2018 Blockbuster Exhibitions and Events
- Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism (through January 14, 2018) – Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism is a traveling exhibition organized by the American Federation of Arts that surveys the artistic contributions of women in Paris during the second half of the 19th century, revealing the breadth and strength of their achievements. The exhibition will feature more than 80 paintings by 37 women artists from across Europe and America, who migrated to Paris to further their artistic careers. They range from well-known artists such as Berthe Morisot (French), Mary Cassatt (American) and Rosa Bonheur (French), to painters who are lesser-known in the United States, including Anna Ancher (Danish) and Paula Modersohn-Becker (German).
- Ultimate Dinosaurs (through January 15, 2018) – Ultimate Dinosaurs at Denver Museum of Nature & Science will take people beyond familiar dinosaurs to showcase some of the most spectacular fossils unearthed in recent years. Evolving in isolation, the new discoveries from South America, Africa and Madagascar are among the strangest creatures ever found.
- Degas: A Passion for Perfection (February 11 – May 20) – Appearing for the only time in the United States at Denver Art Museum, Degas: A Passion for Perfection will showcase prolific French artist Edgar Degas’ works from 1855 to 1906. More than 100 works consisting of paintings, drawings, pastels, etchings, monotypes, and sculptures in bronze will be on view. The exhibition will focus on the most prominent and recurring themes throughout Degas’ 60-year career. These include his interest in learning from the art of the past and from that of his contemporaries, a lifelong fascination with the nude, a passion for horses, and his strong interest in opera and dance.
- Creatures of Light (February 23 – June 17) – Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s new exhibition Creatures of Light explores the mysterious world of bioluminescence, visible light generated by living things through a chemical reaction. Lifelike models, spectacular immersive environments and simulations, unusual animals, videos, and engaging hands-on activities create an enlightening experience. The exhibition will feature a dark cave illuminated by glowworms, an interactive “lagoon” and more
- Hamilton (February 27 – April 1) – The national tour of the Broadway musical, Hamilton, will play The Buell Theatre as part of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' 2017/18 Broadway subscription series. With book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical direction and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, Hamilton is the story of America then, as told by America now.
- The Dead Sea Scrolls (March 16 – September 3) – The regional premiere of the exhibition that has captivated millions around the world is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see authentic Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient manuscripts that include the oldest known Biblical documents dating back over 2,000 years. The scrolls will be dramatically presented at Denver Museum of Nature & Science featuring carefully regulated individual chambers, along with the full English translation. In addition, the largest collection of artifacts from the Holy Land ever assembled for display will allow guests to explore the traditions, beliefs and iconic objects of ancient Israel that continue to impact world cultures today, including inscriptions and seals, weapons, stone carvings, terra cotta figurines, coins, shoes, textiles, mosaics, ceramics and jewelry.
- Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre Summer Concert Series – Recently named to the National Historic Register, Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre is a world-famous outdoor concert and recreation venue located approximately 30 minutes from Denver. Red Rocks is recognized for its star-studded concert roster, stunning scenery and ambience; Rolling Stone recently called it the best outdoor concert venue in the country. The full calendar for the Summer Concert Series and event schedules can be found online.
- First Friday Art Walks (First Friday of every month) – Explore Denver's creative neighborhoods on the First Friday of every month when galleries, studios and cultural attractions stay open late for a mind-expanding night of art, food, drink and fun. Find the pulse of Denver's vibrant creative community year-round on the first Friday of each month in The Mile High City's seven neighborhood art districts. This year, RiNo (River North) Art District and the Drink RiNo group will sponsor a free shuttle every First Friday from 5pm-12am (and Saturdays 2-10pm) that will have multiple stops at galleries, studios, breweries and eateries throughout RiNo.
- Dior: From Paris to the World (Opens November 18, 2018) – Denver Art Museum will host the U.S. debut of the renowned exhibition, Dior: From Paris to the World, next fall. Surveying more than 70 years of the House of Dior’s legacy and influence, the exhibit features a selection of 150 haute couture dresses, accessories, photos, original sketches, and archival material. Curated by Denver Art Museum’s Florence Müller, it will trace the history of the iconic haute couture fashion house, its founder, Christian Dior, and the subsequent artistic directors who carried Dior's vision into the 21st century.
