Memorial Day weekend is jam packed with things to do in The Mile High City, including live music, professional sports, major exhibitions and outdoor activities. There is also plenty to explore in the weekends leading up to Memorial Day; with Denver’s year-round renowned arts and cultural offerings, thriving culinary scene and urban adventure, there are hundreds of exciting events that encourage people to visit The Mile High City and reclaim the weekend.
Below are several events taking place during May weekends; for more information, including hotel deals, visit DenverWeekends.com.
Memorial Day Weekend in Denver
The unofficial kickoff to summer features events and festivals, professional sports, live music, performing arts and much more.
Denver Day of Rock, May 25
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 supports local charities. This year’s lineup includes headliners Eli Young Band, Barns Courtney and Austin Young Band, among many other local and national artists.
Other concerts over Memorial Day Weekend include The Devil Makes Three (May 24), The Disco Biscuits (May 25) and Celtic Woman (May 26) at Red Rocks Amphitheatre; Carmina Burana from the Colorado Symphony and the Colorado Symphony Chorus (May 24-26) at the Boettcher Concert Hall; and many more at venues throughout the city.
Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies will play the Baltimore Orioles in a three-game series (May 24-26) followed by another series against the Arizona Diamondbacks beginning on Memorial Day (May 27).
Denver is home to a burgeoning music scene – seen in locally-grown international sensations like One Republic, Lumineers and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, among others – and there are many opportunities to see local, national and international acts throughout the city. From intimate theaters and unique venues to outdoor stages and the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre, there are plenty of opportunities to catch a live show this month.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre – a bucket list venue for musicians and music lovers alike, and Rolling Stone’s “best outdoor concert venue” in the nation – hosts the Red Rocks Summer Concert Series each year. Known as the world’s only naturally formed, acoustically perfect amphitheater, Red Rocks will present its largest summer lineup yet with the most number of headliners performing at the renowned concert venue in its 78-year history. May headliners include Luke Combs (May 12), Adventure Club/Bear Grillz (May 18), Florence + the Machine (May 20-21) and Chromeo/Thievery Corporation (May 31); the full concert schedule can be found online.
On any given weekend, national and local acts take the stage at the myriad of clubs, lounges and venues throughout the city. From chic hotspots and jazz bars on Larimer Square and in LoDo (Lower Downtown) to intimate concert venues and energetic dance floors on Colfax, there is something for every genre and live music experience anyone may seek.
Nocturne, a restored warehouse in Denver’s hip RiNo (River North) Arts District, is a modern jazz and supper club that features nightly live jazz. May’s lineup includes the Mark Diamond Quartet (Fridays), Charlie Porter & Company (May 16), the Gonzalo Teppa Quintet (Thursdays) and more.
Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, a former-brothel-turned-restaurant and venue hosts brunch performances, themed DJ dance parties, burlesque shows and much more. This May, concerts include Brunch with Hi Lux (May 5), Jackie Greene with Elise Davis (May 11), David Phipps of STS9 (May 17-18), an 80s and a 90s dance party, among many other acts.
Bluebird Theater on Colfax Avenue is an intimate venue with a vintage historic vibe. Artists performing at the Bluebird this month include Bruno Major (May 7), Kevin Morby (May 18), The Faint (May 22) and The Teskey Brothers with Katie Pruitt (May 31), along with several more concerts throughout May.
The Ogden Theatre, also on Colfax Avenue, was built in 1917 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Concerts in May include Passion Pit (May 12), Hunter Hayes with Levi Hummon (May 17), FKJ with Lou Phelps (May 20-21), The Disco Biscuits (May 23-24) and more.
Denver is a great city for families, with kid-friendly attractions, outdoor adventures and plenty of activities and dining options to suit everyone’s taste.
Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
Located in the heart of downtown Denver, Elitch Gardens is America’s only downtown theme and water park. All weekend – and all summer – long, kids of all ages can experience more than 50 rides and attractions, including the new Meow Wolf Kaleidoscape – the first art-driven dark ride in the world – and 14 pint-sized adventures, exhilarating roller coasters, cool water slides, Dive-In Movies, free concerts and more.
Denver Zoo is home to more than 4,300 animals representing 650 species including Asian elephants, African lions, Komodo dragons and Western lowland gorillas; and it is the greenest zoo in the country. Open daily with numerous animal shows, feedings and meet and greets, along with new animals and interactive exhibits, Denver Zoo is one of the city’s top cultural attractions.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s Morgridge Family Exploration Center features 126,000 square feet and five levels of exhibit space. The space has a beautiful glass expanse that connects the Museum with City Park and gorgeous views of downtown, and also provides exhibit space for world exclusive shows and major national touring exhibitions.
Our Senses: Creating Your Reality, through August 4
The senses get the scientific spotlight in Our Senses: Creating Your Reality, an exhibition for the whole family that playfully reveals how and why what we perceive is not all, or exactly, what’s actually going on around us. In a series of interactive galleries, visitors will enjoy some "sensory overload" as they play with color, patterns, sound, scents and touch and discover how there is so much more to our senses than just the usual five.
Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years of Genius, through August 25
Although Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519, his influence has endured. His extraordinary legacy as an inventor, artist, scientist, anatomist, engineer, architect, sculptor and philosopher comes to life at Denver Museum of Nature & Science in Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years of Genius, the most comprehensive exhibition about da Vinci ever presented. Dozens of replicas of da Vinci’s machine inventions, built using his detailed codices, reveal how his fundamental scientific and artistic principles continue to impact the world today. In addition, the exhibition will feature the fascinating Secrets of the Mona Lisa exhibit, with super-magnified visual examinations and the only 360-degree replica ever made of the iconic painting.