Enjoy the best Denver has to offer this fall without stretching your budget. The Mile High City is packed with free festivals, attractions and activities that will keep you busy all season long!
WHEN: Oct. 25, 2018
WHERE: Denver Union Station
Union Station transforms into "Boonion Station" for this family-friendly Halloween celebration. Your little ones will love trick-or-treating at the shops in the station, participating in a costume parade through the Great Hall and a contest with prizes for best costume and best group/family costume. And don't worry — there are adult drink specials for you grown-up ghosts and goblins.
WHEN: Oct. 26, 2018
WHERE: Terminal Bar
Descend into the depths of Terminal Bar for the annual Spooky Speakeasy, featuring a live DJ, themed cocktails and a costume contest with a grand prize that includes a $100 Denver Union Station gift card and a free night at The Crawford Hotel.
WHEN: Nov. 2–10, 2018
WHERE: Various museums, galleries and venues in the Denver Metro area
Based on the popular event from Paris, Denver Arts Week is a week-long celebration of all things art in The Mile High City, during which many of the city's top museums, art galleries, theaters and concerts halls offer free or discounted admission. Free shuttle buses make it easy to hop from venue to venue. In addition to free or discounted admission, many venues offer special music, dance and other performances throughout the week.
WHEN: Nov. 3, 2018
WHERE: Various museums in the Denver Metro area
Many of Denver's best museums are open late during this Denver Arts Week event, including the Denver Art Museum, the Clyfford Still Museum, History Colorado Center and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Free shuttles make it easy to hit all your favorites without having the hoof it!
WHEN: Nov. 3–4, 2018
WHERE: Skyline Park
This two-day, open-air holiday market in the heart of downtown Denver is the place to get all of your gift shopping done in one fun-filled weekend. Browse an eclectic collection of local art, crafts, holiday gift, specialty foods and much more.
DENVER CHRISTKINDL MARKET
WHEN: Nov. 16–Dec. 23, 2018
WHERE: 1515 Arapahoe St.
The Christkindl Market includes vendors from Germany, Ukraine, Ireland and other countries — as well as local artisans — offering high-quality gifts, such as hand-carved wooden figurines, handmade candles and ornaments. Traditional German food will tempt your taste buds. Sip on warm Glühwein (hot spiced wine) as you listen to traditional Christmas carols and live German music. Entry is free and the entire family is invited.
WHEN: Nov. 22, 2018–Jan. 31, 2019
WHERE: Skyline Park, the corner of 16th and Arapahoe
Grab your family and friends and head to 16th and Arapahoe in downtown Denver to the Skyline Rink. Skate rentals are $2, or bring your own pair and take a spin on the ice for free! Free days for kids will take place throughout the season. Look for regularly scheduled entertainment and activities each week including: Friday night DJs; Saturday morning skating lessons; Saturday night concerts; and Sunday afternoon family entertainment.
WHEN: Nov. 23, 2018 at 6 p.m.
WHERE: Denver Union Station
As part of Downtown Denver's Winter in the City program, Downtown Denver's Grand Illumination event will light up downtown, from Denver Union Station to the City and County Building at Civic Center Park. Afterwards, meet Santa, enjoy drinks at Terminal Bar and dance to holiday classics by the Denver Dolls. The lights stay on through the end of December.
SANTA'S FLIGHT ACADEMY
WHEN: TBA, 2018
WHERE: Cherry Creek Shopping Center
Let your little ones help Santa ready his sleigh for the big day! Visit with jolly St. Nick, try out his Flight Suit Visualizer, and enjoy the magical snow and light show at Cherry Creek Shopping Center.
BUFFALO BILL FALL ROUNDUP
WHEN: TBA, 2018
WHERE: Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave
Meet Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley and other "living history" figures straight out of the Old West at the Buffalo Bill Fall Roundup at the Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave!
FREE MUSEUM DAYS
DENVER ZOO FREE DAYS (COLORADO RESIDENTS ONLY)
WHEN: Nov. 9 and 12, 2018
WHERE: Denver Zoo
Say hello to the animals for free two times this fall. The Denver Zoo, located in City Park, spans over 75 acres and is home to more than 4,000 animals, including rare amur leopards, okapi, black rhinoceros, elephants, vampire bats, orangutan, Komodo dragons and more!
FREE DAY AT DENVER MUSEUM OF NATURE & SCIENCE! (COLORADO RESIDENTS ONLY)
WHEN: Sept. 30, Oct. 14 and Dec. 9, 2018
WHERE: Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Explore the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, a maze filled with treasures of the earth: dinosaurs, dioramas, space exhibits, science experiments, a digital planetarium, IMAX theatre and touring shows.
