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The 12 Best Museums in Denver, Colorado [2023]

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Amar Hussain
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Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

814 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 63U.S. States Visited: 9

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

Table of Contents

  • The Best Museums in Denver
  • How To Get Free or Reduced Admission to Denver Museums
  • Final Thoughts

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When most people hear the word Denver, they probably think about its natural landscapes. However, plenty of one-of-a-kind museums in the Mile High City are also worth visiting. From history to art, an exhibit in Denver is suitable for virtually any trip itinerary. Following, you’ll find the best museums to consider when you visit Colorado’s capital.

The Best Museums in Denver

1. Center for Colorado Women’s History

Center for Colorado Womens History
Image Credit: Center for Colorado Women’s History

Located in the historic Byers-Evans House, the Center for Colorado Women’s History helps preserve the stories and accomplishments of Colorado’s women.

In its early history, the building was home to numerous women who lived in Denver. Many of the personal effects of these women remained on the premises and are on display. Additionally, the museum also serves as a research center, especially on the topic of women’s history. Lectures, discussions, and scholarships are hosted through the facility.

The space even offers special experiences for student field trips, some of which, like “1918 with the Center for Colorado Women’s History,” are available virtually and in person. It’s worth noting that the museum must be toured with a guide, and arrangements should be made ahead of time if you plan on visiting with a group of 8 or more.

Admission is free for children under 18, $8 for seniors, and $10 for adults. The museum is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Bannock Street and West 13th Avenue.

  • Address: 1310 Bannock St., Denver, CO 80204

2. Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus

Childrens Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus
Image Credit: Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus

Since opening in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus has become one of Denver’s most popular family activities. Initially, the museum was limited to just a traveling bus, but in the years since, it’s expanded to encompass over 20 different exhibits in a permanent structure.

The facility’s exhibition spaces can be divided into 4 main categories:

  1. STEM
  2. Health and wellness
  3. Art and literature
  4. 21st-century skills.

Though people of all ages are welcome in the museum, it’s mainly aimed at visitors between infancy and 8 years old. Some of the most popular sets in the museum are “Bubbles,” “Ready Vet Go,” “Adventure Forest,” and “Assembly Plan,” thanks to their hands-on and immersive natures. To offer a fun experience for everyone, the museum is also equipped for visitors with special sensory or mobility needs.

Admission is free for members and babies under a year, $16 for 1-year-old babies and seniors 60+, and $18 for guests 2 to 59. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The nearest bus stop is West 26th Avenue and Clay Street.

  • Address: 2121 Children’s Museum Drive, Denver, CO 80211

“We believe in innovation. From “Bloom,” our early learning exhibit that is filled with art and totally unique interactives to “Adventure Forest,” a 500-foot-long climbing structure and immersive installation, we pride ourselves on pushing the boundaries of what a children’s museum can do and be.”

Mike Yankovich, CEO, Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus

3. Clyfford Still Museum

Clyfford Still Museum
Image Credit: Brent Andeck Photography via Clyfford Still Museum

Since its first opening, the Clyfford Still Museum has become one of the country’s most prestigious facilities dedicated primarily to a single artist.

The structure’s namesake, Clyffor Still, was a notable 20th-century painter, especially in Abstract Expressionism. The museum houses over 90% of the work he completed throughout his career, culminating in a collection of over 3,100 pieces. However, only a portion is on view at a time.

The museum aims to educate visitors about this renowned artist, provide research space, and inspire creativity in others. Though the museum is typically regarded as a single-artist facility, the space also houses temporary exhibitions from other creators inspired by or built off of Still’s body of work and contributions to the art scene.

Admission is free for children under 18, school groups, and members, $6 for active and veteran military personnel and their families and teachers, $8 for Colorado residents 65+, $10 for out-of-state visitors 65+, $10 for in-state adult residents, and $15 for out-of-state adult visitors. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Cherokee Street and West 14th Avenue.

