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Discover these hidden gems

6 spots on the Auraria Campus to learn, relax and get a glimpse of history.

By Kylie Henson

August 7, 2018

Resting around the Auraria Higher Education Campus are unoccupied and overlooked spaces awaiting new visitors. 

The campus is constantly changing, but among new buildings and spaces are hidden gems and historic landmarks. Here are a few you shouldn’t miss.

9th street park

History in Our Backyard

Do you love artifacts of the past? Take a trip to the history department or walk down Ninth Street Park to uncover campus history.

On the south side of campus near Colfax and Auraria, the historic park is lined with small Victorian homes that house various Metropolitan State University of Denver, AHEC and CU Denver departments and offices. In fact, it’s the oldest restored residential block in Denver. Take some time to stroll down the many paths that run through Ninth Street Park to explore the antiques thriving on our campus.

Legacies Left BehindPlaque commemorating deceased teachers.

Shortly after the Auraria Campus was established in 1975, Walter Grunwald, a professor in what was then the Department of Education at Metropolitan State College, created a memorial plaque for professors who had died. The plaque is just behind Ninth Street Park near the West Classroom building.

Grunwald was so passionate about creating a commemorative location for educators that he paid for the plaque to be installed out of his own pocket. He wanted the educators who had come before him to be remembered because he believed in the importance of education and the educator’s power to change lives.

Soon after his death, Grunwald was added to the memorial as well, and the plaque remains a peaceful, quiet area for those on campus to contemplate the power of education.

Student in training cockpit.Grunwald wasn’t the only professor to leave a lasting mark on the campus. In 1987, Col. Robert K. Mock came to MSU Denver and quickly became the chair of the Aviation and Aerospace Department. He was named dean of the College of Professional Studies in 1996, but after serving in this position for five years he returned to teaching.

Mock’s career at MSU Denver spanned 21 years. His legacy includes an endowed scholarship, although his greatest contribution is the Robert K. Mock World Indoor Airport, which is recognized as one of the most technologically advanced collegiate integrated flight and air-traffic-control simulator laboratories in the country. Visit the Seventh Street Building to get a look at this unique teaching tool.

The Best View of the CityView of downtown Denver from Auraria campus.

There are plenty of popular places on campus with a view of our backyard, downtown Denver, but have you checked out the view from the Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center? We suggest taking an excursion to the HLC to sneak a peek at the view from the second floor.

If you can’t visit the HLC, there is plenty of room on the sprawling lawn in front of St. Cajetan’s Center. Whip out your lawn blanket this fall, and take a moment to hang out. The view is worth it.


Hubs for Delicious GrubExterior shot of Degree restaurant.

We all have our favorite places to eat, like Alfresco Greens, Subway or the Tivoli Brewery.

However, there is one hub for grub that might be the best-kept secret on campus: Degree.

Whether you’re craving chips and salsa or a beer and a burger, Degree has delectable cuisines that are perfect for a “treat-yo-self” kind of day. Plus, funds from the restaurant go directly toward scholarships that support students from MSU Denver, Community College of Denver and CU Denver — and employees receive a 20 percent discount!

What are your preferred grub hubs, hideouts or unique areas on campus? Tell us about your treasured spots, or share interesting bits of campus history, by emailing

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