All-Star Game in Denver: A guide to bars, music, art and more | The Know
If you’re in town for the MLB All-Star Game and feeling antsy in your hotel room, why not venture out for a taste of the city?
Denver’s bite-sized art and entertainment options have multiplied in recent years as thousands of new residents and millions of dollars flowed into the central business district. Free, live entertainment won’t be hard to find along the 16th Street Mall and around Union Station during the MLB All-Star Game, but big touring acts will mostly be staying away.
Fortunately, shared scooters and bikes have helped stitch together neighborhoods once disconnected, and now that we’re moving past the pandemic, programmers are even more motivated to attract customers with cheap tickets and specials.
Here are some homegrown entertainment ideas within walking distance of Coors Field in Lower Downtown and the Ballpark neighborhood, or slightly further southeast on the 16th Street Mall Ride shuttle (the latter of which is free). Check out our other MLB All-Star Game-week guides, including food, baseball-themed events and more, at theknow.denverpost.com.
Denver’s music scene at one point boasted more venues than Austin, Texas, or Nashville, according to former Gov. John Hickenlooper, who remains one of Colorado music’s biggest proponents. Outside of well-known venues like Red Rocks Amphitheatre, downtown Denver offers nightly live music in a variety of genres (some free).
Dazzle Denver, a nationally respected spot for touring jazz artists located just off the 16th Street Mall, sells concerts and dinner nearly every night of the week (minus the Tuesday, July 13, game night) and brunch/afternoon shows to boot (1512 Curtis St., dazzledenver.com). Denver dive institution Herb’s also has live music on July 9 and 10 with sets from ’90s cover band Stereo Clone (herbsbar.com)
Summit Music Hall has booked Gasolina: A Night of Reggaeton, Salsa and Cumbia, for July 10 (1902 Blake St.), while its nearby sister venue, The Marquis Theater, has dubstep artist He$h on the same night (2009 Larimer St., lndenver.com).
Sculpture Park, a sprawling green on the west side of the Denver Performing Arts Complex, lately focused on diverse live music. Upcoming: a two-night run from Goose, with Kitchen Dwellers, July 9-10, and a July 11 concert from EDM icon Steve Aoki (1736 Speer Blvd., summeratsculpturepark.com). The Black Buzzard at Oskar Blues often hosts folk, roots, funk and international singer-songwriters on its cozy stage. Its MLB-adjacent calendar features Oli McCraken on July 8, Brothers of Brass on July 10, and the Copper Children on July 14 (1624 Market St., theblackbuzzard.com)
Looking for more? The nearby Capitol Hill, River North Art District, East Colfax Avenue and South Broadway corridors offer dozens more venues through the end of MLB All-Star Game week (denver.org).
Downtown Denver’s best-known stand-up club, Comedy Works, remains closed for now. But showcases and improv nights are slowly starting to come back. Rise Comedy has packed its calendar with a mix of stand-up and improv, July 8-11, offering long-running shows such as “Hit and Run Comedy” back-to-back with themed improv from Laugh Track, Criminy, The Duel, Nick/Josh & Friends, and Flock Back to the Future (1260 22nd St., risecomedy.com).
The Clocktower Cabaret, a drag, burlesque and comedy institution under the historic D&F Clocktower, will host “Drag Queen Time Machine” from Shirley Delta Blow for two shows on July 9, the “burlesque bandstand” revue “That 50s Show” on July 10 (also two shows), and the Applause for Paws fundraiser on July 11 (1601 Araphaoe St., clocktowercabaret.com).
Wide Right hosts the stand-up showcase The Rockpile on July 9 and 10 (2100 Curtis St., widerightdenver.com), while the beloved, artsy Mercury Cafe offers live standup every Friday (2199 California St., mercurycafe.com). Most feature local, and smaller touring comics, but if you’re up for the scooter ride, Denver Comedy Lounge in the RiNo Art District has national headliner Louis Katz for four shows, July 9-10 (3559 Larimer St., denvercomedylounge.com)
GALLERIES / PUBLIC ART
With dozens of galleries adjacent to downtown in various art districts, it’s hard to narrow down which ones to visit. But like the curated spots above, it’s easy to see which ones near Coors Field are worth stopping by.
LoDo’s Robischon Gallery is known for bringing exciting contemporary artists to town, although it looks to be between spring and summer installations at the moment (1740 Wazee St., robischongallery.com). David B. Smith Gallery is close by, with eclectic but thoughtfully curated contemporary artists overlapping in their exhibitions. K Contemporary is also an attractive pop-in with a mix of contemporary and pop art often bursting with mischievousness and color (1412 Wazee St., kcontemporaryart.com)
The surprising, eclectic Dikeou Collection is only open by appointment, but it has plenty to see and it’s absolutely worth reserving a spot (1615 California St., dikeoucollection.org). There’s also the appointment-only David Cook Galleries, but that’s more focused on sales than public appreciation (1637 Wazee St., davidcookgalleries.com).
Like our art districts, most of Denver’s marquee museums are located just outside of downtown, in this case in the Civic Center Cultural District (right next to the Golden Triangle Art District). But even if you don’t feel like going to the Denver Art Museum, the historically stunning American Museum of Western Art is open across from the Brown Palace Hotel (1727 Tremont Place, anschutzcollection.org)
Denver’s public art collection, which sprawls all the way out to Denver International Airport, has a few biggies you should see. “I See What You Mean,” a.k.a. The Big Blue Bear, peers into the Colorado Convention Center along 14th Street and makes for great selfies you can’t take anywhere else. “The Yearling” is a life-sized horse standing atop a giant red chair outside the Denver Public Library. “The Dancers,” a pair of 60-foot-tall fiberglass sculptures facing the mountains, are also impossible to miss once you get near them at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
The excellent Denver Public Art Walking Tours also can direct visitors to the city’s concentrated public-art hubs, including free, family-friendly guides for pieces sprinkled around Denver Public Library, Civic Center park, the 16th Street Mall, Colorado Convention Center, LoDo and Denver Performing Arts Complex. (denverpublicart.org)
If you’re willing to go further afield from these locations, there’s lots, lots (and lots) more to do and see. Visit theknow.denverpost.com/calendar for details.
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