Experience the 12th annual Doors Open Denver this weekend, presented by the Denver Architectural Foundation, with a variety of activities that will invigorate your love of the city by showcasing the beauty of its buildings, the history behind the architecture and helping to create meaningful connections with the built environment. Explore over 100 sites through free, self–guided tours, insider, fee–based tours or—new this year— participate in free art–related activities sponsored by Bonfils-Stanton. The headquarters are once again in Union Station. According to the DOD website, “Doors Open Denver tells the story of where Denver is, where it has been, and where it is going.” But don’t be overwhelmed by the magnitude of participating venues, we have you covered with this list of must–see stops this weekend.

Silent Disco at Youth on Record Studio

SoundDown Party, Doors Open Denver, Denver Architectural Foundation, Ethan Nguyen, Youth on Record

Dance with headphones on. Photo By Ethan Nguyen

What: Arts & Culture Activity
Where: 1301 W. 10th Ave, Denver
When: Saturday, April 23 6–10 p.m.
Cost: Free

If you think urban redevelopment is boring, check out the dance party at Youth on Record Studio, hosted by SoundDown Party. The studio is a highlight of the Denver Housing Authority’s Mariposa development—a neighborhood designed around environmentally responsible and culturally innovative values like being bike–friendly, LEED-certified and including contemporary architecture and art in public spaces. RSVP to the event on their site for the chance to win a prize.

Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Doors Open Denver, Denver Architectural Foundation, Denver Center for Performing Arts, Buell Theater, Westlake Reed Leskosky

Inside the theater. Photo by Westlake Reed Leskosky

What: Behind–the-scenes tour
Where: 1101 13th St, Denver
When: Saturday, April 23, 10:30 a.m. (90–minute tour)
Cost: $10, pre-registration required

If you love going to the theater for a performance, then you will love seeing how it all comes together with this behind–the–scenes tour. Experience the complexity of a professional performance space including costume, scenery, lighting and props departments. Register soon, tickets will be sold–out before you know it.

Historic Sugar Building


Photo courtesy of Doors Open Denver.

What: Self-guided tour
Where: 1530 16th St, Denver
When: Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24 10 a.m.—4 p.m.
Cost: Free

Located in the historic Warehouse District of Denver, this building—designed by Gover and Walsh— was built in 1906, heightened in 1912 and abandoned for many years before being converted to offices in 1999. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978 and still contains the two original Otis cage elevators which will be on display during the DOD weekend. Aside from representing success in architecture, this building reminds us today of the deep impact, historically, that sugar had on the economy of Colorado.

Moxie Mobile Art Studio

What: Arts & Crafts Activity
Where: Argo Park, 47th Ave and Logan St, Denver
When: Saturday, April 23 12–3 p.m.
Cost: Free

If looking at buildings isn’t your thing then maybe creating a one–of–a–kind tote bag with linocut prints and printmaking techniques is. The blocks will be iconic images of Denver and Globeville buildings. Appreciate the splendor of architecture in a crafty way. This event is a collaboration of the Art Student’s League of Denver and Drive By Press.

Lighthouse Writers Workshop/ Milheim House

Photo courtesy of Lighthouse Writers on Facebook.

Photo courtesy of Lighthouse Writers on Facebook.

What: Self–guided tour
Where: 1515 Race St, Denver
When: Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost: Free

Built in 1893, this 7,000 square feet building is the largest structure ever moved to Colorado in one piece and is said to have the best porch for summertime parties in Denver. Not only does the building a certain magic—with original wallpaper, harp–shaped staircases and a room reserved for Molly Brown, who used to visit often enough to warrant her own room—it currently encourages the magic of the Colorado storytelling community by providing education and support to Rocky Mountain readers and writers through the Lighthouse Writers Workshops. This site is new this year to DOD and the self–guided tours will be complimented by writing prompts and a scavenger–hunt–style question: which materials are new and which are original to the house?

There are a multitude of other events to participate in this upcoming weekend including a mini film festival, firehouse ghost stories, museums waving entrance fees and theaters in various states of rehearsal. Check out the Doors Open Denver website for a full list and a printable schedule and to register for any of the fee-based tours.

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