50 Free Fall Activities in Denver
Enjoy the best that Denver has to offer this fall without stretching your budget. The Mile High City is packed with free festivals, attractions and activities that will keep you busy all season long. Check back soon for 2013 updates!
FESTIVALS & EVENTS
A Taste of Colorado
Aug. 31 - Sept. 3
Civic Center Park
Held every year over Labor Day Weekend in Civic Center Park, A Taste of Colorado puts the spotlight on the diversity of Colorado cuisine. Delight your taste buds with creations from the state’s favorite restaurant and food establishments. Enjoy live entertainment, carnival rides, family friendly entertainment and much more.
New Belgium’s Tour de Fat
A Ballyhoo of Bikes and Beer! Connecting people with bikes, beer and community since 1997, the Tour de Fat’s Denver stop takes place in City Park. Expect a wild, costumed bike parade, food, drink and much merriment. The Ride begins at 10 a.m. from the west side of City Park.
Denver Art Museum Friendship Powwow
Denver Art Museum
Experience powwow dance and pageantry, participate in a community mural project, enter to win prize drawings, browse vendor booths, and enjoy your first (or 101st) piece of fry bread.
The annual Festival Italiano Food & Wine Festival at Belmar Center is a fun-filled celebration of all things Italian. The event will feature over 70 of the finest Italian food, wine and artisan vendors from the area who will sell ceramics, gelato, sausage, baked goods, pasta, flowers, herbs, sculpture, antique maps, produce, pizza and much more.
Colorado Remembers - Honoring Our Will To Prevail
Civic Center Park
The Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab (CELL) and The Denver Post are proud to present Colorado Remembers – Honoring Our Will to Prevail. This special two-hour event will include a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony and a Special Tribute to First Responders in the Wake of the Wildfires and the Aurora Tragedy. The Ceremony and Tribute will be followed by a live performance by Colorado’s own Hazel Miller.
Handmade in Colorado Expo
The Handmade in Colorado Expo is a showcase of some of Colorado's best handmade arts, crafts and goods. All work displayed at this juried event is handcrafted in Colorado and sold direct by the artist.
Uptown Block Party & The Brewers' Olympics
Vine Street Pub is throwing the Second Annual Uptown Block Party and Brewer’s Olympics, on September 15th, 2012 at 1pm (music starts at 5:30pm); a free community event featuring live music from Keith Mosley of String Cheese Incident with Scott Law & Friends. “The best beer garden in the Front Range” will feature beer from Mountain Sun, Breckenridge, Upslope, Wynkoop, Boulder Beer, Twisted Pine, Avery Brewing, Great Divide, Odell, Oskar Blues and Renegade breweries, available for $5 a pint. Among other brews, Mountain Sun will pour the ‘Number One,’ a Belgian ale that is the first beer to be brewed at the new Vine Street Brewery. Watch as Denver’s 10 top craft breweries face-off in the Second Annual Brewer’s Olympics. The brewers’ excellence in beer-making will not prepare them for the raucous events that make up the Brewer’s Olympics.
Sept. 21-23 & Sept. 28-30
In the Ballpark Neighborhood (between 20th and 22nd Sts. on Larimer St.)
This family friendly fest commemorates the world-famous and time-honored tradition of German heritage. Enjoy German attractions including music from national touring groups, performances by international dancers, children's activities, and heritage booths selling German goods, splendid decor, an accordion concert and authentic drinks and cuisine.
Full Moon Harvest Festival
Five Points Neighborhood
The 2012 Green Spaces Festival brings thousands of people to Denver's Five Points District to celebrate local food, art, culture and live music featuring some of Colorado's emerging top bands. Highlights include: - FREE entry before dusk* - LOCAL breweries - OVER 80 local vendors and businesses - Food Trucks - Workshops at the new and improved Green Spaces - MUSIC from AWESOME LOCAL BANDS!
