Metro Denver day trip

A new world-class art museum is just the latest reason to visit the Mile High City
Claire Walter

Three years of construction, 2,750 tons of steel, and $90.5 million later, the sparkling new Frederic C. Hamilton Building of the Denver Art Museum (DAM) opens its oversize doors this month, drawing art lovers from near and far.

Outside, it's a visual symphony of smooth planes and sharp curves, suggesting dynamic mountain peaks. Inside, rooms showcase African, Oceanic, and American Western art, as well as modern and contemporary works.

Venture beyond DAM's walls into the rest of the Golden Triangle Museum District, and make a day of it.

GETTING THERE

DAM is part of the Civic Center Cultural Complex on 13th Ave. between Broadway and Bannock St., in downtown Denver. The most convenient place to park is in the garage at West 12th Ave. There are also metered spaces on the street, which are free on Sundays. Visit www.denverartmuseum.org for more information.

 
GO

Denver Art Museum. October 7, 2006 is the opening day. Get there before 9 a.m. to be first in line. Info: Free opening weekend, otherwise $13, $5 ages 6-18; closed Mon; 100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy., just south of downtown; www.denverartmuseum.org or 720/865-5000.

Civic Center Park. For natural beauty and crisp fall air, stroll a few blocks north, to Denver's lovingly landscaped park. Bordered by W. Colfax Ave., W. 14th Ave. Pkwy., Bancock St., and Lincoln St.

Camera Obscura Gallery. One of America's oldest fine-art photography galleries. Closed Mon; 1309 Bannock St.; 303/623-4059.

Walker Fine Art. A spacious gallery specializing in contemporary multidimensional works. Closed Sun-Mon; 300 West 11th Ave.; 303/355-8955.

 
EAT

Palettes. The museum isn't the only thing 'round here with a new look ― its renowned restaurant, with chef Kevin Taylor at the helm, has one too. $$$; opens Oct 7; 100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy.; 303/354-1455.

Gateaux. Pop into this patisserie for pretty petits fours and double-fudge brownies. Closed Sun-Mon; 1160 N. Speer Blvd.; 303/376-0070.

Nine75. This trendy restaurant-lounge is best for après-art happy hour. $$$; 975 Lincoln St.; 303/975-0975.

STAY OVERNIGHT

Hotel Teatro. Long-awaiting locals as well as art lovers from all over are descending upon Denver for DAM's debut. The nearby Hotel Teatro (888/727-1200) is offering a package deal for the occasion, which includes luxe lodging, transportation to and from the museum, and admission tickets for two. From $230.