McNichols Building Venue Guide

McNichols Building Venue Guide
Policies & Procedures

revised 3/25/23

Welcome to McNichols Civic Center Building. We are owned and operated by Denver Arts & Venues, an agency of the City and County of Denver. We are a unique cultural arts center and event facility in the heart of beautiful Civic Center Park in Downtown Denver. Every good time at one of our venues enriches Denver through arts and culture and helps Denver’s cultural community thrive — for good!

McNichols Civic Center Building is a National Historic landmark. Built in 1909 as the Denver Carnegie Library, it was Denver’s first library. After many incarnations and two renovations, the building is now a hub for everyone to enjoy art and attend or host premier public and private events.

McNichols Building interior, people seated at rounds, with stage and band 1200x675

Civic Center Park

Although the McNichols Civic Center Building lives in the Historic Civic Center Park, it is not a part of the Park. Events held in Civic Center Park are managed and governed by the Office of Special Events (OSE), and Denver Parks and Recreation. McNichols Civic Center Building staff cannot restrict the activities or events in Civic Center Park. If you are planning activities in any of the permitted outdoor spaces on the McNichols Building Property, you should check with Denver Parks & Recreation (DPR) Permitting Office or the Office of Special Events to see if there are any conflicting events. Events booked with the McNichols Building are not allowed to spread out or use any area of Civic Center Park without prior approval and the appropriate permits from Denver Parks & Recreation. Permits must be initiated at least 60 days in advance with Denver Parks & Recreation.

Denver Parks & Recreation works closely with the McNichols Building to determine certain rest days for Civic Center Park. During these days, Denver Parks & Recreation will not issue permits for events in Civic Center Park. McNichols Civic Center Building considers those dates Premium Dates and charges higher rates for events being booked on our property on those dates. Please see our rental rate page for all published Premium Dates. If you are booking on a date that is not considered a Premium Date, there is a chance that there will be another event booked within Civic Center Park that could interfere with your event on the McNichols Building property. Examples of interference could be limiting or restricting access to Bannock Street. limiting access to our loading and parking areas, loud music, street closures, pedestrians gathered in the area, limited parking in the area for your guests, etc. Please be aware that a conflicting event in Civic Center Park may not be booked at the time you sign your contract with the McNichols Building. These events can pop up within 30 days of your scheduled event date. Peaceful assemblies are not required to obtain a permit to gather in Civic Center Park, nor are they required to inform Parks & Recreation, Office of Special Events, or the McNichols Building of their planned activities. Luckily, most events willingly work with Parks & Recreation, Office of Special Events and the McNichols Building so that all events held in this area can be successful. If you have any further questions, please contact your event coordinator or visit:

Reservations & Booking

To start the reservation process, please visit our Private Events page or contact our event coordinator. We can hold a space without a contract for up to two weeks. After two weeks, the dates will be released if the contract process has not been initiated. To start a reservation, we will need the name and dates of the event, the event times, the name of the organization or individual who will be on the contract and basic contact information (name, address, phone number and email address), as well as various other relevant event information that we deem necessary. Please be aware that any business that would like to start a reservation must list their address as it is registered with Colorado’s Secretary of State and must be in good standing with that office.   

To secure a date in this facility, Denver Arts & Venues requires a signed contract and a non-refundable deposit equaling one half of the full rental fee. A refundable damage deposit may be required for some events and will be due at least 30 days prior to the event date. Payments must be made in the form of a check or credit card.  

If you are interested in a date that is already reserved by another group, you may be able to issue a formal challenge as long as the other group has not secured the booking with a signed contract and has not paid non-refundable deposit. If a challenge is issued, Arts & Venues will contact the reservation holder and inform them that they will have two business days to commit to the event date by signing the contract and paying their non-refundable rental deposit.  If the challenge is not met by the two business day deadline, the date is automatically released and awarded to the challenger as long as they immediately sign the contract and pay their non-refundable rental deposit.   

Cancellation of your event occurring 60 days or less before the contracted start date shall result in the forfeit of any payments made to the City. Please contact your event coordinator for more information regarding our cancellation policies. 

