Attention, Colorado art lovers! Put on your walking shoes and take in some free, public art. Curate your own artsy stroll or take guidance from one of these planned-out tours. Most are outside, so dress accordingly, snap a picture or two, and then, pick your favorite. Bonus: Many of these art walks are in areas ripe with parks, bars and cafes, so you can indulge in creative bliss and then chat about it over a bite to eat after.
Head to Historic Downtown Golden for two distinct art walks. The first is the Golden Public Art Collection, which features 34 pieces mainly along the creek and down the main road, Washington Street.
The second featured stroll is the Itty Bitty Art Tour, a semi-permanent exhibit meant to entice kids. This jaunt consists of 14 pieces from a tiny painted train by the river to a pipe colored to look like water to sprinkler turned into ET.
Let your kids find these spots of joy on their own, or use the map to hunt them down. Each piece comes with a QR code too, so you can scan it for information and heighten the experience.
The nice thing about the physical map and list is you can check things off as you see them.
Though not permanent, go and see the 26 pieces by 14 artists that are scattered in public places throughout Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Parker and Roxborough.
The special public art tour lasts until the end of the year, and visitors can vote on their favorite pieces. Just make sure to do so by by January 31, 2023.
The website has all the information on the art, the artists, and the location of each piece.
You’ll see works such as a giant monarch butterfly in Lone Tree, a brightly painted and large peace sign in Highlands Ranch, and a xeriscape globe in Castle Rock, among others. While it’s less of a “walk” than a journey, this curated tour certainly can fill an afternoon with art.
Wander the neighborhood of Westwood, on Morrison Road between Alameda Avenue and West Mississippi Avenue in Denver.
Here, the alleyways have intricate street art, there are numerous galleries, and art flourishes between the cracks, often with a nod to the area’s Hispanic heritage.
Unlike other, more curated art walks, this one is more exploratory, where you can snap a picture or two and follow the artist based on their tag.
We will take any excuse to wander around Boulder, especially when art is involved. There’s enough to see too, so much in fact, Visit Boulder has compiled a detailed map online that features where to go and what’s displayed.
Items include colorful murals, towering sculptures and a stunning ceiling right in front of the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. Add on to your tour by stopping in this institution, it’s just $2 to visit and free on Saturdays.
Since developing over the last decade, the neighborhood RiNo, aka River North, has blossomed with street art.
No, it’s not the stuff you see decking out train cars and dumpsters, though there is some of that too. We’re talking about the beautiful, full-wall murals that give the area an extra layer of color and energy.
A lot of the curated works have changed every year thanks to the CRUSH WALLS, an arts festival that brought artists from all over the world come to put their mark in Denver each year.
Unfortunately that particular festival no longer takes place in RiNo, but it did create a culture of street art that will carry on through Art RiNo, a new fete with the same idea that starts this year.
Places in this area to note include the parking lot right by Denver Central Market (2669 Larimer St.), the alley way stretching North and South of Noble Riot (1336 27th St.), and pretty much all of Larimer Street starting at Work & Class (2500 Larimer St.).
Of course, you’re encouraged to explore on your own and see what artsy treasures await.
Take this four-mile walking and biking path and discover a world of free, outdoor art. The now-certified 40 West Arts Creative District is right on and near historic West Colfax Avenue and the RTD W Line in Lakewood. Throughout this path, viewers can see over 70 permanent and temporary installations.
The art includes sidewalks and walls decked out in unique murals. Three-dimensional pieces that look like modern art trees and fences, a musical instrument, affirmations and more.
Visit anytime, though daylight is best for viewing. The website 40westartline.org has self-guided tours you can take and all the information on the artists.
Tour the 10-acre park and see over 150 sculptures by artists from around the world. Located at 2908 Aspen Drive in Loveland, the park is also handicap accessible, has paved paths, is free to the public, includes restrooms, and is totally outdoors.
The latter part is important, and visitors should dress accordingly. Guests can also reserve a free tour of the sculpture park for up to 10 people.
Art District on Santa Fe
This area has been the forefront of inexpensive, easy to digest and public art displays since the late 1990’s. It still exudes the same vibe, but there’s even more to take in.
Aside from the iconic First Fridays, the district is full of art on the walls and in the many galleries (and even tattoo parlors like Kitchens Ink) along the strip.
In fact, there are over 30 galleries to pop into on any given day. And, if you miss those, check out the murals and street art flanking the buildings outside.
While most artist walks don’t feature just one person, Austin Zucchini-Fowler made a name for himself during the pandemic. His pieces, often done as a mix of stipulating and street art, popped up all over the walls of various businesses in 2020 through 2021.
For example, the nurse, aka a first responder, with wings and boxing gloves that showed up in an alley off Colfax Avenue and Williams Street. There’s also the pizza maker commissioned by Il Posto in RiNo, which looks just like the restaurant’s owner.
Since then, Zucchini-Fowler has added works across the city. And now, there’s a whole map of this artist’s work that viewers can follow and see for free. As you tour his art, also pop into the local cafes along the way.
Download the art map of Castle Rock and see dozens of works from sculptures to murals to box wrap, a type of painting that turns plain utility boxes into colorful art pieces. Many of the items are spread out, but there is a concentration in Festival Park (300 2nd St., Castle Rock).
To get even deeper into the art, download the free Otocast mobile app on your phone and hear commentary from the artists themselves.
The town also throws the annual Castle Rock Art Fest in Festival Park the weekend after Labor Day. Over 100 artists join, and admission is free.
Since 1994 Sculpture Evergreen has worked to bring art to the area, and today over 40 make up the permanent collection. View the map online or wander the town searching for a bronze polar bear and cubs, bugling elk, and seated rhino.
Each year the institution also curates a special sculpture walk, featuring select pieces and artists on a downloadable, printable map. It’s free to do and since it’s in public space, you can visit any time.
If you’ve ever driven down Wadsworth Boulevard between 72nd and 68th Avenues you may have seen a vast field full of sculptures. This spot is part of the Arvada Center (6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada), and it’s totally open to the public.
In fact, you can just drive right over there any time and wander through the giant sculptures. It does get hot here, so it’s best to explore in cooler months or when the sun isn’t baring down.
While there, head to the other side where the center is located and check out the large dragon sculpture. It’s part of the playground so you can climb around on it and “ride” it whenever the mood hits.