Living in Denver
Natural beauty. Urban energy.
If you’re coming to RMCAD from out of state, we’ll let you in on a little secret about Denver, Colorado: you’re likely to fall in love with the area’s natural beauty, bountiful outdoor adventures, and incredible urban amenities—and you just might stay here forever.
Peaks and Plains
The eastern half of Colorado is comprised of rolling, high-altitude prairies. Farms and small towns dot the sweeping landscape, growing more densely populated as you venture westward and reach the Front Range of the majestic Rocky Mountains.
Most of the state’s largest cities—including Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo, each with its own distinct personality and charm—span the length of I-25, running parallel to the mountains.
As the state capital, Denver stands alone among America’s larger cities: it offers all of the cultural and entertainment opportunities found in major cities across the country, without compromising its friendly, small-town feel and its western roots.
City and Wilderness
The RMCAD campus is tucked along the outskirts of Denver, ideally located between downtown and the foothills. Just 10 minutes to the east, you’ll find yourself standing amid the skyscrapers, clubs, restaurants, and galleries of the vibrant city; or just take a short drive to the west and you’ll experience the jaw-dropping beauty of the Rocky Mountain foothills. There, scattered among the 14,000-foot peaks and conifer and aspen forests, you’ll discover a constellation of cozy mountain villages and thriving resort towns.
Colorado’s Rockies cover an area six times the size of Switzerland, and provide some of the most picturesque photo-ops in all of North America. Ski in winter, or take on the same slopes with your mountain bike by summer. Even if you’re not into rafting, climbing, hiking, kayaking, or Colorado’s array of natural outdoor adventures, you’ll find plenty of low-key excuses to get outside: take a road trip with friends; unwind in a hot spring; or enjoy a picnic atop a nearby mountain, letting the region’s dazzling blue skies and sea of snow-capped peaks inspire you—and your art.
To explore a few of our favorite photos of Denver and Colorado, check out our Pinterest page, or explore these other great sources of information on our beautiful hometown:
Local Art Scene
Once known as a sleepy “cow town,” Denver has done much to shed its rustic image. RMCAD students who are new to the area quickly discover that our city offers a thriving mix of visual and performing arts. Here are just a few of the city’s cultural highlights:
The Denver Art Museum
The Denver Art Museum complex includes collection gallery space, three temporary exhibition venues, and the Lewis I. Sharp Auditorium. Opened in 2006, the Hamilton Building addition was designed by famed architect Daniel Liebskind. And beyond its vast array of art collections, the DAM has received critical acclaim for encouraging art appreciation through interactive means.
Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)
MCA is an innovative forum that inspires and challenges all audiences and generates a dialogue about the art of our time. British architect David Adjaye designed the new and striking MCA building right in the heart of the LoDo district.
Explore Denver's Galleries: First Fridays
Denver boasts over 120 commercial art galleries representing regional, national, and international artists of all genres, from western to contemporary. Santa Fe Drive just south of downtown Denver is a favorite neighborhood for gallery hopping. Drop in for a free gallery crawl on the first Friday evening of each month. RMCAD students and faculty members routinely show their work in these venues.
Denver Public Art Program
Whenever the City of Denver spends more than $1 million on any capital improvement project, 1% of the total budget goes toward integrating public artwork into the design. So with our new bridges, buildings, and highways come world-class sculpture, murals, and other installations—over 300 works of art with new pieces popping up all over the city every year. Notable works include sculptures by Fernando Botero, Sol LeWitt, Claes Oldenberg, Robert Mangold and Donald Lipski. Learn more about the Denver Public Art Program.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Few experiences can match a summer concert at Red Rocks. With Mother Nature as the architect, Red Rocks is a geologically formed, open-air Amphitheatre that is not duplicated anywhere in the world. A trip to Red Rocks should be considered an essential Colorado experience. If you're coming for an open house or campus tour, you may want to check out the concert schedule before booking your trip.
The Denver Performing Arts Complex (DPAC)
One of the largest arts complexes in the world, DPAC features ten individual performance spaces connected by an 80-foot-tall glass roof. Located in downtown Denver, DPAC is a four-block, 12-acre site that is home to a Tony Award-winning theater company, Broadway touring productions, contemporary dance and ballet, incredible chorales, a symphony orchestra, and an internationally acclaimed opera house.