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 & Amphitheatre or seeing an outdoor concert.
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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.
Retrace the motoring adventures of the early 1920s and experience the thrill of foothills exploration at the dawn of the Age of Motorcars on the Lariat Loop, a 40-mile scenic circle in the foothills west of Denver. The Lariat Loop takes motorists to several popular attractions, including the Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave , the Colorado Railroad Museum and the Mother Cabrini Shrine .
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.
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.
Located just 60 miles from Denver, the awe-inspiring Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs features gigantic 500-foot-high red sandstone rock monuments at the base of Pikes Peak.
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 street artists have been busy brightening (and enlightening) the urban landscape for decades by making canvases of the city’s alleyways, building exteriors, warehouses, garage doors and storefronts. Grab your camera and take a stroll past some of the city's favorite murals.
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.
No matter where you find yourself in The Mile High City, you’re likely only a few steps away from a lush and relaxing green space. Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to explore Denver's more than 5,000 acres of traditional parks and parkways, as well as an additional 14,000 acres of spectacular mountain parks in neighboring counties that are maintained by the City and County of Denver.
If you’re looking for a quiet spot to have a picnic, take in great views or experience a different side of the city, check out these lesser-known Denver parks.
Take a two-wheeled tour through the heart of the city along this beautiful river. You'll cruise by some of the city's biggest attractions.
Denver is a city with boundless outdoor fun and has an ideal location next to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. While The Mile High City is conveniently close to major peaks for hiking, there's actually no need to head into the mountains when Denver's regional trail system encompasses hundreds of miles for all ages and abilities to explore.
The Mile High City is filled with music, and during the spring and summer, many of the outdoor concerts are free for all, including City Park Jazz, Concerts in Central Park and many of the shows at Levitt Pavilion.
Many people think that Denver’s prettiest, closest and most accessible bit of mountain scenery is Waterton Canyon. This is the start of the famous Colorado Trail, one of the great long-distance hikes (or mountain bike rides) of the Rocky Mountains.
Denver is home to dozens of pet-friendly activities and destinations, including dog-friendly hotels and dog parks. Find the best on-leash and off-leash fun for your best friend.
WHEN: May 28–29, 2022
WHERE: Central Park's Conservatory Green
The Denver Arts Festival is a fine art and fine crafts festival that supports Colorado artists while also showcasing a select group of national artists. The fine art and fine craft exhibition features some of Colorado's and the nation's best artists, with more than 50,000 people expected to attend.
WHEN: May 28–30, 2022
WHERE: Boulder Central Park and Civic Center, Boulder
Enjoy live music at the bandshell, a marketplace full of local vendors, delicious food trucks, refreshing bar stands and the Creekside Beer Fest. This summer bash brings the community together with three days and nights of fun festivities. Located between Arapahoe and Canyon Road, this anticipated occasion is free for all ages to attend and enjoy.
WHEN: June 4, 2022
WHERE: Five Points
This free festival takes place annually and celebrates the history of Denver’s Five Points neighborhood. Once known as the Harlem of the West, Five Points was home to several jazz clubs which played host to many of jazz music’s legends such as Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and many more! At the forefront will be jazz music and the many hard-working and talented local jazz musicians featured on 10 outdoor and indoor stages.
WHEN: June 17–19, 2022
WHERE: Five Points
This historic street festival returns to Five Points with live performances, art, vendors and fun for the entire family. Don’t miss the interactive and educational programming at acclaimed African American cultural institutions and landmarks.
WHEN: June 17–19, 2022
WHERE: Five Points
Enjoy authentic, traditional Greek food, while immersing yourself in the sounds of live Greek music and traditional dance entertainment. Shop the boutique featuring Greek art, paintings, sculptures and amazing jewelry straight from Greece, and be mesmerized by one-of-a-kind church tours, choir performances and history.
