Denver Art Museums

9 TOP Attractions & Tips to Visit

Denver art museums offer you the chance to see colorful, interesting, and unique art from around the world. Here, you can visit the internationally renowned Denver Art Museum as well as other highly regarded places such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Clyfford Still, and the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art.

Read on for details on visiting these and other top art institutions around the Mile High City.

Denver Art Museums: 9 Top Places to Explore

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1. Denver Art Museum

Denver Art Museum

Address: 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway

Free Day: First Saturday of each month

Closed Days: Every Monday

The Denver Art Museum is one of the largest museums located between the West Coast and the city of Chicago. It has over 350,000 square feet of exhibit space meaning you’ll have a massive collection of art to see, explore and learn about during each visit. In addition to their large permanent collection, they often have at least one traveling exhibit on display as well.

Some of the pieces in their permanent collection include paintings, pottery, sculpture, design and graphics, photography and more from many different cultures and times. It is almost impossible to see all the collections in one visit. So, make sure to plan for day, and if needed, more than one day to see everything that you want to see.

This is one of the Denver art museums with a very impressive American Indian Art collection. You will also find exhibits dedicated to Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe.

The Denver Art Museum is closed on Mondays and is open late on every First Friday. First Friday is a special night at the museum running from January and continuing until October. This event lasts until 10 pm and includes music, workshops, talks and gives visitors a totally different type of museum visit. 

2. Museum of Contemporary Art

Museum of Contemporary Art

Address: 1485 Delgany Street

Free Day: None

Closed Day: Monday

If you are looking for an ever-changing art collection, and a large array of different styles, the Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the Denver art museums you will enjoy. Each exhibition is on display for 2 to 4 months and you can expect about 4 different exhibitions throughout the year. 

Some of the previous exhibits include "Basquiat Before Basquiat" about the artist and musician, "Wall Writers" about graffiti artists, and others like Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia. You will find a variety of styles and types of art at the museum no matter when you visit.

The museum features artists from Denver, the state of Colorado, national, and international locations. The museum is also environmentally sustainable and is full of natural light from skylights that are hidden in the architecture. One of the interesting features of the museum is the front door. It's a large black slab that is triggered by a motion sensor.

Please make sure to check the schedule as the museums hours are different depending on which day of the week you visit.

Free Museum Days

Did you know that you can visit many of the Denver art museums for free? Each month, several of the top museums around Denver offer a free admission day where you can visit their permanent collections at no charge.

>> Find a full calendar of free days for this year here

3. Clyfford Still Museum

Clyfford Still

Address: 1250 Bannock Street (13th Avenue and Bannock Street)

Free Day: Last Friday of every month all year long. Free on the first Saturday of each month from May to June only. Free every Friday from 5 pm to 8 pm.

Clyfford Still was one of the first Abstract Expressionist artists in the world. His art tends to be visually powerful because of the size (some paintings are over 20 feet tall), use of extreme colors, and the ability for each person to translate the piece in a different way. This museum is dedicated to his work.

Clyfford Still showed his art at the Betty Parson Gallery in New York for many years. After ending that relationship, he no longer showed, nor sold, his art. Because of this, this museum now holds over 95% of his artwork, including over 825 paintings and many of his letters, sketches, photos and other personal items.

As there are too many pieces to be shown at the same time, this is one of the Denver art museums that rotates its pieces, giving you a new experience with each visit.

4. Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art


Address: 12th Avenue and Bannock Street

Free Day: Museum is closed until Spring of 2018

Closed Days: Museum is closed until Spring of 2018

Vance Kirkland was one of the most important artists, and painters, during his lifetime. He moved to Denver in 1929. Not only was he famous for his art work, but also because he was the original director of the School of Art at the University of Denver.

He soon after left Denver University so that he could establish the Kirkland School of Art. He spent more than 55-years in the arts starting with realistic watercolor paintings and concluding with his signature dot, and oil, paintings.

When he died, Hugh Grant decided to build a museum in his honor and to inspire other aspiring artists. The museum now holds much of Vance Kirkland’s works of art and is constantly trying to acquire more whenever possible. If you want to see a true innovator of the arts, this is one of the Denver art museums that is a must see.

The museum also holds collections from other artists and their craft. These include pieces of art that are, as the name suggests fine and decorative. Many of these pieces of art consist of chairs, lamps, tables, plates and other original pieces that are unlike any others you’ve seen before. Other types of art include paintings, sculpture, and pottery. Of course, there are many pieces of Vance Kirkland’s own work on display.

Note: The Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art is closed until Spring 2018. We will update you once it reopens.

