The Coolest Museums in Denver
From the Denver Art Museum to the Molly Brown House Museum, there’s something for everyone.
Denver is home to many museums, showcasing artwork, historical accounts and replicas, and fascinating creations spanning time and space (literally). You can be a history buff, an impressionism connoisseur, or just someone interested in learning a little more about art, Colorado, or Colorado art and find everything you need without leaving the city limits. Though there are certain names that come to mind when you think of Denver museums (looking at you, DAM and MCA), there are a number of highly respected and even award-winning museums full of pieces to ponder and history you’ve yet to learn. Here’s a list of 12 of Denver’s coolest, most interesting museums.
Washington Virginia Vale
Get a taste of what living in the Old West was really like with Denver’s one-of-a-kind open-air museums. Four Mile Historic Park offers a glimpse into Denver’s Western heritage by recreating it for visitors to view in an immersive way. Observe historically accurate replicas, a working farm with a variety of animals, and the Four Mile House Museum itself, which is Denver’s oldest standing structure. In addition to regular visitation, Four Mile hosts a number of special events throughout the year, plus unique programming for field trips, birthday parties, and more.
What to know before you go: From January - May, hours are Friday through Sunday from 10 am - 4 pm with parking available nearby. Adult admission is $8, seniors and military $7, kids 7 - 17 $6, and children 6 and under and members enter for free.
The gallery space within this museum varies a bit from what you’d consider the norm. Walk through “homey” or even office-esque spaces as you browse art prints, jewelry, sculptures, and other works. Housing around 150 years of art, the collections at Kirkland contain over 30,000 works by over 1,500 artists and designers based on three principal collections: an international decorative art collection from the 1870s to present, a Colorado and regional art collection from 1845 to present, and a retrospective of Colorado’s distinguished painter, Vance Kirkland.
What to know before you go: Museum hours are Wednesday - Saturday from 11 am - 5 pm and Sundays from 12 pm to 5 pm. General admission (ages 13+ only) is $12, $10 for seniors, teachers, students, and active duty military personnel, and is free for museum members.
Now one of the largest art museums in the Western United States, the Denver Art Museum houses over 70,000 works of art across 12 permanent collections that feature global and local artists alike. Among its several buildings, visitors will find North American Indigenous art, African art, Asian art, and Latin American art, spanning every medium and ancient, modern, and in-between eras. DAM also offers a wide range of creative classes and programs for art lovers of all ages.
What to know before you go: The museum is open daily from 10 am - 5 pm, and until 9 pm on Tuesdays. Tickets for adult Colorado residents are $15, seniors and students are $12, and kids 0 - 18 (and museum members) visit for free. Tickets for non-Colorado residents are a few dollars extra.
Encompassing an array of permanent and rotating exhibits from space exploration to ancient Egypt to the time of the dinosaurs, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is a dream for anyone looking to learn something new. Plus, in addition to the many exhibits, visitors can check out the Gates Planetarium or IMAX theater for special events and viewings.
What to know before you go: Museum admission is $22.95 for adults, $17.95 for children, and $19.95 for seniors, with special exhibits and events at varying additional costs, and a ton of discounts for military, students, teachers, and more. Museum hours are daily 9 am to 5 pm and most Fridays 9 am to 9 pm.
Learn about and celebrate Latin American art at the Museo de las Americas, located in the very heart of the Santa Fe arts district. Opened in the early ‘90s, the museum features Latin American art and cultural artifacts from ancient to folk to contemporary art, sourced from around the world. Typically there are three to five exhibitions per year (held in the museum’s main gallery), with two smaller galleries showing private collections. Museo offers a variety of programs for both the public and museum members and is also a nonprofit, meaning visits, memberships, and donations are crucial to keeping the exhibits going.
What to know before you go: Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 12 pm to 6 pm and Saturdays and Sundays 12 pm to 5 pm, with general admission costing $8, $5 for students, seniors, artists, teachers, and military, and free entry for members and children 13 and under.
