I love summer! And I especially love summer in Colorado. One big reason is that there are so many great things to do here. Bonus: lots of them are free or low cost!
I’ve put together a list of 10 of my favorite fun things to do in Denver in the summer. Never tried these before? Try challenging yourself to see how many you can check off before the snow flies again!
- Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre–There’s a geological wonder just a few minutes from downtown Denver. Red Rocks is the only naturally-occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world. There’s lots to do for everyone–from drive-through sightseers and family picnickers to nature lovers and outdoor exercise enthusiasts. You’re surrounded by 868 acres of deer, dinosaurs, pines and prairie, geological wonders and spectacular vistas. The park opens one hour before sunrise and closes one hour after sunset every day of the year. Access to the Amphitheatre may be limited after noon on show days. (Oh, yeah…there’s some incredible concerts there, too, along with Film on the Rocks.) For more info, visit http://redrocksonline.com/visitor-info/hours-directions-maps.
- Run or bike at Cherry Creek State Park–Denver’s “backyard playground” is a huge park (5 square miles). Located in Aurora just southeast of I-225 and Parker Road, the park has miles of trails where it feels like you are miles away from the city :). It’s my private escape. Find out more at http://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/CherryCreek/Pages/default.aspx
- Civic Center EATS–How fun! Civic Center EATS is metro Denver’s largest gathering of gourmet food trucks and carts. It runs in Civic Center Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays through October 10. And it doesn’t matter what kind of food you prefer–you *will* find something there! Featured cuisines include African, Asian, BBQ, Burgers, Cajun and Creole, Dessert & Beverages, Eclectic, European, Latin, Mediterranean, Pizza, and World Street Food. There will even be live music to enhance your experience. New this year: a beer and wine garden on Thursdays, featuring craft local beverages and picnic table seating. Find out more on the Civic Center EATS 2019 website.
- Free summer concerts–These are happening all over the state. To find ones in your area, do a Google search for “free summer concert” with the name of your town.
- Golf–I don’t golf, but if you do or just want to see it, Arrowhead Golf course is both challenging and visually stunning. Another fun idea is TopGolf Centennial. Located south of Arapahoe Road at the corner of Havana Street and Easter Avenue, TopGolf offers 100+ bays over 3 floors, free WiFi, a rooftop terrace, and 200+ HDTVs. It’s even kid-friendly, with their KidZone Spring Break Academy and Summer Academy programs.
- Colorado Symphony–Join the Colorado Symphony for one of their Summer Concert Series events. Check http://www.coloradosymphony.org/Tickets/Summer for schedules and tickets. Coming up quickly: a concert featuring Andrea Bocelli on June 21 and “Mozart Under the Moonlight” on July 10.
- Denver’s great museums–My faves are the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science , mainly because they each have a lot of hands-on exhibits. If you love midcentury design, don’t miss “Serious Play” at the Denver Art Museum through August 25. If you’re fascinated by Leonardo da Vinci, you’ll want to be sure to catch “Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years of Genius” running through August 25. History Colorado is another great museum and a great value for families with kids: through Labor Day, admission is free for kids 18 and under every day. Don’t forget the Denver Zoo; it’s a fun way to spend the day no matter if you’re 2 or 92. Finally, the Denver Botanic Gardens are ablaze with color and activity over the summer. As members of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, each facility offers free days throughout the year — check the schedule at http://scfd.org/p/free-days-calendar.html.
- Denver/Colorado breweries–Coors, located in Golden, does 30-minute self-paced tours and tastings, and everyone needs to visit once (http://www.millercoors.com/breweries/coors-brewing-company/tours). The tour is $5 for Colorado residents over 21 and $10 for nonresidents; no charge for active duty military or veterans with ID. There are also a ton of local places in town. One of my favorites is Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora. They’re conveniently located at Hampden and Chambers and have won awards from both the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival.
- Art District on Santa Fe–More than 60 creative industry members span the area between Alameda Avenue and 12th Avenue along Santa Fe Drive and Kalamath Street. On “First Fridays” (5:30-9:30 p.m. the first Friday of every month, free guided shuttle coaches pick you up at the light rail station at 10th Avenue and Osage Street and ferry you around the Art District to participating galleries, studios, and restaurants. For details, see https://denverartsdistrict.org/first-friday.
- Park Meadows mall and the Outlets at Castle Rock–With more than 180 stores and restaurants, Park Meadows is the best mall in the metro area in my opinion. You can literally find ANYTHING! See https://www.parkmeadows.com/en/directory for a complete directory and details on current sales and events. Just a few minutes farther south on I-25, the Outlets at Castle Rock are a close second. It’s the largest open-air outlet center in Colorado, and you’ll find over 100 name brand stores, including American Eagle, Coach, Chico’s, H&M, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Vans and many more. Find out more at http://www.outletsatcastlerock.com.
If none of these struck your fancy, check out the Denver Convention and Visitors Bureau list of Free Things to Do This Summer in Denver, organized by date and overflowing with events.
I’d love to see how you make the summer fun! Post your pics on my Facebook page.