Students at Union Station
October 23, 2017

The University of Colorado Denver is Colorado’s only public urban research university, and it’s located in the heart of Denver. We are CU in the City.

For students, this means quick and easy access to a variety of culture, history and entertainment. You can visit Colorado’s oldest business district, catch a Broncos game, watch a Broadway musical or take a rock climbing class, all within walking distance of campus. As you visit CU Denver, we encourage you to explore the vibrant city we call home and have created this interactive tour to help you make the most of your time in the City, too.

Larimer Square

For over 150 years, Larimer Square has served as one of Denver’s main shopping and cultural hubs. The city’s first commercial district, it was built next to Denver’s first mining camp, named Auraria. The Square later became Denver’s first local historic district, and today it continues to fill its historic role in the city’s landscape. Its brick Victorian-era buildings house a variety of restaurants and shops catering to locals and tourists alike.

Denver Center for the Performing Arts

The Convention Center’s giant blue bear might be peeking in the wrong building. Right next door is the Denver Performing Arts Complex, housing 10 performance venues with over 10,000 seats. Shakespeare plays, local productions and a variety of concerts all take place at the DCPA, which also serves as a major stop on the Broadway circuit. With tickets as little as $10, the DCPA also hosts a handful of free events every year, including the Denver Brass Holiday Concert.

Pavilions Shopping Center and 16th Street Mall

The façade of Denver’s largest outdoor mall was designed by legendary architect IM Pei. The 16th Street Mall houses a variety of stores, restaurants and food trucks, as well as the Pavilions Shopping Center, which features indoor shopping and dining options. In winter, the mall also hosts an ice skating rink and German Christmas Market. These stand under the Daniels and Fisher Tower, which is modeled after Italy’s Campanile, and was the tallest building outside New York City at the time it was built.

Union Station

Built for the train era and reinvented for the modern age, Denver’s Union Station is one of the city’s preeminent attractions. The station brought economic development to Denver in the 1920s, but fell into disrepair as cars and planes replaced locomotive travel. It was only in the last decade that the station was restored, and it now houses top restaurants, stores and a hotel. It hasn’t lost its travel roots, though. In fact, travelers can now go there to catch a train to DIA.

REI flagship store and gardens

An outdoor state needs an outdoor store, and fortunately, Denver has an REI flagship store. Sitting in a 90,000-square-foot building that once housed boilers for the city’s Tramway Company, REI sells and repairs the gear you need for any Colorado adventure. It also holds events and classes, and has a rock climbing wall.

Pepsi Center

Home of the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Mammoth, the Pepsi Center is about way more than sports. It hosts a variety of events, most notably concerts. Its Titanic opening was celebrated with a Celine Dion concert (perhaps fitting for the hometown of Molly Brown), and it’s only grown since.

Museum of Contemporary Art

Founded in the ‘90s, the MCA is Denver’s first and largest museum dedicated to modern art. Its mission is to create a forum that inspires and challenges all audiences, using art to create understanding and dialogue. It’s a fitting complement to CU Denver’s diversity and urban setting. Rotating exhibits change three to four times annually, and the museum also offers art appreciation classes.

Mile High Stadium

Yes, it is almost exactly one mile above sea level, and it’s the home of the Denver Broncos. A home plate in the parking lot marks the original Bears Stadium’s home base, and the marble for the sculptures inside comes from the same quarry that provided the stone for Washington D.C.’s Tomb of the Unknowns. Even if you can’t catch a game, you can take a tour.

U.S. Mint

In 1863, the US Treasury bought a local company that pressed miners’ gold dust into coins to save on shipping and insurance costs, and the Denver Mint was born. Though the mint was officially founded that year, it didn’t begin pressing coins until 1906. Instead, it acted as an Assay Office, melting, casting and assaying gold bars. Today, it’s the largest coin producer in the world, and offers free tours.

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