Culture in Arvada, Colorado

Arvada is a city located in Jefferson County, Colorado, just northwest of Denver. With a population of around 120,000, Arvada has a vibrant culture scene with plenty to see and do. Here’s an in-depth look at the culture of Arvada.

Arts & Entertainment

Arvada has a thriving arts and entertainment scene. Here are some of the top cultural attractions in Arvada:

Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities

The Arvada Center is the crown jewel of the city’s cultural offerings. This impressive campus includes:

  • Two theaters for plays, musicals, and concerts
  • An art gallery with rotating exhibits
  • Classes in ceramics, jewelry making, painting, and more
  • Family events like summer camps and children’s shows

The Arvada Center hosts local theatre troupes and touring Broadway shows. With affordable tickets, it’s a great way to experience the performing arts.

Majestic View Nature Center

Operated by the city of Arvada, this nature center and farm provides environmental education. Features include:

  • Hiking trails through prairie and forest habitats
  • Hands-on exhibits about local plants and wildlife
  • Classes on gardening, beekeeping, and ranch skills
  • Petting zoo with sheep, goats, pigs, and more

In addition to daily activities, Majestic View hosts seasonal events like SHEAR Delight Sheep Shearing Festival and the Harvest Hayday.

Olde Town Arvada

The historic district of Olde Town has several cultural attractions, including:

  • Arvada Historical Society Museum – Explores Arvada history through photographs and artifacts.
  • Growing Home – A nonprofit farm that teaches agricultural skills and donates produce.
  • Festival Park – Hosts summer concerts and festivals like Independence Day and Holiday Home Tour.
  • Quirky local shops, antique stores, galleries, restaurants, and breweries.

Olde Town hosts street fairs, farmers markets, and other community events year-round.

Movie Theaters

Arvada has two modern cinema multiplexes:

  • AMC Dine-In Theatres (12 screens)
  • Regal Cinemas (14 screens)

These theaters show all the latest Hollywood blockbusters as well as smaller independent films. The AMC location has a dine-in option with food and drinks delivered to your seat.

Standley Lake Regional Park

This large park offers many cultural facilities, including:

  • Exploration of Nature Science Center with interactive exhibits on local ecosystems.
  • McKay Lake Amphitheater hosting concerts and events.
  • Annual cultural festivals like Celtic Fest and Rally Colorado.


The Jefferson County Public Library system has four branches in Arvada offering books, media, computer access, events, and classes:

  • Arvada Library (largest branch)
  • Belmar Library
  • Northwest Arvada Library
  • Standley Lake Library


Arvada has several museums that preserve and showcase local heritage.

Arvada Historical Society Museum

Located in Olde Town, this museum occupies a historic 1904 building. Exhibits illustrate Arvada’s history from the late 19th century to today through photographs and artifacts. Topics include:

  • Gold mining – Arvada began as a Gold Rush settlement.
  • Agriculture – Arvada was once home to extensive farms and orchards.
  • Railroads – Arvada grew with the arrival of rail lines like the Colorado Central Railroad.
  • Rise of suburbs and shopping centers after WWII.

Jefferson County Museum of History

This museum located in nearby Lakewood explores the stories of Jefferson County from 1858 to the present day. Exhibits cover:

  • Native American inhabitation for over 10,000 years
  • Frontier fur trappers and the 1859 Gold Rush
  • Ranching and farming communities in the late 1800s
  • Coal mining and mountain resort tourism
  • Post-WWII population boom

Interactive displays make history engaging for visitors of all ages.

Colorado Gold Panning Adventures

This unique museum lets visitors experience gold panning first-hand. Attractions include:

  • Indoor simulated stream for panning real gold flakes.
  • Exhibits on the Colorado Gold Rush from 1858-1861
  • Hundreds of mining artifacts from Colorado ghost towns.
  • Replica mine tour

Great for families, the museum brings local mining heritage to life.

Music & Nightlife

Arvada has a vibrant nightlife scene with live music, bars, breweries, and more.

