Things to Do

Fourteen Things to Do for Free in Denver Today

The Denver Dolls deck the halls.
The Denver Dolls deck the halls. Denver Dolls Facebook
Despite the lack of snow, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, with light shows and holiday markets all over town. But the action is not all holiday happenings; there are other events both serious and silly.

See our list of new art shows here, as well as holiday markets here. Now keep reading for more of the best free events in Denver this weekend:

The 14th Street Curling Club
Sunday, December 11, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.
Denver Performing Arts Complex

Get in the holiday spirit with festive performances at the 14th Street Curling Club, a pop-up lounge at the entrance to the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The Denver Dolls, a sassy, all-female trio of professional performers inspired by WWII-era shows, will be live at 11 a.m.; On the Rocks will deliver Sinatra smooth at 4 p.m. In between, there's curling, of course, as well as other games. Free shows are Sundays at 11 a.m. and Thursday evenings through the end of December. Find out more here.

Warm Cookies Tenth Anniversary Par-tay
Sunday, December 11, 1 to 4 p.m.
McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue

Ten years ago, Evan Weissman took a leap. Then an acting member of the Buntport Theater crew, Weissman became concerned about how little Americans know about how the government works, principally at the ground level, where neighbors might be able to have more of a hand in deciding what’s best for their own neighborhoods — if they only knew where to start. He decided that even adults can learn the rules of civics, and came up with the idea for Warm Cookies of the Revolution: a meeting where folks can engage in discourse about community issues while munching on warm cookies right out of the oven. Since then, Weissman’s invention has accomplished more than he ever dreamed of in the name of community and the power of joining hands to solve problems. That’s something to celebrate, and Weissman invites his fellow civics enthusiasts to join him for a party where, instead of playing games, they could talk about what’s next, Join Weissman to reflect and look ahead. RSVP here.

John Lennon/Beatles Sing-along
Sunday, December 11, 2 to 5 p.m.
Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street

Beatle lover Jim Bernath’s annual John Lennon/Beatles Sing-along is rolling into its 24th year of companionship and full voices while celebrating the songs of John, Paul, George and Ringo at the Mercury Cafe. There  will be options for accessing lyrics sheets, including online, and Bernath plays DJ and leads the singers. No points lost for singing out of tune — the event simply raises up the sad anniversary of Lennon’s death while also remembering a bygone yet timeless era in popular music. Note that the Merc’s kitchen will close at 3 p.m., so arrive early to order food or drinks. Details here.

2022 Zines & Cereal
Sunday, December 11, 4 to 7 p.m.
Town Hall Collaborative, 525 Santa Fe Drive
So many anniversaries this weekend and so little time! Director Kelly Shortandqueer and friends will celebrate the Denver Zine Library’s nineteenth year with a little shindig where celebrants can refuel with cereal or cocktails or both while browsing select zine vendor tables and checking out the DZL’s new 2023 calendar. RSVP for the free event and see details at Eventbrite.
Adrian Miller digs in.
Anthony Camera

Adrian Miller: Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue
Sunday, December 11, 4 p.m.
Aurora History Museum, 15051 East Alameda Avenue
Local author Adrian Miller has gone national in a big way with his books, including Black Smoke, which celebrates African-American barbecue culture and restores African Americans to the center of America’s barbecue story. The book includes historical profiles, his list of the top twenty African American barbecue restaurants, and recipes. He'll discuss his work in a free talk (with cornbread and sweet tea!); make reservations here.

Arvada Center Fine Art Market/Holiday Pottery Sale
Through Sunday, December 11
Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada

Ninety Colorado artists bring jewelry, fine art, ceramics and ornaments to the art market, including special items donated for an auction that continues through the entire run of the show. Meanwhile, the pottery sale offers work both functional and purely creative by instructors and students of the center’s own ceramics studio program. The market continues Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m., through December 18. The show is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Saturday, then 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Find details here.


Annual Holiday Art Market

Through December 24, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Michael Warren Contemporary, 760 Santa Fe Drive
Michael Warren Contemporary will turn into an art marketplace every day in December through Christmas Eve, with work by gallery artists priced under $1,000 and more commonly between $200 and $500 — or less. New works will be brought out throughout the run of the show. If you’ve got money to spend and hard-core art lovers to gift, you can’t go wrong. Worst-case, you'll simply see some lovely pieces for free.
Downtown Denver Partnership
Downtown Denver Rink
Through February 14
Skyline Park, 1601 Arapahoe Street
The Downtown Denver Rink is one of the best winter attractions in the city, a space right off the mall to engage in fun and games and celebrate the city. Admission to the rink is always free; bring your own skates to add to the savings, or rent skates on-site ($11 for adults and $9 for children twelve and under). After opening today, the rink will be open daily Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (6 p.m. on Thanksgiving), Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hours will change in January; the rink is slated to stay open through February 14. Get all the details here.

Light the Lights

Through January 23, 5 to 10:45 p.m.
Denver City and County Building
City Hall is now lit every night through the Stock Show, with special eight-minute shows at 5:45 and 6:45 p.m. Find out more here.
click to enlarge
The Mile High Tree is in Civic Center this year.
Visit Denver
Mile High Tree
Through December 31, 5 to 10 p.m.
Civic Center Park

The Mile High Tree has moved to Civic Center Park, right by the Denver Christkindlmarket. America's tallest digital tree puts on a dazzling show every fifteen minutes, with songs timed to the tree's light display. Admission is free from 5 to 10 p.m. daily. Find out more here.

Denver Christkindlmarket
Through December 23
Greek Amphitheater, Civic Center Park
The German American Chamber of Commerce - Colorado Chapter has opened the Christkindlmarket for the 33rd year; it's back at Civic Center Park with booths selling holiday wares and snack items. And yes, there's a beer garden. Through December 23, hours will be Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (festival hall open until 10 p.m.) and Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a,m. to 7 p.m. On November 30, the focus is on a Canine Christmas! Admission is free; find out more here.

Merry & Bright Lights Show
Through December 27, 5 to 10 p.m.
Denver Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop Street

Denver's Union Station is all lit up for the season, with the Merry & Bright Lights Show featuring over 7,000 bulbs and music continuing through December 27. Santa will visit on every Sunday until Christmas from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; find out more here.

Cherry Creek Holiday Market
Daily through December 24
Fillmore Plaza, Fillmore Street between First and Second avenues
The third time’s the charm for Cherry Creek North’s outdoor holiday market, celebrating its third year of bringing eighty rotating vendors to sell their wares at Fillmore Plaza. While the market has limited hours on Thanksgiving, latecomers can still catch CCN’s romantic Winter Wanderland lighting display and LAPS, a Journey Through Time, a series of six interactive musical hourglass sculptures that viewers can set in motion. And on the first three Saturdays in December, enjoy Saturday Night Lights, which brings lighted trees and choreographed music into play, while street performers create a circus atmosphere at dusk. The market continues through December 24; learn more here.

Snow Much Fun Virtual (AR) Experiences
Daily through January 31
Pearl Street Mall, Boulder

Boulder has a new holiday attraction: Snow Much Fun Virtual (AR) Experiences, a self-guided tour along the Pearl Street Mall that has you encountering Boulder’s own mascot, Freezie the Snowman, as well as other characters along the way. It's free; find out more here.

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