Denver's summer is packed with free things to do like checking out the rock 'n' roll memorabilia at Rockmount Ranch Wear, hiking at Red Rocks Park or seeing an outdoor movie.
WHEN: June 15–16, 2019
WHERE: Five Points neighborhood
Listen to the sounds of hip-hop, R&B, blues, soul and jazz as nearly 200 vendors line Welton Street. The annual Juneteenth Parade kicks off the fun, and make sure to watch the #DREAMBIG Awards Ceremony.
WHEN: June 22, 2019
WHERE: Confluence Park and Little Raven St.
Citizens for the River (previously the South Platte RiverFest) is expected to draw more than 20,000 attendees to the banks of the South Platte River in the heart of Denver. Enjoy free paddleboarding demos; self-guided rafting, tubing and kayaking; live music; craft beer; artists creating new works on site; a kids' zone and yummy food. The event benefits the Greenway Foundation, a local non-profit dedicated to preserving Denver’s urban waterways.
WHEN: June 22–23, 2019
WHERE: Sakura Square
Japanese culture and heritage are showcased at the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Dance, taiko drums and martial arts are featured on the outdoor stage, while inside the Denver Buddhist Temple you’ll find food sales and exhibits.
WHEN: July 3, 2019, 8 p.m.
WHERE: Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax
The annual Independence Eve Celebration in Civic Center Park will feature a free patriotic concert, an innovative light show on the Denver City and County Building and a stunning fireworks finale.
WHEN: July 5–7, 2019
WHERE: Cherry Creek North
This free, outdoor extravaganza — the city's signature cultural celebration of the visual, performing and culinary arts — gives more than 350,000 annual visitors the chance to meet and talk with international visual artists, enjoy a wide range of family-friendly fun and sample fine cuisine. At the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, experience Artivity Avenue, a full block of interactive activities perfect for youngsters. Visit the Cultural Pavilion, where music, dance and theater from around the globe will be presented. Culinary Avenue features tasty treats and live cooking demonstrations from some of Denver's most popular eateries.
WHEN: July 19–21, 2019
WHERE: Larimer Square
Combining the energy of a street food festival, the rigor of an academic conference and the inspiration of a cultural exchange, Slow Food Nations is the festival to taste and explore good, clean and fair food for all.
WHEN: July 12–14, 2019
WHERE: City Park
This free, family-friendly event showcases the creative talents of local, regional and national African Americans in art and culture. The three-day Colorado Black Arts Festival also features three performing stages filled with dance, jazz, blues, soul, reggae, gospel, traditional African drum and dance.
WHEN: July 27–28, 2019
WHERE: Sloan's Lake Park
Founded in 2001 to celebrate Colorado's Asian Pacific American (APA) culture, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival has become the region's fastest growing fun, family-friendly summer festival. Named "Top Annual Festival" by the Rocky Mountain News and a "Best of Denver" event by Westword, it offers festival-goers the opportunity to explore APA customs through performances, arts and crafts, shopping, dining, and the exciting athletic competition of dragon boat racing.
WHEN: July 27 and 28, 2019
WHERE: Cheesman Park
Some 150 artists from all over the country will showcase their work during this free two-day festival. There will also be live music and food trucks.
WHEN: Aug. 1–4, 2019
WHERE: Denver Union Station
Buskerfest will take place in Denver Union Station's fantastic public plaza and will celebrate a tradition of live street art and performance in The Mile High City. Attendees of all ages are welcome to come watch street musicians, fire performers, musicians, face painters, hula-hoopers, jugglers and others.
WHEN: August 3, 2019
WHERE: Civic Center Park
The free Denver International Festival celebrates our global heritage with traditional food, music and art from hundreds of countries and cultures from around the world. Dance, eat, drink and play in Civic Center Park.
WHEN: Aug. 31–Sept. 2, 2019
WHERE: Civic Center Park
A Taste of Colorado is the free end-of-summer celebration of community pride and spirit in the Denver region. Over 500,000 people make the four-day festival their Labor Day Weekend celebration, enjoying the offerings of more 50 area restaurants, 275 marketplace artisans and vendors, six stages, and educational programs promoting the diverse cultural and Western heritage of the region.
WHEN: September 7–8, 2019
WHERE: Belmar, Lakewood
Festival Italiano is known for serving up the region's best selection of homemade Italian specialties for guests as well as an artisan marketplace, live entertainment and chef tastings surrounding the festival dining booths. This free celebration features live music on two stages, chef demonstrations, wine tastings, kids activities (grape stomping!), a bocce tournament and flag throwers flown in from Italy for the weekend.
