By Erica Boniface, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Staff
During the Grantmakers in the Arts Conference (October 13-16), arts leaders from across the country will come together for four days to discuss issues around community development, public art, education, advocacy and equity.
Needless to say, attendees are in for a wonderful learning experience and opportunities to meet fellow peers and other arts leaders from all over the U.S. But let’s not concentrate on all work and no play. You’re heading to COLORADO, after all, so make the best of it. Plan a couple adventures before you head home.
We’ve pulled together a quick Colorado guide just for you, fellow convention goers. From nearby arts exhibits to mountain escapes, here’s a list of inexpensive day trips, outings and can’t-miss places to see in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Estes Park when you visit Colorado for the Grantmakers in the Arts Convention.
So plan on extending your stay at the front end, or afterwards (or both!), and consider bringing the family – Colorado has so much to offer! And remember, when you share this article, make sure to use #GIArts and #CulturalIntersections within your social media posts. Enjoy your stay in Colorado, friends. We look forward to spending the week with you.
Boulder is famous for its scenic background (nestled right up against the Flatiron Mountains), Pearl Street Mall, colorful residents and relaxing vibe. Expedia recently named Boulder one of America’s most artistic towns. It’s one of those places that should be on your bucket list, no doubt. And bonus: it’s only about a 30-minute drive from Denver.
Directions from Denver: Head North on I-25 and merge onto Highway 36 (The Boulder Turnpike). Take Highway 36 Northwest into Boulder (becomes 28th Street as you enter town). If you want to avoid renting a car, by Uber or Lyft it is about a $35-40 ride.
Pearl Street Mall
There is something for everyone to enjoy on the four-block-long pedestrian mall, Pearl Street. You’ll just miss the Pearl Street Arts Fest in July, but don’t fret, you’ll enjoy watching street performers, dining at some of Colorado’s best restaurants and taking in the sights of the surrounding Flatirons mountains.
While on Pearl Street, stop by Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery (1421 Pearl St.), which is one of the oldest artist cooperatives in the United States, founded in 1971. The gallery represents hundreds of artists who create fine art and contemporary American crafts from Colorado and throughout the country.
Location: 1942 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302
NoBo Art District
This is truly Boulder. NoBo Art District is a community-focused organization characterized by mixed-use new urbanism, high-end restaurants and shops and a mix of artist-friendly warehouses. The NoBo Art District creates opportunities for artists to connect with each other and the broader community promoting relationships through art, education and events.
Location: Check out ARTS Project 101 at 4949 Broadway, Suite 101A, Boulder, CO
Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
You’re in luck and in for quite a treat: Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is exhibiting artist Helen Zughaib from August 21 – November 24, 2019 at Macky Auditorium. Helen Zughaib is also exhibited in the White House, the Library of Congress, the World Bank and in hundreds of collections and museums around the globe.
Location: 1750 13th St., Boulder, CO 80302
Hours: Tues-Sun from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $1/adults; seniors; students and educators
Parking: Metered parking on 13th and 14th Streets
Where to Stay in Boulder:
Location: 900 Baseline Rd., Boulder, CO 80302
We wouldn’t be serving you correctly if we failed to mention the Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark in Boulder. The park offers tranquil accommodations at the foot of the Flatirons, cultural programming, nourishing cuisine at the Dining Hall and a full calendar of events taking place at Chautauqua Auditorium. You’ll want to bring your whole family for this Colorado experience.
For overnight stays, Chautauqua offers reservations in their Missions House Lodge, Columbine Lodge or 58 delightful cottages available in 1,2 or 3-bedroom configurations each fully equipped with kitchens and screened-in front porches
Colorado Springs “Olympic City USA” is another can’t-miss destination. The city offers everything from gorgeous hikes (check out Garden of the Gods or test your footing on the Manitou Incline), phenomenal arts galleries and memorable cultural venues. It’s the most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado and sits at 6,035 feet above sea level. The city sits near the base of one of the most famous American mountains, Pikes Peak, at the eastern edge of the southern Rocky Mountains.
Directions from Denver: Take I-25 South to Colorado Springs. The drive takes about 1 hour, 23 minutes. Colorado Springs is a pricier Uber/Lyft ride than Boulder, about $95 each way, so car rental is the better option. There is not a rail connection.
**For more information and general information on the region’s arts and cultural events, visit https://www.peakradar.com.
UCCS Ent Center for the Arts
This transformational, state-of-the-art facility is a hub for CU Colorado Springs Department of Visual and Performing Arts as well as a synergistic and innovative collaboration involving community arts partners and local school districts. The facility features a 774-seat theater/concert hall; a 245-seat Chapman Foundation’s recital hall; The Gallery of Contemporary Art; The Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater; the VAPA Interdisciplinary Arts Lab; and The Osborne Theater.
