When: Aug. 26
Where: Downtown Denver
The second annual USA Pro Challenge, the most grueling, professional bicycle race in the nation, will end on the streets of Denver with a thrilling individual time trial that may well decide the winner. After speeding through 700 miles of picturesque Rocky Mountain scenery, 126 of the world’s best riders will power through the finish line at intense speeds before a national TV audience on Sunday, Aug. 26. The time trial finish on August 26 in Denver will begin and end in Civic Center Park with a route that will take the riders through some of Denver’s most historic and beautiful neighborhoods. Hundreds of thousands of fans will line the route of this free sporting event, and after the race, enjoy a free festival in Civic Center Park with live music from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, food trucks and microbrews.
Bonus tip: Make a weekend of it and book your hotel at a discounted rate in The Mile High City.
Treat Yourself at A Taste Of Colorado
When: Aug. 31 – Sept. 3
Where: Civic Center Park
More than 500,000 people make A Taste of Colorado, the state’s largest free-admission outdoor event, the focus of their Labor Day Weekend. At this four-day festival, visitors enjoy tasty, specialty small plate offerings from 50 of Denver’s best restaurants and food trucks. Rock out to live music from fan favorites: The Spin Doctors (Sept. 1); The Pointer Sisters (Sept. 2); G. Love & Special Sauce (Sept. 3); and many more local bands. Bring the kids to the KidzStage featuring magic, clowns and puppets, and enjoy classic carnival rides all weekend long.
Sing Along – if you Dare – with The Book of Mormon
When: Aug. 14 – Sept. 2
Where: Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver Performing Arts Complex
The New York Times says, “It’s the best musical of this century.” The Book of Mormon is the irreverent Broadway phenomenon from South Park creators – and Colorado natives – Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q co-creator Robert Lopez. Don’t miss the world road-show debut in Denver, the city personally selected by Parker and Stone to kick off the tour!
The Duel in Denver – Team USA and Team Canada Go Head-to-Head
When: Sept. 8
Where: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
Rematch! Experience the thrills of lacrosse at this special event – a rematch of the heart-stopping 2010 World Championship gold-medal game in which Team USA defeated Team Canada, 12-10. The game serves as a prelude to the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championships, hosted by US Lacrosse in Denver. Tickets start at $20.
Make a Trip to the Old Country at Festival Italiano
When: Sept. 8-9
Festival Italiano serves up the region’s best selection of homemade Italian specialties in the pedestrian friendly neighborhood of Belmar. The free festival features an artisan marketplace, live entertainment and chef tastings, live music on two stages, kids activities (grape stomping!), a bocce tournament and flag throwers (direct from Italy!) for a weekend, Italian-style.
Go to the Top of the Continent on Mount Evans Highway
When: Through Labor Day
Adventurous motorists – this is your last chance to get as high as you can possibly go in North America. Because of severe conditions and early snows, the road to the summit of 14,264-foot high Mount Evans – the highest paved road in the Western Hemisphere – is traditionally closed after Labor Day. The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is just 60 miles west of Denver and is one of only two roads in the world to climb to the top of a 14,000-foot peak. Along the twisting road to the summit expect to be stopped by herds of big horn sheep and Rocky Mountain goats, as well as by jaw-dropping scenic vistas.
Rock Out in the Great Outdoors
When: Through September
Where: Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, Denver Botanic Gardens
Don’t let summer slip by without enjoying a concert in the fresh air. Denver is packed with places to see a wide array of musical talents under the sun and stars. Head out to Red Rocks – the venue that’s on every music lover’s bucket list – for an unforgettable night. Upcoming shows include B.B. King (Aug. 30), DeVotchKa with The Colorado Symphony Orchestra (Sept. 20) and Peter Gabriel performing his classic album So (Sept. 30). At the Denver Botanic Gardens, pack a picnic dinner and some lawn chairs and enjoy a spectacular setting and world class sounds, including Bruce Hornsby (Aug. 30), Buddy Guy (Sept. 1) and Pat Metheny (Sept. 7). Ticket prices vary.
Go Where West Meets East
When: Through Nov. 4
Where: Denver Botanic Gardens, York Street
Don’t miss the Denver Botanic Gardens’ signature exhibition, Kizuna: West Meets East, which features renowned artists Tetsunori Kawana and Stephen Talasnik using bamboo to create inspiring, large site-specific works for the Gardens. In addition to these ephemeral artworks, the gardens recently unveiled the newly expanded Japanese Garden, Shofu-en, with the additions of the new Bill Hosokawa Bonsai Pavilion and Tea Garden. Adult day-passes are only $12.50.
Say Hello to Denver’s New Five-Ton Locals at Toyota Elephant Passage
Where: Denver Zoo
At this brand new Denver Zoo exhibit, watch majestic Asian elephants go swimming or relax in their own personal hot tubs. The incredible complex includes bridges where elephants will pass in front of and above you. Other inhabitants include Indian one-horned rhinos cooling off in a shallow stream, acrobatic gibbons swinging overhead from tree to tree, fishing cats diving for their next meal and the piercing stare of a black leopard, all from the center of an Asian village. Zoo admission is $12 for adults and includes entry into the Toyota Elephant Passage.
Travel Back in Time to Colorado’s Pioneer Past
Where: History Colorado Center
The new $110 million History Colorado Center is an experiential museum that makes history fun. Soar off a ski jump in Steamboat Springs; don a headlamp and descend into a mine; or push a “Jules Verne-like Time Machine” over a giant terrazzo map of Colorado for a glimpse of the state’s wild past. Whether you spend time with Chief Yellow Wolf, Kit Carson or Barney Ford, expect history like you’ve never seen, heard or experienced it before. An adult day pass is $10.