The 21 Best Things to Do in Denver, May 6 Through May 12

Horseshoe Market returns with plenty of gifts for Mom...and you.
Horseshoe Market returns with plenty of gifts for Mom...and you.
Horseshoe Market/Rooney Bloom
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Before you start panicking about what to do for Mom on Mother's Day, which is coming right up on May 12, dig through all that stuff on your coffee table and find the ballot for the May 7 municipal election. It's too late to mail it now, so fill it out, take it to one of Denver's official vote centers (or simply show up and vote there), pat yourself on the back, and then enjoy the days ahead (which, yes, offer ample opportunities to celebrate your mother appropriately). Here are the 21 best things to do in and around Denver over the next week (and a few for next Monday):

And in the center ring....
And in the center ring....
Circus Collective

Monday, May 6

Have you ever wanted to join the circus but didn't think you had the chops? Here's your chance to change that. This summer, Denver performance troupe Circus Collective is holding flexibility, tumbling, aerial yoga and hooping workshops designed for busy people. The summer session begins at 5:45 p.m. Monday, May 6, and runs through June 2; fees start at $28 per session. All classes take place at 4459 Jason Street, Unit 3; for more information or to register, go to circuscollective.com.

Tuesday, May 7

Do you run an arts group or project? If so, Denver Arts & Venues wants to help you promote it. The agency, which oversees Denver’s public art program and its arts education and urban arts funds, among others, will host Market Smarter — a Digital Marketing Workshop for Arts Leaders from 8 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. The three-session event, part of the city’s Imagine 2020 speaker series, will be led by digital marketing consultants from Capacity Interactive and will cover cultural groups using digital tools to promote themselves, strategies for working with creatives, and using Google Analytics as a tool to understand audiences. Find free tickets to the workshops at eventbrite.com.

Silent-era staple Nosferatu, directed by F. W. Murnau in 1922, will be thoroughly reanimated with a live score provided by the Invincible Czars, in an update of the classic tradition. Over the years, actor Max Schreck's Count Orlok has become a fixture of pop culture's collective nightmares, and antiquity has hardly diminished the movie's unparalleled capacity to inspire terror and wonder in equal measure. Take a trip to Transylvania without ever leaving Denver when the undead unspool at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, at the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake, 4255 West Colfax Avenue. Buy tickets, $12.50 (if any are left) at drafthouse.com/theater/sloans-lake.

Wednesday, May 8

Gird your loins for the Bike Smut Film Festival, a tour de pantsless exhibition of the horniest movies on two wheels. Presenting a pansexual array of independently produced erotica from cyclists of all backgrounds, Bike Smut is a body-positive bonanza of short films dedicated to demonstrating how creative filmmakers get freaky in the sack and astride the saddle. See what these "randy riders" get up to on their "hot wheels" when Bike Smut rolls up to the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 8 (doors open at 7). Buy tickets, $18, and learn more at theorientaltheater.com.

Thursday, May 9

Decades before this country ratified the 19th Amendment, Colorado was the first state to give women the right to vote (though the Territory of Wyoming beat us to it). Head to the Molly Brown House Museum, 1340 Pennsylvania Street, at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, for an installment of the 2019 Salon Series that explores 171 years of women pushing for equal rights, from the 1848 confab in Seneca Falls to the 1977 National Women’s Conference, from the 1913 Women's Suffrage Parade to the 2019 Women’s March. The event is free, but you must register at mollybrown.org.

Put two businesses together under one roof and you’ll find services that you’d never expect in a standard retail boutique. Just in time for an early Mother’s Day, Midnight Rambler Boutique, at 2220 East Colfax Avenue, is collaborating with Rachael Grace Photography on Mom’s Night to Recharge, a combined discounted shopping spree with noshes and drinks, and a lesson on how to take better snapshots of your baby. Recharge and acquire new photography skills on Thursday, May 9, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is $12 in advance at midnight-rambler-boutique.shoplightspeed.com; choose “pick up in store” as the shipping method.

Through films like The Best Years of Our Lives, Coming Home and Born on the Fourth of July, the plight of male veterans making their way back home has long been in the public eye. But what about the female veterans? A new play, Beverly Coyle's Show of Force, about four women returning from Kuwait to civilian life, will give voice to the feminine side of the veteran experience in an all-woman production from And Toto Too Theatre Company. The play, directed by local women's theater champion Susan Lyles, opens at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 9, and runs for five performances through May 12, in the Studio Loft at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver Performing Arts Complex; find tickets, $20 to $31, at axs.com. Learn more at andtototoo.org.

Colorado Chocolate Festival promises a sweet time.
Colorado Chocolate Festival promises a sweet time.
Courtesy of Colorado Chocolate Festival

Friday, May 10

Mother's Day is often considered the kick-off of the planting season in Colorado, and Re:Vision will host a twist on that tradition at the Mother's Day Garden Bazaar, running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, May 10, and again on Saturday, May 11, and Sunday, May 12, at the new home of the Westwood Food Cooperative @ RISE Westwood, 3800 Morrison Road. This is a family affair: While Mom and Dad pick out plants and buy gardening supplies, kids can enjoy free crafts and recreation activities; craft and food vendors will also be on hand. Admission is free; find out more at revision.coop/mothers-day-garden-bazaar.