WHEN: All summer long
WHERE: Throughout Denver
The many farmers' markets spread throughout The Mile High City aren't just about locally grown, farm-fresh produce, delicious baked goods and yummy prepared foods — though you'll find more than enough of those things. Each Denver farmers' market is a festive, weekly street fair, with live entertainment, family-friendly activities and a vibrant crowd of locals.
WHEN: All summer long
WHERE: In Denver's city parks
Spread out a blanket in one of Denver's gorgeous parks for free, family-friendly Outdoor Movies in the Parks.
FREE LIVE MUSIC
WHEN: Sunday evenings in June and July, first Sunday of August
WHERE: City Park
Every Sunday night in June and July and the first Sunday in August, the City Park Bandstand and Pavilion turns into a swinging, open-air jazz club as music lovers of all ages congregate for the free City Park Jazz.
WHEN: Wednesday evenings, from June to August
WHERE: Elway's Cherry Creek
It's a Wednesday night thing and the music is free. The Elway's Taste & Tunes Summer Music Series fills the restaurant-adjacent courtyard with rockin' tunes. Enjoy music, cocktails and Elway's signature menu.
WHEN: Tuesday evenings, from June to August
Join Coohills for six Tuesdays this summer for their free Beats on the Creek Summer Concert Series, benefiting the Conservation Colorado Education Fund. From 6:30–8:30 p.m., head to Wewatta Bridge for live music above Cherry Creek.
FREE MUSEUM DAYS
WHEN: July 2, Aug. 26 and Sept. 29, 2019
Colorado residents can 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.
WHEN: July 6, Aug. 3 and Sept. 7, 2019
Explore the Denver Art Museum's galleries for free the first Saturday of every month. General admission to the Denver Art Museum is free to all youth ages 18 and under every day, granting more kids access to art than ever before. Youth pricing is capped at $5 for special ticketed exhibitions.
WHEN: June 18, July 17, Aug. 3 and Sept. 12, 2019
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.
WHEN: July 10 and Sept. 3, 2019
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.
WHEN: July 2 and Aug. 6, 2019
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: July 2, Aug. 6 and Sept. 3, 2019
With several themed worlds of wonder for kiddos to explore, the Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus is free every first Tuesday of the month from 4 to 8 p.m.
WHEN: June 14, July 12, Aug. 9 and Sept. 13, 2019
Travel back in time ... for free! Enjoy historic demonstrations, take a tour of the Four Mile House Museum and meet our many farm animals. Every second Friday of the month from 12 to 4 p.m.
WHEN: Aug. 10, 2019
Learn about fire safety and the history of firefighting in Denver through more than a century of historical artifacts and exciting hands-on activities. Kids will especially love trying on the child-size firefighting gear and exploring the touch cart full of real firefighting tools and equipment.
WHEN: July 5, Aug. 2 and Sept. 6, 2019
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. Enjoy the museum's free, themed Cultural First Fridays the first Friday of each month from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
WHEN: Aug. 1 and Sept. 27, 2019
Learn all about the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown and the tragic voyage of the Titanic. Free days at the Molly Brown House Museum are for residents of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson Counties.
MORE FREE TOURS AND ATTRACTIONS
WHEN: July 5, Aug. 2 and Sept. 6, 2019
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.
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 — 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 intimate 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., Mondays through Fridays.
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.
Denver Central Library has an impressive art gallery on the seventh floor. The library is best known, perhaps, for its Western History Collection, which covers the earliest explorations, Spanish land grants, Native American history, the gold rush era and the present day with a particular focus on the Rocky Mountain West.
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.
Housed in Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium (home of the Denver Broncos), the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame 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.
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.
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.
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 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 Great Divide Brewing Co. in downtown Denver and at the brewery's River North Barrel Bar location. Tours are about 30 minutes in length and take place at 3, 4 and 5 p.m. Mon.–Fri., and each hour starting at 2 p.m. until 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 ATTRACTIONS NEAR DENVER
Travel back in time at the Littleton Historical 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 historically Colorado artifacts.
Located 60 miles from Denver in Colorado Springs, the awe-inspiring Garden of the Gods features gigantic 500-foot high red sandstone rock monuments at the base of Pikes Peak.
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.
Carved from towering red rock monuments, Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre in Morrison is one of the world's most renowned concert venues. When there's no concert, the free Visitor Center has a Performers' Hall of Fame, while the surrounding park has hiking trails that weave in, around and over the colorful red rocks.