There’s so much going on in Denver this summer, where do you begin? Here are some top ways to have an unforgettable time. Make it a weekend or more and take advantage of summer hotel deals.
1~Arts & Culture
Take your pick of blockbuster museum exhibitions. See more than 100 artworks by French artist Edgar Degas at Degas: A Passion for Perfection (thru 5/20); check out a world of dazzling creatures that glow, blink and flicker during Creatures of Light (thru 6/10); go back in time with Dead Sea Scrolls (thru 9/20); explore the relationship between the natural world and digital media at Pixelated: Sculpture by Mike Whiting (4/28-9/23); and take a trip through the sounds that have shaped our musical heritage by seeing America's Musical Journey IMAX 3D (thru 12/31). Denver’s art scene is thriving. Celebrate the visual, culinary and performing arts at the three-day Cherry Creek Arts Festival and explore Denver’s vibrant creative community at First Friday Art Walks.
2~Music & Nightlife
We’ve got music! Take a seat under the stars with more than 130 concerts to choose from this summer at Red Rocks Amphitheatre and other concert venues; celebrate jazz in a historic neighborhood during the Five Points Jazz Festival (5/19); see Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour (5/25); be there for Denver Day of Rock (5/26) as bands perform on five stages throughout downtown; see the Eagles with Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefer Band at Coors Field (6/28); don't miss Denver’s premier indie festival, Underground Music Showcase (7/26-7/29); and the season ends with the debut of Grandoozy (9/14-9/16), a three-day music festival with superstar headliners—Kendrick Lamar, Florence and the Machine, and Stevie Wonder—plus, a plethora of local food and craft beer.
Ready for some family fun? Head to Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park for some thrills, see world-class art exhibitions at Denver Art Museum (kids under 18 get in free), feed giraffes at Denver Zoo, let your children create and explore at the Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, check out other kid-friendly activities, go on an urban adventure, or take an exciting day trip.
4~Festivals & Special Events
Denver has festivals galore. See Larimer Square take on vivid pastel hues as artists spend hours on their hands and knees creating chalk-drawn masterpieces at the Denver Chalk Art Festival (6/2-6/3); join one of the top 10 pride events in the country at Denver PrideFest (6/16-6/17); get a glimpse of the best new TV pilots at SeriesFest Season 4 (6/22-6/6/27); and see a stunning fireworks show at the annual Independence Eve Fireworks (7/3).
The holiday weekends—Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day—are packed with exciting events like Denver Day of Rock (5/26), Independence Eve Fireworks (6/3), Denver Food + Wine Festival (9/4-9/9), cultural festivals and urban adventures for all ages.
Denver will host several world-class sporting events this summer. Celebrate the Colorado Rockies 25th baseball season; get your heart pumping for a good cause by running the Colfax Marathon (5/19-5/20); witness some of the world's toughest athletes at the Rugby League Football International Challenge (6/23) as New Zealand takes on England; be there as Colorado rides with pride at the Rocky Mountain Regional Gay Rodeo (7/6-7/8); see more rugby action at the 51st Annual Denver 7s Rugby Tournament (7/28); and experience the excitement of professional bicycle racing combined with a three-day festival, featuring live music, food and craft beer at the Colorado Classic and Velorama Festival (8/16-8/19).
Denver is a year-round outdoor city. Explore exotic wildlife, including Denver Zoo’s Amur tiger exhibit, The Edge. Or get your thrills at theme and amusements parks, take a stroll in city parks, take a bike ride on the city's vast network of paved trails (you can rent a bike through Denver B-cycle), shoot the rapids with Confluence Kayaks or go for a hike at Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre.
8~Food & Drink
Join legendary pitmasters as they serve up world-class barbecue at the inaugural Denver BBQ Festival (6/15-6/17) on Father's Day weekend; Slow Food Nations (7/13-7/15) is returning with a unique street festival that offers a world of good, clean and fair food for all; enjoy offerings from more 50 area restaurants, 275 marketplace artisans and vendors at A Taste of Colorado (8/31-9/3); celebrate the city's famous craft-beer scene during the nine-day Denver Beer Fest (9/14-9/22), which culminates in the largest collection of beer ever served at the Great American Beer Festival® (9/20-9/22). Find a new favorite eatery by checking out our Must-Try Restaurants, Romantic Restaurants and Outdoor and Patio Dining pages. Get a taste of Denver’s famous craft beer scene by following the Denver Beer Trail, a self-guided sampling of top breweries. If you’re in the mood for wine, check out Denver’s urban wineries or relax and have a cocktail at various sophisticated, sleek and chic lounges.
Denver is featuring a new ensemble of shows and events like 'First Date' (thru 4/22), 'This Is Modern Art' (thru 4/15), Disney's 'Aladdin' (4/7-4/28), 'The Book of Mormon' (6/13-7/1) and 'Les Misérables' (7/25-8/5).
10~Free Things, Hidden Gems & More
Denver's summer is packed with free things to do. Interested in pop culture? Have a rock 'n' roll experience or go see your favorite jam band. Want to get some fresh air? In the mood for shopping? See the city’s shopping options and get lost in the world of boutiques. And beyond the big-ticket attractions is a wide array of hidden gems that make for fascinating excursions.