DENVER (June 2, 2016) – The Fourth of July festivities begin well before the actual holiday in Denver. Visitors to The Mile High City can make a full, long weekend of exploring the city and celebrating the Fourth of July with festivals, concerts, arts and cultural activities and fireworks shows every evening, beginning July 1.

“As the capital city of a state founded on the Fourth of July, this is a very special holiday in Denver,” says Richard Scharf, president and CEO of VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The entire city puts its best foot forward, showcasing our finest art and artists, creative events and festivals and gorgeous weather for outdoor concerts and fireworks. This year, there is so much going on, we are making a full weekend out of it.”

Below is just a sampling of what is going on in The Mile High City over the Fourth of July weekend; for more information, including great hotel deals for the weekend, go to the VISIT DENVER website.

Fireworks Displays

Independence Eve, July 3

Civic Center Park

The annual Independence Eve Celebration will feature a free patriotic concert, an innovative light show on the Denver City and County Building and a stunning fireworks finale. Lawn seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, and guests are welcome to bring blankets or low-rise chairs and picnics; concessions will also be available.

Colorado Rapids and Fireworks, July 4

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park

Denver's hometown heroes and Major League Soccer team, the Colorado Rapids, will take on the Portland Timbers at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Independence Day. There will be a spectacular fireworks display after the game.

Denver Outlaws and Fireworks, July 4

Sports Authority Field

Professional lacrosse team the Denver Outlaws will battle it out with the Florida Launch. After the game, spectators can enjoy a unique fireworks display within the stadium at Sports Authority Field at Mile High — pyrotechnics paired with visuals on a 220-foot-wide, high-definition screen.

Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park, July 4

Spend the day riding the roller coasters and the water slides at Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park, Denver's downtown amusement park, then watch a brilliant fireworks display light up the night sky, starting at dusk.

Independence Weekend Events

Cherry Creek Arts Festival, July 2-4

Cherry Creek North

This free outdoor extravaganza — the city's signature cultural celebration of the visual, performing and culinary arts — gives more than 350,000 annual visitors the chance to meet and talk with international visual artists, enjoy a wide range of family-friendly fun and sample fine cuisine. The festival includes plenty of interactive elements – from Artivity Avenue, a full block of interactive activities perfect for youngsters, to the Cultural Pavilion, featuring music, dance and theater from around the globe. Culinary Avenue features tasty treats and live cooking demonstrations from some of Denver's most popular eateries.

Liberty Run 4-Mile Run and Firecracker Kids Fun Run, July 4

Washington Park

Work off all the BBQ and cake by taking part in the Liberty Run. Prizes will be given to kids and adults with the best patriotic flair, so participants are encouraged to wear their best red, white and blue. After the run, there will be food, beverages and a patriotic celebration.

Arts, Culture & Music Events

First Friday Art Walk, July 1

Denver’s Art Districts

Denver's vibrant creative communities stay open to the public on the first Friday of every month in The Mile High City's art districts, including Art District on Santa Fe, RiNo (River North Art District) and the Tennyson Street Cultural District. Galleries stay open late as art lovers enjoy live music, food and drink — and, of course, plenty of great art.

City Park Jazz, July 3

City Park

Every Sunday evening in June and July, jazz fans and novices come to City Park to enjoy free jazz music, a food truck lineup and the beautiful Denver summer evenings. Independence Day weekend will feature the sounds of Ritmo Jazz Latino, one of Denver’s finest jazz ensembles

Concerts, all weekend

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre – the world’s only naturally-formed, acoustically perfect amphitheater – will host evening concerts on July 1-2 and July 5, featuring headliners Beats Antique, Shpongle, That 1 Guy, Alex and Allyson Grey, Umphrey’s McGee, and Blues Traveler returns for their annual Independence Day show, along with Thompson Square, Uncle Kracker and Sam Palladio.

Selena Gomez’s Rival Tour comes to the downtown Pepsi Center on July 2 along with special guest DNCE to kick off the holiday weekend.

Folsom Field at the University of Colorado Boulder campus will host Dead & Company on July 2 and 3; former Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann will once again team up with John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti to put on a show that all Deadheads will enjoy.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science, all weekend

To cool off from the sun, visitors can head to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science to see some of this summer’s not-to-be-missed exhibitions and IMAX films, including “A Beautiful Planet 3D,” “National Parks Adventure 3D” (IMAX) and Robot Revolution, an interactive exhibit for all ages.

Denver Art Museum, all weekend

Visitors should also be sure to experience the summer exhibitions at the Denver Art Museum. Learn about the motives behind Native American dance and how it impacts the arts with Dance! Why we Dance: American Indian Art in Motion; or view a collection of paintings by largely unknown women during the 1940s and 1950s in the Denver Art Museum-curated, first-of-its-kind exhibition, Women of Abstract Expressionism.

Denver Botanic Gardens, all weekend

Stories in Sculpture: Selections from the Walker Art Center Collection is a rare opportunity to see 13 contemporary sculptures on display in Denver. Highlighted artists include Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, George Segal, Saul Baizerman, Deborah Butterfield, Barry Flanagan and Judith Shea.