DENVER | Well know about the bustling street art scene in places like New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, but what about Denver? The largest city in Colorado is home to a thriving street art scene that’s as impressive as you’ll find anywhere in the world.
Denver has long had a vibrant underground street art scene, and as street art has moved from the underground to the mainstream, these underground pieces have been joined by larger scale murals backed by the city and local businesses. My Denver street art guide will tell you the best places to find them all.
One percent of all construction projects valued at over USD$1 million in Denver have to be donated to public art by law. This has led to the creation of some of the city’s most recognisable sculptures and installations. Today, murals often form part of this too.
Be it a commissioned piece, an unauthorised piece, or an authorised piece painted with the permission of the owner of the wall, there are murals to be found all over Denver. Several local artists are showcased on the city’s streets, as well as artists from further afar.
The art draws upon a variety of themes from the social and political, to the historical and fun. Down laneways, on main streets, in full view on large buildings and hidden in unassuming spots, there’s always something interesting to see.
In this Denver street art guide, I’ll tell you about some of my favourite neighbourhoods to visit for Denver’s best street art.
The Art District on Santa Fe
This designated Colorado Creative District has the highest concentration of art galleries in Colorado – over 30 of them. The galleries are reason enough to visit the Art District on Santa Fe, but it’s not just what’s inside the galleries. The entire neighbourhood is a colourful one, full of murals not just on the exterior walls of the galleries, but down alleyways, on sidewalks, and houses.
Colfax Avenue was Denver’s busiest thoroughfare before the construction of the city’s highway system. It’s got a bit of grit, is home to some of the city’s best music venues, and a whole lot of history. Of particular note is the 40 West Art Line. It’s a 4-mile walking and biking route that’s lined with public art.
Also check out the area’s power boxes. Each year, 15 power boxes are transformed into vessels for art and storytelling, linked by a theme. Previous themes have included 2023’s ‘Joy of Pride’, 2022’s ‘Counterculture’, and 2021’s ‘Colfax Comeback’.
Confluence Park / Lower Downtown (LoDo)
Confluence Park is an urban park located where Cherry Creek and the South Platte River in Denver’s LoDo converge. It’s a trendy district of apartments, bars, eateries, and independent stores housed in redeveloped 19th-century brick warehouses and storefronts. You’ll find plenty of murals on the area’s walls and storefronts.
Five Points / River North Art District (RiNo)
RiNo, short for ‘River North Art District’, is a micro neighbourhood of sorts. Located within the Five Points neighbourhood proper, it’s one of the most exciting parts of Denver. It’s an area that’s rich in history, full of brilliant bars, restaurants, and of course street art.
If there’s only one neighbourhood you’re able to visit for street art during your time in Denver, this is it. There’s so much street art in the area, that I’ve written a separate guide to help you explore it.
Lower Highland (LoHi)
Located on the other side of the I-25 highway to Confluence Park, LoHi is a similar neighbourhood filled with great eateries, bars and breweries, and street art.
Heading south out of Downtown, you’ll find South Broadway. It’s a street that’s filled with historic theatres, music venues, bars, eateries, and boutiques. There are plenty of murals to be found on South Broadway and the side streets and alleyways that run off it.
While there are commissioned pieces here, it’s also an area where you’ll find plenty of smaller scale artworks and graffiti. South Broadway has experienced mixed fortunes in recent years. While things are slowly turning around, do be aware of your surroundings, especially after dark.
Identified artists featured in the image gallery include:
- Aiko Szymczak
- Casey Kawaguchi
- Chad Bolsinger
- Danielle Seewalker
- Douglas Hoekzema
- Gregg Deal
- JayCee Beyale
- Josh Witt
- Kenzie Sitterud
- Koko Collab
- Lindee Zimmer
- Marissa “Revery” Napoletano
- Stefan Ways
Happy discoveries on your street art walk through Denver, and be sure to check out my Five Points / RiNo Street Art Guide. What are your favourites places for street art in Denver? Are there any street art neighbourhoods beyond these hotspots that you love?