  • Address: 1250 Bannock St., Denver, CO 80204

“Experience vibrant art and architecture at the Clyfford Still Museum, located in the heart of Denver’s Golden Triangle Creative District. Explore behind the scenes and see what it takes to care for artworks, enjoy events for all ages, create in a hands-on studio, and immerse yourself in brilliant, beautiful color.”

Joyce Tsai, PhD, Director, Clyfford Still Museum

4. Convergence Station

Convergence Station
Image Credit: Atlas Media via Convergence Station

Created by the art and entertainment company Meow Wolf in 2021, Convergence Station is one of the most interactive museum experiences in the city.

The structure includes the work and creativity of over 100 Denver artists who use painting, sculpture, photography, and other mixed media to create the exhibit’s narrative. Convergence Station is meant to evoke the feeling of being in an interdimensional station where visitors can travel to other worlds, snippets of which can be seen through the facility’s galleries.

In addition to the permanent structures featured in the museum, the space also has a gallery room, which offers a more traditional exhibit experience. Art is rotated throughout the year to showcase work from different contemporary artists. Some highlights from the museum include a digital version of “The Cathedral” and the crystal mines sets.

Admission is $30 for Colorado residents, $40 for general admission, and $50 for tickets with a flexible entry time. The museum is open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The nearest bus stop is West 17th Avenue and Federal Boulevard.

  • Address: 1338 1st St., Denver, CO 80204

5. Denver Art Museum

Denver Art Museum
Image Credit: James Florio Photography via Denver Art Museum

With over 70,000 pieces in its collection, the Denver Art Museum (DAM) is one of the largest museums in the western half of the U.S. Of course, only a fraction of these pieces can be displayed at a time.

The museum is broadly divided into 14 different sections, with pieces categorized by culture of provenance or medium. Since there are pieces from all over the world and throughout history, it’s also considered one of the most comprehensive collections in the region.

Some of the collection’s highlighted pieces are “Waterloo Bridge, Sunlight Effect” by Claude Monet, “The Family of Street Acrobats: the Injured Child” by Gustave Doré, and “Aspen Trees at Twining” by Victor Higgins. The museum also collaborates with other artists and museums, often hosting temporary galleries with pieces on loan from other facilities.

Admission is free for members and children 18 and under, $15 for in-state active and veteran military personnel, teachers, students, and seniors 65+, $18 for in-state adults, $19 for out-of-state active and veteran military personnel, teachers, students, and seniors 65+, and $22 for out-of-state adults residents.

The museum is open Wednesday to Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The nearest bus stop is West 7th Avenue and Galapago Street.

  • Address: 100 W. 14th Ave. Parkway, Denver, CO 80204

6. Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Denver Museum of Nature Science
Image Credit: Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Since its opening in 1900, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science has been one of the most popular science centers in the Rocky Mountains. The facility boasts a collection of over 1 million specimens from around the world, which are displayed in the exhibits, preserved in the archives, or used for research.

The museum’s exhibit spaces are divided into 10 categories covering topics from human health to space. Perhaps the most popular exhibits are the “Wildlife Halls,” which are spread across 2 floors and feature a wide variety of specimens to educate visitors about the animal kingdom.

In addition to the permanent exhibits in the museum, temporary exhibitions are frequently hosted throughout the year, which dive deeper into specific scientific topics. There are also family and educational events held during the year.

Admission is free for children under 3, $19.95 for children 3 to 18, $21.95 for seniors 65+, and $24.95 for adults. Admission to the planetarium and the Infinity Theater cost between $6 and $10 more. The museum is open Saturday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Colorado Boulevard and 17th Avenue.

  • Address: 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO 80205

7. Forney Museum of Transportation

Forney Museum of Transportation
Image Credit: Forney Museum of Transportation

The Forney Museum of Transportation originally started as a private collection, but since the 1960s, it’s been a public museum focused on transportation of all kinds. Initially, the museum showcased exclusively antique cars, but now it also houses locomotives, motorcycles, sleds, and more.

The museum doesn’t just display pieces that show how transportation has changed throughout history, but it also houses historically significant items. Perhaps one of the most famous items in the museum is a Kisset-model car called “Gold Bug” that once belonged to the famed pilot Amelia Earhart.