- National Western Stock Show & Rodeo (January 6-21, 2018) - Held every January at the National Western Complex, it is the world's largest stock show; and each year is bigger and better than the last, with more than 15,000 animals, Mexican rodeos, bull riders, horse shows, livestock competitions, auctions and booths selling everything from cowboy boots to Native American jewelry.
- Winter Park Express Ski Train (January 5 – March 25) – In January 2017, the Winter Park Express by Amtrak returned from a seven-year hiatus to sellout crowds of eager skiers. The train allows people to hit the slopes during the day and return to Denver for après ski, an abundance of culinary options and nearly 10,000 hotel rooms to choose from, including several that offer Ski Train packages. It’s also a great option for the weekend visitor who wants to get some turns in while they’re in Denver. Changes this year include lower fare prices – tickets start at just $29, instead of last year’s $39 – “First Friday” rides, with the train running on the first Friday of each month of the season. The train runs on weekends, including holidays; one-way tickets start at $39 per person.
- Winter on the Rocks (January 26) – Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre’s only winter show, Winter on the Rocks is an annual tradition featuring a blend of hip-hop and electronic music. Presented by Icelantic Ski Company, 2018 headliners are Mac Miller and Jauz. New to the programming for 2018 is The Outdoor Retailer Fashion Show, taking place during Winter on the Rocks in conjunction with The Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show and featuring this year’s latest outdoor recreation style.
- Denver Restaurant Week (February 23 – March 4) – The 14th annual Denver Restaurant Week will feature multi-course menus with three price points at hundreds of Denver’s top restaurants. The three-tiered pricing structure that met with great success in 2017 will continue again in 2018 (diners can find multi-course menus at $25, $35 and $45 price tags).
- Denver March Powwow (March 23-25) – One of the largest events of its kind in the country, the Denver March Powwow at the Denver Coliseum is an American Indian Festival that features more than 1,600 dancers from nearly 100 tribes, representing 38 states and three Canadian provinces. Each session of the three-day event begins with the Grand Entry, a colorful spectacle featuring traditional song and dance. Throughout the weekend, there are traditional drum and dance groups, storytellers, and more than 170 tribal craft booths.
- Collaboration Fest (March 31) – Known as America’s most creative beer festival, Collaboration Fest features brews that are a result of collaborations between two or more breweries from around the state, country and world. These individual collaborations mean that every beer tapped will be its first time, and every beer has a unique story. This year, the festival will be at the Hyatt Regency at Colorado Convention Center.
- Rodeo All-Star Weekend (April 13-14) – Highlighting the best in pro rodeo, the Rodeo All-Star Weekend features two days of competitions in seven popular events, including bull riding and bareback riding. In addition to the chance to see top-ranked cowboy and cowgirl athletes compete to be named Rodeo All-Star Champion, the weekend also features a fashion showcase, mutton bustin’, VIP social events and live music – including country music headliners, to be announced.
- Five Points Jazz Festival (May 19) – This free festival takes place the third Saturday of May and celebrates the history of Denver's Five Points neighborhood. Once known as the Harlem of the West, Five Points was home to several jazz clubs which played host to many of jazz music's legends such as Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and many more. The festival features a diverse lineup of music – from Latin to blues to funk and many other styles of jazz.
- Denver Day of Rock (May 26) - Denver Day of Rock is a free event that features five stages of live music along Denver’s 16th Street Mall on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend. Denver Day of Rock unites the community through music and family-friendly entertainment while also raising funds to support Amp the Cause, a Denver nonprofit that raises awareness about critical family issues and local charities. This year’s lineup will feature country superstar, Cam, along with well-known acts such as Austin Young Band, The Dustbowl Revival, The Railbenders and more.