Labor and Equipment 

Our general rule for using the building is: leave it how it was given to you. We will provide the building to you clean and fully stocked (restroom supplies, broom, mops, janitorial supplies, etc.). Each event is responsible for cleaning any excessive spills or messes as well as the removal of trash, recycling and compost generated during the event. If you are interested in hiring our staff to assist with custodial duties (porters), they are available at an additional cost ($45/hour per staff member with a four-hour minimum). Please note that we do not have cleaning staff on site during your event unless you have hired them to service the event. Hiring custodial support for your event must be done through your McNichols Building event coordinator at least two weeks prior to your event.  

Incidental expenses are expenses associated with labor, equipment, security fees and other expenses that may arise in connection with your event. All events deemed to need building security or event staffing are required to use and pay for McNichols Building’s contracted security and event staffing. The current estimated cost for this service is $40/hour per guard with a four-hour minimum. A "good faith estimate" of incidental expenses will be determined by your event coordinator following your 30-day final walk-through or whenever full event details have been provided. Incidental expenses are subject to change as your event details are modified and confirmed. Incidental expenses may be invoiced in advance of the event or can be taken out of the damage deposit during settlement after the event. If you have any questions or concerns regarding incidental expenses, please contact your event coordinator. Incidental expenses will be determined on a case by case basis. The incidental deposit amounts vary and depend on event activity and security requirements. In order to accurately estimate these costs, you must provide your event coordinator with a detailed outline of your event from load-in to load-out as well as detailed floor plans, timelines, vendor schedules and event activities. If it is determined by the venue director or their designee that life safety personnel such as firemen, paramedics or police are required for the event, those expenses are the responsibility of the booking client. 


A Certificate of Liability Insurance (COI) is required for all contracted events. This COI must be received at least two weeks prior to your event date and must follow guidelines and limits set forth by the contract, including, but not limited to: (1) Minimum $1,000,000 Commercial General Liability per occurrence, which must include Defense Cost Coverage outside the limits of liability and Waiver of Subrogation in favor of the City. (2) The City and County of Denver, its officers, officials and employees as Lessors of the premises, must be named as additional insureds. An example of the liability insurance will be issued once the contract has been assigned. 

FDA Tax and Ticketed Events

There is a 10% Facilities Development Admissions (FDA) Tax. If you feel you are entitled to an exemption, please contact the City & County of Denver’s Treasury Division to request the exemption at If you have any additional questions regarding FDA taxes, please use the following contact information:, 720-913-9400. If Arts & Venues does not receive an exemption letter before the event, please expect to pay the FDA Tax; the check will be requested at settlement and it should be made payable to: Department of Revenue. Only the Department of Revenue is authorized to exempt FDA Tax. 

AXS Digital (AXS Ticketing) is the exclusive ticketing services provider of Denver Arts & Venues. All public, ticketed or fee-based events are required to use AXS for ticket sales. Note that use of AXS provides automatic payment of FDA Tax, when necessary, to the City Treasurer and access to an automated calendar, marketing and other options. Fee schedules may vary according to promoter and presenter needs, audience size and ticket price, organizations recognized as Denver Arts & Venues Cultural Partners, and non-profit organizations. Contact the Denver Arts & Venues ticketing services manager for additional information on fees, event builds and more. 

All event promoters and presenters are required to use the exclusive ticketing services provider of Denver Arts & Venues, AXS Digital (AXS Ticketing), according to contracts and amendments approved by Denver City Council and the Mayor’s Office. 

Fee schedules are reviewed and implemented annually and may vary according to event size, ticket price and an organization’s for-profit or non-profit status. Contact the City’s ticketing services manager for schedules. 

The ability to use an outside provider is limited and failure to comply with the City contract may result in additional fees or cancellation of the event.

EXCEPTIONS: Recognized Denver Arts & Venues Cultural Partners and non-profit events with audiences of less than 200 AND ticket prices of less than $15 may request a waiver. Similarly, strictly private events, without public access to tickets (such as a prom), may use outside ticketing software, but without benefit of DAV marketing, calendar or other assets.

If you think that your event may be exempt from using AXS Ticketing, you must request a waiver immediately upon securing your event date. 

Ticketing waivers are not guaranteed and the client must not put tickets or start collecting event fees through another platform unless a ticketing waiver is granted. 

