4 Must-See Sites In and Around Denver

Denver, Colorado, is not just a fast-growing city with a strong economy. It’s also an emerging tourist destination that, according to Visit Denver, drew more than 15 million people in 2014—a tourism record.

Whether you’re visiting Denver or just stopping through on your way to the Rockies, here are four must-see sites in the Denver Metro Area.

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1. Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

6550 Gateway Rd., Commerce City

For decades, this 16,000-acre tract of land northeast of downtown Denver was used to manufacture rocket fuel and chemical weapons. But today, after an extensive cleanup and restoration completed in 2004, it’s a National Wildlife Refuge and home to bison, deer, elk, coyote and bald eagles. The park’s visitor center, which houses an interactive exhibit hall and a “discovery room” with activities for children, is open Wednesdays to Sundays from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (closed on major holidays). The park itself is open daily from sunrise to sunset and is closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Admission is free.

2. Denver Mint

320 West Colfax Ave., Denver

Take a look at the coins in your pocket. If you see the letter “D” next to the date, then that coin was forged at the Denver Mint. Open since 1906, the Denver Mint is the single largest producer of coins in the world, producing more than 8.6 billion coins for circulation in 2015 alone. 1 Make time in your schedule for a 45-minute tour, during which you’ll learn about the history of the U.S. Mint and how coins are produced. Tours are offered Monday through Thursday, excluding federal holidays. Advanced reservations are required. Note that the entrance for tours is on Cherokee Street.

3. Denver Art Museum

100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy., Denver

Since 1893, the Denver Art Museum has been one of the largest art museums in the west, and it now includes the iconic titanium-clad Hamilton Building designed by Daniel Libeskind. The museum is home to works by Picasso, Matisse and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as an extensive collection of Native American and Western art. In addition to its permanent collections, the museum frequently hosts traveling exhibits, so be sure to view current and upcoming events. Admission is $12 for adults and free for children under 18; $8 admission for seniors, college students and members of the military. Closed Mondays.

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4. Red Rocks Amphitheater

18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison

Imagine a 200-million-year-old natural amphitheater sandwiched between two 300-foot-tall stone monoliths, each the size of London’s Big Ben. That about sums up Red Rocks Amphitheater, a concert venue near Morrison, Colorado, about 10 miles west of Denver. For more than 100 years, visitors have flocked to Red Rocks to attend concerts by musical icons, including The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and John Denver. But even when the site isn’t being used for a concert, it’s open to the public as a place to hike, exercise or even play instruments on stage. On site is a free museum that houses the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, where you’ll learn about the history and geology behind the venue.

 

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