- Cinco de Mayo Festival (May 5-6) – One of the largest cultural events in Colorado, the Cinco de Mayo festival features live cultural entertainment on three stages, hundreds of exhibitors and vendors, traditional food and drink, a parade, a green chili cook off and more at Denver’s Civic Center Park. More than 400,000 visitors attend the festival each year to celebrate the tradition and beauty of Latino culture.
- Colfax Marathon (May 19-20) – Denver’s only full marathon takes runners through parks, neighborhoods, trails and downtown; and iconic highlights include running through Sports Authority Field at Mile High (home of the Denver Broncos), a Denver fire station (where firefighters and police officers cheer on runners) and Colfax Avenue itself (the longest commercial street in the country). Additional races throughout the weekend include a half marathon – which runs through the Denver Zoo – an Urban 10 Miler, a 5K and more.
- Denver Chalk Art Festival (Dates TBA) – Denver’s most historic block – Larimer Square – turns in to a vibrant street museum thanks to the chalk art work of more than 150 professional and amateur artists. Honoring the traditional Italian Piazza dell’Arte (“square of art”), the temporary works of art will be accompanied by music, Italian food, wine tasting tents and an art gallery, plus a kids’ corner where kids will have the chance to make chalk art of their own.
- Denver PrideFest (June 16-17) – Recognized as one of the top 10 pride events in the country, Denver PrideFest is a free, two-day festival that takes place in Denver’s Civic Center Park. The weekend features activities and entertainment for adults, kids and pets – from a Dogs in Drag Parade and the annual Gay Pride Parade to the Big Gay 5K and three stages full of music and cultural entertainment.
- SeriesFest Season 4 (June 22-27) – SeriesFest is a four-day festival celebrating the art of independent TV series creation. It showcases the best new pilots from around the world in an international, juried competition. The screenings take place at the state-of-the-art Sie Film Center, Denver Performing Arts Complex and various other locations around the city.
- Denver Comic Con (June 15-17) – Denver Comic Con is a three-day, family-friendly fan convention at the Colorado Convention Center featuring the best in comics, along with sci-fi and fantasy TV shows, movies, Japanese animation, cosplay, toys, gaming and celebrity panel presentations.
- Cherry Creek Arts Festival (July 6-8) – Every Fourth of July Weekend, the hip, upscale Cherry Creek North neighborhood hosts the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, a world-class and award-winning display of visual, culinary and performing arts. More than five full blocks of the neighborhood feature the works of local and nationally known artisans, vendors and activities, including Artivity Avenue, a full block of interactive activities for the whole family. There are also concerts, pop-up performances and more throughout the weekend.
- Independence Eve (July 3) – Held in Denver’s Civic Center Park, the annual Independence Eve celebrations features a free patriotic concert, an innovative light show on the Denver City & County Building and a stunning fireworks finale over the city.
- Rocky Mountain Regional Gay Rodeo (July 13-15) – The Rocky Mountain Regional Gay Rodeo is one of the country’s best and biggest gay-centric rodeos. It features classic events including riding, dogging and barrel racing, along with royalty crownings for multiple genders.
- Slow Food Nations (July 13-15) – Following a successful inaugural year in 2017, Slow Food Nations will return to Denver, gatheing leaders, eaters, farmers, chefs, educators and families for a weekend of tastings, tours and talks. Modeled after the renowned Terra Madre – the original Slow Food event in Turin, Italy – Slow Food Nations in Denver has become the center of the North American food world.
- Underground Music Showcase (Dates TBA) – The Underground Music Showcase takes place at more than 15 different venues and stages along South Broadway and features more than 400 local and national acts. Having grown from just 300 attendees for four bands at one theater, UMS is one of the best ways to experience Denver’s incredible live music scene.
- Colorado Dragon Boat Festival (Dates TBA) – In the tradition of the Chinese Duanwu Festival, Denver’s two-day version centers around the dragon boat competition, with more than 50 teams of boaters racing colorful and intricate boats across Sloan’s Lake. Additionally, the festival features performing arts stages, an Asian marketplace, Taste of Asia food courts, Dragonland for the kids, a traditional lion dance and a partnership with Colorado Anime Fest.
