50 Free Winter Activities In Denver
Enjoy some of the Mile High City's greatest winter attractions and events for FREE. Make a night of it and take advantage of great hotel rates starting as low as $52.80.
FREE HOLIDAY FESTIVALS & EVENTS
Southwest Rink at Skyline Park
WHEN: Thanksgiving Weekend through Valentine's Day
WHERE: Southwest Rink at Skyline Park, Arapahoe and 16th Sts.
The Southwest Rink at Skyline Park returns in 2013 with ice skating and family fun. The rink is FREE and open to the public with the option to bring your own skates or rent a pair at a minimal cost.
Grand Illumination of Downtown
WHEN: November 28
WHERE: Downtown Denver
This year's Grand Illumination of Downtown Denver features beautiful lighting displays at the City and County Building, Larimer Square, Denver Pavilions, Denver Union Station, Skyline Park, the 16th Street Mall and the historic D&F Tower. Downtown's unique holiday atmosphere is sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Festivities at Denver Union Station begin at 5:30 p.m., with a countdown to "light the lights" live with 9NEWS at approximately 6:30 p.m.
Visits With Santa on Larimer Square
WHEN: Dates TBA
WHERE: Larimer Square, Larimer St., between 14th and 15th Sts.
It's the happiest season of all at Larimer Square, where historic charm meets holiday cheer. With festive dining options and boutiques filled with treasures for everyone on your Nice List, Larimer Square help you celebrate in style. There are also carolers, carriage rides, and Santa on any given day. Visits With Santa are FREE and open to the public.
Holiday Festivities at Denver Pavilions
WHEN: Throughout December
WHERE: Denver Pavilions, 500 16th St.
Located on the 16th Street Mall, the Denver Pavilions is a 350,000 square foot open air retail, restaurant and entertainment complex. With 40 restaurants, shops & entertainment venues, Denver Pavilions is your convenient and fun holiday resource. Valet parking available nightly for only $5 after 5pm with a same day purchase from the Center. Check back soon for events and activities.
Olde Golden Christmas On Parade
WHEN: Dates TBA
WHERE: Downtown Golden
The Olde Golden Christmas Parade is a true olde fashioned hometown parade infused with a fun, only-in-Golden spirit. Floats, clowns, Christmas Characters, music, Santa, even elves on unicycles! Afterwards, catch a free horse-drawn carriage ride or kids can enjoy a free ride in a Newfoundland dog cart.
City & County Building Holiday Lights
WHEN: November 28 - January 30
WHERE: City & County Building, 1437 Bannock St.
The largest lighting display in Denver comes on nightly at 6 p.m. at the City & County Building, where 600,000 lights deck the neo-classical building. The bell tower plays carols nightly as well.
9NEWS Parade of Lights
WHEN: December 5 (8 p.m.) and Dec. 6 (6 p.m.)
WHERE: Downtown Denver
The 9NEWS Parade of Lights is the signature event of the owntown Denver holiday season. The countless sparkling lights, marching bands, giant balloons, majestic floats and delightful characters will once again wow hundreds of thousands. Viewing along the parade route is free, and grandstand tickets are sold for seating in front of the beautifully illuminated City & County Building.
Georgetown Christmas Market
WHEN: Dates TBA
Come celebrate 50 years of an Old World Christmas in quaint Georgetown. The Georgetown Christmas Market is a marvelous outdoor European-inspired Market featuring handcrafted gifts, horse-drawn wagon rides, carolers, roasted chestnuts, appearances by St. Nicholas in his traditional robes, and the Santa Lucia Children's Procession.
WHEN: Date TBA
WHERE: Skyline Park, on the corner of 16th and Arapahoe Sts.
Hundreds of tuba players play holiday classics at the annual TubaChristmas concert in Skyline Park.
New Year's Eve Fireworks
WHEN: December 31
WHERE: Downtown Denver
Ring in the New Year with Denver's annual New Year's Eve Fireworks with viewpoints along the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver. There will be two displays, one at the family friendly hour of 9 p.m. and the other at midnight. Costumed entertainers will interact with crowds between shows, featuring magicians, costumed characters, balloon artists, stilt walkers, comedians and more.
National Western Stock Show & Rodeo Parade
WHEN: Date TBA
WHERE: Downtown Denver
This annual National Western Stock Show Rodeo kicks off the yearly celebrations with a free parade in Downtown. Beginning at Union Station and meandering down 17th St., the parade features marching bands, floats, horseback riders and performing cowgirls and cowboys, in addition to the incredible sight of Texas Longhorn cattle being driven through downtown Denver.
FREE ATTRACTIONS & TOURS
Denver Zoo Free Days (Colorado Residents only)
WHEN: Nov. 3, Nov. 14, Nov. 20
WHERE: Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele St.
Go say hello to the animals for free four times this fall. The Denver Zoo, located in City Park, spans over 75 acres and is home to over 4,000 animals including rare amur leopards, okapi, black rhinoceros, elephants, vampire bats, orangutan, Komodo dragons and more!
Denver Museum of Nature & Science Free Day (Colorado Residents only)
WHEN: Dec. 1
WHERE: 2001 Colorado Blvd.
Explore the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, a maze filled with treasures of the earth – dinosaurs, dioramas, space exhibits, science experiments, a digital planetarium, IMAX theatre and touring shows.