This one’s a twofer since the Center for Colorado Women’s History is only one part of the large network of museums comprising History Colorado. The History Colorado Center is pretty self-explanatory, detailing the best and most interesting parts of Colorado’s extensive history and role in the American West. Guests will find four floors of constantly rotating exhibits and a plethora of interactive and educational experiences. In addition to your standard fare exhibits, the Center for Colorado Women’s History also presents scholarships, research, lectures, and tours that cover the varied history of women in Colorado, with the house itself serving as a devoted space “for inspiring women” since 1883.
What to know before you go: The History Colorado Center is open daily from 10 am - 5 pm, is free for members and kids under 18, and costs $15 for adults. The Center for Colorado Women’s History is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am - 4 pm and Sundays 12 - 4 pm. Historic House guided tours are conducted at specific times each day. Adult tickets are $10, seniors $8, and History Colorado members and kids 18 and under visit free.
While MCA has only been in existence for just under three decades, it’s had a powerful impact on the Denver art community, both in showcasing envelope-pushing, thought-provoking modern pieces and encouraging artists near and far to continue such expression. Grab a ticket to explore the many exhibits and installations challenging the mind, spirit, and oftentimes the medium used in the process, or attend one of the museum’s regular events.
What to know before you go: Hours are Tuesday - Friday 12 pm to 7pm and Saturday - Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Adult general admission is $10, students, teachers, seniors, and military is $7, members and children under 18 enter free, and every first Saturday of the month, admission is just a penny.
Want to see a piece of moon rock from the Apollo space mission? What about a propeller that Orville Wright designed himself? That and so, so much more awaits at Wings Over the Rockies. Technically, there are two buildings/experiences here: the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum—with its 100,000 square feet of exhibit space featuring various aircraft, space vehicles, artifacts, military uniforms, and more—and the 15-acre campus that is Exploration of Flight, one of the busiest general aviation airports in the nation, offering immersive and informative programming regarding all things flight.
What to know before you go: Wings is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, opening at noon on Sundays. Tickets range in price from $11.95 for kids 4 - 16 to $18.95 for adults, with several discounts available. Free parking is available on the south and east sides of the building (Hangar 1 of the former Lowry Air Force Base).
Fully dedicated to the works of artist Clyfford Still, this museum is a wonderful place to get lost in giant canvases, bold colors, and hyper-intentional brush strokes. A post-World War II abstract expressionist, Still’s provocative works all touch on “universal themes about creation, life, struggle, and death (the human condition).” Ponder any one of the exhibits devoted to Still’s early works, late works, or those in-between, or that of an equally compelling guest artist.
What to know before you go: The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am -5 pm. Adult tickets are $10, kids can visit free, and there are several discounts for school groups, military, seniors, and more.
If you’ve been in Denver for at least a few days, you’ve probably heard of Margaret Tobin “Molly” Brown. If you haven’t, you should definitely take a trip to this house and museum to learn all about her badassery in Colorado and beyond. A Titanic survivor, advocate for the improvement of Colorado’s towns and cities, and champion for women’s labor rights, Molly lived a life of adventure and innovation and remains a pillar of Colorado history.
What to know before you go: The museum is open Wednesday - Sunday from 10 am - 4 pm. Tickets can be purchased online for solo exploration or guided tours for $16 and under.
Central Business District
Interested in impressive depictions of life in the Old American West? Look no further than the American Museum of Western Art. With three floors of galleries showcasing both historic and contemporary art, it’s easy to get lost in scenes of cowboys, prairies, and breathtaking landscapes of the American West—though that’s only a small portion of what you can expect to find while exploring.
What to know before you go: Museum hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 am to 4:30 pm, with the last entry accepted at 4:00 pm. Tickets for self-guided tours are $5 across the board, but guided tours are also available at select times.
Fun for everyone ages 2 to 92, the Children’s Museum of Denver is a fantastic spot to bring the whole family and learn a thing or two during your visit. Here, kids (and kids at heart!) can learn the physics basics of water and energy, discover the fun of the Adventure Forest and Box Canyon, or play pretend at Fire Station No. 1 or My Market. Get totally hands-on and spend the day creating, absorbing, and adventuring with your favorite little explorer.
What to know before you go: Museum hours are 9 am -4 pm daily, but reservations are required to guarantee entry. Admission starts at $15 for kids age 1 and adults over 60, $17 for visitors age 2 - 59, and members and kids under the age of 1 visit for free. Free parking is available on site.