WHEN: June 17–19, 2022
WHERE: Empower Field at Mile High
The free Denver BBQ Festival brings together legendary pitmasters from Denver, Texas, Kansas City, St. Louis and around the nation to serve award-winning BBQ. In addition, attendees can enjoy cold beer and drinks, BBQ tutorials and demonstrations, games and activities for the whole family, and live music from bands like The Rick Lewis Project.
WHEN: June 18, 2022
Summer is a time of transformation, and this free fair is the perfect venue to ask questions about your purpose, your job, your relationship or your health and receive that message or healing you need. Come for connection, community, sacredness, empowerment and spiritual growth.
WHEN: June 25, 2022
WHERE: Highland Square
Head to the free Highlands Street Fair to enjoy live music, food from local restaurants, great shopping and more! Support local business and the local Denver community to start your summer on a high note.
WHEN: June 25–26, 2022
WHERE: Civic Center Park
Denver PrideFest is a two-day festival that draws visitors from throughout the state of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. The weekend kicks off with the PRIDE5K on Saturday, followed by the Dyke March and the two-day Denver PrideFest at Civic Center Park. The Fest includes over 250 exhibitors, 30 food and beverage vendor, and live performances all weekend long. Sunday begins at 9:30 a.m. with colorful floats, marchers, music and much more at the annual Coors Light Denver Pride Parade. Thousands of cheering guests will line 14 blocks of Colfax Avenue from Cheesman Park to Civic Center, where the celebrations continue at day two of Denver PrideFest, starting with the Pride Rally.
WHEN: June 25–26, 2022
WHERE: Sakura Square
Fans of taiko drumming, teriyaki chicken, sake and Japanese artwork and wares won't want to miss this year's Cherry Blossom Festival – "Sakura Matsuri" in Japanese. The annual event celebrates the Japanese heritage and culture through live entertainment, food and drink, a marketplace and informative exhibits and demonstrations.
WHEN: July 1–3, 2022
WHERE: Cherry Creek North
The Cherry Creek Arts Festival is an innovative outdoor fine art event featuring 220 juried artist exhibitors selling original artworks, family-friendly art activities for people of all ages, live music, immersive art experiences and amazing food and drink. The three-day event gives patrons the rare and special opportunity to meet and purchase art from artists from around the country.
WHEN: July 8–10, 2022
WHERE: City Park
The Colorado Black Arts Festival proudly presents its 36th annual celebration of African American art and culture, a Colorado experience like no other!
WHEN: July 16–17, 2022
WHERE: Skyline Park
The Mile High Global Bazaar is a three-day, annual celebration of international cultures, arts, crafts, merchandise, food and music. The event will consist of exhibitors from around the globe representing a vast array of cultures and goods. Denver is home to more than two million people representing a vast array of cultures and countries from around the world.
WHEN: July 23–24, 2022
WHERE: Cheesman Park
This show was just nationally ranked as one of the Top 100 Shows of the Decade by Sunshine Artist Magazine! A charming event with an outstanding lineup of artists and craftsmen, the Cheesman Park Art Fest has you culturally covered from live music beneath the trees to Denver's best food trucks! All of the booths showcase handmade juried works of art and craft. From jewelry and pottery, to oil paintings and woodwork, there's something for everyone!
WHEN: July 30–31, 2022
WHERE: 16th Street Mall - Pedestrian Mall
The annual 16th Street Fair is a celebration of fine art, handcrafted goods and the 16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver. Take a stroll along the 16th Street Mall to enjoy a showcase of emerging artists and designers producing original and unique handmade goods in a wide array of media. This is Downtown Denver’s premier art and craft festival located in the city center along the busiest pedestrian street in the state!
WHEN: Thru Aug. 11, 2023
After the death of Michael Brown, The Ferguson Unrest shook the nation to its core and put a spotlight on police brutality and discrimination. Using extensive interviews she conducted herself, Pulitzer Prize finalist and Obie Award winner Dael Orlandersmith created eight fictional characters to represent the broad spectrum of perspectives that continue to define and divide our country at large.
