Things to Do

Ten Things to Do for Free in Denver (and Beyond) Today

Back for a 52nd year.
Back for a 52nd year. Denver Oktoberfest
Fall is here, and the calendar for the new cultural season is filling up fast with free fun. Along the Front Range and across Colorado, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate the arrival of autumn, with festivals honoring everything from the art of new Americans to dark skies.

Keep reading for ten of the best free events in Denver and beyond this weekend:

ARTumn Festival
Sunday, September 25, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
First Street and Elk Avenue, Crested Butte

This mountain town will be hopping this weekend with the Crested Butte Film Festival, a hybrid event of live and virtual screenings; get all the details here. While the film festival isn't free, the  ARTumn Festival is. You can stroll along charming Elk Street, finding handmade and artisan treasures, original art and home goods on a bluebird afternoon. Admission is free; find info here.

Big Dork Dance Pop-Up
Sunday, September 25, 9 a.m.
Greek Theater, Civic Center Park

Denver will be the site of another big dork dance for mental health and community. Check-in begins at 9, dancing at 9:30 a.m. It's free to join; find out more here.

click to enlarge
Head for the hills for art and music.
Central City Opera
2022 Plein Air Festival
Sunday, September 25, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Various locations in Central City
While kids enjoy activities at the drop-in arts station, adults can catch the quick draw competition from 11:30 to 1:30, bid on paintings at the Quick Draw Easel Sale and Awards from 2 to 2:45 p.m., then catch a concert at 3 p.m. (tickets required). There will be more paid events and concerts on Sunday, as well as a free, open reception from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Teller House. Find out more here.

Denver Oktoberfest
Sunday, September 25, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Larimer Street

Since 1969, Denver Oktoberfest has poured out the good times. The final day of the two-weekend event will include plenty of fun, including a beer barrel roll, trike racing and a long dog derby, as well as music by Denver’s Thirsty 5, Ipecac, Denver Dolls and the Kind Hearted Strangers. Admission is free, and VIP options are available; find out more here.

Full Moon Festival
Sunday, September 25, 1 to 6 p.m.
Improper City, 3201 Walnut Street

Celebrate the Asian Mid-Autumn Festival in style — and with a lot of delicious food—at the Improper City compound, where fifteen local Asian businesses will be vending pan-Asian eats all afternoon and the venue’s international beverages will flow. Live music seals the deal, and admission is free (or opt for $40 VIP tickets, which include entry in a giveaway, a T-shirt and a couple of drink specials on the house from Colorado Sake Co. and Tivoli Brewing Co.).Visit Eventbrite to RSVP and learn more.

Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival
Sunday, September 25, 5:30 p.m.
Levitt Pavilion, 1380 West Florida Avenue
Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage during a special evening of mariachi with Mariachi Sol de Mi Tierra, as well as Mariachi Estelares de Colorado, the all-state mariachi youth ensemble, and Latin Grammy-nominated singer Lupita Infante. Admission is free (although special VIP deals are available); find out more here.

Judaism Your Way: 2022 Rosh Hashanah Services
Sunday, September 25: Erev Rosh Hashanah, 6:30 p.m.
Monday, September 26: Family Service, 9 a.m.; Adult Service: 10:30 a.m.
Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, or online
The Jewish faith’s High Holy Days are around the corner, but don’t worry if you haven’t planned ahead. Judaism Your Way’s separate but inclusive observances for families and grownups are not only free, but can be shared in several areas at the Denver Botanic Gardens — in the main tent, on giant screens on the lawn or inside Mitchell Hall — as well as online. Optional online-only Jewish yoga and meditation sessions are also available, and the same rules apply for Yom Kippur services, following on October 4 and 5. Register here for your option of choice for one or both holidays.

and three anytime bonuses:

Supernova 7th Dimension: Night Lights Denver
Sunday, September 25, through Friday, September 30, 7 to 11:45 p.m.
Clocktower, 1601 Arapahoe Street

Denver Digerati has brought back Supernova, with digital events all month. But it's not too late to catch one of the most spectacular: the Supernova animations that Night Lights Denver commissioned to show on the Clocktower every evening after dusk. Find out more here.

Edge Effect: La inclusión de mi raza (The inclusion of my race)

Through November 13, Wednesday through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Tail Tracks Plaza, 1550 Wewatta Street

The Biennial of the Americas and Black Cube Nomadic Art Museum partnered on the latest Edge Effect project: La inclusión de mi raza (The inclusion of my race), a temporary public-art installation by Guadalajara-based artist Gabriel Rico at Tail Tracks Plaza. Rico’s outdoor installation includes totemic sculptures composed of an array of objects donated by the Denver community and an interactive AR experience. It's open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays through November 13 (but on view 24/7); find out more here.

Echoes From the History Colorado Collection, Season Two
Anytime on SoundCloud
Got fifteen minutes to learn something new about Colorado in the ’30s? At 3 p.m. every Monday for ten weeks, History Colorado is offering another episode of Echoes From the Collection, hosted by Arlo White of Hypnotic Turtle. The second season, which launched in August, is a series of dramatic readings culled from interviews conducted in Colorado in the early years of the Great Depression by the Civil Works Administration. And starting on September 22, for three consecutive Thursdays there will be special releases where objects in the museum collection come to life and tell their stories. Tune in here anytime for a free listen.

Do you know of a great free event in Denver? We'll be updating this list through the week; send information to [email protected]
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