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Free Things to Do This Summer in Denver

Denver's summer months are packed with free things to do like strolling through the city's vast park system, checking out rock 'n' roll memorabilia at Rockmount Ranch Wear, looking for vivid street art, going on a Great Divide Brewery tour, hiking at Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre or seeing an outdoor concert. 

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Free Outdoor Fun

Summer at Skyline Park

Roll into summer like never before! Downtown Denver's Skyline Park is your go-to spot for summer fun. Featuring downtown's first-ever roller rink, City Skate, along with free mini golf, volleyball, pickleball and the return of the Skyline Beer Garden, Skyline Park is sure to let the good times "roll" from June through September.

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre

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. 

Lariat Loop Byway

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

Dinosaur Ridge

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. 

Littleton Museum

Travel back in time at the Littleton Museum and get a glimpse into Colorado's pioneer past. Located on 39 acres in Littleton, 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.

Plains Conservation Center

The Plains Conservation Center in Aurora 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. It's always free to visit and hike the trails, explore the visitor center and check out the tipis and homestead village. There is a fee to attend any guided programs.

Garden of the Gods

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. 

Denver Skatepark

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 Art

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. 

Farmers' Markets

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. 

Denver's City Parks

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.

Lesser-Known, Hidden-Gem Parks

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.

How to Explore the South Platte River by Bike

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's Best Urban Hikes

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. 

Outdoor Concerts

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.

How to Explore the Colorado Trail in Waterton Canyon

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.

Pet-Friendly Denver

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.

Civic Center EATS

WHEN: Thru Oct. 16, 2024; Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
WHERE: Civic Center Park

Every Thursday From May through October, Civic Center EATS transforms Civic Center Park into a lunchtime extravaganza with Denver's best food and fashion trucks and live music. It's your chance to savor a variety of cuisines while supporting our city's small local business scene and the Civic Center Conservancy's mission to restore and enhance Civic Center Park, Denver's only National Historic Landmark.

Hangin' N Slangin' Markets

WHEN: June 8, 16, 30; July 13, 21, 28; Aug. 10, 18, 25; Sept. 14, 15, 29, 2024
WHERE: EDENS

Hangin' N Slangin' vintage thrift markets will be in RiNo, in the Lot on Larimer, on the second Saturday (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), third Sunday (12 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and last Sunday (12 p.m. to 7 p.m.) of every month from March to November right next to the Denver Central Market! Events are always free to attend, and there's always a great group of vendors, food and music.

Boulder Creek Festival

WHEN: May 24–27, 2024
WHERE: 1212 Canyon Blvd., Boulder

Taking place annually over Memorial Day Weekend, the Boulder Creek Festival is a can’t-miss festival brought to Boulder by and for the community. Hosted annually for more than 30 years, the free event is the unofficial kickoff to summer and features three days and four nights of festivities. 30+ bands play across three stages throughout the festival, along with local performers and children’s concerts. The weekend starts with a Friday night kickoff concert. Be sure to snag your tickets to the Creekside Beer Festival for an all-inclusive tasting of beers from 20+ Colorado breweries. Throughout the festival there are a plethora of food and beverage options, ranging from food trucks to healthy vegetarian eats to traditional carnival fare. Shop around the curated marketplace, which showcases 200+ local makers, fine artists and businesses. Bring the whole family to Creekside for Kids – a portion of the festival dedicated to family fun and featuring concerts for kids, games, face painters and pay-to-play rides.

Second Saturdays At The Shops At Northfield

WHEN: May–October 2024; Second Saturday of the month
WHERE: The Shops At Northfield

Welcome to Second Saturdays at The Shops At Northfield! A handmade-only event consisting of 70+ artisans, crafters and food experts from around Colorado. This art festival occurs every Second Saturday of the month, May through October. Bring the whole family to find incredible gifts, clothing and food for everyone to to enjoy! Parking is always free, and Artisan Markets' events are pup- and kid-friendly.

Second Sundays at Centennial Promenade with Artisan Markets

WHEN: May–October 2024; Second Sunday of the month
WHERE: Centennial Promenade, Centennial

Welcome to Second Sundays at Centennial Promenade! A handmade-only event consisting of 70+ artisans, crafters and food experts from around Colorado. This art festival occurs every Second Sunday of the month, May through October. Bring the whole family to find incredible gifts, clothing and food for everyone to to enjoy! Parking is always free, and Artisan Markets' events are pup- and kid-friendly.

Five Points Jazz Festival

WHEN: June 8, 2024
WHERE: Five Points

Five Points Jazz Festival is a free, all-day event held annually in Denver’s historic Five Points neighborhood. Once known as the Harlem of the West, Five Points was home to several jazz clubs that played host to many of jazz music's legends, including Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and many more! Along Welton Street, residents and visitors groove to the music while exploring a culturally diverse collection of food, shopping and entertainment. 

Juneteenth Music Festival

WHEN: June 15–16, 2024
WHERE: Five Points

Juneteenth Music Festival is the nation's signature Juneteenth event. The Historic Five Points Neighborhood hosts the celebration, which has expanded immensely, from a very little-known piece of American history to a nationally celebrated holiday.

