Things to Do

Five Things to Do for Free in Denver This Weekend

Immerse yourself in Lumonics today.
Immerse yourself in Lumonics today. Marc Billard
This was supposed to be the week that the mask mandate for indoor venues was lifted, but it's been extended in Denver and surrounding counties for another month. Still, the show — and we're talking about the National Western Stock Show, which begins January 8 — must go on, even if the parade and a new fair have been canceled because of cold weather.

But there are still plenty of things to do as 2022 gets underway.  Keep reading for the six best free events in Denver this week:
click to enlarge ARTcade is open at Understudy. - UNDERSTUDY
ARTcade is open at Understudy.
Understudy
ARTcade
Sunday, January 2, noon to 8 p.m.
Understudy, 890 C 14th Street

The latest project at the Denver Theatre District’s cozy arts incubator space, Understudy, has all the fixings of a traditional arcade — except that they’ve been souped up by a long list of participating local artists. Even the prizes are artist-made: Grab a masterpiece from a claw machine, or redeem coupons for enamel pins, coloring books, miniature paintings, jewelry, tea towels, art prints, small sculptures and more. ARTcade will be open Wednesdays through Sundays through the end of January to accommodate Stock Show visitors; find out more here.

Guided Tour of Lumonics
Sunday, January 9, 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Lumonics Light & Sound Gallery, 800 East 73rd Avenue, #11

The light sculptures called Lumonics were created beginning in the ’60s by hip Miami art couple Mel and Dorothy Tanner, who later began experimenting with multimedia shows incorporating the sculptures. After Mel Tanner died, Dorothy eventually found her way to Denver, re-creating a studio, gallery and event space where she could continue the legacy of Lumonics. Now she's gone, too, but Lumonics lives on in tribute to its creators. The space began offering guided tours over the summer, and because of the positive response, the tours, which cover an extensive gallery of Lumonics sculptures and end with a mini-light and sound show, now run on the second Sunday of every month. Reserve your free tour and learn more online.

Frequent Flyers Aerial Open House
Sunday, January 9, 1 to 4 p.m.
Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance, 3022 East Sterling Circle #150, Boulder

Make like Peter Pan and learn to fly at a hands-on open house at the Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance studio in Boulder. You’ll truly be shown the ropes at the event, with free apparatus trials offered every half-hour, as well as faculty demonstrations. Anyone five and up is welcome to take the challenge (under eighteen must be accompanied by an adult); if you’d like to learn more, discounts will be offered on upcoming classes starting next week. How high can you fly? See details here.

"History of the San Luis Valley"
Sunday, January 9, 2 p.m.
Tattered Cover McGregor Square, 1901 Wazee Street

The Tesoro Cultural Center is partnering with the Tattered Cover for a series of lectures celebrating the history of the Southwest. It starts with Charles Nicholas Saenz, associate professor of history at Adams State University and former president of the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Center discussing the “History of the San Luis Valley.” Find out more here.

Bison Days at Number Thirty Eight: Ashton Lee Band
Sunday, January 9, 4 p.m., more shows through January 22
Number Thirty Eight, 3560 Chestnut Place

A new venue has launched a new concert series to coincide with the National Western Stock Show. All of the shows are free — and you get one free Odell Kindling Golden Ale upon entry every day! (Cocktails and food will also be available for purchase.)  Concerts pick up again on January 13, with DJs until then; find the full lineup here.

And plan ahead:
click to enlarge Plan ahead for the next free day. - DENVER ZOO
Plan ahead for the next free day.
Denver Zoo
Denver Zoo Free Day
Saturday, January 22

2300 Steele Street
The first of the Denver Zoo's seven free days in 2022 will be on Friday, January 7, but walk-ups are no longer accepted. Admission is by lottery, and the five-day lottery period for the January 7 date closed on December 30. The next free day is January 22; the lottery period runs from January 10 through 14. Find out more here.

Do you know of more free events in Denver? We'll be updating this list through the week; send information to [email protected]
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.