In December, people usually look back at the previous months—what went well, what didn’t, what’s next—and this year will be no different. But, with the end of the decade, there’s even more to reflect on. It was a turbulent 10 years defined by growth (at least a half a million people poured into the Centennial State) and its impacts, from rising housing costs to political shifts, and more. (Read more about the ’10s top trends). There were championships, elections, and natural disasters. And, NBD, we legalized recreational marijuana. Here’s a look back at some of the decade’s biggest stories.

(Read more: A Decade in Denver: 10 Trends That Defined the 2010s in the Mile High City)

  • Denver B-Cycle, a bike-sharing program, launches with 40 stations around the city. READ MORE: The program will end in 2020.

  • The Biennial of the Americas, a bi-annual festival celebrating arts and culture, begins.

  • Marvin Booker dies while in sheriff’s custody at a Denver detention center. His family would go on to file an excessive-force case in 2014 (it was settled for $6 million).

  • The Fourmile Canyon Fire in Boulder County destroys more than 160 homes in 11 days. READ MORE: Meet Coloradans impacted by the fire.

  • The Colorado Rapids beat FC Dallas for their first (and only) MLS Cup, led by Conor Casey and Pablo Mastroeni (who’d both go on to coach the team). READ MORE: Meet Pablo Mastroeni.

  • Former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway returns to the team—in the executive suite.

  • Michael Hancock defeats former state Senator Chris Romer in a run-off election to become Denver’s mayor (he will win re-election in 2015 and 2019).

  • A deadly listeria outbreak is traced back to cantaloupes from Jensen Farms in Holly, Colorado.

  • The Clyfford Still Museum opens with more than 2,400 pieces of the artist’s work. (The museum will see more than 378,000 visitors by the end of 2019.) READ MORE: Why the museum came to be.

  • After the 2010 census—which showed more than a 16 percent population increase in Colorado—the state set about redistricting its legislative districts. The effort lasts most of the year, involving multiple maps and lawsuits, until the state Supreme Court weighs in on this date. READ MORE: How will the 2020 Census affect Colorado?

  • Nearly 12 years after her World Cup debut, Lindsey Vonn nabs her fourth overall World Cup title.

  • Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective exhibit opens at the Denver Art Museum, one of several exclusive or premier shows throughout the decade, including Becoming Van Gogh, which would open in October 2012. READ MORE: How the DAM got the Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature exhibit.


  • The 200,000-square-foot History Colorado Center opens.

  • With a 9-4 vote, the Denver City Council approves a camping ban, which advocates warn will disproportionately impact the city’s homeless residents. READ MORE: Denver’s efforts to end homelessness.

  • At a showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, a shooter kills twelve people and injuries 70 more. READ MORE: After his son was murdered in the Aurora theatre shooting, Tom Sullivan runs for office.

  • In her first Olympics, in her first event, Centennial swimmer Missy Franklin wins gold in the 100-meter backstroke—and goes on to win three more golds and a bronze at the London Olympics. READ MORE: Meet Missy Franklin.

  • President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney meet on a debate stage at the University of Denver before the 2012 election.

  • Colorado Department of Corrections head Tom Clements is murdered at his home in Monument. READ MORE: Meet Rick Raemisch, who took over the department.

  • At midnight, Colorado begins issuing civil unions to same-sex couples. Two years later, on June 26, 2015, a U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizes same-sex marriages nationwide.

  • First-basemen Todd Helton retires from the Colorado Rockies, leaving behind a legacy of epic facial hair, a .320 career batting average, and more than 2,500 hits.

  • Recreational marijuana stores open in the Centennial State. READ MORE: An A-to-Z guide to legalization.

  • The revamped, revitalized Union Station opens.

  • Browns Canyon National Monument is established.

  • The Denver FUGLY Facebook group launches as a watchdog and critic of Denver’s building boom.

  • The Denver Broncos win Super Bowl 50.

  • The oft-delayed A Line train begins shuttling passengers between Union Station and Denver International Airport.

  • Colorado voters approve the End-of-Life Options Act. READ MORE. Learn about the Act’s impact.

  • The Denver Zoo celebrates the birth of Dobby the giraffe.

  • Denverite Neil Gorsuch is sworn in as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • A natural gas explosion at a home in Firestone kills two people and prompts an investigation into buried pipelines.

  • A large storm drops hail on the metro area, resulting in more than $2.3 million in damages. READ MORE. Why does it hail so much on the Front Range?

  • After much-needed repairs, the epic, 2,744-stair Manitou Incline officially reopens.

  • The PyeongChang Winter Olympics opens with more than 30 Colorado athletes (they will bring home nine medals and Mikaela Shiffrin will win two of those). READ MORE: See the list of athletes.

  • The Colorado House of Representatives votes to expel Representative Steve Lebsock, who had been accused of sexual harassment. READ MORE: Learn about the investigation.

  • Scooters are unleashed on Denver streets. The City Council will go on to ban the devices from sidewalks in August 2019. READ MORE: A one-year reflection on scooters.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court issues a decision in favor of the petitioners in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case.

  • The often delayed and over budget VA hospital, known as the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center, opens in Aurora.

  • After years of planning and lawsuits, the Central 70 Project, which will bury a portion of I-70 in Denver, breaks ground. READ MORE: What you need to know about the project.

  • Jared Polis is elected governor, becoming the country’s first openly gay governor.

  • The Denver Public Library ceases issuing fines for overdue books.

  • Teachers with Denver Public Schools (DPS) go on strike for three days. READ MORE: Meet DPS superintendent Susana Cordova.

  • A woman, who was “infatuated” with the Columbine High School shooting traveled from Florida to Colorado and threatened area schools, is found dead. Local schools closed while law enforcement searched for her. READ MORE: 5280 dedicated a special issue to the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.

  • The ultra-popular Hanging Lake hike begins using a permit system to lessen impact and help preserve the trail. READ MORE: How the system works.

  • AEG Presents Rocky Mountains, helmed by longtime music promoter Chuck Morris, opens the Mission Ballroom. READ MORE: Inside Denver’s new concert venue.

Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner is a Denver-based writer and the former Articles Editor for 5280.