One of the best annual events in our fair city is Doors Open Denver. Each April we celebrate Architecture Month in Denver by opening the doors to dozens of the the city’s most interesting buildings and sites and letting the general public tour the insides. Best of all, it’s free!

This year’s DOD features over 80 buildings and sites. Most are clustered in and around the Downtown area but several are located in neighborhoods throughout the city. Here’s a map of the locations, and if you go to the Doors Open Denver website, you’ll find the list of all the participating sites organized several ways.

Doors Open Denver site map - click to enlarge

Over thirty of the buildings have special Expert Tours that occur at specific times during the weekend. Since capacity is limited on these Expert Tours, on the day of the tour, you must first get a free registration pass at DOD headquarters at Union Station for the Expert Tour you’re interested in.  The free registration passes are given out on a first-come first-served basis. Since the Expert Tours “sell out” quickly, I strongly recommend you get to Union Station early in the morning (they open at 8:30 AM) to get your Expert Tour passes for that day. Otherwise, no registration is needed and you can simply show up to any participating building or site at any time between 10AM and 4PM, Saturday or Sunday, for a self-guided tour. A few of the sites have special hours, so please double check the list on the DOD website.

There are also a variety of other special events, such as self-guided Urban Adventure Tours, a photo contest, and activities for families and kids, such as Box City in the Wellington Webb building. I’ve served as a volunteer at Box City several times; check out my blog on the 2007 Box City. It’s a lot of fun.

Doors Open Denver is the perfect opportunity to explore Denver’s urban architecture by foot (or by bike or take Light Rail) and the weather this weekend looks pretty decent, so get out and celebrate Denver’s architectural and urban heritage this weekend at Doors Open Denver. I know I am.