Live Music Venues

Some top spots to catch local bands in Arvada:

  • Odyssey Beerwerks – Hosts bands nightly in their indoor and outdoor stages.
  • The Homestead Barn – This rustic, intimate venue in Olde Town features acoustic acts.
  • The Lion’s Lair – Denver punk/indie bands sometimes make the trek to perform here.

Breweries & Tasting Rooms

Arvada has nearly 20 craft breweries, many with a lively taproom vibe. Standouts include:

  • New Image Brewing Co. – One of Colorado’s original breweries, opened in 1997. Great beers, food trucks on weekends.
  • Denver Beer Co. – Fun spot with 30+ beers on tap and yard games outside.
  • Steamworks Brewing Co. – Highlights include Colorado Native lager and hop-forward IPAs.
  • Schoolhouse Beer & Brewing – Housed in a 1915 schoolhouse building with cleverly named beers.

Bars & Pubs

Arvada bars offering drinks in a lively atmosphere:

  • The Arvada Tavern – Historic watering hole with patio, pool tables, and live music.
    • Irrational Brewing Co.- Pair tasty pub grub with their award-winning ales and lagers.
  • Bluegrass Coffee & Bourbon Lounge – Relaxing spot for specialty coffee by day, cocktails at night.
  • IAZA Bar – Latin-inspired bar with dancing, hookah patio, and mojitos.

Comedy Clubs

Laugh it up at:

  • Paramount Comedy Showcase – Denver comedians perform sets at this club every weekend.
  • The Comedy Room – Intimate basement venue for local and national stand-up acts.

Festivals & Events

Throughout the year, Arvada hosts a variety of festivals and community events.

Taste of Arvada

This June street fair in Olde Town celebrates local food and drink. Restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and food trucks offer samples and deals. Three stages feature live music and entertainment.

4th of July Festival & Fireworks

Each Independence Day, Arvada hosts a parade through Olde Town followed by a festival in Grandview Elementary with kid’s activities, music, food, and culminates with fireworks over Ralston Lake in the evening.

Harvest Hayday

In October, the Majestic View Nature Center hosts their annual fall festival with demonstrations of antique farm equipment, pony rides, hayrides, and old-fashioned kids games.

Holiday events

Popular holiday happenings include:

  • Festival of Wreaths – Christmas craft fair and wreath auction benefiting nonprofits.
  • Christmas Tree Lighting – Annual lighting event in Olde Town with carols and Santa.
  • Holiday Home Tour – Showcase of historic and contemporary holiday decor at Arvada homes.

Arvada Oktoberfest

Modeled on the famous German beer festival, this event transforms Stenger Soccer Complex into an Oktoberfest ground for two days in September with German music, dancing, costumes, food, and biergartens overflowing with German-style beers. Over 30,000 attendees annually.

Ralston Starfest

Unique hybrid of music festival and 4th of July celebration with live bands and fireworks at Ralston Central Park.

Farmers Markets

Arvada hosts weekly outdoor farmers markets from June to October where local farms and vendors sell fresh produce, prepared foods, and handcrafted goods:

  • Arvada Farmers’ Market – Saturdays on McIlvoy Park
  • Ralston Valley Farmer’s Market – Sundays in the King Soopers parking lot


Arvada’s dining scene encompasses a global range of flavors. Here’s a taste of Arvada’s top local eateries:

Greek and Mediterranean

  • Pita Gyros Grill – Authentic Greek specialties like moussaka, gyros, and spinach pie in a casual setting.
  • Cafe Athens – Charming taverna dishing moussaka and souvlaki along with Greek wines.
  • Mykonos Greek Restaurant – Elegant ambience and upscale Greek seafood dishes.
  • Mexican
  • Bluegrass Tacos & Tequila – Creative tacos like Korean beef bulgogi and drunken shrimp along with 100+ tequila varieties.
  • Fuego Tacos & Tequila – Specializing in Mexican street tacos, ceviche, and tableside guacamole.
  • Los Dos Potrillos – Family-owned local favorite for authentic chile rellenos, enchiladas, fajitas and margaritas.
  • Asian
  • New Saigon – Best Vietnamese pho, banh mi, and stir fries in town.
  • Sushi House – High-quality sushi plus Japanese appetizers like gyoza, seaweed salad, and tempura.
  • Hapa Sushi – Trendy sushi joint with unique combo rolls. Lively late night scene.
  • Italian
  • Maggiano’s Little Italy – Classic Italian-American dishes like chicken parmigiana and spaghetti in a family-style setting.
  • La Strada Ristorante – Fine Italian dining with handmade pastas and Italian seafood specialties. Elegant ambiance.
  • Anthony’s Pizza & Pasta – Casual neighborhood joint cranking out perfect New York-style pizza and pasta.
  • American
  • The Homestead – Farm-to-table regional cuisine focused on locally sourced and seasonal ingredients.
  • Roaming Buffalo BBQ – Smoked meats and classic sides like baked beans, coleslaw, and cornbread. Live music.
  • The Bluegrass Lounge – Inventive comfort food like green chile mac n’ cheese alongside specialty cocktails.
  • From street tacos to high-end Italian to barbecue joints, Arvada offers an eclectic blend of flavors for diners. The city’s central location between Denver and the mountains also attracts great chefs and restaurants.
  • Recreation & Outdoor Activities
  • With the Rocky Mountains just to the west, Arvada is a great basecamp for outdoor recreation.
  • Hiking & Biking Trails
  • Arvada has over 40 miles of trails for hiking, jogging and mountain biking:
  • Ralston Creek Trail – Paved 7-mile trail from Olde Town into the foothills.
  • Van Bibber Trail – For mountain bikers, follows the historic Van Bibber ditch.
  • Fairmont Trail – Hike through open fields with panoramic mountain views.
  • Standley Lake Regional Park
  • This expansive park offers recreational activities including:
  • Boating, waterskiing, windsurfing, and paddleboarding on Standley Lake
  • Fishing for walleye, bluegill, and catfish
  • Picnicking areas
  • Extensive hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails
  • Campground with tent and RV sites
  • Clear Creek Whitewater Park
  • Just over the border in Golden, this park creates artificial rapids for rafting and kayaking through the center of town. Classes available for beginners.
  • Apex Recreation Center
  • This massive community center includes indoor and outdoor pools, water slides, sports courts, cardio equipment, weights, ice rink, and more.
  • Golf Courses
  • Arvada has four public golf courses offering affordable rates:
  • Lake Arbor Golf Course
  • Rolling Hills Country Club
  • Meadow Hills Golf Course
  • Broken Tee Golf Course
  • With plentiful parks, trails, recreation centers and more, Arvada offers year-round access to healthy outdoor fun.
  • History & Heritage
  • Founded in 1870, Arvada has a long history and heritage worth exploring.
  • Gold Mining History
  • Arvada began as a mining settlement for prospectors during the Colorado Gold Rush in the late 1850s. By 1870 it had grown into a thriving frontier town named for Hiram Arvada Haskin, a member of the first wagon train west. Gold mining and milling sustained the town into the early 1900s. History buffs can explore this legacy at:
  • Slum Gulch – Abandoned Victorian houses from Arvada’s mining heyday.
  • Ralston Gold Mine tours – Enter a historic mine and learn gold panning skills.
  • Central City – Nearby historic mining town with century-old buildings, mines, and the largest National Historic Landmark District in Colorado.
  • Agriculture
  • After mining declined, Arvada’s fertile soil made it an agricultural hub known as the “Celery Capital of the World” in the early 20th century. Arvada’s ag history can be revisited at:
  • Majestic View Park – Historic farming complex with orchards and barns.
  • Robb’s Farm – U-Pick fruits and vegetables open seasonally.
  • Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms – 700-acre working farm in nearby Littleton growing over 100 varieties of crops.
  • Local History Museums
  • Museums that illuminate Arvada’s past:
  • The Arvada Historical Society Museum – Exhibits artifacts from Arvada’s earliest days.
  • The Jefferson County Historical Society Museum – Displays memorabilia from Jefferson County going back to the 1850s.
  • Lakewood Heritage Center – Housed in a 1909 mansion, focuses on Lakewood’s agricultural past.
