Punctuated by glittering high rise office buildings and edged by both natural landmarks and man-made venues, downtown Denver is the thumping heart of a thriving city. A pleasing balance of historic and modern offset by stunning views of the Rocky Mountains are the stuff of inspiration, which is why it should come as no surprise to find that the arts are alive and well in these parts.
In fact, right downtown you’ll find the Denver Performing Arts Complex, one of the largest performing art centers in the world. Spread out over four big blocks, the “Plex” plays host to theater and ballet, contemporary dance and Broadway shows, opera, symphony orchestra and so forth. In other words, your chances of catching a performance of some sort while visiting the Denver area are good.
At the southeastern edge of downtown find the city’s anchor for fine arts, the Denver Art Museum. An expansive facility linked with the architecturally eye-catching Frederic C. Hamilton Building, the Denver Art Museum (DAM) is home to an sweeping permanent collection that ranges from Native American art to architecture and design via artifacts and artwork from around the globe. Keen on seeing what makes a Colorado painter tick? Several blocks away from DAM (on the outskirts of downtown) find the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art. Housed in the former studio of artist Vance Kirkland, this museum houses a collection of his works as well as decorative arts objects from 20th-century talents. If you’re into contemporary, also plan to catch the latest temporary exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Denver; it’s on the opposite side of downtown but thanks to a free shuttle service that runs to Union Station from the Civic Center it’s easily accesible.
And while it’s not technically part of downtown Denver, there’s quite the gaggle of galleries in the Cherry Creek North, a neighborhood just a stone’s throw to the southeast. Just in case you didn’t find everything you were looking for downtown. Unlikely, yes, but we’re just saying.