DENVER BOTANIC GARDENS FREE DAYS: YORK STREET LOCATION (COLORADO RESIDENTS ONLY)
WHEN: Nov. 3, 2018 (Winter Gift Market)
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens is a 24-acre oasis in the middle of the city, with 45 different gardens (some 33,000 plants), as well as one of the nation's top 10 conservatories. Relax in the Japanese Garden, climb through the Rock Alpine Garden and explore the Mordecai Children's Garden.
DENVER BOTANIC GARDENS FREE DAY: CHATFIELD LOCATION (COLORADO RESIDENTS ONLY)
WHEN: Nov. 6, 2018
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield is a picturesque nature preserve among the grasslands, ponds and cottonwood banks of Deer Creek. Facilities include nature trails, a wildlife observation area, display gardens, educational exhibits, a historical farm, a 19th century one-room schoolhouse, working beehives and picnic areas.
WHEN: Oct. 6, Nov. 3 and Dec. 1, 2018
WHERE: Denver Art Museum
Explore the Denver Art Museum's galleries showcasing a world-famous American Indian art collection, as well as traditional and contemporary art from around the world.
WHEN: Sept. 28, Oct. 26 and Nov. 30, 2018
Enjoy nine beautiful galleries of Clyfford Still’s art, historic photos and letters from the Clyfford Still Archives, an interactive timeline, dozens of videos and books and a pair of tranquil outdoor terraces. The Clyfford Still Museum is also free every Friday evening from 5 to 8 p.m.
WHEN: Oct. 5, Nov. 2, Nov. 10 and Dec. 7, 2018
WHERE: Museo de las Americas
Museo de las Americas is dedicated to educating people about the arts and cultures of Latinidad in the Americas and is the premier Latin American art museum in the region.
WHEN: Oct. 2, Nov. 6 and Dec. 4, 2018
WHERE: Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus
Families can play for free the first Tuesday of each month from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Discover the Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, where interactive playscapes, programs and special events make learning fun by engaging kids to play, learn and explore. It's a place that ignites and fosters a love of learning that children will carry with them throughout life.
MOLLY BROWN HOUSE FREE DAYS (Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson County RESIDENTS ONLY)
WHEN: Nov. 9, 2018
WHERE: Molly Brown House Museum
Learn all about the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown and the tragic voyage of the Titanic during free days at the Molly Brown House Museum.
WHEN: Oct. 12, Nov. 9 and Dec. 14, 2018; 12–4 p.m.
WHERE: Four Mile Historic Park
Take a trip back in time to Denver's pioneer past at Four Mile Historic Park, nestled on the bank of Cherry Creek. Stop by for a free afternoon of tours, historic demonstrations and more.
WHEN: Oct. 11, 2018
WHERE: Colorado Railroad Museum
Travel back in time at this 15-acre rail yard and museum in nearby Golden, Colorado. The Colorado Railroad Museum feature over 100 engines, cabooses and coaches, a garden railway and a library and roundhouse restoration facility with working turntable.
MORE FREE ATTRACTIONS AND TOURS
WHEN: Oct. 18, 2017–Oct. 17, 2018
WHERE: Civic Center Park
The 12 bronze heads of Ai Weiwei's Circle of Animals represent the 12 animals of the traditional Chinese zodiac. See it for free at Civic Center Park!
WHEN: June 8–Oct. 27, 2018
WHERE: Skyline Park
Celebrate Denver's craft beer culture at the Skyline Beer Garden, which features 12 beers on tap, food truck fare, burgers, brats and German pretzels, along with ping pong, mini golf, cornhole and more.
WHEN: June. 14–Dec. 1, 2018
WHERE: DPAC/Denver Performing Arts Complex
Meow Wolf is coming to Denver in 2020, but in the meantime, they're collaborating with local Denver artists to bring this free art show to The Mile High City.
WHEN: Oct. 5, Nov. 2 and Dec. 7, 2018
WHERE: Denver's Art Districts
Discover Denver's thriving creative community during a First Friday celebration, held every first Friday of the month. Galleries in Denver's seven art districts stay open late for a festive, street party-like event.
WHEN: Sept. 28, 2018
WHERE: Golden Triangle Creative District
Explore the many creative spaces of this special corner of Denver, as the Golden Triangle galleries host artist receptions, openings, talks and performance art.
Denver Arts & Venues invites art and architecture lovers to participate in free Public Art Tours — available on foot, bike and scooter. These free guided tours focus on small segments of the city’s public art collection and give citizens and visitors the opportunity to venture inside venues such as the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and Colorado Convention Center to view works and hear the details of their creation and installation.