There’s even a sizable collection of toys and models, which has helped the facility’s collection grow to 800 artifacts. Additionally, the museum hosts several educational events throughout the year that look primarily at American vehicles from particular eras or companies.

Admission is free for children under 3, $8 for children 3 to 12, $13 for seniors 65+, and $15 for adults. The museum is open Thursday to Saturday, Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Brighton Boulevard and 43rd Street.

  • Address: 4303 Brighton Blvd., Denver, CO 80216

“The Forney Museum of Transportation is a hidden gem in Denver that showcases a fascinating collection of vehicles which have played a critical role in shaping our transportation history. Whether you’re looking for school programming, scavenger hunts, or simply an exciting day trip, our museum has something in store for everyone.”

Jennifer Holm, Education Coordinator, Forney Museum of Transportation

8. Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Kirkland Museum of Fine Decorative Art
Image Credit: Wes Magyar via Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art first opened in 2003 to preserve the studio and art of Vance Kirkland but relocated to a new building in 2016. However, this structure isn’t just a single-artist facility.

The space contains 3 different collections. The first collection contains international decorative art, with items ranging from the 1870s to the present. The second collection focuses on Colorado and regional art with pieces from 1845 to the present. The last collection is centered around the facility’s namesake and includes around 600 paintings. Some highlights are “Adam and Eve,” “Mountain Flowers for Judy,” and “Fantasy,” all by Kirkland. 

Admission is $10 for students (13+), active military personnel with ID, teachers, and seniors (65+), $12 for general admission for those 13 and over, and free for Kirkland Museum members. The museum is open Wednesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Bannock Street and West 11th Avenue.

  • Address: 1201 Bannock St., Denver, CO 80204

9. Molly Brown House

Molly Brown House Museum
Image Credit: Molly Brown House Museum

Once the home of local socialite, activist, and Titanic survivor Margaret Brown, the Molly Brown House is a historical landmark and house museum that preserves her life and memory.

After Brown died in the 1930s, the home was sold and used as a boarding house before being restored by the local historical society and converted into a museum in 1972. Today, many of the rooms are used as exhibits that showcase many of Brown’s personal and family effects, including those acquired from her frequent travels.

However, the facility isn’t just biographical. The home also helps showcase Colorado’s Victorian society of the 19th century with documents and photos. Brown’s displayed family photos, decor, and political activism artifacts are some of the most popular elements in the museum.

Admission is free for members and children under 6, $12 for children 6 to 18, $14 for military personnel, students, and teachers, $14 for seniors 70+, and $16 for adults. The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The nearest bus stop is 12th Avenue and Pennsylvania Street.

  • Address: 1340 Pennsylvania St., Denver, CO 80203

10. Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

Museum of Contemporary Art Denver
Image Credit: Nikki A. Rae via Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA) was the city’s first contemporary art museum when it opened in 1996.

When founded, the museum was designed to showcase modern art, thus allowing the structure to act as an authentic representation of the state-of-the-art world at any given time. For that reason, there’s no permanent collection in the structure. This celebration of contemporary art has also allowed the museum to showcase pieces from international artists and American creators.

Exhibitions are rotated frequently, with most galleries only being displayed for 2 or 3 months before they are swapped with new pieces. So, repeat visits are virtually guaranteed to offer different experiences. The museum also aims to help inspire aspiring artists through educational events, teen art showcases, and workshops, which are hosted occasionally.

Admission is free for members and children 18 and under, a penny for in-state residents (the first Sunday of the month only), $5 for everyone (only after 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Thursdays), $9 for students, teachers, military personnel, and seniors 65+, and $12 for adults.

The museum is open Tuesday to Friday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest transit stop is 16th Street and Wewatta Street at Union Station.

  • Address: 1485 Delgany St., Denver, CO 80202

“MCA Denver is a gem of an art museum, with well-curated exhibitions that feature and celebrate the most exciting artistic voices working today. And, [its] Rooftop Cafe is the single best spot in Denver to enjoy a cocktail on a summer evening.”

