Plan on plenty of hot times in the week leading up to the July 4 holiday. Catch some art, chill at a concert, hit the road for a hike or just to see the scenery. Keep reading for our 21 best things to do in Denver this week.
Wednesday, June 27
Though it might not feel like it, studies have shown that it takes less time than people think to bike somewhere. Couple that with the health benefits of riding on two wheels versus four and you have a near-perfect mode of transportation in cycling. On Wednesday, June 27, the Denver Regional Council of Governments will host Bike to Work Day, a national holiday celebrated in May most other places but in June in Colorado to lessen the likelihood of inclement weather. The goal of the campaign is to promote biking, but also to report to the federal government the impact of taking vehicles off the road, which means registering at biketoworkday.us is key (you could also win prizes by registering). The website also has information about breakfast and water stations that will be located around town. Grab your helmet and hit the road!
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Thursday, June 28
Metro Denver loves its street artists so much that the Arvada Center and gallery director Collin Parson decided to put some of the best to work on indoor panels for In Sight On Site: Murals, an exhibit that shares both the painting process and the final product. Since the end of May, more than twenty artists and artist teams have been creating murals throughout the center’s three galleries while the public watched; you can see the finished artworks when the exhibit officially opens on Thursday, June 28, with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. In Sight on Site runs through August 26 at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada. Learn more at arvadacenter.org.
Because natural history isn’t just for kids, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science goes out of its way to make adults feel welcome in its hallowed halls. Popular program The Great Space Escape for Adults is the perfect example of how that’s done; it’s a breathtaking planetarium evening with a grownup cash bar and a pair of joke-telling, science-spouting astronomers as hosts. There are two shows: Drink ’til you see stars on Thursday, June 28, starting at 6 or 8 p.m. at Gates Planetarium, inside the DMNS at 2001 Colorado Boulevard. Learn more and reserve tickets, $15 to $18, in advance by searching "Great Space Escape for Adults" at dmns.org — but act fast, because these shows fill up quickly.
Gripes about RTD go far beyond the travel-halting shenanigans of the A Line train to the airport. Low-income neighborhoods go underserved. Schedules are unreliable. And the cost of a trip across town — not to mention a monthly pass — is prohibitively expensive for many working people. Occasional Westword scribe Bree Davies will dissect these issues in “Denver, RTD and Public Transit: What’s Going On and How Could It Be Improved?,” the latest episode of her podcast Hello? Denver? Are You Still There? The podcast will be recorded at a free live discussion with Shontel Lewis and Jenee Elise Donelson at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 28, at Mutiny Information Cafe, 2 South Broadway. For more information, visit Davies's Facebook page.
Back in 2017, Motus Theater in Boulder hosted a powerful event called Do You Know Who I Am?, during which law enforcement agents and other leaders in Boulder read aloud the autobiographical stories of undocumented Mexican immigrants in their presence and before a live audience. To celebrate the City of Boulder's Immigrant Heritage Month, Motus will show a taping of that performance at Boulder Public Library's Canyon Theater, 1001 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder, on Thursday, June 28, at 6:30 p.m. Following the screening, Boulder Police Chief Greg Testa, Boulder County DA Michael Dougherty and Motus writers/performers Ana Casas and Victor Galvan will be on hand for a talkback with attendees. Learn more about this free event at motustheater.org.
Friday, June 29
The Denver DIY space Rhinoceropolis has endured a prolonged exile since its doors closed in late 2016, when the city stepped up inspections of local artist havens in the wake of the deadly Ghost Ship fire in Oakland. After more than a year of struggling to comply with city-required upgrades, Rhinoceropolis could reopen before the end of the year, but its tapped-out leaders could use a little startup money. To that end, friends of Rhino organized Froth: A Rhinoceropolis Fundraiser, an evening of the kind of experimental music that Rhino has always been famous for, with an affordable price tag of $10 in advance or at the door. Give back on Friday, June 29, beginning at 7 p.m. and partying on until 2 a.m. at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street; get tickets and learn more at eventbrite.com.
While you never really know what to expect at one of the Denver Art Museum’s Untitled Final Friday events until you get there, the outcome usually falls within the boundaries of pre-determined art-related fun. But when multimedia conceptual artist Jordan Knecht takes over the museum with help from a band of talented musicians, photographers, writers, videographers and performance artists for Untitled: A+B=X, the out-of-the-box concept for the evening will be anything but pre-planned. Each artist has designed a collaborative experience; it’s up to museum visitors to determine the end point. Venture into the unknown at Untitled on Friday, June 29, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the DAM, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. Events are included in the regular museum gate admission of $8 to $13; get more info at denverartmuseum.org.