- Velorama and Colorado Classic (August 16-19) – Professional bicycle racing returned to Colorado in 2017 with the Colorado Classic, a series of men’s and women’s races in three Colorado cities. World-class pro teams compete in circuit races throughout the state – 2018 cities are TBA – ending in Denver on the final stages. Following the race, there will be a three-day music, crafts, beer and food festival in the River North (RiNo) Art District for spectators and athletes.
- A Taste of Colorado (August 31 – September 3) – This festival, held in Denver’s Civic Center Park and on the surrounding streets, highlights some of Colorado’s favorite food establishments – from ethnic specialties to traditional favorites, diners can enjoy full-sized or sample portions of their favorites throughout the festival. The festival also features live music, family-friendly activities and more.
- Denver Food + Wine Festival (Dates TBA) – Denver Food + Wine Festival is a multi-day extravaganza of food, wine and spirits education, promotion and tastings. Events include Dinner Under the Stars, a Culinary Cinema Series, SHAKE DOWN (a cocktail event) and the signature event, The Grand Tasting. Denver Food + Wine Festival aims to highlight industry impact, promote workforce development and celebrate Denver as a culinary destination.
- 10th Annual Denver Beer Fest (September 14-22) – Denver Beer Fest is a nine-day celebration leading up to the Great American Beer Festival – the largest beer festival in the world. The 10th annual Denver Beer Fest will feature dozens of beer-related events at area breweries, restaurants, tap houses and attractions around the city. From firkin tappings to midnight beer brunches to tap takeovers to a beer street party, there is an event for every type of beer lover.
- Great American Beer Festival (September 20-22) – Great American Beer Festival is the largest beer festival in the world; and each year, it represents the largest collection of U.S. beer ever served – in both a public tasting event plus a private competition. The festival takes place at the Colorado Convention Center and brings together brewers and diverse beers from across the nation.
- Music Festival at Overland Park Golf Course (Name and date TBA; September 2018) – Superfly Productions, the creators of popular festivals including Bonaroo and Outside Lands, will launch its latest large music festival in Denver this fall. It will be a three-day weekend festival in the middle of September featuring big name headliners and Denver bands, as well as local food and drink purveyors.
- Dear Evan Hansen (opens October 2) - Dear Evan Hansen, one of the most celebrated musicals of the current Broadway season, will launch its first national touring production in Denver in October 2018. The plot is based on a misunderstanding over a teenager’s death that inadvertently turns Evan into a social-media celebrity and his subsequent journey of healing and self-discovery.
- 41st Annual Denver Film Festival (November 2-10) – The Denver Film Festival is the largest premier film celebration in the Rocky Mountain Region. Hosted by Denver Film Society, which works to promote film as both an art form and a civic forum, The Denver Film Festival showcases blockbusters, documentaries, shorts and independent films at a variety of venues around the city.
- Denver Arts Week (November 2-10) – The 12th annual Denver Arts Week will be an nine-day celebration The Mile High City’s vibrant arts and cultural communities, featuring more than 300 discounted events at a wide variety of art galleries, museums, theaters and concert halls in multiple neighborhoods. Signature Denver Arts Week events include Know Your Arts First Friday Art Walks, an evening when galleries and studios are open for people to explore; and Free Night at the Museums, when Denver’s best museums stay open late and admission is free.
- Mile High Holidays (beginning November 23) – Denver comes to life during the winter holiday season, and the festivities kick off in November with the City & County Building’s and downtown Denver’s Grand Illumination – the largest holiday lights display in Denver. The performing arts scene gets festive beginning in November, too, with holiday classics like A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker alongside some new favorites.
- Mile High Holidays (through January 21, 2019) – The magic of the holiday season continues through December with Zoo Lights at Denver Zoo, Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens, more theater performances and an abundance of New Year’s Eve events, including the two-show downtown fireworks extravaganza. Denver continues to celebrate all the way through the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo, which lasts until the third week of January.