Tour the magnificent, gold-domed Colorado Capitol Building. Stand at exactly a mile high on the steps, see Allen True's beautiful murals, listen in on the Colorado General Assembly and check out the gorgeous Rose Onyx wainscoting. Free tours are available 10 a.m.–3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Learn how to make money! The U.S. Mint produces 50 million coins a day, each one stamped with a little "D" for Denver. Free tours show every step in the process of turning a dull, blank metal slug into shiny pocket change.
The Money Museum offers an opportunity to learn about the Federal Reserve Bank. Walk-ins are welcome and groups can make advance reservations. Photo ID required for visitors 18 and older. On your way out, don't forget to get your bag of shredded money.
The Money Museum is temporarily closed for renovation through mid-fall 2018.
Housed in Sports Authority Field At Mile High Stadium (home of the Denver Broncos), the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum honors the legacies of The Mile High City's greatest sports heroes and features the Gallery of Legends, a "Great Moments in Colorado Sports" exhibit and a section celebrating the achievements of girls and women in Colorado sports.
The expansive Denver Skatepark — one of the most renowned skate parks in the country — is filled with bowls for all levels of skating skill. Admission is free. Helmets are required.
Denver may be a major city, but there are hundreds of nearby farms across the Front Range, meaning there's no shortage of fresh produce to fill The Mile High City's multiple farmers' markets. You'll also find humanely-raised meats, baked goods, prepared foods, fresh flowers and artisanal personal care products, and many markets also include live music, food vendors and flea markets. Most markets begin in May and extend into the fall.
Ever wonder about the stories of the places you pass? On Denver Story Trek, you'll explore the stories behind Denver's historic landscapes and landmarks on an interactive, self-guided tour of the city. It's simple to use and free!
See and experience downtown Denver the green way, on foot! Denver Free Walking Tours offers daily walking tours that start in Civic Center Park, wind through downtown past more than a dozen of Denver's distinctive landmarks, and end in front of Coors Field. The daily tour showcases the history, architecture, landmarks and businesses of The Mile High City.
Learn about Denver's LGBT history with this free audio walking tour. The GPS-led app (available for iPhone and Android) will take you to 10 of Denver's top LGBT landmarks in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and along Colfax Avenue.
The Tattered Cover is one of the nation's largest and most well-known independent bookstores and often hosts free signings by some of the literary world's most famous authors. They also offer free wi-fi if you want to surf the net while you're there.
If you prefer whiskey to beer, the free Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey Distillery tour was made for you. Learn how the good stuff gets made during an hour-long guided tour, then sample Stranahan's Diamond Peak and Original Single Malt Whiskies.
The Denver Beer Trail provides a sampling of Denver’s top microbreweries. Follow the suggested routes or pick and choose from the list of featured breweries.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at Denver's craft beer world on a free tour at the Great Divide Brewery in Downtown Denver or the new Barrel Bar in RiNo. Tours at both locations take place at 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., Mon.–Fri. and each hour from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Browse the racks and enjoy the free museum at Lower Downtown's historic Rockmount Ranch Wear, the originator of the western snap-button shirt. The walls are adorned with photos of the many celebs who have worn Rockmount shirts, including Eric Clapton, Robert Redford and Elvis Presley.
FREE THINGS TO DO NEAR DENVER
Located just 60 miles from Denver, the awe-inspiring Garden of the Gods features gigantic 500-foot-high red sandstone rock monuments at the base of Pikes Peak.
Travel back in time at the Littleton Museum and get a glimpse into Colorado's pioneer past. Located on 39 acres, the museum consists of two living history farms (one from the 1860s and one from the 1890s), with a working farm, a blacksmith shop and more than 40,000 historic Colorado artifacts.
Carved from towering red rock monuments, Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre is one of the world's most renowned concert venues. When there's no concert, the free Visitor Center has a museum and Performers' Hall of Fame, while the surrounding park offers hiking trails that weave in, around and over the colorful red rocks.
See some dinos — or what's left of them, anyway. Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison features famous Jurassic dinosaur bones, such as Stegosaurus and Apatosaurus, discovered in 1877, and Cretaceous dinosaur footprints. A guidebook is available for use on self-guided tours.
"Taste the Rockies!" Coors Brewery, the world's largest brewing site, still uses the same Rocky Mountain spring water that Adolph Coors discovered in 1873. Free tours of the brewery in nearby Golden show every step in the brewing process and end with free samples for those over 21.
Learn about global warming, the 21st century's hottest topic, at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. See a hailstone the size of a softball, watch as a miniature tornado is whipped up in front of your eyes and get an up-close look at how lightning is created.
CELESTIAL SEASONINGS TOUR
See how Celestial Seasonings, the largest specialty tea manufacturer in North America, blends, packages and ships its teas, then enjoy free samples of every variety they make. The Boulder facility also includes a gallery of original artwork from the company's famous tea boxes.