Indeed, Denver’s impressive arts and culture scene continues to expand. One of the most important neighborhoods for art, the Golden Triangle Creative District, is welcoming even more exhibit space, especially at the Denver Art Museum (100 W. 14th Avenue Pkwy. Tel: 720-865-5000. www.denverartmuseum.org), which is about to debut a major expansion when the renovated North Building, a seven-story edifice designed by Italian architect Gio Ponti, opens in 2019. New galleries, art programs, and impressive seventh-floor views of the city are among the reasons why the museum will be worth another visit soon. In the meantime, always check the schedule for Untitled, the facility’s monthly “creative takeover” that happens on the final Friday of every month, with live entertainment, interactive presentations, and activities. The Denver Art Museum is designed for visitors not only to admire art, but also to get involved with hands-on activities.
Nearby, the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Arts (1201 Bannock St. Tel: 303-832-8576. www.kirklandmuseum.org) has reopened in a brand-new building that provides more space for its impressive collection of nearly 6,000 pieces of 20th-century décor. It’s the perfect place to get some modernist inspiration for your next home redo. Also in the Golden Triangle Creative District is the recently renovated McNichols Civic Center Building (144 W. Colfax Ave. Tel : 720-865-4220. www.mcnicholsbuilding.com), a Greek revival structure that hosts rotating exhibits and events.
Among Denver’s newest independently owned galleries is Mirus (1144 Broadway. Tel: 303-910-4005. www.mirusgallery.com), which opened in 2018. The venue, which has a sister gallery in San Francisco, focuses on contemporary art, curated by art dealer Paul Hemming.
Other cultural venues with recent or upcoming improvements include the Molly Brown House Museum (1340 Pennsylvania St. Tel: 303-832-4092. www.mollybrown.org), the beautifully restored former home of the “unsinkable” socialite and Titanic survivor. The third-floor servants’ quarters will soon be open to the public, while the basement is being upgraded to provide additional space for exhibits and presentations. In addition to house tours, the Molly Brown House hosts a variety of themed events and presentations throughout the year.
Also new is the state’s first Center for Colorado Women’s History, which recently debuted inside the historic Byers-Evans House Museum (1310 Bannock Street. Tel: 303-620-4933. www.historycolorado.org). The venue is operated by History Colorado, an organization that manages seven community museums around the state.
Travelers with kids will find plenty of new options to keep the little ones entertained, too. The Denver Zoo (2300 Steele St. Tel: 720-337-1400. www.denverzoo.org) debuted a new Amur tiger exhibit called The Edge in 2017, while the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (2001 Colorado Blvd. Tel: 303-370.6000. www.dms.org), opened a new wing in 2014 called the Morgridge Family Exploration Center. Also great for families is the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus (2121 Children’s Museum Drive. Tel: 303-433- 7444. www.mychildsmuseum.org), which recently wrapped up an expansion that includes new exhibits, a teaching kitchen, art studio, a three-and-a-half story climbing tower, and 60,000-square-foot enclosed outdoor play space.
Tourism options in Denver have boomed in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Since the state of Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, Denver has become the regional hub for the growing world of cannabis tourism. The company with the widest variety of tours is My 420 Tours (3881 Steel St. #10. Tel: 855-MY420-TOURS. www.my420tours.com), a company that offers everything from walking tours and classes to vacation packages that include accommodations in 420-friendly hotels. Among its most creative offerings is the “sushi and joint rolling” class, as well as cannabis massage and “cooking with cannabis” classes. My 420 Tours also offers guided visits to greenhouses and one of the city’s dispensaries. It’s an ideal way to learn more about the many uses of marijuana.
Cannabis isn’t the only source of sensory pleasure in Denver. Food and drink options are more abundant than ever as well.
“Denver has definitely become a foodie destination in the past five years, with Denver Union Station leading the way as one of Denver’s top food halls,” said Tiffany Owen, general manager of the Crawford Hotel, which opened in 2014.
The state is increasingly famous for its local brews and other spirits. In early 2018, the Colorado Distillers Guild launched the Colorado Spirits Trail (www.coloradospiritstrail.com), which showcases more than 50 distilleries around the state, including Denver venues like Bear Creek, Laws Whiskey House and Ironton Distillery and Crafthouse. The trail map, available online and also at tourism offices, makes it easy to plan your own drinking tour. The Colorado Spirits Trail is a great complement to the Denver Beer Trail, which highlights brew venues in downtown Denver as well as in the Highlands, South Denver, RiNo and Five Points. Denver, in fact, now claims to brew more beer than any other US city, with about 200 different varieties. Among the best times to sample the greatest variety is during the Great American Beer Festival (www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com), which takes place in September, with more than 6,700 beers ready to taste.
With so many new attractions, activities, and events, there are more reasons than ever to visit, or revisit, Denver.