Denver Art Museum Free Days
WHEN: Dec. 6, Jan. 3, Feb. 7
WHERE: Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy.
The Denver Art Museum's Hamilton Building is an architectural work of art. Designed by Daniel Libeskind, it will change the way you experience art and architecture. Explore the Museum's galleries showcasing a world-famous American Indian art collection, as well as art from around the world.
Free Target Tuesday Nights at the Children’s Museum of Denver
WHEN: First Tuesday of each month
WHERE: Children's Museum of Denver, 2121 Children's Museum Dr.
Families can play for FREE the first Tuesday of each month from 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. Discover the Children's Museum of Denver, where interactive Playscapes, programs, and special events all make learning fun by engaging children, infant through age 8, to play, learn and explore. It is a place that ignites and fosters a love of learning that children will carry with them throughout life.
Molly Brown House Free Day
WHEN: Dec. 3
WHERE: Molly Brown House Museum, 1340 Pennsylvania St.
Learn all about the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown during this free day at the Molly Brown House Museum.
Four Mile Historic Park Free Days
WHEN: Dec. 5, Jan. 2, Feb. 6
WHERE: Four Mile Historic Park, 715 S. Forest St.
At the Four Mile Historic Park, take a trip back in time to Denver's pioneer past.
Free Denver Public Art Tours
Arts & Venues Denver invites art and architecture lovers to participate in FREE Public Art Tours - on foot, bike and scooter. These free guided tours focus on small segments of the City’s Public Art Collection and give citizens and visitors the opportunity to venture inside venues such as the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and Colorado Convention Center to view works and hear the intimate details of their creation and installation.
U.S. Mint Tour
320 W. Colfax Ave.
Learn how to make money! The U.S. Mint produces 50 million coins a day, each one stamped with a little "D" for Denver. Free tours show every step in the process of turning a dull, blank, metal slug into shiny pocket change.
Garden of the Gods
1805 N. 30th St., Colorado Springs
Located 60 miles from Denver, the awe-inspiring Garden of the Gods features gigantic 500-foot high red sandstone rock monuments at the base of Pikes Peak.
National Center for Atmospheric Research
1850 Table Mesa Dr., Boulder
Learn about global warming, the 21st century's hottest topic, at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. See a hailstone the size of a softball, watch as a miniature tornado is whipped up in front of your eyes, and get an up close look at how lightning is created.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre & Park
18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison
Carved from towering red rock monuments, Red Rocks Amphitheatre & Park is one of the world's most renowned concert venues. When there's no concert, the free Visitor Center has a museum Performers' Hall of Fame, while the surrounding park has hiking trails that weave in, around and over the colorful red rocks.
Colorado State Capitol Tour
200 E. Colfax Ave.
Tour magnificent, gold-domed Colorado Capitol Building. Stand at exactly a mile high on the steps, see Allen True's beautiful murals, listen in on the Colorado General Assembly, and check out the gorgeous Rose Onyx wainscoting. Free tours are available 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.
Denver Story Trek
Ever wonder about the stories of the places you pass? On Denver Story Trek you'll explore the stories behind Denver's historic landscapes and landmarks on an interactive, self-guided tour of the city. It's simple to use and free!
6028 S. Gallup St., Littleton
Travel back in time at the Littleton Museum and get a glimpse into Colorado's pioneer past. Located on 39 acres, the museum consists of two living history farms (one from the 1860s and one from the 1890s), with a working farm, a blacksmith shop and more than 40,000 historically Colorado artifacts.
Tattered Cover Bookstore
1628 16th St.
The Tattered Cover is one of the nation's largest and most well-known independent bookstores and often hosts free signings by some of the literary world's most famous authors. They also offer free wi-fi if you want to surf the net while you're there.
Coors Brewery Tour
13th and Ford, Golden
"Taste the Rockies!" Coors Brewery, the world's largest brewing site still uses the same Rocky Mountain spring water that Adolph Coors discovered in 1873. Free tours show every step in the brewing process, and end with free samples for those over 21.
Celestial Seasonings Tour
4600 Sleepytime Dr., Boulder
See how Celestial Seasonings, the largest specialty tea manufacturer in North America, blends, packages and ships its teas, then enjoy free samples of every variety they make, and discover a gallery of original artwork from their famous tea boxes.
Great Divide Brewery Tour
2201 Arapahoe St.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at Denver's craft beer world on a free tour at the Great Divide Brewery in downtown Denver. Tours take place at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Monday - Friday and each hour starting at 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
16831 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison
See some dinos - or what's left of them anyway. Dinosaur Ridge features famous Jurassic dinosaur bones, such as Stegosaurus and Apatosaurus, discovered in 1877, and Cretaceous dinosaur footprints. A guidebook is available for use on self-guided tours.
Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum
1701 Mile High Stadium Cir.
Housed in Sports Authority Field At Mile High Stadium (home of the Denver Broncos), the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum honors the legacies of The Mile High City's greatest sports heroes, and features the Gallery of Legends, a "Great Moments in Colorado Sports" exhibit and a section celebrating the achievements of girls and women in Colorado Sports.
Rockmount Ranch Wear
1626 Wazee St.
Browse the racks and enjoy the free museum at Lower Downtown's historic Rockmount Ranch Wear, the originator of the western snap-button shirt. The walls are adorned with photos of the many celebs who have worn Rockmount shirts, including Eric Clapton, Robert Redford and Elvis Presley.