Culture abounds and thrives in metro Denver—a place for energetic minds. The area’s diverse population supports culture through the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a unique regional funding system for venues such as The Denver Performing Arts Complex and the Denver Art Museum. Each year, the SCFD distributes millions of dollars in tax funds to local arts and culture organizations.
Several of the region’s finest cultural venues are undergoing significant expansions. The Denver Zoo’s newest exhibit, “Predator Ridge,”recreates a portion of the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya and features 14 African species of mammals, birds and reptiles.
Downtown’s Denver Performing Arts Complex, already the second-largest arts center in the nation, has completely restored the historical Denver Auditorium Theatre, transforming it into a 2,400-seat showpiece.
The Denver Art Museum completed a $90 million expansion project that doubled the museum’s size.The new building is designed by world-famous architect Daniel Libeskind, the architect chosen to design the World Trade Center site.
A favorite summertime activity for many locals is catching a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater, the world-famous outdoor music venue in the foothills of the Rockies. This natural sandstone venue features a $16 million visitor center.
Sports City, U.S.A.
Metro Denver is truly a “sports city,” with the fans and facilities to prove it. In the past 15 years, new facilities have been constructed for the area’s major sports franchises. More than six million fans attend sporting events in the area each year.
Some of the newest sports venues in the nation are in Denver.
Coors Field—home to the 2007 National League Champion Colorado Rockies (baseball)
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park—home to the Colorado Rapids (soccer)
Sports Authority Field at Mile High—home to the two-time world champion Denver Broncos (football), and Denver Outlaws (lacrosse)
Pepsi Center—home to the Denver Nuggets (basketball), two-time Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche (hockey), the Colorado Mammoth (lacrosse) and the Colorado Crush (arena football).
All four new sports venues are located near downtown Denver and have helped to revitalize the area.
Also, metro Denver hosts some of the world’s top sporting events, such as the 2005 NCAA Final Four, the 2005 U.S. Women’s Open Golf Championship, and the 2008 NCAA Frozen Four Hockey Tournament.
Shopping and Dining
Numerous shopping and dining options are located across the metro Denver area and feature popular retail chains,trendy and unique specialty shops, and a variety of service establishments.
There are 13 major shopping centers (500,000 square feet or larger) and numerous shopping districts located throughout the area, with several new projects planned.
Located in central Denver, Cherry Creek Shopping Center, one of the area’s top tourist destinations, offers 160 restaurants and stores and is home to exclusive stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. Downtown Denver’s 16th Street Mall is another popular tourist attraction. The 16-block pedestrian and transitway serves as downtown Denver’s retail core and includes the Denver Pavilions.
Northfield Stapleton, is one of Denver's newest open air shopping destinations featuring national chains such as Bass Pro Shop, Target and Macy's, as well as locally-owned shops. It is located in north Stapleton, minutes from downtown Denver.
Belmar, the city of Lakewood’s downtown district, offers 22 blocks of stores, boutiques, restaurants, entertainment, parks, plazas, offices and residences.
Colorado Mills in Lakewood is one of metro Denver’s newest malls. The 200-store center features outlet-style retail, entertainment and restaurants.
Southlands, a 1.5-million-square-foot shopping center in Aurora, includes 1,100 residential units and office space. Other malls include FlatIron Crossing in northern metro Denver, Park Meadows in Lone Tree and Southwest Plaza in the southwest metro area.
Twenty Ninth Street in Boulder transformed the former Crossroads Mall into a 62-acre open-air shopping and commercial district with 805,000 square feet of retail, including 60 local and upscale specialty stores, restaurants, and office space. The Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, is another popular outdoor mall destination featuring popular chain stores and locally-owned shops.