RiNo’s Final Friday Summer Series was a trailblazer when John McCaskill of Megafauna, a retail artist incubator and design shop, kicked off the art-heavy block party five years ago on the corner of Larimer Street that the shop shared with the Meadowlark. Along with the boutique, the fest has moved to Blake Street, where it’s become a summer ritual, offering live music and entertainment plus a local-artist marketplace, all for the price of a $5 wristband that supports the performers and comes with a rash of deals from nearby small businesses. Join the party at Rino Supply Alley Stage, 3100 Blake Street, from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 29, for live performances by Trayce Chapman, Queen Jay Triiiple, Ralphy Sway, Connor Ray, J. Carey + Tyler-Jerome, Zanib and Vance Cook, hosted and curated by Life is Dope & The Session Uncut. Additional venues across RiNo will also be offering live music. Admission is a $5 donation, with proceeds benefiting Dream Culture and local musicians; find out more at finalfridaydenver.com.
Colorado’s bursting with funny ladies, from improv artists to standup comics, but events showcasing a whole gamut of feminine fun are few and far between. Winnie Wenglewick of Denver’s Dangerous Theatre, a funny lady herself, is filling the gap this weekend with the Femme Fatale Funny Fest, a concentrated two-day event staging six comedy blocks and topped off with one late-night naughty/sexy bonus: Sex Talk With Love Slave and Misteress Saskia. Shows run from 7:30 p.m. to midnight on Friday, June 29, and from 7 p.m. until sometime after midnight on Saturday, June 30, at Denver’s Dangerous Theatre, 2620 West Second Avenue, Unit 1. Find the full schedule and tickets, $15 to $20 per block or $60 VIP, at dangeroustheatre.com.
The three-day Rapids & Grass Beer Festival, co-hosted by the Jailhouse Craft Beer Bar in Buena Vista, is quickly becoming one of the more talked-about beer fests in the state. Spend Friday, June 29, through Sunday, July 1, along the Arkansas River sampling beers from some of the best breweries in the country, jamming to an outstanding lineup of bluegrass music and taking in the sweeping mountain views. With the purchase of a festival ticket, you'll enjoy unlimited tastings from 48 breweries and access to all music at the Beach stage. Food from local food trucks will be available for purchase throughout the beer tasting. Upgrade your experience by adding the Freedom Float on Sunday, a seven-mile raft trip through a section of Class 3 whitewater. Find tickets and more information at rgfest.com.
Saturday, June 30
KGNU might be turning forty this year, but the community radio station out of Boulder is as scrappy and independent as ever. And it needs the community's help to withstand the next forty years. On Saturday, June 30, at the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake, 4255 West Colfax Avenue, the station will host a KGNU Movie Night fundraiser. In exchange for the $15 price of admission, KGNU fans and newbies alike will get to hear the station's DJs, including Erin Stereo, Joel Davis and DJ Deeprawk Dave, spinning records in the adjacent BarFly from 7 to midnight and catch an 8 p.m. screening of the 2009 flick Pirate Radio. The film is inspired by DJs broadcasting illicit radio signals off the coast of Britain in the 1960s, a nod to independent radio stations everywhere, including KGNU (and the real-life pirate stations right in KGNU’s back yard, some of which we profiled in “Making Waves,” which you can find on westword.com). Buy tickets and find more information at drafthouse.com.
The grassroots local reading series Art of Storytelling continues to further its mission to showcase Denver poets and writers from diverse communities by hosting an afternoon with authors Tameca L. Coleman and Rashid Mohamed on Saturday, June 30, at Prodigy Coffeehouse, 3801 East 40th Avenue. Coleman, who describes herself as a “singer, writer, massage therapist, itinerant nerd and point-and-shoot tourist in her own town,” has a wide range of literature to choose from for her reading, while Mohamed, an aspiring writer and journalist, will share his international views; as always, Art of Storytelling includes an open mic for other aspiring wordsmiths, such as yourself. The event starts at 3 p.m. and runs through 5:15 p.m. at Prodigy; learn more at the Art of Storytelling Facebook page.
If you're entranced by flame-throwing ’bots and other grimy, oily mechanical warmongers from the likes of pioneering large-scale machine performance artist Mark Pauline, head north to Wellington for MachineFest, an event that pulls Front Range practitioners of death-bot pyrotechnics and metal-music bands together for a truly terrifying — and sensational — spectacle on the plains. Presented by Fort Collins tactical machine fabricator the Machine Lab Inc. and its performance-bot side project Machinewerks, with additional mayhem from Denver’s revitalized Motoman Project and music by 16VOLT and Society Burning, MachineFest gets under way on Saturday, June 30, at 6 p.m. at 9633 North County Road Three in Wellington; admission is just $5 at the gate. Learn more at Machine Lab’s Facebook page.
What could be more refined than a beautiful morning at the Denver Botanic Gardens in summer, with a break for a traditional high tea in the Victorian Solarium, surrounded by the DBG’s Woodland Mosaic garden? Summertime Tea in the Gardens, led expertly by Denver Tea Room owner, pastry chef and tea sommelier Margo Seymour, begins to pour on Saturday, June 30, at 10 a.m. at the gardens, 1007 York Street. Admission, which includes a background talk on the art of tea and a full British spread with fine china and linens, is $38 to $42. Learn more and reserve a seat on the botanicgardens.org Events page; additional teas are scheduled twice monthly through September.
