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Historic Denver: How Visitors Can Get a Taste of the Wild West

November 17, 2022 By CityPASS

The Mile-High City — so dubbed because it stands precisely one mile above sea level — is a colorful, exciting, and thriving hub of culture, history, sports and more. Home of the Denver Broncos football team, a massive and vibrant downtown, and boasting a jaw-dropping 300 (yep, you’ve read it right!) days of sunshine a year, Denver is a city that has something for everyone.

If you are a fan of Western movies and just about everything to do with the glorious Wild West, then a trip to historic Denver is a no-brainer. Keep reading our guide to discover some absolute must-sees in this amazing Colorado city.

Historic Denver's Best Tours and Exhibits Showcasing the Wild West

In the past, Denver used to be a prosperous mining settlement. Luckily, the city has retained much of its mining history, which visitors can explore and appreciate by joining tours and exhibits showcasing its old Wild West roots.

Let’s take a peek at some of our favorite Wild West-themed things and places across the Mile-High City.

Learn About Denver's Role in Western Expansion at History Colorado Center

One of the first stops on your historic Denver tour should be the History Colorado Center. Located on 12th and Broadway, right in the Golden Triangle neighborhood, the museum offers visitors lots of fascinating information on Denver’s mining past.

Check Out Western American Art at the Denver Art Museum

After you visit the History Colorado Center, head to the Denver Art Museum, better known by locals and tourists as DAM. Here, you can appreciate some truly noteworthy Native and Western American art and the museum's visionary architecture, designed by Giò Ponti and Daniel Libeskind.

Find Historic Buildings That Date Back to the Wild West

While you are on your way to lunch, take the time to plan your route so that you can come across some of Denver’s most beautiful historic buildings dating back to the Wild West. For example, make sure you don’t miss the Buckhorn Exchange — the oldest saloon in the state.

With 125 historic guns decorating it and over 500 different specimens of taxidermied animals, the real attraction here is a sword that used to belong to George Armstrong Custer.

Looking for something a bit fancier? Take yourself to the Brown Palace Hotel. Established in 1892, this is a smaller version of New York’s Flatiron Building and is one of the chicest Old West hotels to this day, serving daily tea in its eight-story foyer with stained-glass ceiling and quartz and onyx walls.

Another unmissable historic building in Denver is the Molly Brown House Museum. A true emblem of the Victorian era, this house was designed using a combination of different styles, including Classic, Romanesque and Neoclassic.

Over the decades, the house had many different owners and served many purposes — from the original owners, Isaac and Mary Lange, down to Molly and J.J. Brown. Molly Brown kept possession of the house until her death, when Art Leisenring purchased it.

Leisenring strived to keep the house as it was, especially in the face of the trendy urban renewal sweeping the city of Denver at the time. Thanks to him, the house survived a large-scale demolition project in the 1960s and has now become a museum that locals and tourists can visit.

See Incredible Western-Theme Statues at the Civic Center Park

People who love mixing culture with a good old walk in the great outdoors will love strolling along Civic Center Park. This vast green area, close to Capitol Hill, bursts with interesting statues and lots of cool installations, exhibitions, and architecture.

One of the most famous statues you can find here is Broncho Buster, created by Alexander Phimister and standing 15 feet tall.

Keep walking towards the north side of the Civic Center — on the southern end of Colfax Avenue and close to the intersection with Bannock Street — until you find Mine Craft, a hidden gem created and installed by Miki Iwasaki in 2017. This fantastic piece of architecture functions as a beautiful abstract map of the state of Colorado.

Every layer of this grandiose installation represents a raw material extracted from the state’s ground and used throughout Denver’s thriving mining past.

Stop by Rockmount Ranch Wear for Western-Style Fashion

After all this walking and cultural sightseeing, it’s time for a bit of well-deserved shopping. Western-style-inspired, of course! In Denver, this can only mean heading over to Rockmount Ranch Wear and getting lost in their massive selection of Western-style clothing and accessories.

Founded by Jack A. Weil, “Papa Jack” in 1946, this iconic store offers the best ranch-style fashion for women, men, and children. And with celebrity customers including Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Robert Plant, Robert Redford, and more, you never know who you might bump into once you enter the magical world of Rockmount.

Tour Preserved Areas for a Deep Dive Into the Wild West

The nonprofit organization Historic Denver is responsible for promoting and caring for the city's historical landmarks, including its beautiful Wild West buildings, statues, and sculptures.

They also offer walking tours to some of Denver's preserved areas and fun scavenger hunts and private walks.

Plan Your Trip To Historic Denver at a Discount

If you love all things Wild West, visiting historic Denver is right up your alley. The Mile-High City is world-renowned for its old mining roots, which still coexist with its more modern buildings, parks, and museums.

But because there are so many Western-inspired things to do and see in Denver — from historic buildings to exciting museums, from local art to visionary sculptures and installations — you could spend a fortune to experience them all. With Denver CityPASS® tickets, though, you can ensure your Denver stay is as unforgettable and convenient as possible while saving up to on admission to the city’s top attractions, giving you a mile-high experience without the mile-high cost.

Denver Lodging

To get the most out of your stay in Denver, we recommend finding lodging near Denver's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:

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