Whether you’re into art, history, science, or vintage cars, there’s a Denver museum to suit you. Below are 13 of the best Denver museums for every type of traveler.
The Best Denver Museums
The city’s cultural offerings include more than a dozen fascinating collections—perfect for travelers who want to learn something new or just get out of the snow for an afternoon or two.
Don't Miss: Top Tours in Denver
Denver Art Museum
The Denver Art Museum, also known as DAM, is renowned for its collection of Native American art, featuring not only local pieces but also works of art from dozens of tribes across North America. Additionally, major collections of 20th-century art, Asian art, African art, photography, and other works are on display in the museum. DAM hosts numerous visiting exhibitions.
Clyfford Still Museum
Right next door to DAM is a museum dedicated to one of the country’s most influential Abstract Expressionists. The Clyfford Still Museum is home to about 95 percent of Still’s works, which range from monumental abstract paintings to smaller sketches and studies. Downstairs is information about Still’s life and work; upstairs, the galleries proceed chronologically, showing Still’s progression from representational work to pure abstraction.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is a paradise for fun-seeking families. Youngsters love the big and entertaining exhibits, which include tons of giant dinosaur skeletons and real Egyptian mummies. If those things sound interesting to you, a mature adult, don’t be afraid to unleash your inner kid and spend an afternoon taking photos in front of a massive T-Rex skull or watching an IMAX film about endangered species. Since the museum is located within walking distance of the Denver Zoo in City Park (the largest park in the Mile-High City), visiting both is a convenient and fun way to spend a day.
Museum of Contemporary Art
A popular stop for art lovers is the Museum of Contemporary Art, which has no permanent collection but hosts a regular slate of provocative visiting exhibitions.
Byers-Evans House Museum
The Byers-Evans House Museum is a Victorian mansion that’s open for tours. The beautifully maintained house offers an alluring glimpse into the early 20th century. Rooms are outfitted in period furnishings from 1912 through 1924.
Molly Brown House Museum
The Molly Brown House Museum is another popular historical attraction in Denver. Margaret Brown, nicknamed the “Unsinkable Molly Brown,” was a Titanic survivor, women’s suffrage advocate, and philanthropist. Her home dates back to the late 19th century.
The Children’s Museum offers plenty of places for little ones to learn, play, and explore, including a fire station and a toddler-sized box canyon.
Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
Exhibits at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum examine Colorado’s astronauts, aviation uniforms, aircraft nose art, and much more.
Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art
Design lovers shouldn’t miss the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, where paintings and sculptures are arranged “salon-style” alongside furniture and decorative accessories. This Denver museum recently moved into a new space at 12th Avenue and Bannock Street.
Forney Museum of Transportation
Vintage cars, locomotives, buggies, and bicycles are on display at the Forney Museum of Transportation, one of the most unique Denver museums. Exhibits include a 1920s speedster driven by Amelia Earhart and a bicycle dating all the way back to 1817.
American Museum of Western Art
The American Museum of Western Art displays hundreds of paintings, sculptures, and drawings that capture the beauty and grandeur of the American West.
One of the less visited Denver museums, the Mizel Museum offers a small but fascinating look at 4,000 years of Jewish history, along with a variety of visiting exhibitions. Note that tours of the museum are by appointment only.
Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave
Buffalo Bill’s final resting place is located in nearby Golden, Colorado, where the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave pays homage to one of the most iconic figures of the American Wild West. The museum features exhibits on the life of Bill (with plenty of hands-on displays to keep kids entertained), and there’s also a gift shop and a cafe on site. The Lookout Mountain Nature Center, a great spot for hiking, is adjacent to the museum.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Denver Travel Guide
- 10 Must-See Denver Attractions
- 10 Fun Things to Do in Denver
- 10 Best Day Trips from Denver
- 10 Stylish Boutique Hotels in Denver
- 10 Best Luxury Hotels in Denver
- 10 Best Cheap Hotels in Denver
- The Best Cheap Eats in Denver
- 10 Best Denver Restaurants
- 10 Best Denver Breweries and Distilleries
- What to Pack for Denver
- What to Wear in Denver
Senior editor Sarah Schlichter contributed to this story.