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. Explore a supernatural world inhabited by gods and giants at Vikings: Beyond the Legend; see sculptures rise above Denver Botanic Gardens at Calder: Monumental, experience life in the West through the eyes of 13 Latino artists at Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place. Denver’s art scene is thriving. Celebrate the visual, culinary and performing arts at the three-day Cherry Creek Arts Festival (7/1-3) 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, plus check out the other concert venues; pick up on the vibe during the Five Points Jazz Festival (5/20); see musicians perform on five stages in downtown during Denver Day of Rock (5/27); head to Golden Triangle as the Westword Music Showcase (6/24) returns with an even bigger and better lineup; and be there for Denver’s premier indie festival, Underground Music Showcase (7/27-30).
3 ~ Family-Friendly Activities
Ready for some family fun? Step back in time at DINOS! Live where 19 animatronic dinosaurs come to life around Denver Zoo and while you’re at it, check out other dinosaur experiences. Learn about the marvels of natural engineering at Nature’s Amazing Machines. And for some excitement, head to Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park. There’s a hot new thrill ride called Star Flyer where guests fly around a 17-story tower, plus three new slides at the water park.
4 ~ Festivals & Special Events
Denver has festivals galore. Tour Denver’s rich architectural landscape at Doors Open Denver (4/29-30). Fill your weekend with food, fun and culture during Cinco de Mayo (5/6-7). Join the street party with big-name musicians at Project Pabst (5/20). 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 (6/3-4). Join one of the top 10 pride events in the country at Denver PrideFest (6/17-18). And foodies get ready for a unique three-day festival, Slow Food Nations (7/14-16), that aims to produce a world of good, clean and fair food for all.
5 ~ Holiday Weekends
6 ~ Sports
Denver will host world-class sporting events this summer. There will be a FIFA World Cup qualifier between the United States men’s national soccer team and Trinidad and Tobago (6/8). And a soccer doubleheader will feature Mexico’s national team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup (7/13). The Colorado Classic and Velorama Festival (8/10-13) combines a professional bicycle race with a three-day festival, featuring live music, food, craft beer and cycling events in August. And in September, college football gets underway at the Rocky Mountain Showdown (9/1).
7 ~ Outdoor Fun
Denver is a year-round outdoor city. The Colfax Marathon (5/20-21) is a must-run event, featuring seven races over two days. Tour Colfax Avenue, parks, neighborhoods, trails and the downtown area. Need motivation? Run in support of local charities. Explore exotic wildlife, including Denver Zoo’s new Amur tiger exhibit, The Edge. Or get your thrills at theme and amusements parks, take a stroll in city parks or go for a hike at Red Rocks Park.
8 ~ Food & Drink
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.
9 ~ Performing Arts
Denver is featuring a new ensemble of top Broadway touring shows, including "Frozen," which will be making its premiere in The Mile High City. You also won’t want to miss "LUZIA by Cirque du Soleil," "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," "Annie" and "The Secret Garden."
10 ~ Free Things, Hidden Gems & More
Denver's summer is packed with free things to do like attending festivals, taking walking tours or listening to live music. Interested in pop culture? Have a rock 'n' roll experience, delve into the city's beat legacy or go see your favorite jam band. Want to get your heart pumping? Go for a bike ride on more than 85 miles of paved trails. 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.