Things to Do

The 21 Best Events in Denver, July 1 Through July 7

Vatican City visits Denver with Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition.
Vatican City visits Denver with Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition. Courtesy of Special Entertainment Events, Inc. and Bridgeman Images
’Tis the season for fireworks, hot dogs, beer in the park and all the other things in Denver that mean summer. If you don't have plans for July 4 yet, keep scrolling for a plethora of ways to celebrate Independence Day, from parties in parks to a multicultural shindig in Aurora, Colorado's most diverse city. As always, there's plenty more on this week's event calendar to keep you busy (including one event on Monday, July 8, so you can start planning ahead)!

Monday, July 1

Feeling the need for speed and ’80s movie cheese? Turn I-70 into your own "Highway to the Danger Zone" as you speed toward Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 18300 West Alameda Parkway in Morrison, for the Film on the Rocks screening of Top Gun. Subject to renewed interest thanks to the upcoming — and belated by decades — sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, the 1986 original remains an enduring cinematic artifact thanks to star-making performances from Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, as well as a hit soundtrack highlighted by Berlin's Academy Award-winning ballad "Take My Breath Away." Revisit the classic flick in the most scenic surroundings imaginable when the summer screening series returns on Monday, July 1. Be sure to arrive at 6:30 p.m. for pre-screening music and standup comedy performances. Visit redrocksonline.com to buy tickets, $16 to $32, and learn more.

At 3 p.m., on Monday, July 1, Old 121 Brewhouse will kick off a series of festive small-batch beer releases in honor of the Fourth of July, with Mexican Lager, a light beer brewed with lime zest. The brewery will also tap a homemade black cherry soda. On Tuesday, the brewery will tap Honey Brown Ale on cask. Old 121 will be closed on Thursday, July 4, and will return on Friday, July 5, with a patriotic American wheat ale, brewed with red wheat, white wheat and blueberries. Then, on Saturday, it will be raspberry wit.


Tuesday, July 2

July 4 is coming fast, but if you can’t wait two days to celebrate our break from the British, head to Four Mile Historic Park at 715 South Forest Street for an old-fashioned Independence Day Celebration. From 5 to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2, you can play frontier-style games, watch historic demonstrations, ride in a horse-drawn wagon and listen to bluegrass band That Damn Sasquatch. Food trucks will be on hand, drinks will be available, and if you stick around, you'll catch the Glendale fireworks at dark. (The City of Glendale is also helping to sponsor this bash.) Admission is $3 to $5 (free for kids under seven); for more information, go to the Four Mile Historic Park Facebook page.

For its Independence Day celebration, the Symphony will leave the comfy confines of its normal home and head outdoors. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
For its Independence Day celebration, the Symphony will leave the comfy confines of its normal home and head outdoors.
Danielle Lirette
Wednesday, July 3

Stars, Stripes and Spectacle Gather in the heart of the Mile High City for a musical celebration of American democracy when Independence Eve With the Colorado Symphony returns for another night of patriotic fanfare. Come as early as 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 3, to secure a clear view of stage and skies alike, then kick back for a grand blend of sight and spectacle. The program includes such stirring holiday favorites as "Stars and Stripes Forever," "God Bless America" and Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Each composition synchs up with a brilliant light show, and the entire affair concludes with a fireworks display set against the Denver skyline. You can bring a picnic, but beer, wine and food-truck grub will all be available for purchase. Admission to Civic Center Park, Colfax and Broadway, is free; the show will proceed rain or shine. Find out more at coloradosymphony.org.

Put the "lit" in Littleton when Red, White & You returns with another opportunity for locals to get a 24-hour head start on Fourth of July fun. Keep your young ones occupied with the bouncy houses and climbing wall — each requires a separate ticket purchase — at the Kid Zone activity area while you avail yourself of the tap selection at the Foothills Foundation-sponsored beer and wine garden. Entertainment options include a stage for young performers and live music from the Nacho Men; of course, the whole affair is capped off by a sky-brightening fireworks display. And it's never too early for fireworks. The patriotic party runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, July 3; admission to Clement Park, 7306 West Bowles Avenue, is free.Visit ifoothills.org for more information.

click to enlarge See the master's work for yourself. - COURTESY OF SPECIAL ENTERTAINMENT EVENTS, INC. AND BRIDGEMAN IMAGES
See the master's work for yourself.
Courtesy of Special Entertainment Events, Inc. and Bridgeman Images
Thursday, July 4

Whether or not you’ve visited the real Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, you’ll have the viewer’s advantage when Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition arrives on Thursday, July 4, at the Hangar at Stanley, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora, for a summer exhibition that brings the Sistine masterpieces down to eye level. All 33 of Michelangelo’s original ceiling paintings have been meticulously reproduced for the touring show, along with the master painter’s later altar-wall fresco, putting you face-to-face with every detailed brushstroke. You can also view the panels during special adjunct events planned through the show’s run, including a lecture series, dance parties, yoga and more. See Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., through August 13; find information and tickets, $10 to $16 (children six and under get in free), at stanleymarketplace.com.


Tired of the same old Fourth of July celebration? Happening in Aurora, the most diverse city in Colorado, the New American 4th of July celebration will bring together immigrants and refugees from metro Denver for a multicultural version of Independence Day. Organized by Colorado performing arts organization Roshni and Control Group Productions, the festivities will include a short parade celebrating diversity, music, a potluck lunch and theatrical performances. Attendance is free. Celebrate the real meaning of America from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the People’s Building, 9995 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora. Find more information about the event at the People's Building Facebook page.

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