Exploring the Countless Free Summertime Things to Do in Denver

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Colorado is arguably the most fun, vibrant, happening state in The Rockies. The city of Denver in particular is home to a youthful population, a flourishing arts and music scene, some of the nation’s best craft beer, and endless outdoor adventures. For nature-loving travelers on a budget, here are just a few of the countless ways to enjoy your next warm weather trip to Denver on the cheap.

Sunrise Over Downtown Denver, Colorado
Sunrise in Downtown Denver, Colorado © Robert Kash

Take an Educational Tour

Denver is home to countless tour opportunities. The downtown Denver Mint offers free tours to teach visitors how they turn plain metal blanks into more than 50 million coins every day. Science and history geeks will appreciate a visit to the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Colorado State Capitol building, Littleton Historical Museum, or Dinosaur Ridge, featuring Cretaceous-era dinosaur footprints and Jurassic dinosaur bones. Nearby Colorado Springs is also home to Garden of the Gods—one of Colorado’s most well known natural attractions with massive sandstone monuments that rise more than 500 feet.

Crash an Outdoor Festival

Coloradans love getting outside and that means there’s no shortage of outdoor, year-round festivals throughout the state. Among many other events, summertime brings the Downtown Denver Arts Festival in May, Denver Pridefest in June, Colorado Dragon Boat Festival in July, A Taste of Colorado in August, and First Friday Art Walks and farmer’s markets throughout the season. Every August, the nearby town of Golden, Colorado is also home to the Golden Fine Arts Festival with more than 140 local and national artisans. The best part is that these events are absolutely free.

Enjoy a Free Concert

Likewise, there are many free outdoor concerts throughout the year. On May 24 each year, the Denver Day of Rock features the city’s largest free concert with more than 25 bands lining the city’s 16th Street Mall. In June and July, City Park Bandstand and Pavilion features open air jazz every Sunday for the City Park Jazz event. Every July 3, Denver features their annual Civic Center Park’s Independence Eve celebration with The Colorado Symphony, a unique lightshow, and of course a fireworks finale.

Explore a Local Brewery

Touring New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado
Tour of New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado © Betsy Weber

Colorado is recognized as one of the most pivotal destinations in America’s craft brew renaissance. The Denver area in particular is home to some of the state’s most influential breweries, including Great Divide Brewery and Wynkoop Brewing. Beer-loving travelers can enjoy the free tours offered in nearby Boulder, including Avery Brewing, Boulder Beer, and Upslope Brewing Co. A bit further outside the city, Fort Collins is home to Odell Brewing Co and the widely popular New Belgium Brewing Co. For a marked contrast, visit the massive Coors Brewery—the world’s largest, located in nearby Golden, Colorado.

Denver may well offer the perfect blend of one-of-a-kind outdoor experiences and free opportunities for budget travelers. With some of Colorado’s best arts, cultural, historic, educational, and active experiences, the city should no doubt be on every traveler’s bucket list!

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