce" real-time satellite uplink to six continents in the same business day. Qwest Communications now part of CenturyLink, Dish Network Corporation, Starz, DIRECTV, and Comcast are a few of the many telecommunications companies with operations in the Denver area. The Downtown region has seen increased real estate investment with the construction of several new skyscrapers from 2010 onward and major development around Denver Union Station.
Denver has also enjoyed success as a pioneer in the fast-casual restaurant industry, with many popular national chain restaurants founded and based in Denver. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Quiznos, and Smashburger were founded and headquartered in Denver. Qdoba Mexican Grill, Noodles & Company, and Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard originated in Denver, but have moved their headquarters to the suburbs of Wheat Ridge, Broomfield, and Golden, respectively. Denver ranked No. 1 on Forbes' list of the Best Places for Business and Careers.
Denver is rated Beta by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Beta level cities are cities that link moderate economic regions to the world economy.
Denver is ranked #39 by the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (GUCR) which evaluates and ranks world cities in the context of economic competitiveness. Denver was ranked #91 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Denver has a population of over 727,211 people. Denver also forms part of the wider Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metropolitan area which has a population of over 3,572,798 people. Denver is the #69 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 5.0556 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores per 100,000 city residents.