50th Anniversary Denver PrideFest

WHEN: June 22–23, 2024
WHERE: Civic Center Park

This two-day celebration of community and culture is welcoming, inclusive and fun for all attendees, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. There’s also a parade and 5K (run, walk, roll or sashay). The event is now celebrating 50 years!

Cherry Blossom Festival

WHEN: June 22–23, 2024
WHERE: Sakura Square

Fans of taiko drumming, teriyaki chicken, sake and Japanese artwork won't want to miss this annual festival in Sakura Square. 

Cherry Creek Arts Festival

WHEN: July 5–7, 2024
WHERE: Cherry Creek North

The annual festival fills the streets of Cherry Creek North with more than 250 juried artists ready to share their talent with the world. Expect plenty of live music, kids’ activities, art, information about art education, food and more.

Colorado Black Arts Festival

WHEN: July 12–14, 2024
WHERE: City Park

Celebrate African American art and culture. It's a Colorado experience like no other in historic Denver City Park West.

Free Museum Days

Museo de las Americas Free First Fridays

WHEN: Every first Friday of the month
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. The museum offers free admission every First Friday, no tickets needed.

Penny Saturdays at MCA Denver

WHEN: Every first Saturday of the month
WHERE: MCA Denver
Okay, so it's not technically free. But every first Saturday of the month, Colorado residents can explore Museum of Contemporary Art Denver for just $0.01. 

Four Mile Historic Park Free Days

WHEN: Every fourth Friday of the month
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 day of tours, historic demonstrations and more on the fourth Friday of each month.

Denver Botanic Gardens Free Days: York Street Location

WHEN: June 5, July 3, Aug. 28, 2024
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 Days: Chatfield Farms Location

WHEN: June 5, July 3, Aug. 28, 2024
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. 

Clyfford Still Museum Free & Pay-What-You-Wish Days

WHEN: May 29, June 1 (Denver Cultural Market), June 22, July 28 (Disability Pride Celebration), Aug. 16, Sept. 4, 2024
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. New for 2024, the museum launched Pay-What-You-Wish Days: an initiative to increase community access at the Clyfford Still Museum on select days throughout the year. Admission can be as little as one penny, and online registration will open one week before each Pay-What-You-Wish Day.

History Colorado Center Free Days

WHEN: Aug. 4 (Colorado Day), 2024
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. 

Denver Art Museum Free Days

WHEN: June 11, July 9, July 21, Aug. 13, Sept. 7, Sept. 10, 2024
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, every day.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science Free Days

WHEN: June 4 (free night 5–9 p.m.), June 19 (Juneteenth free day), Aug. 21 (free night 5–9 p.m.), Sept. 10 (free night 5–9 p.m.), Sept. 30 (free day), 2024
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. 

Plains Conservation Center Free Days

WHEN: June 13, July 13, Aug. 15, 2024
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.

Hotel de Paris Museum Day

WHEN: TBA 2025
WHERE: Hotel de Paris, Georgetown

Celebrate the 69th anniversary of Hotel de Paris Museum with food, drink and entertainment. Leon Littlebird will be on hand to smudge the hotel to protect it for the coming year. A ribbon-cutting of the museum's newly renovated landing kitchen will also take place.

Denver Zoo Free Days

WHEN: TBA 2025
WHERE: Denver Zoo
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, orangutans, Komodo dragons and more! Note: To provide the best experience for all guests, Denver Zoo is offering a limited number of tickets for each Free Day, using an online lottery system. Anyone who wants to attend a Free Day must register online during the open lottery period for a chance to obtain up to five vouchers for its corresponding Free Day.

Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave Free Days

WHEN: TBA 2025
WHERE: Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave, Golden

Buffalo Bill Cody remains the ultimate icon of the American West. One of his final wishes was to be buried on Lookout Mountain above Denver. Lookout Mountain Park offers an engaging museum dedicated to the life and times of Buffalo Bill and his internationally known Wild West show, a curio shop and café located in the historic log Pahaska Tepee building, short hiking trails, a picnic area featuring one of the oldest picnic shelters in the Denver Mountain Parks system, and sweeping vistas from mountain to plain. Visit for free thee first Wednesday of the month from November through April.

Center for Colorado Women's History

WHEN: TBA 2025
WHERE: Center for Colorado Women's History 
Celebrate International Women's Day with a visit to the Center for Colorado Women's History. Guided tours every half hour from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Colorado Railroad Museum Free Days

WHEN: TBA 2025
WHERE: Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden

Travel back in time at this 15-acre railyard and museum in nearby Golden, Colorado. The Colorado Railroad Museum features more than 100 engines, cabooses and coaches, a garden railway and a library and roundhouse restoration facility with working turntable.


More Free Attractions & Tours

First Friday Art Walks

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. 

Free Denver Public Art Tours

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.

Colorado State Capitol Tour

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.

U.S. Mint Tour

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. Tours are available Monday through Thursday (excluding Federal holidays). All visitors must be 7 years and older. See the Mint's latest policies. 

Denver Story Trek

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!

Great Divide Brewery Tour

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. 

Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum

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.

Denver Central Library

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.

Denver Beer Trail

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.

Rockmount Ranch Wear

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. 

Tattered Cover Book Store

The Tattered Cover is one of the nation's most well-known independent bookstores with 10 locations across the state. It 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.

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