Culture is big business in Metro Denver
The area is the cultural capital of the Rocky Mountain region and is home to the Denver Performing Arts Complex, the nation’s largest arts complex under one roof. Visitors can attend the symphony, ballet, opera, theatre, and touring productions there, and at numerous exhibiting institutions and performance venues throughout the area.
Citizens in Metro Denver support arts and culture through the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a voter-approved sales tax earmarking one cent of every $10 in retail sales to support art, culture, and scientific organizations in the seven-county Metro Denver region. A national model for funding culture, in 2013 the SCFD distributed more than $47 million to 280 arts and culture organizations.
More than 14.6 million Metro Denver residents and other visitors attended cultural events in 2013, according to the SCFD. And recent venue expansions and construction of new facilities further illustrate the vibrancy of Metro Denver's cultural scene.
With more than 1.4 million visitors in 2014, Denver Botanic Gardens was the most visited garden in North America. It also ranked third on the America Garden Tourism Conference's list of the "Top 10 North American Gardens Worth Traveling For."
According to travel guide FodorsTravel.com’s 2015 list, the Denver Zoo is one of the top 10 zoos in the country, and its Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit was singled out. The Denver Zoo was partly responsible for tourism's banner year in Denver last year, when a total of 15.4 million people visited the area and spent $4.6 billion.