With its great quality of life, nice climate for most of the year, and friendly citizens, Denver is one of the best places to take a vacation. The city's location in the Rocky Mountains is stunning and it is actually found at exactly one mile above sea level, giving it the name of the Mile High City. Compared to the rest of the nation, Denver has the 10th biggest downtown area and is easy to navigate by foot.
There is a lot to do here like shopping, hiking to see beautiful mountain views or dining out at a restaurant. As well, Denver is one of the only 12 cities to have major sports teams for hockey, football, baseball and basketball. It is also home to some great museums that can teach you about so many things. You can visit the State Capitol Building and also tour Union Station, but there are many other intriguing places also. Try some of the great Denver museums on this list but before you go, stow your belongings at a luggage storage service in Denver. Most museums prefer large bags not to be brought inside.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver
This is the first museum in the city that displays contemporary art and is the perfect spot for modern art lovers. Permanent exhibits found here include a children's zone as well as regular workshops and events happening throughout each month.
If you get hungry after your visit you can stop by the on-site café and rooftop terrace. Traveling exhibits pop up often so you never know what you might find when you enter the building. The museum offers free admission for children and regular tickets are affordable too.
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science has some of the best traveling shows and interactive exhibits in the city. Must-visit areas include a planetarium, the Discovery Zone which is perfect for children, as well as a Prehistoric Journey area where you can find some amazing artifacts like a giant dinosaur skeleton.
It also has an on-site Imax theater that puts on some pretty cool shows. This museum is a great activity for families and groups, although anyone will have a blast here. The outdoor terrace sometimes has special events going on but is also just a nice spot to relax and see incredible views of the city.
The Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
This is one of Denver's top museums and is located in the old Lowry Air Force Base that was built back in 1939. The exhibits here include some impressive aircraft dating anywhere from World War I to modern space travel. Some of the favorite displays for tourists and Colorado locals alike include replicas of the Apollo Command Module which was used for training astronauts for other moon missions.
If you visit at the right time you might get to witness cockpit demos where you can climb inside some of the aircraft or take part in one of the flight simulators and learn about how they work. Save an afternoon for this museum as it will take a couple of hours to get through.
The Denver Art Museum
This museum has an impressive collection of artwork from different times around history. One of the exhibitions is a textile art gallery that showcases unique quilts, marvelous costumes, and other pieces of fashion that have made history. In another section, you can see some beautiful Native American art.
The art is displayed in multiple buildings that are also stunning and great pieces of architecture. If you want to see some truly creative displays, visit on Friday nights when the Denver Art Museum hosts events featuring collaborations of local artists creating mixed-media artwork.
The Molly Brown House Museum
This museum focuses on a special woman who has played an important role in history. She is known as the Unsinkable Molly Brown who survived the sinking of the Titanic and later on fought for women's rights. Her efforts helped the progression of society and you can learn a lot about her by participating in the guided tours offered at this museum.
You will be taken through the local landmark that used to be her classic home dating back to the 1800s. Found next door is a shop that sells souvenirs and puts on special events during the holiday seasons.
The Children's Museum of Denver
Make your way to the Marsico Campus to get to this Denver museum. You might have guessed that this building is dedicated to children and is full of fun activities and hands-on exhibits for them to enjoy. This is a great place for kids to explore and learn about the world in an entertaining way.
Your kids can learn about physics in the Kinetics! exhibit where they can send balls flying over ramps or racing on tracks that they get to build themselves. Other sections include a water lab, kitchen, an exhibit focusing on energy, and the Joy Park, which is a huge outdoor park for them to discover.
The American Museum of Western Art
If you want to see some of the best art from the American West this is the place to go. Its collection includes paintings that show how life was back at the beginning of the 19th century, like those from the Anschutz collection.
The museum itself is gorgeous and each exhibit is full of information and history. You can choose to participate in a self-guided tour or join a group. The building of the American Museum of Western Art used to be a girl's school and later on a brothel before it took on the current role of a museum.
The History Colorado Center
This place used to be the Colorado History Museum until it was revamped back in 2012. It is found in the Golden Triangle Museum District and shows how the first inhabitants of Colorado used to live. You will learn about the successes and failures that they faced and how the men, women and children overcame these challenges to make the city what it is today.
There are some fun interactive activities to try as well as digital exhibits. For example, you can experience what things were like in a Japanese relocation center back in the Second World War or what your life would have been if you lived in a farming town during the 1920s.
The Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art
Another great spot for art enthusiasts is the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art. In this establishment, you will find art from some well-known artists and modern painters like Vance Kirkland. The museum isn't very big but can teach you a lot about the artistic history of the city.