WHEN: May 23, June 29, Aug. 17, Sept. 7 and Sept. 19, 2022
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, an IMAX theatre and touring shows.
WHEN: June 5, June 14, July 12, July 31, Aug. 9, Sept. 10 and Sept 13, 2022
WHERE: Denver Art Museum
Explore the Denver Art Museum's galleries showcasing a world-famous Indigenous art collection, as well as traditional and contemporary art from around the world. And admission is ALWAYS free for youth ages 18 and under, ever day.
WHEN: May 18, June 10, July 24, Aug. 5 and Sept. 10, 2022
WHERE: Clyfford Still Museum
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: Aug. 1, 2022
WHERE: History Colorado Center
History Colorado Center showcases powerful stories, honoring Colorado’s treasured memories and vibrant communities through exhibitions and programs. The center is also home to the State Historic Preservation Office and Stephen H. Hart Research Center — the portal to History Colorado’s more than 200,000 artifacts.
WHEN: June 10, July 8, Aug. 12 and Sept. 9, 2022
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 on the second Friday of each month.
WHEN: June 7, July 6 and Aug. 16, 2022
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.
WHEN: June 7, July 6 and Aug. 16, 2022
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms, Littleton
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms 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: June 4, July 2, Aug. 6 and Sept. 3, 2022
WHERE: MCA Denver
Okay, so it's not technically free. But every first Saturday of the month, Colorado residents can explore MCA Denver for just $0.01.
WHEN: June 3, July 1, Aug. 5 and Sept. 2, 2022
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: June 16, July 23 and Aug. 18, 2022
WHERE: Plains Conservation Center, Aurora
The Plains Conservation Center helps students and adults grow their knowledge and appreciation of the prairie ecosystem and the cultural history of Colorado through a variety of educational programs managed by Denver Botanic Gardens in cooperation with the City of Aurora.
WHEN: TBA 2023
WHERE: Denver Zoo
Say hello to the animals for free this season. 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!
WHEN: TBA 2023
WHERE: Colorado Railroad Museum
Travel back in time at this 15-acre railyard 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.
WHEN: Every First Friday
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 creative art districts stay open late.
WHEN: Last Sunday of every month
WHERE: Parking lot adjacent to Denver Central Market
ThriftCon, the No. 1 vintage clothing and collectable convention in the world, is proud to present Thrift-Pop, a free outdoor market taking place on the last Sunday of each month in the heart of Denver’s RiNo Art District. Featuring 40 premier vintage clothing and collectible vendors plus food, music and drinks, Thrift-Pop is your one stop shop for Sunday fun in Denver.
WHEN: Thru April, Tuesdays–Saturdays
WHERE: Meier Skis
Meier Skis offers two free tour options to learn about how trees are turned into skis. Grab a seat at the bar, made from ski core wood with windows looking onto the factory floor. Enjoy a complimentary locally brewed beer while a friendly skitender explains the ski-building process. Or reserve a 5 p.m. happy hour tour and go behind the scenes and learn about each step in the ski-making process.
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 on the hour 10 a.m.–3 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.
Learn how to make money! The U.S. Mint can produce more than 50 million coins a day, each one stamped with a little "D" for Denver. Free guided tours show every step in the process of turning a dull, blank, metal slug into shiny pocket change.
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!
Get a behind-the-scenes look at Denver's craft beer world on a free tour at the Great Divide Brewery downtown or the Great Divide 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.
Housed in Empower Field at Mile High (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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The legendary Coors Brewery in nearby Golden can brew up to 22 million barrels and package up to 16 million barrels annually, making it the biggest single-site brewery in the world. Take a 30-minute, self-paced tour of the brewhouse, malthouse and packaging complex to view firsthand how more than 100 work teams make some of the most popular beer in the world.
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 at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder.