Denver is the perfect vacation spot for couples, families, or solo travelers looking to get away from it all in the rugged beauty of the Rockies. Even better, there’s a wealth of free activities in the city, making it accessible for every budget. We’ve rounded up the top 10 Free Things To Do in Denver to help you get the most out of your trip to the Mile High City.
1. United State Mint Tour
Curious to learn where your money is made? Denver is home to one of just two mints in the United States. The 45 minute tours through the Denver U.S. Mint will leave you more knowledgeable about the history of coinage. Tours are available Monday through Thursday, 8:30AM to 3:30PM. It’s not possible to book a tour slot in advance; we recommend arriving as early as possible on the day you plan to visit the mint in order to get a ticket.
2. Colorado Dragon Boat Festival
This event, held annually in July, is a boat competition where colorfully decorated dragon boats race their way down Sloan Lake. Over 50 teams of boats typically compete, making it an action-packed weekend. There’s more to do than just watch the boats: take in one of the shows (there are almost 100!) on the five different performing arts stages. Or, wander through the Asian Marketplace, where you can purchase crafts, gifts, and artwork from Asia and the Pacific. When you get hungry, head to the Taste of Asia Food Court, where a host of different Asian cuisines from the area’s top chefs await. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities, too: Dragonland is where kids can make origami and dragon masks, and watch magic shows and storytelling events.
3. Hammond’s Candy Factory Tour
Got a sweet tooth? Hammond’s has been making candy in Denver since 1920, and a free tour will take you behind the scenes. All candy here is made the old-fashioned way: by hand, and in small batches. Hammond’s specializes in lollipops, candy canes, and hard candies. Free tours are available Monday through Saturday, from 9AM to 3PM. Tours depart every 30 minutes, and accommodate up to fifty visitors. Tour slots should be booked in advance online.
4. The Colorado State Capitol
Tours of the state capitol are free, and include a look at the legislative chambers. Tours are available daily from 9AM to 3PM, but you should schedule your visit at least a month in advance to ensure a spot. Pro tip: take a picture on the 13th step of the building – it’s exactly one mile above sea level.
5. Cherry Creek State Park
No visit to Denver is complete without sampling at least one of the area’s parks. Cherry Creek State Park is a popular park on Cherry Creek Trail. It’s perfect for spending a lazy summer afternoon, or going for a jog or bike ride. Cherry Creek State Park is laced with beautiful walking trails. There’s also ample space for flying model airplanes or going horseback riding.
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6. LoDo (Lower Downtown)
There’s lots to explore in Lower Downtown Denver. Once an industrial area, LoDo has become one of the hippest neighborhoods in Denver. There are many funky shops, galleries, and restaurants here. Larimer Square, a historic district, is worth checking out. Literary fans should visit My Brother’s Bar, a local spot where Jack Kerouac once hung out.
7. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater
Red Rocks gets its name from the red rock monuments it was carved from. It’s one of the most renowned concert venues in America, and for good reason – Red Rocks is a simply stunning outdoor venue. The Visitors Center is free to visit; there is an educational museum about rock formations and music history. There are also plenty of hiking and biking trails that carve their way around the amphitheater. Red Rocks Park is a great choice for Free Things To Do In Denver whether you’re into music, the outdoors, or both.
8. Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods is located right in Colorado Springs. The jaw-dropping rock formations have creative names, like Keyhole Window. This park has been a National Historic Landmark since 1971. It attracts all kinds of outdoorsy types – weekend picnickers, scenic drivers, horseback riders, and more. There are hiking trails for all skill levels, from leisurely strolls to more active, 3-mile hikes.
9. Sculpture Spotting
Armed with map in hand, there are two Denver sculptures you won’t want to miss on your tour of the city: “The Dancers” and Denver’s “Blue Bear.” “The Dancers” are located near the Performing Arts Complex, on a big green expanse. These humanoid figures acknowledge Denver’s ties to music and dance. “Blue Bear” is located near the Colorado Convention Center. It’s a Denver icon.
10. Coors Brewery Tour
Coors Brewery, the largest brewing site in the world, offers free, self-guided tours. You can learn all about the brewing process. Free samples are available at the end of the tour for those over 21. This one isn’t for the kids, but it’s a must-see for the beer lover in your life.
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