Five Free Things to Do in and Around Denver

The Mile High Tree lights up on November 30.
The Mile High Tree lights up on November 30. Visit Denver
Extend the Thanksgiving holiday fun at one of many free events around town this weekend, ranging from new light shows to old light shows: The Mile High Tree debuts today and the traditional City and County Building display was switched on Friday; both will glow through the National Western Stock Show. And we've stretched the list into next week, because the amazing Gaudy but Nice will talk over Understudy on Monday. Keep reading for five free events over the next few days.

Shop Dairy Block
Saturday, November 30
1800 Wazee Street

There are shopping deals all over Denver on Small Business Saturday, but the Dairy Block, downtown's micro-district with fifteen retailers, is making the experience even better by giving $10 Milk Market gift cards to the first 1,000 shoppers. To qualify, make a purchase at any Dairy Block retailer (food and drink purchases not included), then show the receipt to the Dairy Block Shop Small table located in the pedestrian alley. As a bonus, Fetch Shop will be giving shoppers free craft beers from New Belgium Brewing. Find out more here.

Mile High Tree
Saturday, November 30, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Sculpture Park, the Denver Performing Arts Complex
Denver's newest, and biggest, holiday attraction debuts on November 30, when the 110-foot-tall tree in Sculpture Park is officially switched on at 5 p.m. Mayor Michael Hancock will be on hand for the lighting ceremony, which will include performances by the University of Colorado Denver's Lark a cappella group, as well as snacks and drinks (for purchase). Visiting the tree (140 people can fit inside) will be free through January 31, with light shows daily on the hour and half-hour from 5 to 10 p.m. Through December, the shows will be accompanied by classic songs of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other holiday celebrations, all choreographed to a display of the tree’s digital lights; between programs, enjoy recorded performances by the Colorado Symphony. (In January, the music will switch to Stock Show-friendly tunes). Learn more here.

Night Lights Denver
Sunday, December 1, 5 p.m.
Daniels & Fisher Tower, 1600 Arapahoe Street
Night Lights Denver, the permanent projection mapping installation that debuted in early November, is switching out the artists who're illuminating the Daniels & Fisher Tower. After this December 1 debut, work by Colorado-based artists John Camalick, a motion art director,  and Tom Ludlow, the founder of video production company Tend Studio, will be shown, along with Limelight’s “Incunabula,” from shortly after sunset to 8 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening through the month of December. Find out more at

Detail of separate pieces in plastic boxes encrusting the column in Eyes on Jonathan Saiz. - COURTESY OF THE DENVER ART MUSEUM
Detail of separate pieces in plastic boxes encrusting the column in Eyes on Jonathan Saiz.
Courtesy of the Denver Art Museum
Gaudy or Nice
Monday, December 2, 3 to 8 p.m.
Understudy, 890 C 14th Street, Colorado Convention Center
Join artist Jonathan Saiz as he gives away 1,000 artworks from his #WhatIsUtopia installation at the Denver Art Museum. For Gaudy or Nice, Understudy will be transformed into a pop-up shop with art, warm drinks and more, all for free. Fair warning: Understudy is small, so be prepared for a wait; you can start lining up (outside) at 2 p.m. Find out more, including the details of the giveaway, here.

Then & Now: Dissecting Superhero Culture

Tuesday, December 3, 6 p.m.
OZ Architecture, 3003 Larimer Street
Ben Coleman, a British artist with a PlatteForum residency who's been working with ArtLab interns on an upcoming exhibit, and Kristina Maldonado-Bad Hand, co-producer of Indigenous Pop X, will discuss dis-empowering the messages of current superhero films and how the art of comics went from accessible to a spectacle. The free talk is hosted by OZ and PlatteForum; RSVP here.

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