Cultivate Food, Ideas and Music Festival
Chipotle Mexican Grill -- a chain that got its start in Denver -- is throwing a BIG party in City Park this October, including cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, live music, food artisans and other activities emphasizing fresh and affordable food. Entertainment will be provided by indie rock favorites Okkervil River and Best Coast.
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.
Festival of Scarecrows
Scarecrow contest, pumpkin patch, kids costume parade, community booths, hay wagon rides, giant pumpkin contest are featured at this boo fest presented with Historic Olde Town Arvada Association.
Denver Arts Week: Night At The Museums
Based on the popular event from Paris, Denver Arts Week’s Night at the Museums explores the city's top museums that open their doors for free from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Free shuttle buses are available, which also includes free parking, making it possible to hop from museum to museum. In addition to being free, many of the museums offer music, dance and special performances. Denver Arts Week continues through Nov. 10, and includes many other free activities.
First Friday Art Walks
First Friday Art Walks are known for the rich, shared experience of performance art, music, painting exhibitions and lots more. It's an event that feeds both your need for art and culture and your desire to have fun!
FREE ATTRACTIONS & TOURS
Denver Zoo Free Days (Colorado Residents only)
Nov. 5, Nov. 16, Nov. 28
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 Days (Colorado Residents only)
Oct. 14, Nov. 19
Explore this maze filled with treasures of the earth – dinosaurs, dioramas, space exhibits, science experiments, a digital planetarium, IMAX theatre and touring shows.
Denver Botanic Gardens Free Days: York Street Location (Colorado Residents only)
Oct. 1, Nov. 2
This 23-acre oasis in the middle of the city has 45 different gardens (some 33,000 plants), as well as one of the nation's top 10 conservatories. Relax in the Japanese Garden, climb through the Rock Alpine Garden and explore the new Mordecai Children's Garden.
Denver Botanic Gardens Free Day: Chatfield Location (Colorado Residents only)
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield is a picturesque nature preserve among the grasslands, ponds and cottonwood banks of Deer Creek. Facilities include nature trails, a wildlife observation area, display gardens, educational exhibits, a historical farm, a 19th century one-room schoolhouse, working beehives and picnic areas.
Denver Art Museum Free Days
Sept. 1, Sept. 8, Oct. 6, Nov. 3
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
Sept. 4, Oct. 2, Nov. 6
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.
Free Denver Public Art Tours
Sept. 9, Oct. 21
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
Learn how to make money! The 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
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.
This expansive area – 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
Learn about global warming, the 21st century’s hottest topic, at this fascinating free museum. 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 Performers’ Hall of Fame & Trails
Carved from towering red rock monuments, this 9,000-seat arena is one of the world’s most renowned concert venues. When there’s no concert, the free Visitor Center has a museum and Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, while the surrounding park has hiking trails that weave in, around and over the colorful red rocks.
Colorado State Capitol Tour
Tour Colorado’s magnificent gold-domed 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 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!
Littleton Historical Museum
Travel back in time at this free 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
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. There are three locations: Lower Downtown, East Colfax, and Highlands Ranch.
Coors Brewery Tour
“Taste the Rockies!” 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.
Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour
Visit the home of Anheuser-Busch. Learn how the famous Budweiser beer is brewed and see the famous Clydesdales. Relax in the hospitality room and sample their great products following the tour.
Boulder Ice Cream Tours
Boulder Homemade Ice Cream, Home of All Natural and Organic Ice cream has opened its doors to the public. Highlights include a sneak peak of how Ice cream is made, a free ice cream tasting and a "Colorado Natural Product" gift shop. Important Information: Tours by appointment only.
Celestial Seasonings Tour
See how 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
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.
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
Housed in INVESCO Stadium (home of the Denver Broncos), this free 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
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.
Located in the restored 1901 Denver Tramway building, the REI Denver Flagship store is a complete outdoor resource, a historic landmark and an award-winning architectural accomplishment. Don’t miss the interactive features, including mountain bike trails, a 45-foot climbing wall and more.
