We’re lucky enough to live in a vibrant community packed with rich history and culture, providing endless opportunities to explore all the great things Denver has to offer. And thankfully, a lot of these said opportunities don’t require you to spend a lot of money!
To prove it, we found 17 completely free things to do in the area that won’t cost you a penny. Whether it’s celebrating our local art, visiting one of our many parks, or exploring our favorite historic landmarks, we found something for everyone—all for free!
Free Educational Tours
The golden-domed Colorado State Capitol Building is one of the most prominent and iconic features in Denver’s skyline. The rose onyx building sits exactly one mile above sea level—in fact, on your way in, you’ll spot a step that is labeled “One Mile Above Sea Level” where you can take a picture to commemorate the occasion. You can take a free tour of the entire building, Monday-Friday. Just make sure to get there early as tours tend to fill up quickly.
All around Denver, you can spot interesting and beautiful public art. While you can, and should, take some time to explore Denver’s art scene on your own, joining a public tour will add a layer of history and community to your experience! Denver Public Art hosts several free tours every week, including a tour of the Denver Performing Arts Complex, the Golden Triangle, Burns Park and Commons Park. Visit their website to see what they have in store for this month.
Great Divide Brewing Co. offers two different tours at two of their locations: Ballpark Brewery & Tap Room and RiNo: Barrel Bar & Packaging Wonderland. The Ballpark Brewery tour allows you to tour their original brewhouse which produces 16 taps of seasonal and year-round brews. The RiNo Barrel Bar tour allows you to view the packaging facility, canning line, barrel-aged and sour beer storage, and new taproom. And the best part? They are both 100% free!
Photo courtesy of Hammonds Candy Factory
Hammond’s Candy Factory has been a Denver institution since 1920. What started as a small family business with a loyal local following has now grown into an iconic brand with international distribution. Pay them a visit and curb your sweet tooth, or just stop in for a tour of their factory, which you can do Monday-Saturday.
At Stranahan’s, single malt whiskey is made by hand using only the finest malted barley, yeast and Rocky Mountain water, and they control every step of the process from barley to bottle. In The Lounge, you can sip special releases and craft cocktails then embark on a tour of the distillery. Tours explore the process, the brewhouse, the bottling room and more.
You don’t need to break open the piggy bank to go tour the United States Mint in Denver—because it’s completely free! Here, you’ll learn the present state of coin manufacturing and the history of the Mint. Afterward, don’t forget to stop by the gift shop, where you can get a few goodies to help remember your trip by! Tours are offered Monday-Friday, but there are a few exceptions. Click here for a full list of closures and the visitors’ policy.
We love a good festival here in Denver so you can bet your bottom dollar that we have one going on almost every weekend in the warmer months! Take a moment to stroll through booths, enjoy live music and enjoy some fantastic street food. Plus, there’s practically a festival for any interest, from food and beer to music and art. A few of our favorites throughout the year include A Taste of Colorado, the Denver Food + Wine Festival, Denver’s Great American Beer Festival and the Denver Chalk Art Festival.
One of the most popular jogging, walking, riding and biking paths in the city, the Cherry Creek Bike Path offers a whopping 40 miles of paved trail from Denver’s Confluence Park all the way to the small town of Franktown, just a few miles from Castlewood Canyon State Park. One of our favorite ways to spend a summer day with the family is to hit the trails and explore some sites along the way. In fact, we even have a complete guide to our favorite spots on the Cherry Creek Trail!
Located in the heart of Denver and home to both the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, City Park is a landmark in the city. There, you can picnic, play at the playground, walk or bike along miles of pathways, and play on tennis courts, football fields, soccer fields and in horseshoe pits. During the warmer months, we recommend swinging by the rental kiosk and renting a paddle boat or kayak to take out on the water!
Play a Round of Disc Golf
The disc golf fervor is heavy in Colorado, probably because it’s one more way to get outside. Course options are plentiful, and most are free. Beginners should head to Arvada to play at Johnny Roberts, and if you’re more experienced, check out Adams Hollow in Brighton. Or go for the ultimate Colorado combo and pair your round of disc golf with craft beer at Dry Dock Brewery’s course.
A trip to Red Rocks is one of our favorite free things to do in the area. The famous outdoor amphitheater is surrounded by, you guessed it, giant red rocks that have made this one of the most iconic music venues in the world. While there is no formal tour, you can take the family and guests up to this beautiful venue to enjoy the view and get some fresh air in a lovely spot in Colorado.
Psst… If there are no shows scheduled, the amphitheater is open one hour before sunrise and closed one hour after sunset!
Located just northeast of Denver, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is a 15,000-acre expanse of prairie, wetland and woodland habitats. While it was originally established, in part, to protect the bald eagle, today the Arsenal is home to more than 330 species of animals, including bison, black-footed ferrets, deer, coyotes and burrowing owls. Spend an afternoon hiking one of the many easy trails or take the self-guided Wildlife Drive Auto Tour—and it’s all completely free! Afterward, stop in and explore the Visitor Center to learn more about all the animals you had a chance to see.
Explore Local Attractions
The Denver Story Trek is an interactive self-guided tour opportunity that provides information on some of the city’s most iconic historic landmarks. Operated via smartphones and a website podcast, you can download your ideal route and listen to insightful commentary on landmarks as you see them! Some of the most popular Trek sites include Four Mile Historic Park, the Cherry Creek Bike Path, the Center for Colorado Women’s History, and the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art. Just visit the website to get started!
Free Museum Days
Denver is chock full of incredible museums that showcase everything from the history of Colorado to the science of our weird and wonderful planet. While a visit to many of our area’s museums aren’t always free—many of them offer free admission days so you can see some of Denver’s famous attractions without breaking the bank! Click here to see 2019 Denver Free Days You Won’t Want to Miss.
Take Advantage of the Library
It’s no secret that we love the library. Not only can you check out several books at a time for free—but you can also use their computers, take computer classes, participate in an event, reserve meeting spaces, participate in a book club, and so much more. And that’s not all! The Denver Public Library offers museum passes, cultural tours and ticket vouchers for a few local attractions. All you have to do is book a pass online and you can get free admission to local Denver favorites including the Butterfly Pavilion, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Behind the Scenes Tours, the Denver Firefighters Museum, the Denver Trolley, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science!
Photo courtesy of the Sambla Refinansiering Initiative
Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe is a nationally renowned cultural district that is overseen by one of the nation’s first Certified Creative District nonprofit organizations, established in 2003. The district is home to a multitude of art studios, galleries, and cooperatives, representing the works of hundreds of local and regional Denver artists working in a variety of mediums. Museums and theaters also call the area home, along with a number of trendy restaurants serving international cuisine options and craft microbreweries and distilleries with public taprooms. You can explore the arts district as part of daily self-guided exploration or during the district’s First Friday Art Walk events, which attract thousands of regional attendees and offers transportation via a free shuttle.
Union Station is a 100-year-old landmark in Denver that is now home to an eclectic mix of local bars, restaurants and shops. But you don’t have to spend a dime while you’re there if you don’t want to! You can join in a free tour of the structure, which lasts approximately one hour and showcases the station’s rich history and architecture. Or, you’re welcome to just wander around and explore the shops! Some of our favorites include the Tattered Cover Bookstore, BLOOM and 5 Green Boxes.
What did we miss?
Share some of your favorite free and inexpensive places to spend time and have fun in the Denver area!