Holiday shopping in Denver these days can be a nightmare. What with the myriad of online stores making pretty much anything in the world just a click-purchase away, picking the perfect gift is a lot harder than it was just a decade or two ago when options were generally limited to what you could find at the local mall.
But for Denverites who still enjoy purchasing gifts the old-fashioned way – in a proper store – its hard to beat The Shops at the Denver Art Museum (DAM) for unique ideas that don't break the bank but still showcase your creativity as a gift-giver and also flaunt how well you know the recipient's personality.
Best of all, shopping at the DAM shops is also a feel-good experience and a way to give back to the community during the holiday season, as all purchases help support the museum.
Shopping at the Denver Art Museum — Photo courtesy of Denver Art Museum
Whether you're a member of the Denver Art Museum or not, distinctly different shopping experiences are offered at the two shops.
For kid-focused gifts, head to the North Building shop. It's family oriented and perfect for creative and educationally enriching gifts, including toys, games, activity kits and puzzles.
Here you'll find a one-stop shop for children of all ages, with everything from sequin bead rings to Buddha board water painting kits.
The second shop is in the museum's new wing – the skyline-altering, post-modern Hamilton Building – and offers an eclectic choice of more adult-centric gifts, many with an art-inspired focus.
Here you'll find items like a men's tie with a Salvador Dali-style mustache print. Plus some one-of-a-kind jewelry, fused or blown glass pieces and a miniature version of the famous "Big Blue Bear" sculpture at the Colorado Convention Center.
Whimsical local goods are also featured, including uniquely artistic handbags made by Boulder-based Maruca Design and chocolates handcrafted in Denver. Stock changes to reflect current exhibits, so there's always something new.
For Denver residents who are museum members, the most popular member event of the year returns annually on the first Monday of December. On this day, members receive a discount of at least 20 percent on everything in the two museum shops, plus free gift wrap and holiday refreshments.
After shopping at The Shops at the Denver Art Museum, grab lunch at Palettes. This on-site restaurant also curates portions of its menu to match the current special exhibit at DAM, whatever it might be at the time of your visit.
Palettes' 2015 winter menu included lobster bisque — Photo courtesy of Kevin Taylor Restaurant Group