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Wild West History in Denver

flickr/Jeffrey Beall
By AAA Travel Editor Laurie Sterbens
April 27, 2022
Looking at the sleek skyscrapers of downtown Denver, it’s hard to believe this modern city got its start as a rough-and-tumble mining town. These hotels and attractions offer a glimpse into the mountain town’s colorful past.
flickr/Jeffrey Beall

American Museum of Western Art – The Anschutz Collection

1727 Tremont Place
(303) 293-2000
The Anschutz Collection includes paintings of various schools and genres that illustrate more than a century of the American frontier, from Native American buffalo hunters to cowboys, gold-seekers and pioneers. The collection is housed in the Navarre Building, an 1880 structure with a colorful history of its own as a former girls’ school, bordello and jazz club.
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Wikimedia Commons / CC BY/Midimacman

Black American West Museum

3091 California St.
(720) 242-7428
Located in the historic Five Points neighborhood in the former home of Dr. Justina Ford, the first African American woman doctor in Denver. The museum is only open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, but it’s worth a visit for its unique collection of artifacts, memorabilia and photos depicting the history of the African American cowboys and cowgirls, pioneers and miners who settled the American West.
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flickr/Chelsea Nesvig

Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave

987 1/2 Lookout Mountain Rd.
(303) 526-0744
While it’s technically outside Denver, a short drive to Golden will take you to the gravesite of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, who earned his nickname as a buffalo hunter and later traveled the world with his Wild West shows. The museum has exhibits illustrating Cody’s life along with Native American artifacts and other objects from the Old West. Located in Lookout Mountain Park, the site offers spectacular views of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains.
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VISIT DENVER/Steve Crecelius

Denver Art Museum

100 W. 14th Avenue Pkwy.
(720) 865-5000
The Denver Art Museum, a AAA GEM®, features an extensive collection of Western American art anchored by Charles Deas’s “Long Jakes, the Rocky Mountain Man,” Frederic Remington’s bronze “The Cheyenne” and Charles M. Russell’s “In the Enemy’s Country.” The museum’s Roath Collection includes more than 50 works ranging from 1877 to 1972 by masters of American Western art.
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flickr/Jeffrey Beall

Four Mile Historic Park

715 S. Forest St.
(720) 865-0800
The centerpiece of this 12-acre park is the Four Mile House Museum, reputedly Denver’s oldest structure. Built in 1859, the house was the last stop for travelers headed for Denver on the Cherokee Trail. The surrounding land was a thriving farm for many years, and the park continues to offer a bucolic setting where you’ll find horses, goats and chickens amid the historic buildings.
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flickr/Jeffrey Beall

History Colorado Center

1200 Broadway
(303) 447-8679
This AAA GEM offers exhibits and programs that tell the stories of Colorado’s history. See the city as it was in the 1800s in the Denver Diorama. The Living West exhibit illustrates how the state’s environment shaped its human history, while an interactive “time machine” on a 40- by 60-foot map allows visitors to travel back to different periods.
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Courtesy of Hotel Indigo Denver Downtown

Hotel Indigo Denver Downtown - Union Station, an IHG Hotel

1801 Wewatta St.
(303) 623-4422
Denver’s gold rush history inspired the décor of this AAA Three Diamond® hotel, where photos and murals of mining scenes adorn its rustic yet modern lobby and guest rooms. The hotel is within easy walking distance of Union Station, which offers bus and rail access to the entire metro area.
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AAA/Inspector 599

Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center

918 17th St.
(303) 867-8100
This AAA Four Diamond hotel showcases opulent architectural elements from its original, early 20th century incarnation as Colorado National Bank. Its spacious lobby features a series of 16 murals by Western artist Allen Tupper True. Amenities are thoroughly modern, however, with bedside USB ports and flat-screen TVs in each guest room and an on-site fitness center.
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AAA/Inspector 599

The Art Hotel Denver, Curio Collection by Hilton

1201 Broadway
(303) 572-8000
The Art, a AAA Four Diamond hotel, is next to the Denver Art Museum and displays an art collection of its own in the Welcome Gallery. Enjoy a Rocky Mountain sunset or the sparkling Denver skyline from its modern, colorfully decorated guest rooms or while having a cocktail on the fourth-floor patio.
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