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Despite its metropolitan, 21st-Century city center, Denver is still a great place to experience authentic Old West at attractions, restaurants and annual events.


The Denver Art Museum’s Indigenous Arts of North America galleries focus on artists, their creations, and their inspirations. The museum’s collection includes more than 18,000 art objects representing the heritage of all cultures and tribes across the United States and Canada. Recognized as one of the best of its kind in the United States, the collection spans more than 2,000 years of artistic creativity, from prehistoric times to the present. Additionally, the museum’s extensive collection includes work by Western masters such as George Catlin, Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell, John Mix Stanley, Alfred Jacob Miller and others. The crown jewel in the institute’s collection is Charles Deas’s Long Jakes, The Rocky Mountain Man, the single most influential image in Rocky Mountain iconography. denverartmuseum.org


History Colorado Center is an experiential museum that makes history fun. Enjoy interactive exhibits like a virtual ride in a real Model T, test your skills on a ski-jump simulator and set off dynamite in an 1880s hard-rock mine. Whether you spend time with Chief Yellow Wolf, Kit Carson or Barney Ford, expect history like you’ve never seen, heard or experienced it before. historycolorado.org


One of the most famous cowboys to ever to put on a pair of chaps, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody epitomized the Old West. After leaving his boyhood home in Leavenworth, Kansas, at age 11, he went on to become a cattle herder, worked on a wagon train, mined for gold, rode in the Pony Express, scouted for the Army and traveled the world with the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows. At his request he was buried just west of Denver, atop Lookout Mountain, in 1917. The museum opened in 1921 and offers a look into life in the Old West, with exhibits on Buffalo Bill’s life, Wild West shows and more including American Indian artifacts like Sitting Bull’s bows and arrows. buffalobill.org


Denver’s cultural renaissance continues with the comprehensive American Museum of Western Art. Housed in the historic Navarre building located across the street from the Brown Palace Hotel, the museum is home to the extraordinary Anschutz Collection – more than 650 paintings and drawings by more than 180 artists spanning 200 years of American history. Selections from the collection have appeared in shows around the globe before being permanently placed in downtown Denver. anschutzcollection.org


A Denver original, fashion pioneer “Papa Jack” Weil invented the western snap-button shirt and opened shop back in 1946. He sold his shirts to presidents and rock stars alike including Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen. Stop by the flagship store and museum to browse the incredible selection of western-style shirts, hats, boots and accessories. Papa Jack passed away at the grand old age of 107 in 2008, but his Mile High City spirit lives on at this iconic Denver store – still owned by Papa Jack’s grandson. rockmount.com


The annual National Western Stock Show & Rodeo is a Denver tradition, honoring the country’s rich Old West heritage. Held every January at the National Western Complex, it is the world’s largest stock show – with more than 15,000 animals, rodeo performances, Mexican rodeos, bull riders, horse shows, livestock competitions, auctions and booths selling everything from cowboy boots to Native American jewelry. Each year, to kick off the Stock Show, a parade is held in downtown Denver, with a herd of cattle driven through the streets. nationalwestern.com


The City of Denver’s Buffalo Herd Nature Preserve (20 miles west of Denver off I-70 at Exit 254), features 40 buffalo in a natural setting and is the only city-maintained herd in the country. Genesee Park was the first mountain park acquired by the City of Denver, and it was populated with bison in 1914 as a conservation effort. The first two members of the herd came from Denver Zoo. Soon after, park managers brought in a few animals from Yellowstone National Park’s herd — making these buffalo direct descendants of the last wild herd left in America. To see the bison for yourself, head west from Denver on I-70. Look for the "Buffalo Herd Overlook" sign and take Exit 254. You may see some right from the road, or you might have to take one of the hikes in Genesee Park to search for them. denvermountainparks.org


Denver’s oldest restaurant is rich in Colorado history and serves up a unique menu of wild game and steak in a rustic, elegant atmosphere. A charming roof-top patio overlooks downtown and is open year round. Downstairs, you’ll dine with hundreds of mounted game heads. The menu features steak, buffalo and elk, among other intriguing offerings, like Rocky Mountain Oysters and quail. buckhorn.com


A full-size replica of an adobe fur-trade fort with scenic views of downtown Denver, The Fort is an award-winning restaurant that has been featured in the New York Times, Sunset and Bon Appetit as one of the nation’s most recognized establishments. The adventurous menu features fine beef, buffalo, game, seafood – and even rattlesnake! thefort.com


On the banks of Cherry Creek, just four miles from downtown Denver, the true-to-its-name Four Mile Historic Park’s pastoral 12 acres feature Denver’s oldest standing structure, pioneer exhibits, special events for all ages and guided tours that transport visitors to Colorado’s frontier past. Once a wayside inn and stage stop, the Four Mile House and grounds offer a unique Old West experience. fourmilepark.org


One of the largest events of its kind in the country, the Denver March Powwow at the Denver Coliseum is an American Indian Festival that features more than 1,600 dancers from nearly 100 tribes, representing 38 states and three Canadian provinces. Each session of the three-day event begins with the Grand Entry, a colorful spectacle featuring traditional song and dance. Throughout the weekend there are traditional drum and dance groups, storytellers and more than 170 tribal craft booths. denvermarchpowwow.org