Guides

Arts and Culture in Denver

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Though it’s a glittering metropolis, Denver is still deeply connected to the surrounding wilderness of the Rocky Mountains. Its museums and galleries celebrate the natural world and the early pioneers who headed west, while generous city parks keep the urban space grounded in greenery.

 

Landmarks

 

Anchored by the City Park to the east, the pedestrianized 16th Street boulevard to the west, and the central Golden Triangle of museums and civic buildings, Downtown Denver brims with mile-high sights, all contained in an easy-to-explore area.

 

Colorado State Capitol

 

Nowhere in Denver do you get a greater sense of being a mile high than at the State Capitol. Find one of the mile-high markers just to prove it, then ascend even higher, into the gilded dome, for panoramic views of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains. By law, nothing can obstruct this view.

 

200 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver CO 80203. Tel: +1 303 866 2604

 

Colorado State Capitol website

 

Museums

 

Denver has a rich arts scene, with nationally-renowned art museums and boutique galleries showcasing the work of local artists. Add to that a clutch of other exhibition spaces scattered around, and you have a sense of the vibrant museum culture in Denver just waiting for you to make discoveries.

 

Denver Art Museum

 

Sharp and angular like a landed alien ship, even the exterior is a work of art. Inside, the Denver Art Museum is even more impressive, with a huge array of exhibitions, ranging from world-famous classics to contemporary experimental works. There are studios where you can see the artists-in-residence at work, and even splash a bit of paint yourself.

 

100 W. 14th Avenue Parkway, Denver CO 80204. Tel: +1 720 865 5000

 

Denver Art Museum website

 

Black American West Museum

 

Dedicated to the preservation of Colorado’s African American heritage, this poignant and fascinating museum occupies the house of the first black female doctor in Denver, Dr. Justina Ford. Nowadays, the building is filled with exhibits about the black experience in the Old West – including the adventures of the Buffalo Soldiers.

 

3091 California Street, Denver CO 80205. Tel: +1 720 242 7428

 

Black American West Museum website

 

Wild West heritage

 

Tales of cowboys and epic pioneer journeys are a central part of the Denver psyche, and nowhere is the Western spirit more evident than in the outlying neighborhood of Golden, sandwiched as it is between two state parks. Once the capital of Colorado, it’s now a cultural gem, packed with Old West heritage.

 

Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave

 

Head out to Lookout Mountain and you’ll find the resting place of Buffalo Bill – the iconic outdoorsman whose traveling shows helped mythologize the West. Looking out over the Rockies and the Great Plains from his mountaintop grave brings the age of cowboys to life, helped by special events and celebrations throughout the year.

 

987 1/2 Lookout Mountain, Golden CO 80401. Tel: +1 303 526 0744

 

Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave website

 

Parks and gardens

 

The lines between cityscapes and mountain wilds are blurred in Denver, making it one of the best cities on the planet for outdoor recreation in green spaces. Even the urban center blooms with botanical gardens and river activities, and the larger parks provide year-round entertainment venues.

 

City Park

 

Denver’s largest park is a must for sports fans and amusement seekers alike. With several lakes and pleasant green spaces, it’s the ideal place for a stroll. If you’re feeling energetic, then pull on your trainers and hit the mile-high running track. The park’s also home to a zoo and a golf course.

 

17th Ave. & Colorado Boulevard, Denver CO 80205

 

City Park website