4 Denver Theaters Boast Vibrant History
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4 Denver Theaters Boast Vibrant History In Downtown

A history of downtown Denver's oldest music and arts theaters.

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4 Denver Theaters Boast Vibrant History In Downtown

There are plenty of things to do and see in Colorado's capital, but music and art events may take the cake. This city is home to several of Colorado's oldest and most unique theaters, each with a cool story to tell. Several of these historic theaters were demolished and replaced with modern businesses like the Rainbow Theater or the Aladdin Theater. But there are four theaters in downtown Denver that still stand strong, decades after their first events.

The Odgen

Wikimedia Commons

The Ogden Theater is located in downtown Denver and has been a pillar of the city's music scene for over a century. Since it was established in 1917, the venue has hosted hundreds of world-renowned bands, DJs, and artists. Back in the day, the Ogden showcased vaudeville shows and the historic mind behind Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. These days, the venue is home to big-time acts like Drake, Lettuce, and The Lumineers. Even with contemporary pop artists gracing the halls of the Ogden Theatre, the venue was named a National Historic Place in 1993. Any music lover in Colorado is guaranteed to love the historic architecture and backstory at the Ogden.

Paramount Theatre

Wikimedia Commons

The Paramount Theatre isn't as old as the Ogden, but this venue is another staple in Denver's music and arts scene. Built-in 1930, and just a stone's throw from Denver's infamous 16th Street Mall, the Ogden Theatre can host just over 1,800 attendees. From the outside looking in, this venue seems smaller but it still hosts some of Denver's largest acts today. The Paramount Theater was added to the National Register of Historic Places after in 1980 and is home to one of the last two remaining Wurlitzer theatre organs left in the United States.

The Oriental Theater

Wikimedia Commons

The Oriental Theater was the third theater to be listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. This venue first opened its doors in 1927 and was initially built to showcase movie films. Today the theater hosts some of Denver's more intimate musical acts. After closing its doors in 1960 due to little interest from the Denver community, the Oriental Theater sat dormant for nearly half a century before re-opening its doors in 2005. It has a max capacity of just over 700 attendees and is one of Denver's easiest-to-miss pieces of history.

Historic Elitch Theatre

Wikimedia Commons

Located in northwest Denver, the Historic Elitch Theatre is the oldest on our list and perhaps the most unique. Inspired by Shakespeare's Globe Theater, it was opened in 1890 to house both local and national vaudeville acts. Just six years later, it showed some of the states first motion pictures.

The Elitch Theater thrived for just over a century before closing its doors in 1991. Fortunately, nearly 20 years later the theater re-opened its doors in 2007 with plans to make the Elitch Theatre a year-round multimedia performing arts hub for the Denver community. The venue offers film, live music, theater, and educational programs.

It's never hard to find an exciting event in The Mile High City. They happen every day of the week at some of the coolest theaters in Colorado. A few of which have been home to famous performances and live acts for over a century. Find an event that combines both history and music at one of downtown Denver's unique theaters.

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