Monday, May 30, 2011

Denver on the Cheap

As promised, I am going to talk about some awesome things to do in Denver this summer for...drumroll please...FREE.

First of all, our lovely city has some amazing museums, and most of them have free days every month or two.  Yes, it's kind of a madhouse and yes, you don't get into the featured exhibit (which costs extra even with regular admission), but come on: FREE.  For the next couple months these are the museum and other attraction free days:
Denver Art Museum - June 4, July 2, Aug. 6 (first Saturdays)
Denver Botanic Gardens - July 19
Museum of Nature and Science - Aug. 22 and 28

Also remember places like the Denver Mint and the Denver Capitol offer free tours on a weekly basis, which is a fun, nerdy and completely offbeat way to spend a few hours.  In addition to historical landmarks, Colorado is home to a ton of breweries that offer free tours as well - think Coors, Golden City Brewery (both in Golden), New Belgium, Odell (both in Fort Collins) and on and on.  And of course my personal love, Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, gives free tours of their distillery in Denver.

In addition to tours, a lot of organizations host free performances and events, like City Park Jazz on Sundays starting in June.  Plus there's my personal favorite, First Friday Art Walks, where galleries and shops in Denver's art districts stay open late on the first friday of every month - basically a big block party in the summer, complete with random street performers and entertainment.  The major art districts are Santa Fe, RiNo, the Golden Triangle and Tennyson - you'll have to Google them though, I couldn't find one cohesive page for the event.

And don't forget the many farmer's markets all over the metro area, which can be a fun way to spend a lazy morning, sampling gourmet food and supporting local farmers.  Cherry Creek Farmer's Market is on Saturdays and Belmar's is on Sundays, but for a complete list of times and locations check out websites like Colorado Fresh Markets and Denver Farmer's Markets.

Of course, it being summertime, there are a myriad of outdoor festivals and street fairs going on throughout the season.  There's no way I can find or list them all, but the biggies (as far as I know) are:
Denver Chalk Art Festival (formerly La Piazza dell'Arte) - June 4-5
People's Fair - June 4-5 (hop over from Larimer to City Park for a REALLY full day!)
PrideFest - June 18-19
Cherry Blossom Festival - June 25-26
Cherry Creek Arts Festival - July 2-4
Irish Festival - July 8-11
Dragon Boat Festival - July 30-31
Plus there are several smaller, more local fairs throughout the season, like the Wheat Ridge Carnation Festival, the Boulder Creek Festival and the Highlands Street Fair.

Like I said, there is no way I can give you an exhaustive list of all the free events going on in Denver this summer, not to mention the cheaper paid events.  There are, however, some great resources you can use to look them up, my top two being the Westword events calendar and Denver 365, which I believe is hosted by the city itself.  Plus, this website Mile High on the Cheap is a cool resource for discounts and insider info if you have just a little money to spend.

So...that's what I got.  Comment or email me if you know of any other festivals or events that I missed.  Otherwise...see you there!

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