Start planning now for exciting 2018 events and festivals in Denver. Scroll down our month-by-month list and choose from annual favorites, splashy debuts and exclusive showings.
Blockbuster Exhibitions and Events
Degas: A Passion for Perfection (Feb. 11 – May 20) – See more than 100 works from prolific French artist Edgar Degas, 1855 to 1906. This is the only time the exhibition will appear in United States.
Creatures of Light (Feb. 23 – June 10) – Explore 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.
Dead Sea Scrolls (March 16 – Sept. 3) – Get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see authentic Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient manuscripts that include the oldest known biblical documents dating back more than 2,000 years.
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre Summer Concert Series – See music’s biggest stars amidst stunning scenery.
First Friday Art Walks (First Friday of every month) – Explore Denver's creative neighborhoods when galleries, studios and cultural attractions stay open late for mind-expanding nights of art, food, drink and fun.
Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animal/Zodiac Heads (through Oct. 17) – Head to Civic Center Park and check out a unique display. The acclaimed Chinese artist has reinterpreted the 12 bronze animal heads, representing the traditional Chinese zodiac that once adorned the famed fountain-clock of the Yuanming Yuan, an imperial retreat in Beijing.
Dior: From Paris to the World (opens Nov. 18) – Denver Art Museum will host the U.S. debut of the renowned exhibition, Dior: From Paris to the World. 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.
Events by Month
Disney's "Aladdin" (April 7–28) – From the producer of "The Lion King" comes the timeless story of Aladdin, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle.
Elitch Gardens Opening Day (April 28) – Don't miss the seasonal kickoff to this popular urban theme and water park.
Cinco de Mayo Festival (May 5–6) – One of the largest cultural events in Colorado, the Cinco de Mayo festival features live entertainment on three stages, hundreds of exhibitors and vendors, traditional food and drink, a parade, a green chili cookoff and more at Civic Center Park.
Five Points Jazz Festival (May 19) – Love jazz? 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.
Colfax Marathon (May 19–20) – Denver’s only full marathon takes runners through parks, neighborhoods, trails and downtown. Additional races throughout the weekend include a half marathon – which runs through the Denver Zoo – an Urban 10 Miler, a 5K and more.
Denver Day of Rock (May 26) – Downtown Denver rocks during this free event that features five stages of live music along the 16th Street Mall on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend. And it’s all for a good cause.
Denver Chalk Art Festival (June 2–3) – Denver’s most historic block – Larimer Square – turns into a vibrant street museum, thanks to the chalk artwork of more than 150 professional and amateur artists.
Denver Comic Con (June 15–17) – This three-day, family-friendly fan convention features the best in comics, along with sci-fi and fantasy TV shows, movies, Japanese animation, cosplay, toys, gaming and celebrity panel presentations.
The Denver BBQ Festival (June 15-17) – Join legendary pitmasters as they serve up world-class barbecue. Plus, enjoy live music, cold beer and barbecue demonstrations at this inaugural event. Admission is free on Saturday and Sunday while there is a ticketed preview party on Friday.
Denver PrideFest (June 16–17) – Recognized as one of the top 10 pride events in the country, this free, two-day festival takes place in Civic Center Park. The weekend activities include the famous parade and entertainment for adults, kids and pets.
SeriesFest Season 4 (June 22–27) – Admire the art of independent TV series creation. It showcases the best new pilots from around the world in an international, juried competition.
Cherry Blossom Festival (June 23-24) – Celebrate Japanese heritage and culture through live entertainment, food and drink, a marketplace, and informative exhibits and demonstrations.
Rugby League Football International Challenge (June 23) – This first-ever event is a double-header, featuring the powerhouses of New Zealand and England. Witness some of the toughest athletes in the world.
The Eagles with Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band (June 28) – These rock icons will be playing at Coors Field. Need we say more?
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.
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.
Rocky Mountain Regional Gay Rodeo (July 6–8) – The Rocky Mountain Regional Gay Rodeo is one of the country’s best and biggest gay-centric rodeos.
Slow Food Nations (July 13–15) – Following a successful inaugural year in 2017, look forward to a gathering of leaders, eaters, farmers, chefs, educators and families for a weekend of tastings, tours and talks.
Underground Music Showcase (July 26-29) – This music festival takes place at more than 15 different venues and stages along South Broadway with more than 400 local and national acts.
Colorado Dragon Boat Festival (July 28-29) – 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 (Aug. 16–19) – Experience the excitement of professional bicycle racing combined with a three-day festival, featuring live music, food and craft beer.
A Taste of Colorado (Aug. 31 – Sept. 3) – This festival, held in Denver’s Civic Center Park and on the surrounding streets, highlights some of Colorado’s favorite food, plus live music, family-friendly activities and more.
Denver Food + Wine Festival (Sept. 4-9) – Join a multi-day extravaganza of food, wine and spirits education, promotion and tastings.
10th Annual Denver Beer Fest (Sept. 14–22) – Love beer? Denver Beer Fest is a nine-day celebration leading up to the Great American Beer Festival®. Look for dozens of beer-related events at area breweries, restaurants, tap houses and attractions around the city.
Rembrandt: Painter as Printmaker (opens Sept. 16) – See more than 100 prints, drawings and paintings from Rembrandt van Rijn’s career spanning from 1625 to 1665.
Great American Beer Festival® (Sept. 20–22) – GABF® is the largest beer festival in the world. It brings together brewers and diverse beers from across the nation.
Grandoozy (Sept. 14-16) – 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, featuring big name headliners – Kendrick Lamar, Florence and the Machine, and Stevie Wonder – and Denver bands, as well as local food and drink purveyors.
"Dear Evan Hansen" (opens Oct. 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.
Denver Film Festival (Oct. 31 - Nov. 11) – Film fans can’t miss the largest film celebration in the Rocky Mountain Region. Hosted by Denver Film Society, it showcases blockbusters, documentaries, shorts and independent films at a variety of venues around the city.
Denver Arts Week (Nov. 2–10) – This nine-day celebration highlights 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.
Mile High Holidays (beginning Nov. 23) – Denver comes to life during the winter holiday season, and the festivities kick off in November with the Grand Illumination – the city's largest holiday lights display. 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 Jan. 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.