Alcohol Policies 

McNichols Civic Center Building reserves the right to refuse or stop alcoholic beverage service to any individual or group at any time. The facility is required to enforce liquor laws as regulated by the State of Colorado.  

Substantial food offerings must always be available while alcohol is being served. Snacks such as popcorn, chips, or candy are not considered a substantial food offering. 

All bars need to be at least three feet from art exhibits and need to have plastic sheeting secured underneath to catch all spills. 

McNichols require that all alcoholic bar services end no less than 30 minutes prior to the event end time. Vendor style tasting events with pours less than 1 ounce can be exempted from this policy by the venue director or their designee. 

McNichols Civic Center Building does not hold a liquor license. Qualifying organizations can apply for a special event liquor permit with the City & County of Denver. To get more information, please visit the following website: 

Building Use Guidelines

• Clients are required to provide full event details including timelines, parking lists, room layouts, delivery and vendor schedules, etc. at least 30 days prior to the event date.
• The McNichols Civic Center Building is an open vendor facility and allows events to choose their preferred vendors.
• When setting up bars and cooking areas, you are required to protect areas from spills, splatters and/or leakage that may cause damage. This includes temporary outdoor kitchens or bars.
• Tarps must be placed on the floor under liquids and/or ice to protect the floors from damage or liquid leaking onto another floor.
• All food/beverage stations should be at least three feet from any art to prevent damage.
• The McNichols Building uses a three-stream waste system which includes landfill, recycling and compost. In order to utilize these bins, you must agree to make an effort to keep these steams clean and separated. This may require on-site sorting or eliminating certain kinds of waste from your event. You have an option to hire staff to sort waste into their proper streams (porters) through your event coordinator, or you can provide your own. Some large events may be required to provide their own trash collection. This will be determined on a case by case basis by the venue director or their designee.
• Pallets cannot be left at this facility. Clients and vendors are responsible for the removal of all pallets brought onto the property.
• We have strict rules related to the removal of ice used for events. During winter months we do not allow ice to be dumped on the premises. Please refer to our Critical Rules for Events and Clients document for more information.
• Ice cannot be dumped in the following areas: bathroom sinks, toilets, urinals or anywhere outside of the venue on sidewalks, hard-scapes or grassy areas such as the park or the McNichols Building Lawns. Dumping ice in these restricted areas will lead to fees being assessed during the final settlement of the event. Please work with our security staff or the Manager on Duty to determine the best option for disposing of ice and other unwanted materials.
• Dump buckets can be emptied in receiving room sink but must strained – no solid waste can be dumped or left in this sink (this includes, ice, bar fruit, bottle caps, stir sticks, etc).
• No confetti, glitter, dry tinder (hay bales, dried leaves, plant material) or open flames (pyrotechnics, sparklers, bonfires etc.) are allowed in this facility.
• Large compressed air tanks and gas tanks are not allowed inside the building.
• Nails, tacks, screws or attachments of any kind are prohibited on the walls, windows, floors, ceilings, tables, chairs, etc.
• No tape is permitted on any painted surfaces. Certain kinds of tape are allowed on windows and floors, but must be approved by our event coordinator or Manager on Duty.
• Candles are allowed but must be fully contained within glass or ceramic containers with the wicks below the rims of those vessels.
• The McNichols Building has phased out the use of foamcore signage and does not allow this material. This material NEVER breaks down in the landfill (it is there forever), it is associated with numerous ecological hazards, and is one of the easiest materials to replace with more sustainable options. Due to our inability to dispose of foam core or find alternative uses, we can no longer allow it to be disposed of on site. Event organizers may use foamcore signage that is reused annually but must remove them and any other Styrofoam-type signage at the conclusion of their event. 
• The McNichols Building is a climate-controlled facility. If you would like the temperature adjusted, please work with the Manager on Duty. Do not open any windows without prior approval from building management.
• Internet and Wi-Fi are available at the McNichols Building but may require additional fees. Please work with our event coordinator for more details.
• The McNichols Building is a cultural arts center as well as an event facility. The art showcased in our exhibits is very valuable and is not owned by our facility. It is the responsibility of each client to set reasonable parameters to protect the art as well as the building and equipment during their event.
• The track lighting is set to highlight the art exhibits. If you would like to have lighting adjusted, please work with the Manager on Duty prior to the start of your event.

