Denver Rocks Memorial Day Weekend With Free Concerts, Art Festivals and a Rock Opera
You can start your day with a sunrise hike in Denver’s famous Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, then cheer on Major League Soccer with the Colorado Rapids. Denver Day of Rock blasts downtown with 25 top name bands performing on five stages, while the Denver Performing Arts Complex explodes with the rock opera, American Idiot, featuring Green Day’s smash hit, “21 Guns.”
From water theme parks to river-side bike trails, grab one of Denver’s 200 craft beers, head to one of the city’s 70 outdoor cafes and rooftop bars and enjoy the relaxing sunshine, music and art of Memorial Day Weekend in Denver.
Here are ten not to miss Memorial events.
1. Rock on at the free Denver Day of Rock
Denver’s 16th Street Mall is one massive rockin’ block party on May 24 with more than 24 bands performing free concerts on five stages for the sixth annual Denver Day of Rock. The lineup includes The Kin, Plain White T's, The Hold Steady, Congress, the Wendy Woo Band and many more. Check out the full list of performers.
NEW THIS YEAR: Denver Day of Rock kicks off early with a special Friday evening concert on May 23 by the Wallflowers, fronted by Jakob Dylan, and known for their chart-topping hit “One Headlight.”
For full concert information, hotel packages and updates, visit DenverDayofRock.com.
2. Browse (and shop) at three, free arts and crafts festivals
Denver has not one, not two – but three, free art festivals over Memorial Day Weekend.
Just a few blocks away at the four square block Denver Performing Arts Complex, you can mix and mingle with thousands of fellow art lovers at the Downtown Denver Arts Festival (May 23-25), featuring the works of more than 150 local artists.
Down the street in Denver’s City Park, Denver Flea (May 24) will showcase 60 Colorado-based artisans and collectors, with products ranging from up-cycled furniture to vintage collectibles and jewelry. You won’t want to miss the live music, food trucks, craft beer and rockin’ good time at this first time event.
3. Scream your lungs out at Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
America’s only downtown theme and water park, Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park is open all weekend (with the Water Park opening on May 24).
NEW THIS YEAR: Lose your mind on Brain Drain, a new seven-story steel looping thrill ride that sends riders forwards, backwards and head-over-heels in an adrenaline drenched 360° revolution.
4. Cheer on the Colorado Rapids soccer team
On May 24, see a high-energy game of Major League Soccer at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park as the Colorado Rapids battle the Montreal Impact.
5. Sing along to “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” at American Idiot
Green Day's groundbreaking rock opera will rock the stage at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts with American Idiot (May 23-25), a tale of three lifelong friends, forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia. Features the smash hits "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "Holiday" and "21 Guns."
6. Explore two must-see exhibits of art and history
Discover secrets of Central America at the largest exhibition about the ancient Maya ever to be displayed in the United States, Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed (on view through August 24). The gigantic exhibit includes never-before-seen artifacts, hands-on activities, and immersive walk-in environments, including a journey into a cave.
Modern Masters: 20th Century Icons from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (on view through June 8 at the Denver Art Museum and the Clyfford Still Museum) brings together 50 iconic artworks by Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Georgia O'Keeffe, Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol, Clyfford Still and Jackson Pollock.
7. Smell the roses at Denver Botanic Gardens
Spend some time in the urban oasis that is Denver Botanic Gardens and explore their vast, 23-acres of flowers and fauna. On Monday, May 26 at the York St. gardens, breathe in the fresh mountain air with a Kundalini Yoga class, an awakening experience that will revitalize your spirit to kick-off this year’s summer season. Or, head to the Chatfield location for Butterflies at Chatfield, a new seasonal experience showcasing native Colorado butterfly and plant species in a fun, beautiful environment (May-October).
8. Slide into summer aquatic fun at Water World
Water World (88th Ave. & Pecos Blvd.), one of the largest water theme parks in the nation, opens on May 24 with 67-acres of water attractions, including some 65 water slides, rivers and wave pools.
9. Watch a sunset from a rooftop café
With 300 days of sunshine, Denver is a city that loves to live outdoors. There are 42 outdoor cafes on the 16th Street Mall alone. Huge rooftop cafes at Amato’s, View House, LoDo’s Bar & Grill, the Downtown Tavern, Linger, Lola, Ignite, Tamayo and many others offer views of the city and the nearby snowcapped Rocky Mountains.
10. Pedal a Denver B-cycle
Denver has one of the largest bike trail networks in America -- some 85 miles of paved, off-street bike trails. A perfect way to explore the system is on Denver B-cycle, which was the first bike sharing program in America. More than 800 sturdy, red Trek bikes are available at 83 stations across the city. Swipe a credit card, and for just $8 a day, all rides of half hour or less are free. Hop on, pedal across town, and leave the bike at another station and explore the city.