The Best Things to Do in Denver

The Mile High City offers an engaging mix of outdoor attractions and urban experiences. Whether shopping for western duds, taking in an opera, strolling the mile-long 16th Street Mall, or looking at fine art before wandering through gardens of Rocky Mountain wildflowers, you’ll be wowed by Denver’s charms.

1250 Bannock St, Denver, CO 80204, USA
Clyfford Still brought new energy to the art world after World War II with his large-scale, color-splashed paintings, and is considered one of the most important American artists of the 20th century. Though his influence on the Abstract Expressionism movement was at least as important as that of contemporaries Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, Still eventually broke all ties with the art world after moving to a farm in Maryland, and following his death in 1980 a huge collection of his work was sealed off completely for more than 30 years. His is widow donated his pieces to the city of Denver in 2004, and in 2011 the Clyfford Still Museum opened, housing 94 percent of his life’s work, including some 825 paintings on canvas and 1,575 works on paper, as well as sketchbooks, journals, and his library—in a museum considered one of the best examples of contemporary architecture in the city.
100 W 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, CO 80204, USA
With over 70,000 works of art, the Denver Art Museum can’t be fully taken in during just one visit. Its permanent collection has a number of focuses, including art of the region, but it also contains works from farther afield. The museum began in 1893 as the Denver Artists’ Club, and the growing collection was moved around town until a purpose-built museum was constructed in 1949. Since then, the facility has continued to expand, and the museum now takes up more than 350,000 square feet. An extensive calendar offers special events and programming for families, students, and adults.
1001 16th St Mall, Denver, CO 80265, USA
Architect I.M. Pei’s firm designed the 16th Street Mall so that, when seen from the air, the repeating pattern of red, white, and gray stone that makes up the pavement would resemble the markings on a diamondback rattlesnake. At ground level, though, visitors will focus instead on the movie theaters, stores, and restaurants along the 1.25-mile-long stretch of this mall. From the Denver Pavilions shopping center near its south end to Union Station and LoDo (Lower Downtown) at the north, you’ll find much to entertain you. A Free MallRide shuttle runs along the mall in case your shopping bags get too heavy.

It’s easy to miss, but hard to ignore. As you stroll the 16th Street Mall, head toward Curtis Street and go west down the north sidewalk of the 1500 block. As you walk you’ll hear sounds from below that just do not belong—farm animals, underground trains, rushing water and almost 100 other bizarre soundtracks. Sound Walk by Jim Green has been fooling and confusing pedestrians for over 20 years through tape recorders hidden in grates. What will you hear?
7711 E Academy Blvd, Denver, CO 80230, USA
Housed in Hangar 1 at what used to be Lowry Air Force Base on the east side of Denver, the Wings Over the Rockies Museum devotes more than 182,000 square feet to everything flying-related, including space vehicles, historical military uniforms, modern and classic aircraft, and flight simulators. In addition to exhibition space, the museum offers an extensive calendar of special events like its Cine-Talk Series (which shows films that feature flying or space travel), the weekly Little Wings Club, Cockpit Demo Day, regular workshops and lectures, and a hugely popular annual Holidays at the Hangar.
1101 13th St
Constructed across four city blocks around Denver‘s original 1908 municipal auditorium, the sprawling 12-acre Performing Arts Complex now contains 10 venues under one roof. It’s the largest performing arts center under a single roof in the country, and it includes the historic Ellie Caulkins Opera House (formerly a large part of the aforementioned municipal auditorium), the Buell Theater (also reincarnated from the onetime auditorium), and the Boettcher Concert Hall. It’s also home to the resident companies of the state symphony orchestra, the state ballet company, Opera Colorado, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. With all these venues and arts groups under one glass roof, several events happen nightly, including touring Broadway shows, concerts, dance performances, and more. Check the calendar and catch a show or take a guided tour.
1340 Pennsylvania St, Denver, CO 80203, USA
Celebrated on Broadway and in film as the title character in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (with unsinkable being a reference to her survival as a passenger of the Titanic), Margaret Brown was born in Missouri and moved to Leadville, Colorado, with two of her siblings when she was 18. She later met and married J.J. Brown, and the couple became rich after J.J. devised a method of reaching gold in one of the mines. They moved to Denver and bought this house in 1894. It went through several owners after the Browns, but it was eventually acquired in 1970 by Historic Denver, a foundation that restored it to the state it was in when the Browns lived there. The house is open for tours that offer a deeper dive into Margaret’s interesting life as a socialite and philanthropist.

1007 York St, Denver, CO 80206, USA
There’s more to the Botanical Gardens in Denver than just the pretty face of its landscaped grounds and beautiful flowers. It’s also a world-class research center with a mission to connect people with plants (especially the plants endemic to the Rocky Mountains) and to encourage understanding of the ecosystems in which they thrive. The 23-acre location on York Street has a variety of gardens (many based on typically western climates like mountains and plains), popular exhibits, and a shop; it additionally hosts a summer concert series and nighttime events. The institution’s second main location, at Chatfield Farms on the southwest edge of greater Denver, focuses on native flora and agriculture; there’s a working farm on its 700 acres. Both spots offer extensive educational opportunities as well as incredible events like York Street’s Blossoms of Light holiday show.
1451 Bannock Street
Think of My 420 Tours as your gateway to the new Denver marijuana-scape. Tour local dispensaries or take a cooking class, where you’ll learn how to make and cook with cannabis oils—and yes, you’ll walk away with goodies.
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