Five Doors Open Denver tours you don't want to miss

As city-dwellers, we see an average of probably hundreds of buildings every day, most of which we will never step inside. And for the most part, that's fine, but there are always those buildings that pique our interest, that make us think, "huh, I wonder what's in there?" This weekend is an excellent opportunity to find out with Doors Open Denver, where the city opens up over seventy buildings for your perusal -- earlier today, we recommended some of our favorite ones. But in addition to all the buildings, the city is also offering a variety of guided tours this weekend where you will not only see the buildings, you will also learn something about them; all you have to do is show up at Union Station from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday or Sunday and preregister, and it's all free. Here's a few tours you shouldn't miss. Union Station, LoDo and the Red Light District Sunday, 10:30 a.m. Denver has a storied and bawdy wild-west past, and we'll be damned if it didn't involve some golden-hearted whores along the way -- but whores are not the only reason to go on this tour. It's also guided by Tom Noel, a guy who knows so much about Colorado history that people actually call him "Dr. Colorado" -- for serious, though: This guy is awesome. He's an encyclopedia of Colorado facts, sure, but he also knows how to weave them into a real good yarn. Coors Field Saturday, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. You always thought one day you'd be in the dugout of a major league baseball team, but then high school was over and you got a job at the meat-packing plant and that was that. This weekend, you can realize that dream kind of. It's not like Coors Field is a non-public area or anything, but there are still a lot of areas that you will never see because you are not rich enough or not talented enough, like the dugout or the club level -- this tour offers you the chance to see them and more. Frederic C. Hamilton Building Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. The Frederic C. Hamilton Building of the Denver Art Museum is probably the awesomest enclosure of modern art ever because the building itself is basically art -- and while you've probably been inside there before, how much do you really know about it? Besides maybe that it was designed by a really famous architect, probably nothing. Neither do we, which is why we're looking forward to this tour with architect Brit Probst, who will explain some of the design concepts at play. Fontius Building Sunday, 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. A beautiful old slab of marble and glass on some of the primest real estate in town, the Fontius Building has been sitting vacant for about 20 years, just an empty storefront window and the cryptic sign of a business that went under long ago -- meaning this is not only a building you'll probably otherwise never see, but it's a building with a fascinating back story. For starters: It's actually not called the Fontius Building. What is it called? You'll have to take the tour to find out.
Cableland, Official Residence of the Mayor Saturday, 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Though it's the official residence of the Mayor of Denver, Cableland has never actually been inhabited by any Mayor, probably because it is a gigantic, 19,500-foot monstrosity of a cocaine palace complete with a multi-level pool and a wall of televisions, just like the most opulent of Miami Vice's foes. Originally the residence of cable magnate Bill Daniels, Cableland hasn't been lived in for over a decade, and so much the better for you -- this is probably the most awesome building in town.

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte