The Best Museums in Denver Worth a Visit

The dramatic entrance to Denver Art Museum was inspired by the jagged angles of the Rockies
The dramatic entrance to Denver Art Museum was inspired by the jagged angles of the Rockies | © robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo
Daisy Dobson

Denver may not scream “culture capital”, but look closer and you’ll find a city brimming with history and art. From the contemporary to the old-school, selfie havens to planetariums, the museum industry is booming – much like the rest of Denver. Culture Trip’s local insiders share which ones you shouldn’t miss.

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Denver Art Museum

Famed for its large collection of American Indian art, and with plenty of dynamic, interactive exhibits from all over the world, the Denver Art Museum is a huge place to visit so allow yourself plenty of time. In 2006 it doubled in size with a new wing; the extraordinary angular design, by starchitect Daniel Libeskind, was inspired by the jagged angles of the Rocky mountains. Several times a year, the museum throws open its doors for free; the normal entrance fee is from $8 (£6). Recommended by local insider Rose Corbett

This museum celebrates one of Colorado’s most distinguished modern painters, Vance Kirkland, alongside local and international pieces. It may be on the small side, but it packs a punch with its insight into the state’s artistic history. Its permanent collection houses more than 30,000 unique pieces of art, ranging from the mid-19th century to the present day. With some fragile exhibitions, children under 13 are discouraged, so treat yourself to a day out alone in Denver’s Golden Triangle Creative District. Recommended by local insider Rose Corbett

History Colorado Center

Take a trip back in time to the days of the wild, wild west at the History Colorado Center, which opened in 2012. It delves into everything you could possibly want to discover about the Centennial State. It offers a hands-on learning experience, encouraging visitors of all ages to get involved with the interactive exhibits. The Colorado State Capitol is only a block away, along with many lunch spots. Recommended by local insider Rose Corbett

Denver Selfie Museum

It’s 2020, and the selfie isn’t going anywhere. If you need more content for Instagram, then visit the Denver Selfie Museum. It’s packed with appealing and engaging sets ready for you to pose up a storm, including a donut wall and a ball-filled bathtub. It can get busy on the weekends, so head here during the week if you can. No matter how busy it gets, though, there isn’t a risk of a photobomb from fellow social media devotees – it’s serious selfie business here. Recommended by local insider Lily Shipman

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is jam-packed with goodies, including prehistoric fossils, minerals, gems and ancient Egyptian mummies. Take a tour with one of the in-house experts to learn about these fascinating artefacts. The beautiful Gates Planetarium runs different shows throughout the day, making outer space accessible and awe-inspiring at the same time. And on the fourth floor is a rooftop viewing deck, which offers spectacular views across Denver. Recommended by local insider Lily Shipman

Clyfford Still Museum

Clyfford Still was a famous painter and mysterious figure in the art world and the leader of the pack when it came to abstract expressionism. The museum is unique in that it exhibits nearly all of Still’s works, with 3,125 on display. Take a walk through every stage of his artistic development, watching his works unfold before you. The museum is affordable and a great escape from the bigger and busier museums in Denver. Recommended by local insider Lily Shipman

Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver) strives to make art accessible by running various initiatives throughout the week, and entrance is free to under-18s. You can rent art through the museum’s Octopus Initiative, and the free Black Sheep Fridays combine culture and workshops with your tour. For an alternative take, local comedians also offer Sh!t Talk tours throughout the museum. Grab lunch on the rooftop café when you’re done. Recommended by local insider Lily Shipman

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