• Photo: welcomia / Shutterstock


Golden was once the territorial capital of Colorado. City residents have smarted ever since losing that distinction to Denver by "dubious" vote in 1867, but in 1994 then-Governor Roy Romer restored "ceremonial" territorial-capital status to Golden. Today it is one of Colorado's fastest-growing cities, boosted by the high-tech industry as well as MillerCoors Brewery and Colorado School of Mines. Locals love to kayak along Clear Creek as it runs through Golden; there's even a racecourse and a white-water park on the water.


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