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Photos: Denver's top eleven hidden tourism gems, RNC-friendly edition

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Back in April, when representatives of the Republican National Committee were touring Denver to determine if it would make a good location for the 2016 GOP convention, we came up with a list of ten alternative Denver places to take them -- including the city's dankest corner and the newly remodeled Shotgun Willie's.

As far as we can tell, local officials completely shunned our advice -- but Denver made the next cut anyhow. Now, with the Mile High City's competition down to Cleveland, Dallas and Kansas City, RNC types are back in town for another look-around. Where should they go? This time, we turn to VISIT DENVER, the city's tourism agency. Last June, we shared the organization's picks for what it describes as "hidden gems," and all of them are guaranteed to please even the most conservative delegate -- and anyone else, too. Count them the list below, complete with photos, contact info and VISIT DENVER text.

Number 11:

Dikeou Collection 1615 California Street, Suite 515 Denver, CO 80202 303 623-3001 There's nowhere else you're going to see a pair of inflatable, 16-foot-tall rubber bunnies, right? One of the Mile High City's most fascinating art locales, The Dikeou Collection is a private collection of contemporary art, with photography, drawings, sculptures, and installations by more than 25 artists from around the world. Free and open to the public, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment.

Number 10:

Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls & Toys 1880 Gaylord Street Denver, CO 80206 (303) 322-1053 An incredible collection of miniatures, dolls and toys ranging from the 16th century to modern times, this museum fills all ages with a sense of wonder. The collection includes Japanese dolls, giant teddy bears, minutely detailed antique dollhouses, and tiny trains, planes and cars.

Continue for more of Denver's top eleven hidden tourism gems, RNC-friendly edition. Number 9:

Wings Over The Rockies Air & Space Museum 7711 E. Academy Boulevard Denver, CO 80230 303 360-5360 x104 Located in a 150,000-square-foot 1930s-era former Air Force hangar, Wings Over the Rockies is heaven for the aerospace enthusiast. The museum is home to more than three-dozen historic airplanes and space vehicles, including a massive B-52 Stratofortress, a 1926 Eaglerock "longwing," and -- Star Wars fans take note -- an X-Wing fighter.

Number 8:

Byers-Evans House Museum 1310 Bannock Street Denver, CO 80204 303 620-4933 One of Denver's great historic homes, built in 1883 by Rocky Mountain News publisher Williams Byers and sold in 1889 to the family of William Gray Evans, an officer of the Denver Tramway Company, the Byers-Evans House Museum offers keen insight into the early days of Denver. Guided tours take visitors through the elegant residence, richly filled with original Evans family furnishings.

Continue for more of Denver's top eleven hidden tourism gems, RNC-friendly edition. Number 7:

Brown Palace Hotel Spa 321 17th Street Denver, CO 80202 303 297-3111 After then-unheard of construction costs of $1.6 million, downtown Denver's Brown Palace opened its doors on August 12th, 1892 -- and hasn't closed them for a single moment since. This luxurious four-star hotel remains one of the city's crown jewels today with its stunning stained glass atrium lobby, extravagant suites and four extraordinary dining venues.

Number 6:

Rockmount Ranch Wear 1626 Wazee Street Denver, CO 80202 303 629-7777 A Denver original, fashion pioneer and CEO of Rockmount Ranch Wear, Papa Jack Weil -- who passed away in 2008 at the grand old age of 107 -- invented the western snap-button shirt and opened shop back in 1946. He sold his shirts to presidents and rock stars alike, including Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen. Stop by the flagship store and museum to browse the incredible selection of Western-style shirts, hats and accessories.

Continue for more of Denver's top eleven hidden tourism gems, RNC-friendly edition. Number 5:

Forney Transportation Museum 4303 Brighton Boulevard Denver, CO 80216 303-297-1113 "Anything on wheels" is the Forney's motto, and the museum boasts a one-of-a-kind collection of more than 500 exhibits relating to historical transportation. Highlights include Big Boy, the world's largest steam locomotive, legendary aviator Amelia Earhart's Gold Bug Kissel and a rare 1916 Detroit Electric Opera Coupe, one of the world's first electric cars.

Number 4:

Museo de las Americas 861 Santa Fe Drive Denver, CO 80204 303 571-4401 The only museum in the region devoted exclusively to Latino culture, collecting, preserving, and interpreting the art, history, and cultures of the Americas from ancient times to the present. Located in the heart of Denver's Santa Fe Art District, the Museo was founded in 1991 and boasts an ever-changing selection of exhibits, not to mention a wide array of educational offerings.

Continue for more of Denver's top eleven hidden tourism gems, RNC-friendly edition. Number 3:

Black American West Museum 3091 California Street Denver, CO 80205 720 242-7428 The Black American West Museum highlights the prominent role Blacks played in the settlement of Colorado as miners, soldiers, homesteaders, schoolteachers, ranchers, blacksmiths, cowboys and lawmen. This unique museum, located in the former home of Colorado's first Black woman doctor, hosts countless photographs, artifacts and interactive exhibits that tell the story of the Wild West through a different lens.

Number 2:

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art 1311 Pearl Street Denver, CO 80203 303 832-8576 Called "Denver's most interesting museum" by the Denver Post, The Kirkland Museum showcases the work of Colorado's distinguished painter, Vance Kirkland (1904-1981), whose visionary abstract paintings influenced an entire generation of artists. The museum is also filled to the brim with more than 3,300 works of Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, Glasgow Style, Wiener Werkstätte, De Stijl, Bauhaus, Art Deco, Modern and Pop Art.

Continue for VISIT DENVER's top hidden gem pick, RNC-firnedly edition. Number 1:

Molly Brown House Museum 1340 Pennsylvania Street Denver, CO 80203 303 832-4092

Denverite Molly Brown's name is known around the world as a Titanic survivor, thanks to stage productions, classic films and blockbuster historical dramas. But that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this "unsinkable" woman. The Molly Brown House Museum tells her story, and stands as an enduring symbol of the Victorian era and the city of Denver.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Things to Do archive: "Photos: Denver's top twelve tourist attractions."

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