Location: 1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy, Colorado Springs, CO 80918
Art on the Streets
Downtown Colorado Springs is home to world-class concert halls and museums, colleges, galleries and studios. You’ll love taking in the sights of historic buildings and public art that line the streets of the quaint Colorado town.
How cool is this? You can also take a self-guided audio tours and hear stories about Downtown Colorado Springs public art and arts advocates themselves by using your smartphone. Download the free GPS-based app Otocast via iTunes or Google Play.
Location: Downtown Colorado Springs (703 111 S. Tejon St.)
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College
Built in 1936, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center grew out of an expanded the mission of the Broadmoor Art Academy to become one of the only multi-discipline arts institutions in the nation. Today the site remains an amazing rarity – a museum, theatre and art school – essentially an entire arts district under one roof. The center offers special performances in the galleries, stand-up comedy and concerts in the theaters as well as epic parties in the Smith Family Gallery.
Location: 30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Museum hours: Tues-Sat from 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. (Closed Mondays)
Cost: $10/adults; $5/military and seniors (55+)
US Olympic Training Center
Okay, so this isn’t art-centric. But let’s be honest: the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs will make for an epic adventure and give you plenty of stories to take home with you after your visit. No reservations are necessary for groups of 10 or less. The facility honors the rich heritage and enduring legacies of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
Location: 1 Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs, CO 80909
Cost: $12/adults; $10/military and seniors (65+); $8/children ages 5-12; Free/children under 5 years old
Hours: Mon-Sat from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sun from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Summer tours are conducted each half hour, except Sundays when they are done at the top of each hour.
Garden of the Gods
The name pretty much speaks for itself with this one. Garden of the Gods is one of Colorado’s most beautiful and scenic destinations – and it only takes 60 minutes from Denver to visit. It’s the perfect opportunity to lace up your sneakers and head for a hike by exploring one of its many trails. Don’t forget to bring your camera for this one, you’re about to make memories that you’ll want to capture for a lifetime.
Location: 1805 N. 30th St., Colorado Springs, CO 80904
Hours: Open daily from 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
Where to Stay in Colorado Springs:
The Broadmoor Hotel
Staying in the Broadmoor is a bit more expensive but trust us when we say this: It’s worth the splurge. The renowned resort offers a luxury package for the whole family. There are three swimming pools, waterslides, a golf course, guest movie theatre, 20 cafes and lounges – and so much more. As if that hasn’t convinced you enough: They even offer babysitting services. We’d say it’s time to get your Broadmoor on, friends.
Location: 1 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Cost: Rooms start at $375/night
Just a short 60-minute drive north of Denver will take you to Fort Collins, Colorado. The city is nestled against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and lies about 5,000 feet above sea level. Of course, Colorado State University is located in Fort Collins, but the town breathes life into the arts from The Music District to The Lincoln Center and Downtown Artery. Visitors will love taking in theatre, musical performances, dance, public art, galleries, photography and more.
Directions from Denver: Take I-25 North. To get to Colorado State University, take Prospect Road (Exit 268). Follow Prospect Road west for 5 miles, turn right onto Shields Street.
The Music District
The Music District is creative playground for music lovers and the community – it’s home to musicians, businesses, nonprofits and anyone in between who has an appreciation for music. If you’re an artist, The Music District provides resources, spaces, tools for learning, composing, rehearsing, collaborating and more. If you work in the music industry, learn and build your skills and stay up-to-date with trends in touring, marketing, management, production, legal and more. If you just love attending performances, there are plenty of live shows to enjoy.
Location: 639 S. College Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80524
Hours: Mon-Fri from 2 p.m.-8 p.m.; Sat from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Closed Sundays
The Lincoln Center is one of the Colorado’s largest and most diverse presenters of professional theatre, dance, music, visual arts and children’s programming. The facility offers two performing art spaces, an art gallery, and an outdoor sculpture garden.
We suggest staying a few extra nights once the Grantmakers in the Arts Conference wraps up and purchase tickets to the ArtWear Fashion Show on October 18. The ArtWear event presents one-of-a-king creations by nationally recognized artists. Tickets to the show: https://tickets.lctix.com/ordertickets.asp?p=3153
Location: 417 W. Magnolia, Fort Collins, CO 80521
Hours: Tues-Sat from Noon-6 p.m.
Cost: Art Gallery at Lincoln Center is always Free
Fort Collin’s Downtown Artery is a great hub to let loose and unwind. The live music venue, art gallery and bar create a collaborative environment for artists, musicians, and everyone in between. There seems to be a special event happening almost every night, so check in with their event calendar before you make the trek to Fort Collins.
