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15 Places to Find Arts + Culture in Denver, Colorado

15 Places to Find Arts + Culture in Denver, Colorado | CosmosMariners.com

Located near the Rocky Mountains, Denver, Colorado, is probably best known for its skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and mountain biking. While the gorgeous scenery is a major draw for visitors, the Mile High City also has some renowned museums and performing art centers that shouldn't be missed. 

While you're in Denver, make sure to plan some time away from the ski slopes and hiking trails, and expand your knowledge of Colorado arts and culture. 

15 Places to Find Arts + Culture in Denver, Colorado | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via CherokeeRanch.org}
1. Cherokee Ranch and Castle
This protected wildlife sanctuary spans 3,400 acres and is established on two former homesteads. Stop by for a public tour on most Thursdays and Saturdays to explore Cherokee Castle and learn about how the foundation is protecting this incredible piece of land. 

2. Sie Film Center
Foreign and domestic, short films and full-length features: the Sie Film Center brings a little bit of everything to Denver. Showings are only $7 and there's free parking in the garage. Don't miss the center's film festival in November, where you can catch showings of over 250 films. 

3. Blake Street Vault
Now a restaurant and bar, the Blake Street Vault has an extensive history dating back to 1863: the property has served as a saloon, a liquor distribution center, cigar factory, machine shop, and a costume design shop. Take a private tour to see the secret basement vault and old tunnels, but beware: you might run into the resident ghost, Lydia!

15 Places to Find Arts + Culture in Denver, Colorado | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via flickr user Daniel Jeffries | creative commons}
4. American Museum of Western Art
See the West through the eyes of artists over the last two centuries at this museum. The Anschutz Collection is housed in the beautiful Navarre Building, which dates to 1880. The Artful Insights program helps visitors learn more about a particular artist or movement: participating is a great way to deepen your art history knowledge quickly.

5. Denver Art Museum
One of the largest art collections in the Midwest, the Denver Art Museum offers collections in photography, pre-Colombian art, American Indian art, and more. From Claude Monet's Waterlilies to Winslow Homer's Two Figures by the Sea to Jim Green's Singing Sinks, there's enough here to capture your imagination for hours.

15 Places to Find Arts + Culture in Denver, Colorado | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via flickr user Corey Thompson | creative commons}
6. Red Rocks Park and Ampitheatre
This open air venue has hosted performances for more than 100 years! Located 10 miles from Denver, Red Rocks is a beloved spot for musical performances, weddings, worship services, and races. Before visiting Denver, check the calendar to see what's on while you're visiting.

7. Black American West Museum
Learn how African Americans helped to define the West in the 1800s in this fascinating museum. It is housed in Dr. Justina Ford's home; Dr. Ford was Denver's only female doctor until the 1930s. Today, you can learn about her contributions, as well as those of the "Black Cowboys," teachers, miners, and soldiers. 

15 Places to Find Arts + Culture in Denver, Colorado | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via flickr user Kirk Stevens | creative commons}
8. Museum of Contemporary Art Denver
Founded in 1996, this museum is the only one in Denver solely dedicated to showcasing contemporary artwork. Explore the 27,000 foot space and discover the artists who are revolutionizing the current art world. 

9. Aurora History Museum
Take a look into the history of Aurora (located about half an hour outside of Denver) and the state of Colorado in this ever-changing museum. See collections of housewares, clothing, photographic equipment, and more, most of which was donated by Aurora residents.

10. First Friday Art Walks
Start your weekend off with some culture! Explore each of Denver's seven art districts (Art District on Sante Fe, Golden Triangle Museum District, River North Art District, Tennyson Street Cultural District, Block 7 Arts, Navajo Street Arts District, and South Pearl Street) on a guided walk. You'll get to sample some great food and drinks, listen to live music, and meet the artists behind the works. 

15 Places to Find Arts + Culture in Denver, Colorado | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via flickr user Andy Smith | creative commons}
11. Colorado Railroad Museum
Step inside the replica 1880s railroad station to learn about the past. You'll be able to see photographs from Colorado's past, explore a reconstructed telegraph office, and see miniatures of the state's rail history. The onsite roundhouse shows off the museum's collection of locomotives and the working turntable.

12. Cussler Museum
Author Clive Cussler has assembled a collection of over 100 vintage cars in this museum. Marvel over a 1929 Duesenberg, a 1931 Chrysler Imperial Limousine, and more. 

13. Adams Mystery Playhouse
Whodunit? You'll have the chance to find out every Friday and Saturday night at this fun dinner show. Located in a former mortuary, the playhouse has special holiday shows, as well as family-friendly events.

14. Colorado Music Festival
Each summer, this festival brings the best of classical music to the Mile High City. You'll find performances of both traditional classical music and interpretations of world music. 

15 Places to Find Arts + Culture in Denver, Colorado | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via flickr user Ryan Spickard | creative commons}
15. Colorado Shakespeare Festival
The third largest Shakespeare Festival in the U.S., this festival is presented by the drama department at Colorado University. Five plays are chosen for each season (which runs from June to August) and are performed in a beautiful outdoor setting. 

After experiencing all of these museums, sites, and performances, you'll need a comfortable, quiet place to rest. Check out the Hotel Teatro (my review here) or one of the many other incredible hotels in downtown Denver!

Have you visited Denver? What did you enjoy doing there?

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