General Event Policies

• We reserve the right to inspect and control all private and public events, including the right to monitor and control sound levels.
• The McNichols Building management team reserves the right to determine the level of security measures needed for each event based on, but not limited to, the event details provided, number of expected attendees, alcohol provisions, history/reputation of event, time of day or length of event, age of participants, and other possible risk factors associated with the event. Magnetometers, wanding, bag checks, police coverage and medical staff are some of the measures that could be required at the client's expense.
• The McNichols Building is a smoke-free environment. Smoking/vaping is permitted only in designated areas outside the facility.
• As the user of the space, you are responsible for the integrity and safety of the event space and your guests. You are responsible for any damages that occur to the building, equipment or any art being displayed. You are responsible for any breakage or spills that may occur during an event. You are responsible for the vendors you contract with as well as your staff, volunteers and guests. If damages occur during your event you will be liable for any fees associated with repairing the damage.
•The client will assume full responsibility for the conduct of all persons in attendance, including subcontractors, for any damages done to any part of the premises, or theft of property.
• McNichols Building staff will provide a building inspection form and final check-out walkthrough at the end of your event.
• Setup and tear down times must be accounted for in your rental contract. Rental rates are based on 10-hour blocks of time. Additional time beyond the standard 10-hour rental block is available for a fee and must be added to your reservation prior to your event date. The penalty for going past the contracted hours is $500.00/hour or $300.00/hour (based on the business type in your booking agreement) plus any applicable staffing fees (security, management staffing).
• Please do not drive or park on the grass, as it could damage the park.
• Please do not block the driveway including the access lane along Bannock Street as it is an emergency access lane for the building and Civic Center Park.

General Cleaning Expectations

To ensure general cleaning expectations have been met, our closing manager or security lead will do a final walkthrough after the event to ensure event spaces have been returned to the appropriate condition. Some events will require floors to be swept and spot mopped, as well as trash recycling and compost to be sorted and removed and all prep areas to be cleaned. We expect the space to be returned to a reasonably clean state so that we can be prepared for the next event.  

We offer stewarding services that include cleaning services during the event (porters), as well as trash removal and trash sorting during and after the event. The cost of these services is based on the size of the event and number of staff needed.  Staffing is currently set at $45/hour per staff with a four-hour minimum. Room setup, teardown and post-clean (only applies to furniture and equipment owned by the McNichols Building) is now included in your rental rate. If you would like to book additional custodial staffing support for your event, please notify your event coordinator and a “good faith estimate” will be provided for you. (All good faith estimates are subject to change based on event needs and services provided during the event).

Parking and Load-In/Load-Out Policy

• Each event at the McNichols Building is assigned a limited number of parking spaces on the south side of the building (park adjacent) based on availability and event needs.
• These assigned parking spaces can be used by the client or their vendors but will be managed by the McNichols Building security staff.
• We require each client to provide us with a list of vehicles/persons authorized to load-in and/or park in this area at least three days prior to the event.
• The number of parking spaces provided per event is determined solely by the Assistant Venue Director or their designee and is subject to change.
• Any vehicles parked in this area without permission will be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense.
• Garage parking for your guests can be coordinated with several of our local providers. Please work with your event coordinator to find the best options for your event.
• Any event that requests to use the full parking area, a greater portion of the parking area than was originally allotted for their event, or requests to block access to the parking area, will need to gain permission in writing directly from the Assistant Venue Director or their designee prior to the day of the event.
• Any event that is granted permission to utilize the full parking area, a greater portion of the parking area than was originally allotted, or to block access to the parking area, will be required to provide alternative parking options to all permitted building parkers. The number of alternative parking options/spaces will be determined by the Assistant Venue Director or their designee and can range from 10-40+ vehicles per day based on number of staff and permitted parkers needing parking accommodations.
• Events with large or special load-in/load-out needs must coordinate those details with a McNichols Building event coordinator at least three weeks prior to the event, unless a special exemption was given by the Assistant Venue Director or their designee.