Denver Monthly Calendars

Click the links below for the top events and activities each month in Denver.

January | February | March | April | May | June

July | August | September | October | November | December

5. American Museum of Western Art

American Museum of Western Art

Address: 1727 Tremont Place

Free Day: None

Hours: The American Museum of Western Art is ONLY open on Monday and Wednesday.

Of all the Denver art museums that you will visit, the building that houses the American Museum of Western Art has the most interesting history. Before the Anschutz family bought it, it had previously been a speakeasy, a bordello, a fine eating establishment, and the best jazz club around the Mile-High City. The building has now been fully restored and houses one of the best art collections in all of Denver. 

The Anschutz compilation is one of the best collections that starts in the early 19th century to the present day. Some of periods represented include The Hudson River and Rocky Mountain Schools, the Modernist in the West style, and the Taos and Santa Fe Schools, the Abstract Expressionists, and others.

Featured artists include Georgia O’Keefe from the school of American Modernism, Marsden Hartley from the Expressionists, and others such as John Martin who painted the New Mexico landscape in the style of both cubism and abstraction.

Remember to plan your visit in advance as the American Museum of Western Art is only open on Mondays and Wednesdays.

6. Museo de las Americas

Museo de las Americas

Address: 861 Santa Fe Drive 

Free Day: None

Closed Days: Sunday & Monday

The Museo de Las Americas is one of the only Denver art museums that specializes exclusively in Latin American art. Opened in 1991, this museum has over 3,000 pieces that range from textiles, jewelry, masks, to pre-Colombian figures and many other cultural artifacts. 

The Museo de las Americas has won many awards and previous exhibits include Viaje al Hilo/Journey through the Thread designed by Marisol Centeno and co-curated by Ana Maria Sanchez. This exhibition featured seven different carpets made in the traditional style of the Oaxacan people. Another exhibit was Resistancia/Resistance featuring artist Saner (Edgar Flores). Saner uses his art to express how life can exemplify individuality, mischief, energy and so much more. 

7. Mizel Museum

Mizel Museum

Address: 400 S. Kearney Street

Admission: By appointment only

The Mizel Museum is focused on the current cultural issues through the eyes of the Jewish history and ideals. Some of the main points of interest include contemporary Jewish culture and how it has adjusted during the years, the holocaust and how that affects, not only the Jewish people, but people all over the world, and how people all over the world can learn from each other and become a better world community.

Like many Denver art museums, the Mizel Museum has both a permanent collection and traveling exhibitions. One of the permanent exhibits includes the 4,000 Year Road Trip: Gathering Sparks. This retrospective shows the 4,000-year journey of the Jewish people, its history, and culture to build both conversation and inspire and build connections between all cultures and people.

As mentioned above, the museum is only open by appointment only and they must be made in advance. It is best to contact the museum as soon as you have your trip planned.

8. CU Art Museum

CU Art Museum

Address: 1085 18th Street (University of Colorado in Boulder), Boulder

Free Day: Everyday 

Closed Days: Sundays and Mondays

Set in the beautiful University of Colorado’s Arts and Sciences campus in Boulder, the CU Art Museum is a must see. It features exhibits from both well-known and coming artists including students finishing their degrees and getting ready to venture out into the world.

Over the years, it has amassed more than 8,000 pieces that span more than 10,000 years of human history. You will find all kinds of art including pottery, paintings, etchings, and other styles. As for collections, they include ones about Asia, The Americas, Europe, ancient and classical, and modern and contemporary from all over the world. Since this museum is dedicated to conservation, you can see pieces both in their original state, in process of restoration, and post restoration condition.

This is one of the Denver art museums that is free to visit Tuesdays through Saturdays, and is only closed on Sundays and Mondays. If you are planning to visit Boulder, it is a trip well worth doing since it is only an hour away drive by car, and it is in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

9. Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

Address: 1750 13th Street, Boulder

Free Day: None

Closed Days: Monday

If you are in Boulder, and want to see two galleries, you can visit the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art as well as the CU Art Museum listed above. The museum was founded by local artists over 40 years ago and is well known as one of top contemporary Denver art museums.

The exhibitions are far reaching and most of them focus on today’s modern art and how contemporary artists express themselves, their attitude towards today’s world, and how current affairs are affecting the world around us. Some of the exhibitions feature more than one artist so you can see how the differing viewpoints converge or diverge depending on how the artists view reality.

Depending on the day you visit the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, there may be talks, films, or other presentations, so make sure to check the schedule before you arrive at it.

Tips on Top Places to Stay During Your Visit

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