An Art Lover’s Guide to Denver in 24 Hours

Street art in Denver | © UnknownNet Photography / Flickr
Street art in Denver | © UnknownNet Photography / Flickr
Photo of Stephanie Harper
27 October 2017

Denver boasts a vibrant art scene. From must-see museums and galleries to artsy cafés and restaurants to an abundance of street art, there’s something for every art lover to enjoy in the Mile High City. Here is Culture Trip’s guide for exploring the Denver art scene in 24 hours.

Must-visit museums

Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum has an impressive array of permanent collections with a global focus, including an award-winning American Indian art collection. The DAM also rolls out some of the best traveling special exhibits in the world, as well as plenty of interactive family programming and special events for art lovers of every stripe. The Hamilton Building, designed by Daniel Libeskind, which houses the museum’s contemporary collections, is an architectural marvel in and of itself that can’t be missed.

Insider Tip: The DAM offers free lockers on level one of both buildings for storing jackets, bags, etc. Take advantage of this opportunity to explore the museum freely without any extra baggage.

Denver Art Museum | © saturnism / Flickr

Clyfford Still Museum

Clyfford Still is one of the most important painters of the 20th century, and Denver is lucky enough to host a museum dedicated to his immense body of work. The museum displays approximately 3,125 pieces by the painter, created between 1920 and 1980. It’s an incredible collection and an opportunity to marvel and appreciate Clyfford Still’s art, life, and legacy.

Insider Tip: Purchase your tickets online to save a dollar off an adult admission to the museum.

Clyfford Still | © Richard Anderson / Flickr

Colorado Photographic Arts Center

The Colorado Photographic Arts Center (CPAC) features all manner of photography, including both contemporary and historical collections, as well as fine art and experimental photography. The Center’s goal is to foster an understanding and appreciation of the photographic arts, which it does through its world-class exhibitions, impressive permanent collection, including photographers such as Ansel Adams, as well as education and outreach. You’ll enjoy the work of several national photographic talents in high-quality exhibitions, as well as workshops and artist talks.

Insider Tip: CPAC is closed on Sunday and Monday every week, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Photograph by Ansel Adams | Public Domain / WikiCommons

Artsy cafés

Stella’s Coffee House

Stella’s has a relaxing atmosphere with several rooms and a great patio. It also features local artists, with displays changing every 45 days. The coffee house focuses on affordable art as well, so it’s a great place to pick up a piece by some of the biggest names in the Denver art scene.

Highlands Cork and Coffee

Highlands Cork and Coffee is a delightful café perfect for a quick coffee or glass of wine, as well as small bites and tapas. The quaint parlor rooms and garden patio are incredibly charming, and you’ll love the surrounding historic Highlands neighborhood. The café also frequently hosts art receptions, as well as live music.

Fluid Coffee Bar

Fluid Coffee Bar serves NOVO coffee, a local Denver roaster with wide acclaim, as well as snacks, pastries, and sandwiches. Frequently rotated art decorates the walls throughout the shop. You’ll also love the community vibe.

Art galleries

Robischon Gallery

The Robischon Gallery in Denver hosts impressive exhibitions from a wide array of regional, national, and international artists. Exhibits are often thematically driven and change out seven times a year. You’ll love the mix of solo artists and a featured group presentation. The gallery showcases a wide range of artistic styles, including painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation pieces from established and emerging artists.

Robischon Gallery | © Robischongallery / WikiCommons

Walker Fine Art

Walker Fine Art is an industrial loft-style art space with a strong contemporary art focus. The gallery has several anchor artists it represents, and their work is always on display. There are also themed exhibitions throughout the year. Work centers on both the abstract and realist traditions, and mediums include photography, sculpture, painting, mixed media, and installations.

Walker Fine Art | © Ryan Polei / Flickr

Artwork Network

Artwork Network helps introduce artists to the public. The showroom opened in 2005, and it highlights some of the most exciting contemporary art in Denver. Both the showroom and newer Underground Gallery have presented numerous highly acclaimed exhibitions by regional, national, and international artists working all mediums.

Public Art Walking Tour

Denver’s street and public art scene is immense, and there’s no better way to spend a day of sunshine in the Mile High City than on a guided public art walking tour. Denver Public Art offers these delightful tours throughout the summer. They are a major hit with art and architecture lovers alike. Tours are free but limited to 15 people.

Blue Bear | © quinntheinsider / Pixabay

Artsy restaurants

La Cour Art Bistro and Cabaret

La Cour offers affordable French dining, including classic staples such as charcuterie and escargots. The bar has a wide variety of French wines, as well as some of the finest cocktails in Denver. The bistro displays the work of a new artist each month and hosts live jazz performances throughout the week.


Acorn, in Denver’s RiNo arts neighborhood, offers an eclectic, contemporary American menu, with dishes such as house-made gnocchi and crispy Icelandic cod. Acorn’s award-winning cocktails have also been featured in several national publications. You’ll love the industrial feel and graffitied walls that blend into the street art aesthetic throughout RiNo.

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