Nora Burnett Abrams, Mark G. Falcone Director, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

11. National Ballpark Museum

National Ballpark Museum
Image Credit: National Ballpark Museum

Considered one of the best baseball museums in the country, the National Ballpark Museum aims to preserve the history of “America’s Favorite Pastime.”

Initially, the facility just displayed posters, pictures, and other artifacts from the 14 major ballparks of the U.S. However, as the museum has grown, so has its collection. Today, it also houses many jerseys, balls, and other items that don’t just immortalize stadiums but the teams that played in them as well.

Perhaps the most beloved part of the museum is the “Ballpark Wall of Fame,” which was constructed using bricks from classic ballparks like Wrigley Field in Chicago and Crosley Field in Cincinnati. The exhibit is so comprehensive in its coverage of baseball history that the Smithsonian has even recognized it for its work in preserving an essential part of U.S. culture.

Admission is free for children under 17 and active military personnel, $10 for seniors 65+, and $20 for adults. The museum is open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest transit stop is Union Station.

  • Address: 1940 Blake St., Denver, CO 80202

12. Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

Wings Over the Rockies Air Space Museum
Image Credit: Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

The Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum (WOTR) aims to showcase the history of the Lowry Air Force Base during its nearly 6 decades of operation. Today, the facility is divided into 13 different exhibits, which span topics from aviation in science fiction to the Cold War. As a result, the museum’s collection houses military, civilian, and space flight artifacts.

Some of the most popular displays in the museum are the to-scale replica of the X-Wing Starfighter from the original “Star Wars” trilogy, a Grumman F-14A Tomcat, a Centaur Upper Stage rocket, and a Ball-Bartoe Jetwing.

The museum notably works with schools and education programs to help kids become interested in STEM. The museum offers hands-on programs that allow participants to fly drones, go on airplane flights, and get basic piloting ground training.

Admission is free for children under 4, $11.95 for children 4 to 16, $14.95 for active and veteran military personnel and seniors 65+, and $18.95 for adults. The museum is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Lowry Boulevard and Uinta Way.

  • Address: 7711 E. Academy Blvd., Denver, CO 80230

How To Get Free or Reduced Admission to Denver Museums

We’ve indicated with each museum whether or not children, students, or seniors receive free or reduced admission. Several other programs offer similar concessions.

The Museums for All program offers free or reduced admission to museums through the U.S. for those receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits). Participating attractions in the greater Denver area include the Children’s Museum of Denver, the Clyfford Still Museum, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, History Colorado, the MCA Denver, and the Molly Brown House Museum.

Bank of America’s Museums on Us program offers cardholders free general admission on the first full weekend of every month to the following Denver museums: the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, History Colorado, and the Museo de las Americas (Saturdays only).

Participation is subject to change; please verify participating museums and entry conditions before your visit.

Final Thoughts

Denver is clearly a multi-faceted city with a lot to offer visitors. Though often best known for its outdoor activities, this corner of Colorado also has plenty of exhibits worth visiting. Hopefully, this list has helped you narrow your choices so you know which you should add to the top of your itinerary. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Denver have good museums?

Denver has a wide variety of museums for people to enjoy that cover numerous topics, from art to sports. While some, like the Denver Art Museum, are relatively well-known, there are numerous hidden gem establishments within the city’s limits as well that are worth seeing.

Are Denver’s museums free?

Denver has several museums free for visitors, all the time or on specific days. However, that’s not the case for all of the city’s galleries and exhibition spaces. Visitor programs can help bring down ticket costs, though.

Why is Denver so popular?

Denver is a popular city because it offers something for everyone. The area is known for its art and cultural scenes, which are some of the best in Colorado. Athletes, outdoor lovers, and foodies can also find something to enjoy while visiting Denver’s many sites.

How many museums are in Denver?

Officially, there are over 30 museums in Denver. However, this number is constantly changing as new spaces open. This museum count also doesn’t count the small exhibits, galleries, and temporary art experiences routinely hosted around Denver throughout the year.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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