The University of Colorado benefits from an ideal geographical setting. The adjacent Rocky Mountains offer a spectacular array of outdoor recreational opportunities, ranging from historical exploration of the Colorado Gold Rush in the old mines and mining towns to climbing vertical granite walls and skiing the black diamond slopes of world famous ski resorts. Skiing, camping, backpacking, technical climbing, hiking, hunting, fishing, sailing, windsurfing, mountain biking, whitewater kayaking and rafting all are available within a 15 minute- to two-hour drive from Denver, including Rocky Mountain National Park and several world renowned alpine and and cross-country ski resorts.
The climate in Denver is relatively mild and dry, due to the protection afforded by the mountains. Denver boasts over 300 days of sunshine per year. Winters are mild with average daytime highs of 45 degrees, while the summers are warm and dry with average daytime highs of 85. Summer nights are cool and pleasant. Denver offers all of the cultural advantages of a major metropolitan center, including an outstanding performing arts complex, a symphony orchestra, outdoor amphitheater and a variety of other cultural activities, excellent restaurants, spanning a variety of cuisines, and all major league sports. Most of Denver's culinary and cultural offerings are convenient to the medical center campus, especially the Natural History Museum, the Denver Botanical Gardens, several city parks and the Denver Zoo. Many nationally prominent music festivals are held at mountain towns and resorts during the summer and the area has several indoor and outdoor concert venues hosting prominent bands and performing artists. The ski resorts and Denver Convention Center are also home to a variety of national scientific conferences throughout the year.