Person sitting underneath a tree

Six Shady Spots to Cool Off

August 16, 2022

What better way to soak up the final weeks of summer weather than to sit somewhere outside in the vibrant city CU Denver calls home? With high temps and little cloud cover, shade is essential for comfort—and safety. Luckily, the Auraria Campus and its surroundings offer plenty of tree-covered fields, terraces, and patios for studying and socializing. Here are some of our favorites. (And always remember to hydrate if you’re in the sun for extended periods of time.) 

Benson Terrace 

Take a seat on the grass at the Benson Terrace, a courtyard in the heart of campus between Student Commons and the Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center. The terrace is also home to campus’ larger-than-life bronze statue of CU Denver’s mascot, Milo the Canadian lynx. Don’t forget to snap a selfie.  

When to Go: Morning shade 

Ninth Street Historic District 

This historic gem located on the south side of the Auraria campus is lined by homes built between the late 19th and early 20th century. Running through the middle is a grass courtyard with ample tree shade. 

When to Go: Partial morning shade  

Auraria Library Outdoor Terrace Seating 

If you’re looking for a quiet space, the Auraria Library offers several indoor study alcoves as well as outdoor terrace seating. While you’re there, grab a refreshment or snack from the Library Café and take advantage of the many learning services and resources.  

When to Go: All day shade (depending on seating area) 

St. Cajetan’s Church 

The grounds of this iconic pink church, which was built in 1926, offer several shaded spots for Lynx to study or socialize. Take in the surroundings on the building’s front steps or put down a blanket on a small field east of the building.  

When to Go: Afternoon shade 

Tivoli Student Union  

Established in a former brewery that can trace its roots to 1859, the Tivoli Student Union is a place for campus community members to connect with friends and peers. If you go, check out the outdoor patio and picnic benches by the front entrance. Or grab a caffeinated beverage at the Starbucks in the southwest corner of the building and take a seat under an umbrella on the adjacent patio.  

When to Go: Afternoon shade 

Larimer Square 

Located a short walk from campus across Speer Boulevard, the iconic Larimer Square has lots of outdoor shaded seating throughout the day, in addition to must-try restaurants, trendy stores, and prime people-watching.   

When to Go: All day shade