Location: 252-254 Linden St., Fort Collins, CO 80524
Hours: Mon-Fri from 4 p.m.-Late; Sat from 11 a.m.-Late; Sun from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Gallery is open Tues-Sat from 2 p.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: Tickets vary from as low as $7-$24
Music and Sound Lab
You’re going to love the Music and Sound Lab at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, supported through the generosity of the Bohemian Foundation. You’ll learn the physics of sound, the technology behind everything from Edison wax cylinders to iPods, the history of the Fort Collins music scene, and have your own opportunity to play instruments including guitars, drums, marimbas, keyboards and a theremin.
Location: Fort Collins Museum of Discovery (408 Mason Ct., Fort Collins, CO 80524)
Hours: Tues-Sun from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Closed Mondays and holidays
Cost: $9.50/adults; $7/seniors and students; $6/children ages 3-12
Gregory Allicar Museum of Art
The Gregory Allicar Museum of Art offers three permanents exhibits for the public to enjoy. The Hartford-Tandstad Collection consists of 200 works of art, including drawings, paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts – primarily dating from the late Renaissance through the 19th Century; The Americas Collection is a semi-permanent exhibition curated by students at CSU and shows works by modern and contemporary artists from the U.S. and Latin America; The African Collection highlights works of art that span over 50 countries and thousands of cultures – and shows the visual differences found from one region to the next.
Location: Colorado State University (1400 Remington St., Fort Collins, CO 80523
Hours: Tues-Sat from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where to Stay in Fort Collins:
The Elizabeth Hotel
Location: 111 Chestnut St., Fort Collins, CO 80524
This is a fairly new Fort Collins hotel concept that you can only experience in the heart of Fort Collins. Guests will love checking out high-end instruments located inside the hotel – and there’s even turntables located in select rooms inside. Yes, turntables – so you can practice some beats before you hit the sheets.
Fort Collins Downtown Creative District is a great resource to learn more about the city’s thriving arts scene – with information on events, live shows, art galleries and even a roundup of craft breweries around town: http://www.dfccd.org/
Estes Park is just 90 miles northwest of Denver and sits about 7,522 feet above sea level. It’s the definition of a gorgeous Colorado mountain experience – without having to drive hours from Denver to experience the great outdoors. While you’re there, you’ll love the bench-lined Riverwalk and charming sculpture garden. Oh, and hopefully we don’t have to say this, but just in case: Come hungry. You’ll love dining in some of Estes Park’s known delicious eateries with phenomenal patio seating.
Directions from Denver: Take I-25 north to US Highway 36. Take US 36 northwest through Boulder to Lyons. In Lyons, turn left, continue on US 36 west to downtown. Estimated time: 1 hr & 36 min. It is a beautiful drive!
Art Center of Estes Park
While visiting the quaint mountain town, swing into the Art Center to enjoy original art by regional artists. The gallery features a large variety of oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, mixed media, etchings, jewelry, ceramics, glass, photography and wood.
Location: 517 Big Thompson Ave., Estes Park, CO 80517
Hours: Open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Aspen & Evergreen Gallery
As you’re strolling through picturesque downtown Estes Park, make sure to swing by the Aspen & Evergreen Gallery. The gallery is home to more than 45 Estes Park and Colorado artists showcasing the fine-art photography of James Frank, as well as pottery, jewelry, blown glass, fused glass, woodwork, handmade furniture, textile art, gourd art, leather and more.
Location: 356 E. Elkhorn Ave. #1, Estes Park, CO 80517
Hours: Mon-Sat from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Rocky Mountain National Park
We can’t write a guide to Colorado without including Rocky Mountain National Park. Plan a day trip to Estes Park and get ready to take in the sights of more than 100 peaks that rise above 11,000 feet in altitude, including Longs Peak at 14,259 feet. This is a wonderful adventure if you’ve rented a car for your visit, however there is a free park shuttle that leaves from the Estes Park Visitor’s Center daily. Either way, you’ll enjoy hiking trails, wildflowers, wildlife, starry nights and plenty of fun times with the park’s 415-square-mile mountain scenery.
Location: Just 8 miles from Estes Park via Highway 36 to Moraine Ave.
Cost: $20/1-day automobile pass; $10/1-day pass per person
Information Line: 970-586-1206
Where to Stay in Estes Park:
The Stanley Hotel
You have to make time to stay in – or at least visit – the world-famous Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. You’ve probably read about how the hotel inspired author Stephen King after his visit in the 1970s – which led him to writing his first hardcover bestseller The Shining. Or you may enjoy reenacting your favorite scenes from the movie Dumb and Dumber. Race you to the top! But beware: The Stanley Hotel has been featured on many ghost hunting shows and articles as it’s a known haunted hotel in America.
