Capitol Hill got its start as an elite neighborhood, where the well-to-do would build elaborate mansions. The Silver Crash of 1893 made the builders focus more on apartments, making it a more middle class neighborhood until after World War 2, where the only residents left were transients and renters. The beautiful and eclectic architecture remaining in Capitol Hill Neighborhood made it an appealing choice for bohemians, attracting the likes of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.
Today, Capitol Hill is modern, though a quick stroll through Colfax can give you a glimpse of its history. It’s Denver’s most densely popular neighborhood with plenty of things to do and see for visitors and tourists alike, so without further ado, here’s our essential guide to Capitol Hill and the 6 things you need to do and see.
1. Visit the Molly Brown House Museum
One of the most popular museums in the Capitol neighborhood is the Molly Brown House Museum. Known for her nickname, ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown,’ the socialite and philanthropist is best known for surviving the tragic sinking of the Titanic. Years later, at age 65, she peacefully passed away in her sleep. To learn more about her, you can visit the Molyl Brown House Museum in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Denver. Admission is $14 for adults and free admission for children 3 and under.
The house was saved from demolishers by a group of activities who wanted to keep the house as a historic site in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and it’s become one of the top things to do. You can book tickets in advance on their website.
What’s a neighborhood called Capitol Hill without a capital? Luckily, Denver has a gorgeous one. The Colorado State Capitol is one of the top things to do in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, with a gorgeous and intricate dome, stained glass windows that tell the history of Colorado, and visitors can do a self-guided tour or pay for a tour of the building. The capitol building is known or having gold in the dome, but what you probably didn’t know is that the Capitol building was also built with one of the rarest stones in the world, and during building, it depleted the world’s entire supply of the material. That material is Rose Onyx which is built into the marble and was used in the columned-pillars of the building. Although it depleted the world’s supply, there is a secret stash of Rose Onyx just in case the columns need to be repaired.
Where: Colorado State Capitol 200 E. Colfax Ave. Denver, CO 80203
3. Start your day off with brunch or a cup of coffee
One of our favorite things to do is get ready for the day and head out to a coffee shop, and we understand how important it is to know where a neighborhood is going to fuel you. From vegan variations of breakfast foods at City O’ City to women-owned RoosterCat that serves flavored lattes and the fancier Thump Coffee that makes a lovely looking avocado toast.
- Humboldt Kitchen + Bar
- Thump Coffee
- City O’ City
- RoosterCat Coffee House
4. Visit the creative capital of the city, the Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle is its own distinct part of the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and it’s definitely something you don’t want to miss when visiting. Considered the creative district and home to 3 museums: the Denver Art Museum which has a few free days this year, Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art, and the Clyfford Still Museum. Considered the arts and culture capital of the city, this part of the city showcases local artists and vendors, runs many of the city’s festivals like A Taste Of Colorado which will be coming this summer. Vance Kirkland, for which the aforementioned museum is named after is a visionary painter from Denver, whose collections are housed in the museum alongside other collections from around the world as well as regionally.
5. Explore the nightlife by partying down East Colfax
According to legend, though it can’t be confirmed, Playboy once said that Colfax was America’s “longest, wickedest” street. Whether or not that was actually said, Colfax is the U.S.’s longest commercial street, and part of it does pass through the Capitol Hill neighborhood. If you want to enjoy exploring Denver’s history plus its nightlife, definitely head to East Colfax, where there’s no shortage of dive bars, saloons, and cocktail bars for you to explore.
- 1Up Arcade Bar
- Tom’s Starlight
- The Owl Saloon
- Pete’s Satire Lounge
6. Catch a show at one of these classic live entertainment venues
Not only known for old time-y bars and pubs, East Colfax is also known for its amazing live music scene. Places like Ogden Theatre and Bluebird Theater are known for being intimate and old venues that put on fantastic shows by local indie and rock artists. For a certain type of scene, think no-fuss, electric, and steeped in culture, any live music venue on E. Colfax is worth checking out.