Colorado’s Fall Colors
Fall in Colorado isn’t complete without taking in the brilliant transformation of the state’s signature tree, the Aspen. The fall change from mellow green to stunning gold takes place during various weeks in September, depending on where you are – since the color only lasts a week, timing is everything! One of the best leaf-peeping routes on the Rocky Mountain Front Range is the Peak-to-Peak Scenic and Historic Byway that travels the high-altitude road between Black Hawk and Estes Park. Virtually every way you look, you’ll see majestic Aspen colors. Another great Front Range ride is along the Guanella Pass Scenic and Historic Byway, just south of the historic town of Georgetown. Bunches of blazing Aspen can be found all over this incredible drive.
Denver’s Beer Triangle
You’re not going to disappear in the Denver Beer Triangle, but it is easy to get lost in the fine, handcrafted beers, ales, stouts and porters found along the way. Located at the base of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, the area between Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins is often called the “Napa Valley of Beer.” Here you’ll find Coors Brewery, the largest single brewery in the world, as well as some six-dozen other award-winning brewpubs and microbreweries.
Lariat Loop Byway
Retrace the motoring adventures of the early 1920s and experience the thrill of foothills exploration at the dawn of the Age of Motorcars on this 40-mile scenic circle in the foothills west of Denver. The Lariat Loop takes motorists to several popular attractions, including Buffalo Bill’s Grave & Museum, the Colorado Railroad Museum and the Mother Cabrini Shrine.
Denver Parks & Lakes
Denver may not be anywhere near the ocean, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of places to kick back by a shimmering body of water. Confluence Park, located within walking distance of downtown, offers sandy shores for sunbathing, a kayak practice route, and bike paths. Up in the Highlands neighborhood, explore Sloan’s Lake Park, an urban oasis with the enormous Sloan’s Lake taking center stage.
At the entrance to the legendary Rocky Mountain National, the historic resort village of Estes Park offers shopping and dining – as well as the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s The Shining!
A recent study pegged Boulder as the “happiest” city in America. You’ll find out why when you stroll past the shops, cafes and street performers on the Pearl Street Mall, or take a hike on the city’s 200 miles of trails.
Peak To Peak Scenic & Historic Byway
Less than an hour from Denver, this 55-mile-long route provides matchless views of the Continental Divide. From Black Hawk to Estes Park, the pleasantly winding road – the oldest scenic byway in Colorado – meanders through valleys and ridges, with shimmering aspens visible throughout the entire route.
El Dorado Canyon State Park
A hidden gem just outside of Boulder, El Dorado Canyon offers hiking amidst towering sandstone cliffs, picnicking along scenic South Boulder Creek and rock climbing on Eldo’s sheer golden walls.
Denver Bike Trails
Denver is home to a massive network of more than 850 miles of paved, off-road trails that crisscross throughout the seven county metro area, making it a two-wheeled paradise. Paved trails connect to hundreds of additional miles of dirt trails, offering mountain bike adventures.
Clear Creek History Park
See how Colorado’s early settlers worked and played in the late 1800s at this two-acre living history park. Try your hand at gold panning in the river where a half-billion dollars of it was found.
Nestled in a steep mountain valley, the “Silver Queen” is one of Colorado’s most elegant mining towns with 200 Victorian buildings. Ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad over a 100-foot high trestle to neighboring Silver Plume.
The authentically Western town of Golden was Colorado’s first capital city. Today, visitors encounter a mix of outdoor cafes, Western stores and museums with a quaint main street that in places still has covered walkways, false-front buildings and plankboard sidewalks. An award-winning kayak course runs through the center of the town.
Explore one of Denver’s most happening ‘hoods. Sip a mojito while relaxing on a patio with a panoramic view of the city skyline. Go bargain hunting at one of Highland Square’s unique boutiques. Get a delicious treat at an artisan cheese shop or a bakery devoted to cupcakes.
The mountain town that inspired the long-running animated TV series of the same name is actually a charming spot, offering plenty of adventures, just up U.S. 285 from Denver. Try hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, hunting, and ATV/jeep trails. Tour historic sites and visit shops full of local crafts.