Here are ten things to do in Denver this Independence Day:
1. Watch the Colorado Symphony Orchestra for free at Civic Center Park
Civic Center Park, July 3, 8-10 p.m.
Why wait until July 4th? Civic Center Park with be dazzling on July 3, with a free concert by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra during the Independence Day Eve Celebration and a patriotic light show and fireworks display. The free event offers lawn seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Blankets or low-rise concert/beach chairs are encouraged. Bring a picnic dinner or visit the food truck roundup and beer booths.
2. Meet an Artist at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival
Cherry Creek North, July 6-8
Regarded as one of the top juried arts festivals in the nation, this three-day celebration attracts more than 300,000 people for food, music, interactive activities and 230 local, national and international artists showcasing all-original works of art in 13 mediums, including: painting, sculpture, mixed media, photography and jewelry. Admission is free.
3. Cheer on The Rapids or The Outlaws, and see fireworks
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, July 4
Sports Authority Field at Mile High, July 4
Denver’s hometown soccer heroes and national champions the Colorado Rapids take on the Vancouver Whitecaps at Dick's Sporting Goods Park – followed by a spectacular fireworks display. Over at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver's professional lacrosse team, the Outlaws, battle it out with the Ohio Machine. After the game, enjoy unforgettable fireworks within the bowl at Sports Authority Field paired with a show on the 97-foot-wide thundervision screen. Ticket prices vary.
4. Rock out under the stars at Red Rocks
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, July 3-7
Celebrate Independence Day week with a star-studded lineup at Red Rocks the legendary open-air concert venue. On July 3, catch Foster the People for a night of catchy tunes and good vibes. Jam the night away with the double bill of Blues Traveler and Fitz the Tantrums on July 4. If you're sticking around through the weekend, The String Cheese Incident sets up at Red Rocks for a three-night stand, July 5-7. Ticket prices vary.
5. Pan for Gold at the Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration
Four Mile Park, July 4
This former stagecoach stop celebrates an old fashioned, Old West Fourth with Civil War cannon firings, horse-drawn carriage rides, gold panning, and home-made treats like kettle corn and ice cream. Tickets start at $4/$7, and are free for military with ID.
6. Stay and play late at Denver’s Downtown theme park
Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park, July 4
Families can see an unforgettable fireworks display at dusk. Before being awed by Cirque Innosta’s 360-degree live music & performance experience, families can take the kids to Rockin’ Tug, Tike Bikes, or the park's new water ride, Tube Top. Tickets prices start at $27.99 for kids and $37.99 for adults.
7. Feel the freedom during the Liberty 4-mile run
Washington Park, July 4
Work off all the bbq and cake by running in the Liberty 4-mile run. Wear your red, white and blue proud and enjoy the celebration. Prizes will be given to kids and adults with the best patriotic flair. After the run enjoy food and beverages. Adult advance registration is $35; free for kids participating in the Firecracker Kids Fun Run.
8. Sing along to a patriotic concert and see a fireworks show
Hudson Gardens, July 3 and 4
Hudson Gardens is proud to present their first-ever two night Independence Day concert stand featuring Lee Greenwood, best known for his rendition of “God Bless the USA”, in a celebration concert to salute the Armed Forces and honor family, community, and patriotism. Fireworks follow each concert, and tickets start at just $29.
9. Celebrate independence – and old school automobiles
Olde Town Arvada, July 4
Dust off your hot rod and ride to the Olde Town Arvada Spirit of America 4th of July Festival for a classic car show, fireworks, and Kids’ Park with an obstacle course, face painting, and much more. Free admission.
10. Watch fireworks while riding a historic locomotive through the Rocky Mountains
Historic Colorado Georgetown Loop Railroad, July 4
All aboard! Enjoy cowboy BBQ and the Georgetown fireworks show from high up above Clear Creek Canyon, just an hour outside of Denver in the Rocky Mountains. This steam train has sold out the last three years, so reserve early. Ticket prices vary, call 888-456-6777 for more details.
See even more of what Denver has to offer with exclusive exhibits and new museums:
• Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective at the Denver Art Museum
The Denver Art Museum (DAM) says “au revoir” to their exclusive Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective exhibit on July 8. Don’t miss the chance to see this sweeping retrospective of the designer’s 40 years of creativity, which features a stunning selection of 200 haute couture garments along with numerous photographs, drawings and films. Skip the holiday lines, and purchase a YSL hotel package with undated, untimed tickets. Hotel packages start at just $139, and include two exhibit tickets, audio tours and other high-fashion amenities.
• LIZARDS & SNAKES at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Starring the Burmese Python, Gila Monster, Komodo Dragon, Green Basilisk, and more live reptiles from five continents, this interactive experience introduces visitors to these adaptable, colorful, and sometimes dangerous. The exhibit slithers out of Denver on July 8.
• Kizuna: West Meets East at the Denver Botanic Gardens
This spring, Denver Botanic Gardens proudly unveils the new Bill Hosokawa Bonsai Pavilion and Tea Garden with an expanded Japanese Garden (Shofu-En). Kizuna, a Japanese word meaning “the bonds between people,” celebrates the profound influence Japan has had on the West with the presentation of site-specific bamboo installations by internationally-known artists Tetsunori Kawana and Stephen Talasnik. See this powerful and versatile natural material in a variety of forms, including living plant displays.
• The History Colorado Center
The new $110 million History Colorado Center opened April 28, 2012 as an experiential museum that makes history fun. Soar off a ski jump in Steamboat Springs; don a headlamp and descend into a mine; or push a “Jules Verne-like Time Machine” over the Rockies. Whether you spend time with Chief Yellow Wolf, Kit Carson, or Barney Ford, expect history like you’ve never seen, heard, or experienced it before.
• Toyota Elephant Passage at the Denver Zoo
Denver is synonymous with pachyderms with the opening of the Denver Zoo’s new $50 million Toyota Elephant Passage – the largest bull elephant habitat in the world. Elephants, rhinos, and tapirs travel across a series of bridges and crossings – above, over, and through visitors – in one of the most ingeniously designed zoo exhibits ever – and all 10 acres are powered by elephant poop and other trash through an amazing new gasification process invented at the Zoo.
Denver Hotel Deals: Make a Weekend of It
Great hotel packages at some of Denver’s best hotels are available at the VISIT DENVER website.