The building has displays with more than 30,000 artworks, some dating back to the mid 19th century and some from more recent times. This museum is located within the Golden Triangle Creative District and is a great way to spend an afternoon in Denver.
The Colorado Railroad Museum
The Colorado Railroad Museum can be found right next to Denver in Golden. The exhibition space is modeled after a rail depot like those that you would have seen in a small town in the 1880s. Trains and railways have made a huge impact on the development of the city and are an important part of Denver's history.
You can learn all about the city's 125 years of railways through stories of the people that made and rode on the city's first trains as well as see some pretty cool model trains, passenger cars, roundhouses, cabooses and other related displays. There are often events put on here like Ride the Rails Saturdays and special Days Out With Thomas which are popular for young children.
The Clyfford Still Museum
Hop on public transit and choose another fun place to see. This is another museum focusing on art and creative freedom. This establishment is dedicated to Clyfford Still, a famous but mysterious painter. His pieces were some of the first in the abstract expressionism category and he has inspired many other artists after him.
Almost all of Clyfford Still's paintings can be found here, which adds up to a total of 3,125 pieces of art to admire. You can take your time and self explore this museum, seeing how his artwork changes over time.
The Colorado Sports Hall of Fame
If you are traveling with any sports lovers be sure to stop by the local Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. You can get here through the Sports Authority Field at the Mile High Stadium which is where the Denver Broncos football team and Super Bowl winners play.
This is a place dedicated to celebrating the city's appreciation for sports and is sure to have something to teach you. The exhibits here include a timeline showing important events in the local sports sector from the past to the present day. There is also a kids zone in case you have a young one that loves sports.
The Four Mile House Museum
If you are interested in the oldest standing structure in all of Denver then you need to visit the Four Mile House Museum. The building was built back in 1859 and the next year a widowed woman and her two children transformed it into a welcoming spot where tired travelers could rest and be fed. It is called the Four Mile House because that is exactly how far it is located outside of the city.
Visitors now can enter the home and its 12 acres property to participate in activities like gold panning, take a tour of the grounds and see the animals at the farm located on the site. Special events dedicated towards farm life or Western history happen here regularly and family packs are available for groups visiting the farm with children.
The Colorado Music Hall of Fame
This activity is located beside the Trading Post souvenir shop and is a top spot for tourists who enjoy learning about the history of music. Here you can see some great memorabilia and photographs of different people and places that have impacted the local music industry, as well as hear some interesting stories.
Learn new facts about some of your favorite music artists at the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. Some of the people profiled include John Denver, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Elvis Presley.
The Denver Selfie Museum
Anyone who is an influencer on social media or simply wants to take some cool photos of their vacation in Denver will love this museum. Each exhibit is a different set ready for you to enter to have a photoshoot.
Each area is engaging and offers something new for you to pose or interact with, like a bathtub filled with plastic balls or a wall made of donuts. Whether you want to share the pictures online or not, this place can be a great activity for people of all ages to have fun and get creative.
What are the Best Free Museums in Denver?
Colorado Music Hall of Fame
This Hall of Fame is free to visit every day, all year round so if you find yourself nearby make sure to stop in and take a look.
Colorado Sports Hall of Fame
This museum also offers free admission at all times making it a great activity for people who are traveling on a budget.
Even though other museums usually charge for entry there are lots of them that offer free entry on certain days in the year, so do some research to find out when the best time for you to visit is. Also, certain establishments let children or teens under the age of 18 enter for free.
Which are the Best Museums in Downtown Denver?
Museum of Contemporary Art
If you are staying downtown there are a couple of nearby museums for you to visit, like the Museum of Contemporary Art.
The Children's Museum of Denver
This museum is located on the Marsico Campus which is found right in Downtown Denver.
Are There Any Cheap Museums in Denver?
Molly Brown House Museum
If you are looking for something affordable to do in Denver you can visit the Molly Brown House. Tickets cost about $16 for adults, $14 for seniors, and $12 for kids and adolescents.
Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
This is also a good choice for anyone traveling on a budget since tickets are not too expensive with a cost of just over $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and about $10 for juniors.
Make Sure to Check Out These Amazing Museums
Whether you want to learn more about the natural world, culture, the human body, artists and musicians, or are curious about machines from the past, present or future, Denver has a museum for you to visit. There are some great exhibitions offered within the city and most have affordable general admission or are even free to visit. Take a look at the Denver State Capitol, or peruse All of these buildings offer great activities for you to do with friends, family or even on your own.