Location: 333 E. Wonderview Ave., Estes Park, CO 80517
YMCA of the Rockies
YMCA of the Rockies was recently recognized as the No. 1 Outdoor and Adventure Destination in the United States. It is a gorgeous mountain community offering more recreational and outdoor programming activities than anywhere else. Visitors will enjoy horseback riding, hiking, swimming, fishing, hayrides, a zip line, two performing arts centers, a variety of educational programs and a fun craft shop to explore. Without a doubt, your Colorado adventures await at YMCA or the Rockies.
Location: 333 E. Wonderview Ave., Estes Park, CO 80517
If you want to have a few exciting excursions nearby the conference, you’re in luck – the Mile High City boasts a plethora of arts-hopping options. And, while you’re at it, swing into one of Denver’s many craft breweries to enjoy a pint or two.
Denver Performing Arts Complex
Sure, we have Rocky Mountain National Park in our backyard, but we also have the largest performing arts center under on roof, and the second-largest center of its kind in terms of number of venues and seating capacity just a hop, skip and jump away. Owned and operated by the City and County of Denver’s Arts & Venues agency, the Denver Performing Arts Complex takes up 12 blocks for its four-acre facility, which includes the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, the Buell Theatre, Boettcher Concert Hall, the Garner Galleria Theatre, the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex (including the Space, Stage, Ricketson and Jones Theatres and the Seawall Grand Ballroom), and the Conservatory Theatre at the Robert and Judi Newman Center for Theatre Education.
Location: Speer Boulevard and Arapahoe Street. The complex can also be accessed from 14th and Curtis Streets.
Parking: There’s an 8-story parking garage located at Arapahoe and 13th Streets. Additional parking is available at the Colorado Convention Center Parking Garage located at Speer Boulevard and Champa Street.
Aurora Fox Arts Center
If you’re attending the conference, you can receive a special discount for the musical “Miss You Like Hell” at the Aurora Fox Arts Center on Saturday, October 12 or Sunday, October 13. The musical is a beautiful and complex examination of what it means to be a family in today’s America – and it’s the perfect way to jumpstart the GIA Conference festivities.
To receive the discount, go to AuroraFox.org and click “Tickets” – select either Saturday, October 12 at 7:30 p.m. or Sunday, October 13 at 2 p.m. Once you confirm your seats, enter PROMO code GRANTS for the $15 tickets.
Location: Aurora Fox Theatre, 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, CO 80010
Here’s a handy list of Denver’s arts neighborhoods:
Art District on Santa Fe
Lace up your walking shoes, enjoy Denver’s sunshine and explore the Art District on Santa Fe, which is home to art studios, artist cooperatives, theaters, museums, murals and more. They all represent hundreds of artists at any given time and will make for quite the memorable outing. So, make sure your phone has enough photo space before you head out the door. The Art District on Santa Fe is steeped in Latino heritage to honor creativity for all.
Remember how we mentioned Denver’s craft breweries? Well, make sure you come hungry and thirsty for this outing.
Location: 525 Santa Fe Dr., Denver, CO 80204
Parking: Plenty of street parking available.
River North Art District (RiNo)
Once a hub of industry and secret warehouse concerts, River North – or “RiNo” as the locals call it, has grown in popularity and attracted enterprising businesses such as architecture firms, art galleries, design stores, late-night restaurants, delicious eateries and more. Trust us when we say this – you can enjoy a full day of activities in RiNo – and meet some of Colorado’s most creative and kind minds while you’re at it.
Location: 525 Santa Fe Dr., Denver, CO 80204
Parking: Plenty of street parking available.
The Golden Triangle offers many of Denver’s well-known attractions like the Denver Art Museum, Clyfford Still Museum, the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art and History Colorado Center. Among the civic and cultural destinations, you’ll find plenty of spots to refuel for your adventures in Denver.
Speer Boulevard, Colfax Avenue and Lincoln Street border the Triangle, which makes up an impressive 45 city blocks.
Denver Art Museum has great parking available as well.
Location: 100 W. 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, CO 80204
Parking: Plenty of street parking available, along with ample museum lot parking as well.
BuCu is a vibrant arts corridor located along Alameda Avenue between Federal and Sheridan boulevard in West Denver. Along the Morrison road section you’ll find colorful murals on light poles, electrical boxes, and building facades all created by local artists. As a gathering space, you’ll find both artists and community members in one place, integrating creativity within their everyday lives.
While you’re visiting this arts neighborhood – make sure to venture a bit further west to stop by the world-renowned concert venue, Red Rocks Amphitheatre and take in the beautiful sights.
Location: 4200 Morrison Road, Unit 3, Denver, CO 80219
We’re here to help. If you have any questions and need other suggestions and tips, email Erica Boniface at Erica@ColoradoMediaNetwork.com. She’ll be your personal Colorado concierge.