Free Things To Do This Summer In Denver
Denver’s summer is packed with free things to see and do, from fun festivals and outdoor movies to scenic drives and quaint mountain towns.
FREE FESTIVALS & EVENTS
First Friday Art Walks
WHEN: July 3, August 7, September 4
WHERE: Denver's Art Districts
Discover Denver's thriving creative community during a First Friday celebration, held every first Friday of the month, during which galleries in Denver's art districts stay open late for a festive, street party-like event.
Cherry Creek Arts Festival
WHEN: July 3-5
WHERE: Cherry Creek North from 2nd to 3rd Aves., on the seven streets between Columbine and Steele Sts.
Cherry Creek Arts Festival is a world-class and award-winning celebration of the visual, culinary and performing arts, and enjoys an attendance of 350,000 visitors over the 3-day event. CCAF gives patrons the rare and special opportunity to meet and talk with international visual artists, sample fine cuisine, visit special exhibits and artist demonstrations, and entertain their families with interactive "Artivities" and exciting performing arts.
WHEN: All summer long
WHERE: Throughout Denver
The many farmers' markets spread throughout The Mile High City aren't just about locally grown farm-fresh produce, delicious baked goods and good-to-the-last bite prepared foods - though you'll find more than enough of those things. Each Denver Farmers' Market is a festive, weekly street fair, with live entertainment, family friendly activities and a vibrant crowd of locals.
Colorado Black Arts Festival
WHEN: July 10-12
WHERE: City Park West, 17th Ave. and Colorado Blvd.
The Colorado Black Arts Festival is a three-day festival that presents an array of exciting African-American arts and cultural delights. A wide array of art will adorn the grounds and live music (including jazz, hip hop, R&B, rock 'n' roll and more) from the people of African descent will give way to a memorable weekend. This is a family friendly event with programming and activities for the entire family.
Colorado Dragon Boat Festival
WHEN: July 18-19
WHERE: Sloan's Lake Park, 1700 S. Sheridan Blvd.
Founded in 2001 to celebrate Colorado's rich Asian Pacific American (APA) culture, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival has become the region's fastest growing fun, family-friendly summer festival. Named "Top Annual Festival" by the Rocky Mountain News and a "Best of Denver" event by Westword, it offers festival-goers the opportunity to explore APA customs through performances, arts and crafts, shopping, dining and the exciting athletic competition of dragon boat racing.
Golden Fine Arts Festival
WHEN: August 16-17
WHERE: 11th St. and Arapahoe St., Golden
Come browse a variety of beautiful art at the Golden Fine Arts Festival. The festival hosts more than 140 high-quality artists (many of which are Coloradoans) in a variety of media, including ceramic arts, fiber arts, glass, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture.
A Taste of Colorado
WHEN: Sept. 4-7
WHERE: Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Ave.
A Taste of Colorado stands proud as the end-of-summer celebration of community pride and spirit in the Denver region. Over 500,000 people make the four-day festival their Labor Day Weekend celebration, enjoying the offerings of more 50 area restaurants, 250 marketplace artisans and vendors, seven stages, and educational programs promoting the diverse cultural and western heritage of the region.
Outdoor Movies in the Parks
WHEN: All summer long
WHERE: In Denver's city parks
Spread out a blanket in one of Denver's gorgeous parks for FREE, family friendly Outdoor Movies in the Parks. Check back soon for dates and locations.
FREE LIVE MUSIC
City Park Jazz
WHEN: Sunday evenings in June and July
WHERE: City Park, 17th Ave. and Colorado Blvd.
Every Sunday night in June and July, the City Park Bandstand and Pavilion turns into a swinging, open-air jazz club as music lovers of all ages congregate for the free City Park Jazz.
Elway's Summer Music Series
WHEN: Wednesday evenings, June 17 - August 19
WHERE: Elway's Cherry Creek, 2500 E. 1st Ave.
It's a Wednesday night thing and the music is free. The Elway's Summer Music Series opens with perennial favorite the Railbenders and their outlaw country sound. Enjoy music, cocktails and Elway's signature menu.
Coohills Beats on the Creek Summer Concert Series
WHEN: Tuesday evenings, June 16 - August 4
Join Coohills for eight consecutive Tuesdays this summer for their free Beats on the Creek Summer Concert Series. From 6:30-8:30, live music will fill the restaurant for all guests to enjoy. Headliners include: Under a Blood Red Sky (U2 Tribute Band), Funkiphino, That 80's Band, Forever in Blue Jeans (Neil Diamond Tribute Band) and more!
Civic Center Park's Independence Eve
WHEN: July 3
WHERE: Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Ave.
The annual Independence Eve Celebration will feature a free patriotic concert by The Colorado Symphony, an innovative light show on the Denver City and County Building and a stunning fireworks finale.
FREE ATTRACTIONS AND TOURS
Denver Free Walking Tours
See and experience downtown Denver the green way, on foot! Denver Free Walking Tours offers daily walking tours that start in Civic Center Park, wind through downtown past more than a dozen of Denver's distinctive landmarks, and end in front of Coors Field. The daily tour showcases the history, architecture, landmarks and businesses of The Mile High City.
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.
Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) Free Days
Colorado residents can enjoy the following cultural attractions for free on select days throughout the summer: Denver Botanic Gardens at York Street (July 21, August 31, September 9); Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield (July 7 & August 4); Denver Museum of Nature & Science (June 29, July 26, August 12, September 27); Clyfford Still Museum (June 26, July 31, August 28, September 25); Denver Firefighters Museum (August 2).
Denver Art Museum
WHEN: July 11, August 1, September 5 & 12
FREE to all youth ages 18 and under every day
First time in The Mile High City? Free Saturdays are a great opportunity to explore Denver's vibrant arts and culture! The Denver Art Museum offers free general admission on the first Saturday of the month and includes locals and tourists. New for 2015, general admission to the Denver Art Museum is FREE to all youth ages 18 and under every day, granting more kids access to art than ever before.
19th and Little Raven Sts.
The expansive Denver Skate Park - one of the most renowned skate parks in the country - is filled with bowls for all levels of skating skill. Admission is free. Helmets are required.
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.
Children's Museum Free Target Tuesdays
2121 Children's Museum Dr.
A perfect after-school activity -- the extremely fun Children's Museum of Denver is FREE every first Tuesday of the month from 4-8 p.m.
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!
Littleton Historical Museum
6028 S. Gallup St., Littleton
Travel back in time at the Littleton Historical 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.
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City-Denver Branch's Money Museum
1020 16th St.
The Money Museum offers an opportunity to learn about the Federal Reserve Bank. And, best of all, it's free! Walk-ins are welcome and groups can make advance reservations. Photo ID required for visitors 18 and older. On your way out, don't forget to get your bag of shredded money.