10 Denver Nicknames That Will Surprise You

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A city skyline next to the road during sunrise
The Mile High City isn't the only nickname that Denver has

Denver is the capital of Colorado and its largest city by a long shot. This is especially true when you include all the smaller towns and municipalities in the Greater Denver area. So, in a large city with such a fascinating history (which is still developing), you're bound to have a few nicknames stick over the years.

Just about everyone knows the Mile High City, the famous nickname that signifies Denver's elevation above sea level. But a lot of people aren't familiar with Cow Town. That's probably because a lot has changed in Denver since the beginning of the 20th century.

In this article, you'll learn all about 10 Denver nicknames, some of which you've probably heard but may not know the origins of. Then again, others on this list are bound to surprise you and teach you something new about the city and its rich history. Continue reading to learn more!

10 Nicknames for Denver, Colorado

A landscaped garden with various flowers near a building with a tall dome top
Denver is known to be a city that is one mile above sea level

The Mile High City

Without a doubt, its most famous nickname, the Mile High City, celebrates Denver's official one-mile elevation above sea level. Denver came to embrace the nickname in the early 1900s to distinguish itself from other regional destinations like St. Louis.

So, where exactly is the 5,280-foot marker? Check out the west side of the Colorado State Capitol Building, adjacent to Civic Center Park and near the famous Denver Art Museum. Here, on the 13th step up towards the Capitol, is the official spot where you'll be one mile high in the Mile High City.

Gateway to the Rockies

The nickname Gateway to the Rockies comes from Denver's location at the intersection of the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains. Sometimes, it's even used as one of the nicknames for Colorado as a whole.

In the past, Gateway to the Rockies referred to the city of Aurora. But today, the Denver metropolitan area has grown around Aurora, giving the sprawling capital city plenty of claim to the title. Plus, Denver International Airport is where nearly all travelers flying in to visit Rocky Mountain National Park land. It's actually the third-busiest airport in the world!

A fountain near a colorful building, green trees, and the city skyline
D-Town is one of the newer Denver nicknames


D-Town is one of Denver's unofficial nicknames. It's a relatively new, hip moniker and not one you'll find in the history books. Nonetheless, you'll read it online and hear it spoken in casual conversation.

For most people, it's just a stylish and convenient way to refer to Denver, typically with other locals. It's worth noting that D-Town isn't just Denver's nickname: you may also see it commonly used to refer to Detroit in Michigan, or Dallas, Texas.

The Queen City of the Plains

Dating back to the mid-to-late 19th century, the Queen City of the Plains is one of Denver's oldest nicknames. It was actually the most common nickname before Denver became known as the Mile High City in the early 1900s.

The Queen City of the Plains originated from Denver's importance in regional agriculture. It became increasingly less common by the beginning of the 20th century as the city saw further expansion and development of the financial and business sectors.

A facade of a stadium with logos and signage saying "Broncos Stadium"
The city's NFL team, the Denver Broncos, inspired the Broncoville nickname


This is one nickname that most sports lovers already know. But in case football isn't your thing, Denver is named Broncoville after its fan-favorite team, the National Football League's Denver Broncos. Founded in 1959, the Denver Broncos are three-time Superbowl champions (in 1998, 1999, and 2016).

They play their home games in Downtown Denver at the famous Mile High Stadium, which opened in 2001 and replaced their original field of the same name. The Broncoville phrase was coined by Denver Post sports writer Mark Kiszla in 2001, around the time of the new stadium's opening, and has stuck ever since.

Wall Street of the West

While you may not hear it used as much today, Wall Street of the West was once a popular nickname for Denver. Originating around the turn of the 20th century, Wall Street of the West is a nod to Wall Street in New York City.

The phrase's inception dates back to 1892 when 17th Street was referred to as the Wall Street of Denver. Over the next two decades, the street saw many notable office buildings and corporate headquarters built along its span. By 1908, the city of Denver had become so prominent in the business world that it was being called the Wall Street of the West.

Beer Capital of the United States

Beer is ingrained into the culture of Denver. The first permanent structure ever built in Denver was even a bar! So, it should be no surprise that Denver is known as the Beer Capital of the United States.

Today, you'll find over 150 different breweries, brew pubs, and tap houses throughout the Denver area, from Aurora to Wheat Ridge and every other corner of the city. Plus, the Colorado Convention Center becomes the epicenter of the Beer Capital of the United States when it hosts the Great American Beer Festival every year around the beginning of fall.

Patrish Jackson/Shutterstock.com
Queen City of the West is one of the Denver nicknames alluding to the Gold Rush
Denver saw an influx of people and a growth in wealth during the Colorado Gold Rush

Queen City of the West

The Queen City of the West is another historical Denver slogan dating back to the mid-to-late 1800s. The city of Denver was experiencing significant growth during this period, thanks to the massive influx of prospectors (and business people) looking to cash in on the Colorado Gold Rush.

With the expansion of the railroad, rapid development, and a lot of gold money (not to mention the silver and other valuable gems and minerals), Denver went from a small frontier town to one of the region's most prosperous commerce centers.

Cow Town

The nickname Cow Town dates back to the old days of Denver being a real western cattle town. From the city's Gold Rush-era origins to its rise in importance to regional agriculture throughout the rest of the 1800s, Denver was truly a Cow Town.

In many ways, it still is: the National West Stock Show has been held in the city since 1908. Today, however, Denver has largely shed its western frontier town image. Instead, the Front Range urban corridor is one of the country's top hubs for business, technology, and innovation.

City skyscrapers near a park and snow-capped mountains in the background
The Rocky Mountains inspired the name of the MLB team, the Denver Rockies

The City of the Rockies

The City of the Rockies is another sports-related Denver name referencing the hometown Major League Baseball team, the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies, themselves named after the Rocky Mountains, which make up Denver's western backdrop, have been a part of the city's culture from their first game in 1993.

Since 1995, they've played Downtown at the Denver landmark, Coors Field. Denver really became the City of the Rockies in 2007 when they defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks to bring home the National League Championship.

In Summary

Online and in everyday conversation, you'll see and hear various nicknames for Denver. From the semi-official title of Mile High City, a clear-cut reference to Denver's elevation at 5,280 feet above sea level, to the Beer Capital of the United States (yep, there's a lot of beer brewed in Denver), there are plenty of nicknames in the average Denverite's lexicon.

There are some less common nicknames, however, like D-Town. And some that are old, dating back more than a century, like Cow Town and the Queen City of the Prairie. But nicknames are constantly evolving, so expect to find new slogans pop up as the city continues to grow.

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Written by Jonathan Davis

JDavis WRITER Jonathan is a Florida-based travel writer who can't seem to stay in one place for long. With more than two decades of trips under his belt, Jonathan has a wealth of information to share about travel within the United States and abroad.

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