Things to Do

Ten Things to Do for Free in Denver Today

Snowmass will rise to the occasion this weekend.
Snowmass will rise to the occasion this weekend. Courtesy of Snowmass Tourism
The weekend is full of festivals celebrating everything from digital art to balloons to pirates. But that's just the start of the fun.

Keep reading for ten of the best free events in and around Denver today:

Snowmass Balloon Festival
Through September 18
2835 Brush Creek Road, Snowmass Village

While it might be a little early for peak fall colors in Snowmass, the scenery is still bound to be beautiful for the awe-inspiring Snowmass Balloon Festival. The 47th annual fest will host balloon launches from 7 to 9 a.m., and there will be plenty of other things to do during the three-day event, from strolling the street to drinking up at Saturday afternoon’s Snowmass Wine Festival Grand Tasting. Learn more here.

Jaipur Literature Festival Colorado 2022
Sunday, September 18, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Boulder Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder

The Jaipur Literature Festival, a globe-hopping meeting of great bookish minds that blends the spirit of India with a global view of literature, is back live in Boulder after two years in the virtual universe. Packing a full roster of author conversations, workshops, readings, lectures, music breaks, poetry and more into two days, the fest is its own universe, mixing international and local authors into the programming. Basic general admission is free (there are some paid ticket options that come with perks); find a complete schedule and author guide here and register here.

Art on the Green
Sunday, September 18, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Curtis Center for the Arts, 2349 East Orchard Avenue, Greenwood Village

Art on the green is a free, all-Colorado art fair with dozens of artist booths, food trucks, live music and much more. Admission is free; get the details here.

Downtown Boulder Fall Fest
Sunday, September 18, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Pearl Street Mall, Boulder

The Firefly Market returns to the Pearl Street Mall with over eighty curated artisan booths that will join the Downtown Boulder Fall Fest. The festivities include kids' activities, live music all weekend and a beer/wine/margarita garden. Admission is free; find out more here.
click to enlarge
Tour art along Colfax Avenue in Aurora.
Colfax Canvas
Colfax Canvas Block Party
Sunday, September 18, noon to 6 p.m.
Fletcher Plaza, 9800 East Colfax Avenue

Fall is mural season, and there’s another festival bringing new ones into the public eye in Aurora this weekend. While street artists are busy finishing off their new murals around the area, Downtown Aurora’s Colfax Canvas Block Party in Fletcher Plaza will offer a full lineup of live music, an indie art market by Bonfire and a Cerebral Brewing beer garden. Or take a mural-scouting walkabout in the downtown area (map here) and see what’s going up on Aurora walls. Learn more here.

Festival Del Sol 2022
Sunday, September 18, noon to 5 p.m.
Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder

Colorado Chautauqua presents the second annual bilingual Festival Del Sol (formerly Celebración de la Comunidad), kicking off National Hispanic Heritage Month with live music from Pink Hawks and Los Mocochetes, food trucks, traditional games, children's activities, local art vendors and an outdoor beer/wine garden. Admission is free; find out more here.

Warm Cookies of the Revolution: Community Almanac: Health and Leaves
Sunday, September 18, 1 to 3 p.m.
McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenu
e
Warm Cookies of the Revolution has always been a hands-on, in-the-moment event, so it suffered during the pandemic, when people weren’t supposed to be getting in anyone’s face. Now that Evan Weissman and his civic health club are back on track, the steady, living and breathing agenda is back. This weekend, the fall edition of a seasonal Community Almanac video series on civic issues is going serious with some hard issues that need to be fixed: Harm Reduction, Sex Work and Community Alternatives to 911. Yes, there will be cookies; get details here. It’s free, but a $5 donation is always appreciated.

click to enlarge
A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains

Strong Women of the West
Sunday, September 18, 3 p.m.
HearthFire Books, 1254 Bergen Parkway, Evergreen
A panel of authors will discuss their works on women in the West. Pat Jurgens is the author of Falling Forward: A Woman’s Journey West, a story inspired by her grandmother’s early life as she traveled around the world from England to Evergreen, where she settled. Linda Ballou will discuss her book on adventurer Isabella Bird, Embrace the Wild, who wrote about her travels through Colorado in the 1870s; and M.J. Evans talks about The Sand Pounder, her novel about an Oregon teen during WWII. Admission is free; find out more here.

Confesst
Sunday, September 18, 6 p.m. (show at 7 p.m.)
Mishawaka Amphitheatre, 13714 Poudre Canyon Highway, Bellvue

End the weekend with a drive to Poudre Canyon, where Song Confessional is presenting the free Confesst, with Bright Light Social Hour, Esmé Patterson and Walker Lukens. Find out more and register here.

and two (almost) anytime bonuses:

Supernova 7th Dimension: Night Lights Denver
Through September, Tuesdays through Sundays, 8 p.m. to midnight
Clocktower, 1601 Arapahoe Street
Denver Digerati has brought back Supernova, with events all month, including competitive and curated in-person events and online programs for members. But there are also plenty of free things to see and do, including catching the 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.

Do you know of a great free event around town? 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.