Few childhood toys retain their charm like LEGOs, and tinkering with the increasingly sophisticated building blocks is irresistible for adults and kids alike. Celebrate the spark of imagination that turns interconnecting plastic parts into miniature worlds at a LEGO Building Workshop at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, where guests can assemble and keep their own Colorado-inspired works of LEGO art. An interactive supplement to the museum's LEGORado exhibit (which features fanciful replicas of characteristic Coloradan land and cityscapes), the workshops are a delight for playtime architects of all ages. Join a crew of builders on Saturday, June 30, from 9 to 10 a.m. as guests work through all 88 pieces of the LEGO City Mountain Fugitives kit, which includes a police ATV and a secret stash tree. LEGORado will be on display until Labor Day. Admission is $40 to $45 and includes supplies and general admission to the museum. Visit the events page on historycolorado.org for more information.
The United Nations Association Denver Chapter presents the fourth annual UNAFF Traveling Film Festival Denver from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 30, at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. The festival will showcase four international documentary film screenings —Tomorrow, A New Path, Exiled, I Am Evidence — about today’s most pressing global issues, along with hosting filmmakers and expert panelists. The fest concludes with a panel discussion and dinner from Comal Heritage Food Incubator. Festival passes are $25, $20 for UNA members and $15 for students; individual tickets are $8, or $6 for UNA members and students. Find the full schedule and get tickets at the UNA website.
Sunday, July 1
The Vans Warped Tour, which is on its final cross-country trek, will be stopping in Denver on Sunday, July 1. While the bill maintains the Warped Tour’s legacy of bringing some of the best rock acts to the stage, this last iteration also includes the juggalo duo Twiztid, which will deliver its brand of horrorcore to the masses. Also on the lineup: The Maine, This Wild Life, Tatiana Demaria and Reel Big Fish. The festival takes place on multiple stages around the Pepsi Center parking lot, 1000 Chopper Circle, starting at 11 a.m. For more information and tickets, which start at $56.85, go to vanswarpedtour.com.
Everything lowrider, from the magnificent machines themselves in action to vendor booths and a host of those lovely lowrider ladies you see in periodical pages, will be on display at the annual Lowrider Magazine Tour Denver, a spectacle of cherry paint jobs and pinstriping, advanced hydraulics and a whole cross-section of live Latino music. Bite off a big chunk of culture at the expo on Sunday, July 1, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt Street. Get more info and purchase tickets, $35, at lowriderdenver.com; children ten and under admitted free.
Monday, July 2
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Few Denver bands know how to channel the drunk punk spirit in all its glory and horror as well as Dirty Few. Lyrics like “I don’t wanna throw, I don’t wanna throw up, I don’t wanna throw up no more” pretty much sum up the band’s attitude. The debaucherous rockers, who have been gaining steam opening for the likes of Ty Segall this year, are dropping a seven-inch record in July, and to celebrate, they'll be headlining a 21-plus rager at Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer Street, at 8 p.m. on Monday, July 2, with Wyldlife, Bad Engrish, the Born Readies and DJ Ross Taylor Murphy. For more information and tickets, $10 to $12, visit larimerlounge.com.
Tuesday, July 3
Goat mania has overtaken everything from beer tastings to yoga classes in Denver, turning local hot spots into de facto petting zoos. Fireworks and Goats in RiNo Movie!, a four-legged fiesta on Tuesday, July 3, at LFX Filmworks and Events Space, 1701 31st Street, typifies this adorable trend. A grand birthday celebration for the founder of Broken Shovels Animal Sanctuary, the evening will include a screening of Francis Ford Coppola's One From the Heart, starring Tom Waits and Crystal Gale, followed by a set of Waits covers from the Lost Dog Ensemble, plus a fine view of the Coors Field fireworks display and all the goats you can pet. Goats in RiNo movie events are BYO-chair, and organizers recommend arriving early. Doors open at 6 and the movie screens at 7:30, followed by live music at 9 and fireworks at 10 p.m. Tickets are $18 at brownpapertickets.com, where you'll also find more details.
Have a blast at the ninth annual Independence Eve at Civic Center. The fun starts earlier than ever this year, with new wine and beer gardens (sponsored by local favorites Great Divide Brewing and the Infinite Monkey Theorem) opening at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3; food trucks will be selling plenty of snacks. You can always pack in a picnic, of course, and stake out your spot early for live performances by Chris Daniels & the Kings and the 101st Army Band of the Colorado National Guard. The stage show starts at 8 p.m., followed at dusk by a light show and the biggest fireworks finale in the event's history. Admission is free; find out more on civiccenterconservancy.org. (And for more fireworks options, keep an eye on westword.com/arts.)
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