Denver jam packs the weeks surrounding Labor Day with signature festivals, blockbuster exhibitions and more
Even though Labor Day marks the unofficial end to summer, Denver is not ready to let go of this year’s season of festivals and fun – especially after a year without any of it – so The Mile High City has planned a summer finale to remember. Through the rest of August and even past Labor Day, visitors can enjoy summer vibes at a number of culinary and arts festivals, outdoor concerts, blockbuster exhibitions, professional sports games and more.
Below are several activities taking place during Denver’s summer finale; for a full list, including more events and hotel deals, go to the VISIT DENVER website.
Top Taco, August 26
At Top Taco, festival-goers can sample unlimited taco tastes and signature tequila cocktails from some of the best restaurants in Denver, voting for their favorites in four categories: Top Creative Taco, Top Traditional Taco, Top Vegetarian Taco, and Top Cocktail. Also featuring five stages of live music, creative tequila lounge areas, an entire tent dedicated to mezcal tasting and some of the best chefs and mixologists in the city, Top Taco has become a can’t-miss summer finale event in Denver.
Underground Music Showcase, August 27-29
This summer will see the return of the Underground Music Showcase (UMS) – South Broadway’s premier music event. This year, UMS will take place at 12 different venues and stages along South Broadway and feature more than 100 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 in one of its hippest neighborhoods. Headliners include breakout indie bands Pinegrove, Remi Wolf, Allah-Las and more.
Denver Day of Rock, August 28
This free, one-day music festival features five stages of live music along Denver's 16th Street Mall. Denver Day of Rock unites the community through music and family friendly entertainment while also raising funds to help Amp the Cause continue to support non-profits in the community. The 2021 artist lineup includes headliners The Band Perry, Cale Dodds, Lost Bayou Ramblers and more; for the full lineup check the festival’s website.
30th Annual Cherry Creek Arts Festival, September 4-6
The Cherry Creek Arts Festival is a world-class, award-winning display of visual, culinary and performing arts from local and nationally known artisans and vendors. Throughout the weekend, there are also concerts, pop-up performances and activities, including Artivity Avenue, an interactive area for the whole family. The 2021 Cherry Creek Arts Festival will take place over Labor Day weekend instead of its traditional Fourth of July timeframe; and, to allow for more distancing, the event will relocate to the creekside area of the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, directly across First Avenue from its regular home in Cherry Creek North.
A Taste of Colorado, September 4-6
A Taste of Colorado returns in 2021 – this time throughout the streets of downtown Denver. Previously held in Denver’s Civic Center Park, the festival will still convene Colorado’s best local food, music, art, marketplace vendors and more to celebrate the state’s rich heritage.
Denver Beer Week, September 10-18
The Mile High City will celebrate its world-class beer scene during the 13th annual Denver Beer Week. Featuring nine days of all things beer with events throughout the city, Denver Beer Week is the perfect time to get out and continue to support the more than 150 local breweries around the city.
Sundown Music Festival, September 11
At the leading edge of the sober-curious trend, Sundown Colorado, Colorado’s first “detox” music festival, is coming to Denver’s hip RiNo Arts District this fall. Featuring DJ sets by headliners Yolanda Be Cool and Autograf, complimentary non-alcoholic drinks, sonic meditations, food trucks, live art and more.
Stonehenge: Ancient Mysteries and Modern Discoveries, through September 6
After centuries of speculation, we are finally forming an understanding of Stonehenge thanks to archaeological excavations and advances in scientific techniques. In this exhibition at Denver Museum of Nature & Science, evidence from Stonehenge itself, along with remains from its surrounding landscape shed light on the people who constructed one of the world’s most famous monuments. Explore Stonehenge’s story – one of change and evolution – through hundreds of artifacts and modern science.
Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze, through September 19
This immersive experience at Denver Museum of Nature & Science beautifully illustrates how patterns surround us in nature, from the veins in a leaf, to the spiral of a nautilus, to the spots on a giraffe. Enjoy fun hands-on activities to spot patterns in music, art, architecture and even your own body.
Van Gogh Alive, through September 26
Presented by Denver Center for the Performing Arts at The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, Van Gogh Alive is a large-scale, multi-sensory digital art experience that gives visitors the unique opportunity to immerse themselves into Van Gogh's artistry and truly venture into his world. In the experience, Van Gogh's masterpieces come to life, giving visitors the sensation of walking right into his paintings, a feeling that is simultaneously enchanting, entertaining and educational. From start to finish, visitors are surrounded by a vibrant symphony of light, color, sound and fragrance, creating an unforgettable experience.
Simphiwe Ndzube: Oracles of the Pink Universe, through September 12
A genre first conceptualized in Latin America, magical realism infuses reality with elements of the fantastical. In the first U.S. solo museum exhibition for South African contemporary artist Simphiwe Ndzube, Oracles of the Pink Universe presents seven new immersive works exploring the interplay between magical realism and history.
Red Rocks 80th Anniversary Summer Concert Series
The city’s crown jewel music venue is the world’s only naturally formed, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the country, revered by musicians and music lovers alike. The 80th Anniversary summer finale lineup features artists including Colorado hometown favorite Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats (August 23-25); The Black Crowes (August 29-30); Wiz Khalifa x Method Man & Redman x Busta Rhymes (September 1); Jonas Brothers (September 5); Jimmy Buffett (September 7-9) and Brandi Carlile with the Colorado Symphony and Tanya Tucker (September 11-12). Check the venue’s website for the full list of concerts.
Phish at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, September 3-5
For three days over Labor Day weekend, legendary jam band, Phish, will play three concerts at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Featuring unparalleled jam sessions and an always-entertaining live show, Phish will celebrate Labor Day with its devoted following from Denver and around the country.
Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre Concerts, September 12
One of Denver’s favorite outdoor concert venues, Fiddler’s Green will feature a major concert at the end of this summer. On September 12, Big Gig will showcase Cage the Elephant with Rise Against, grandson, Half Alive and iDKHOW.
Levitt Pavilion Summer Concert Series
Located in Ruby Hill Park, Levitt Pavilion hosts a free summer concert series in its open-air amphitheater. This year’s summer finale lineup includes Metalachi (August 28); Sammy Rae & The Friends with The Burroughs (August 29); and more.
Denver Broncos vs. Los Angeles Rams, August 28
As professional football once again prepares for its return, the Denver Broncos will take on the LA Rams at Empower Field at Mile High for a preseason game.
Colorado Rockies vs. Atlanta Braves, September 2-5
The Colorado Rockies take on the Atlanta Braves in a Labor Day weekend series at Coors Field.
University of Colorado Buffs vs. Texas A&M Aggies, September 11
The game between Texas A&M and University of Colorado – set to be played at Empower Field at Mile High – will be one of the top non-conference games in the college schedule this season. The two teams, both with winning records in the abbreviated 2020 schedule, will face off in an exciting early-September matchup to help kick off the 2021 college football season.