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Denver Off the Beaten Path

AAA/Frank Swanson
By AAA Travel Editor Frank Swanson
September 21, 2018
Denver’s sprawling downtown area is absolutely packed with things to see—so many that a few worthy attractions sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Victorian mansions, contemporary art museums, trendy places to eat and notable collections of historic objects all make the list of Denver’s hidden gems.
AAA/Frank Swanson

Avanti Food & Beverage

3200 Pecos St.
(720) 269-4778
Northwest of downtown Denver is the LoHi (Lower Highland) neighborhood, known for both its historic charm and modern apartment buildings as well as for being a foodie destination. One of the district’s standouts is Avanti Food & Beverage, a hip two-story food hall with seven diverse restaurants offering tasty fare ranging from poke bowls and arepas to gourmet pizzas and hamburgers. A rooftop deck and a bar on each level create a festive atmosphere that attracts locals who want to kick back at the end of the workday. Another highlight: guests order at windows cut into the sides of steel shipping containers, which makes Avanti feel like a fun, indoor food truck event.
AAA/Frank Swanson

Clyfford Still Museum

1250 Bannock St.
(720) 354-4880
Although it is literally within the shadow of the Denver Art Museum (one of the city’s top places to see), the Clyfford Still Museum is easily overlooked—but shouldn’t be. Housed within a very cool modern building are artworks created by abstract expressionist painter Clyfford Still, a giant in the mid-20th-century modern art world. Even if large canvases painted in two or three colors leave you scratching your head, the museum is worth a visit just to see the dramatic interior spaces bathed in natural light filtered through concrete webbing.
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Courtesy of Forney Museum of Transportation

Forney Museum of Transportation

4303 Brighton Blvd.
(303) 297-1113
Near the River North Art District—nicknamed “RiNo” by locals and ground zero for Denver’s thriving art scene—the Forney Museum of Transportation shows off a huge collection of antique cars along with bicycles, carriages, motorcycles and sleighs. Don’t miss Amelia Earhart’s canary yellow 1923 Kissel Speedster, which she drove cross country from Los Angeles to Boston in 1924. Afterward you can check out RiNo’s craft breweries, cutting-edge art galleries and wildly colored street murals. An evening in the edgy neighborhood is one of the city’s countless fun things to do with friends.
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AAA/Frank Swanson

History Colorado Center

1200 Broadway
(303) 447-8679
If it weren’t for the name engraved in extra-large-size letters above the entrance, you might mistake AAA GEM® History Colorado Center for a high-tech government laboratory. Don’t let its Space Age exterior fool you. Inside are hundreds of historic objects—many quite ancient—as well as interactive child-friendly displays that will teach you all about Centennial State history. Although the center is among the city’s fun things to do with kids, many exhibits also will appeal to adults.
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AAA/Frank Swanson

Molly Brown House Museum

1340 Pennsylvania St.
(303) 832-4092
The first thing you need to know about “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” who famously survived the Titanic disaster, was that her name was Margaret, not Molly. The second thing you should know is that one of Denver’s many fun things to do downtown is to tour her beautifully restored Victorian Eclectic home in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. You’ll learn all about this very unconventional woman, who is remembered as a philanthropist, social activist and patron of the arts. You’ll also discover how far the 1960s musical strayed from the facts of her remarkable life.
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