  • By getting to know its history, visitors can appreciate how Arvada has grown and changed over 150 years while keeping its small-town roots.
  • Religious Institutions & Spirituality
  • Arvada has a number of places to nourish the soul.
  • Churches
  • Arvada is home to over 25 Christian churches representing Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian and other Protestant denominations. Some historic churches include:
  • Ralston Presbyterian Church – Founded in 1872, the oldest church in Arvada.
  • All Saints Catholic Parish – Serves the Catholic community from its historic olde town parish.
  • Arvada United Methodist Church – Congregation dating back to Arvada’s early mining days.
  • Temples
  • Arvada also has places of worship for other faiths, including:
  • Adat Shalom Synagogue – Serves over 400 Jewish families in the Denver area.
  • Shambhala Meditation Center – Offers meditation programs and retreats grounded in Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Retreat Centers
  • Those seeking spiritual retreats can find peaceful settings at:
  • Montview Christian Church Retreat Center – Offers individual and group retreats of various lengths.
  • Spirituality Center of the Rockies – Quiet space for personal contemplation and prayer.
  • With diverse religious institutions, Arvada welcomes and supports spiritual practice in many forms.
  • Annual Events & Tourism
  • In addition to its thriving local culture, Arvada hosts visitors for popular annual events.
  • Colorado Bike MS
  • Every summer over 5,000 cyclists ride through the Denver metro area and foothills over a two-day cycling tour to raise money for the National MS Society. Arvada often serves as the starting line for routes.
  • Colorado Balloon Classic
  • For over 40 years in late August, dozens of colorful hot air balloons have taken to the skies over northern Jefferson County during this annual festival centered around Launch Field near the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge outside Arvada.
  • Colorado Railroad Museum
  • Just north in Golden, this museum hosts special events throughout the year like Day Out with Thomas and Polar Express train rides that attract families from across the metro area.
  • Water World
  • This beloved 65-acre water park open seasonally draws over half a million visitors annually. With 49 rides and slides, it’s one of the country’s largest water amusement parks.
  • Olde Town Arvada
  • The historic district offers a walkable main street lined with boutiques, restaurants, breweries and events that entice visitors throughout the year.
  • From festivals to recreation, Arvada provides fun experiences for tourists and locals alike.
  • Local Businesses & Economy
  • While maintaining a small-town feel, Arvada has seen growing economic development.
  • Tech Hub
  • With its proximity to Denver and Boulder, Arvada has attracted technology companies including:
  • DigitalGlobe – Leading provider of high-resolution earth imagery headquartered in Arvada.
  • SecureSet Academy – Cybersecurity education company with a campus in Arvada.
  • Microsoft – The tech giant recently opened a new office in Arvada.
  • Retail Developments
  • New shopping centers bring jobs and sales tax revenue to the city, such as:
  • Village at Arvada – Opened in 2020, this $230 million development includes a Sam’s Club, HomeGoods, Sierra Trading Post, and Nordstrom Rack among its anchors.
  • Arvada Marketplace – Slated to open in 2023 with flagship stores for Target, Marshall’s and HomeGoods.
  • Revitalized Olde Town
  • The pedestrian-friendly Olde Town district has been invigorated with boutique shops, restaurants, and breweries occupying historic storefronts.

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  • Upon leaving the airport, get on Peña Boulevard heading west. Take I-70 west towards the mountains for approximately 10 miles before taking exit 269 for Kipling Street. Turn left onto Kipling Street and continue north for 3 miles. Turn right onto 58th Avenue and continue east for 1⁄2 mile before turning left onto Harlan Street. The destination will be on your right after passing 52nd Avenue.
  • Start by getting on I-25 north from downtown and continue for approximately 10 miles. Take exit 215 onto 58th Avenue. Turn left off the exit and go west on 58th Avenue for around 4 miles before turning right onto Harlan Street. Drive north on Harlan Street by passing 52nd Avenue and look for #5460 on your right after about 1⁄2 mile.
  • Get on US-36 east heading towards Denver. Take this freeway for around 20 miles before merging onto I-25 south towards Denver. Drive approximately 5 miles before taking exit 215 for 58th Avenue. Turn right off the exit onto 58th Avenue heading west for 4 miles before turning right onto Harlan Street. Look for #5460 half a mile down Harlan Street on your right just after passing 52nd Avenue.