The Westword 2014 Arts and Culture Bucket List: #15-6
What are the hundred things everyone should do in Colorado before they die? We posed this question to our writers and editors, and over the next week, we'll be rolling out their answers across our blogs. Check back on January 16 for the full list.
#15: Visit the Kirkland Museum.
As far as local museums go, the Kirkland is a hidden jewel among a splash of big statements; fastidiously curated, it's a mid-century fanatic's dream. Its paean to Colorado painter Vance Kirkland's work, milieu and collections of art and objets is the ultimate flashback to a distant but not so faraway time and place. Also, it's a great place to wander on a rainy day.
#14: Spend a haunted night at Croke-Patterson Mansion.
The Croke-Patterson Mansion, a chateau-esque marvel built of red sandstone in 1890, is a designated historic landmark. After sitting empty for years, the historic home reopened as the Patterson Inn, a bed-and-breakfast with spacious rooms and glowing reviews from its guests, most of whom seem either unaware or completely at ease with the fact that they are sleeping and brunching in one of Denver's most notoriously haunted residences. Occultists -- who rarely have the opportunity to contact the spirits of the dead in such comfort, are welcome, but anyone who's read some of the spookier stories about the house might want to leave their dogs at home.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
#13: Locate all the gnomes at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science has a bit of serendipitous lore: Hidden gnomes are scattered throughout the dioramas, peeking around the meticulously arranged brush and branches in the matte paintings. Finding all of them without the assistance of guide is a rite of passage for museum-goers and a chance to play a real-life game of Where's Waldo? And don't miss the polar bear sunset diorama while you're there; people have been oohing and aahing over it for decades.
#12: Take a stroll through time across the Millennium Bridge.
The world's first cable-stayed bridge of its kind, the Millennium Bridge's modern arc crosses over some of the oldest parts of Denver while connecting downtown bustle with Highland's blend of old and new. The Central Platte Valley footbridge might not be as grand as the Golden Gate or Brooklyn bridges, but it does offer a short walk through time to all who cross it.
#11: Hold a seance in Cheesman Park
If there's anywhere in Denver to ghost-hunt, it's the old Mount Prospect Cemetery, known today as Cheesman Park. Its history includes a very Poltergeist, they-left-the-bodies-but-moved-the-headstones tale: Undertaker E.P. McGovern was hired in 1893 to remove the corpses from the cemetery, but saved money by hacking up bodies, putting them in child-sized caskets and never finishing the job. Maybe 2014 is the year to commune with the disgruntled spirits. Bring candles and break out the Ouija board.
#10: Shop your way down Broadway from First Avenue to Englewood.
Hipster Heaven, thy name is South Broadway -- if your idea of a good time is hitting every edgy boutique and antique store on Denver's own Great White Way. There are plenty of coffee spots and bars where you can caffeinate or quench along the way -- not to mention exotic ice cream parlors and hip eateries -- so it's easy to make a day of it.
#9: Buy your souvenirs at I Heart Denver.
In the wasteland of junky souvenir shops on the 16th Street Mall, there's one place that stands out: I Heart Denver in the Denver Pavilions elevates souvenir shopping to a higher level. Featuring one-of-a-kind handmade clothing, trinkets and Colorado-centric homewares by local artisans, as well as quality, regionally born-and-raised artwork, I Heart Denver has its finger on the pulse of the Mile High City....and your wallet
#8: Hike the Colorado Trail.
Stretching nearly 500 miles, from Waterton Canyon on the Front Range to far across the Continental Divide in Durango, the Colorado Trail is a hiker's dream, offering high-altitude vistas and meadows of wildflowers and mining ruins; depending on your stamina, you can cross it in ten days or, more likely, forty. Take the high road.
#7: Ride the rails.
Light rail, that is: The novelty of RTD's hurtling transit cars has yet to wear off for Front Range denizens longing to get from point A to point B without driving a car, especially with last year's debut of the West Rail Line from downtown Denver to Golden. So perhaps it's not faster than a speeding bullet, and sometimes the cars get crowded, but it's a quick and easy way to see the sights in a day's time. Give it a ride.
#6: Visit every Denver Arts District in one night on First Friday.
Each of Denver's arts districts has its own character and following, but as at an ice cream parlor, it's hard to settle on just one flavor. First Friday is a way to taste them all. It takes a lot of organization and even more parking karma to get the job done, but it is possible to take in the circus on Santa Fe Drive, see Navajo Street's inner circle of co-ops, hit a clay workshop on Tennyson Street and take a peek at the sleek Golden Triangle galleries before partying away the rest of the night in the warehouse havens of RiNo. Your prize? A lifetime of art experiences in one magical night.
Come back on January 16 for the final five in our arts and culture bucket list.
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