Does your mother dream of surrounding herself with chocolate? Bring her along while you taste and shop your way through aisles and aisles of chocolate vendors at the Colorado Chocolate Festival, a spring tradition at the Denver Mart, 451 East 58th Avenue, with more than 100 vendors, a chocolate martini bar, contests and chocolatier judging. Treat yourself from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 10, or 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 11; admission is $5 and tasting tickets run $10 per dozen, or you can splurge on an Ultimate Experience VIP ticket for $50, all at cochocolatefests.com.

In honor of Mother’s Day, Hijos del Sol — the Best of Denver award-winning official gift shop of the in-progress Latino Cultural Art Center (which will break ground next year in Sun Valley) — will open its doors for a full weekend of Queridas Madres Shopping, a bonanza of Latin-American folk art, vintage and antique wares, works by local artists, workshops and food trucks, as well as live music, kids’ art projects and a Saturday live auction. Shop from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 10, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at the shop, 2715 West Eighth Avenue; find details on the Queridas Madres Shopping Facebook page.

Long before there was Amazon, there were department stores, enormous local emporiums holding everything from household items to clothing. Mark Barnhouse, the author of six books on Mile High history, will offer insight and plenty of shop talk on his latest, Lost Department Stores of Denver, at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 10, at West Side Books, 3434 West 32nd Avenue. Admission is free, and books will be available for signing and sale; find out more at westsidebooks.com.

Dream Stream returns to Horseshoe Market.
Dream Stream returns to Horseshoe Market.
Horseshoe Market Facebook

Saturday, May 11

The Horseshoe Craft & Flea Market is back for another season in its largest incarnation to date and a new location: Lot G at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, where 200 makers will spread out their wares, food trucks will feed the masses, and workshops will keep adults and children alike busy with make-and-take treasures. Find everything from musical instruments handmade from recycled materials to a huge array of vintage dealers, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 11, and Sunday, May 12. Admission is $5 (free for children ages twelve and under); a portion of the proceeds benefits Denver Urban Gardens. And parking is free! Learn more at horseshoemarket.com.

Take your guffaws to the streets at the inaugural Denver Comedy Block Party, a daylong celebration of Mile High mirth-makers. With fifty comedians performing on ten stages spread across three tents, the block party offers al fresco versions of Denver's favorite standup formats along with heaping helpings of food-truck cuisine and easy bonhomie. The funny fiesta kicks off at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11, and keeps the giggles going until 10 p.m. The tents will be set up at 3305 Cook Street; general admission is $11 in advance and $15 at the door, with VIP passes for $18. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales goes to Big Dogs Huge Paws, a nonprofit rescue shelter for large-breed dogs. Find out more at eventbrite.com.

Women come out from behind the lens for the ninth iteration of the 2019 Colorado Independent Women of Film Festival, a daylong celebration of the work of more than twenty female filmmakers from across the state, on Saturday, May 11. Hosted by the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street, from 1 to 10:30 p.m., the CIWF fest breaks down into four blocks of screenings, including narratives, shorts and documentaries, wrapping up at 8 p.m. with The Right to Rest, a feature-length film by Sarah Megyesy and Guillermo Roqués examining Denver’s homeless situation and the struggles to build a permanent tiny-home village within the city limits. Find more information and the link for tickets — $10 per individual screening block or $20 for a festival pass — on the Facebook event page.

The multi-instrumental Balinese gamelan will sound off at the King Center.
The multi-instrumental Balinese gamelan will sound off at the King Center.
Courtesy of Gamelan Tunas Mekar

Performing on the multi-instrumental Balinese gamelan is always an ensemble effort, melding ringing polyrhythms with classical song and dance. At any performance, it's the more the merrier — including a meeting at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11, of Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Gamelan Manik Kusuma and the Denver-based Gamelan Tunas Mekar, both under the direction of drummer and composer I Made Lasmawan. The percussion orchestras will join forces at the King Center, 855 Lawrence Way on the Auraria campus. Admission is $5 in advance at 303-556-2296 or at the King Center box office; free parking is available in the Seventh Street parking garage with vouchers handed out at the end of the concert. Find details on the Facebook event page.

Head to the art of the city from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, for the latest installment of the McNichols Project: #8, Of Places...and Faces will celebrate summer exhibitions. On the third floor, Of Places and Spaces includes contemporary paintings by Homare Ikeda and Sandy Kinnee (and is partnered with the current show of the same name at Havu Gallery); Making Faces: the Caricature Art of John Kascht on the second floor showcases work by the former Denver illustrator, and Prophecy, on the first, spotlights paintings and collage by Cambodian artist Leang Seckon. The artists will be on hand at this reception at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue in Civic Center Park; it's free, but an RSVP is required at eventbrite.

African rhythms will resound throughout the Art District on Santa Fe during Écho D’Afrique, honoring the music, dance and fashion of humanity's homeland. The multicultural soirée includes live music from the traditional Zimbabwean ensemble Chicera and kora virtuoso Koffi Togo, along with dance performances by  SamBrasil, Enock Kadima, the Thomas Dance Project and more, making for a zesty blend of sounds and steps from all over the continent, with ocean-hopping infusions of tango, timba and samba. The festivities begin at 7 p.m. and wind down at 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, at Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive; the good times will continue at a lively after-party at EVQ Elite Dance Studio, 336 South Broadway. Go to eventbrite.com for tickets, $25 to $55, and echodafrique.com for more information.

Study for Utopia, with works by Jonathan Saiz, opens this weekend at the Denver Art Museum.
Study for Utopia, with works by Jonathan Saiz, opens this weekend at the Denver Art Museum.
Wes Magyar

Sunday, May 12

Celebrate Mother's Day at a Denver park: Mary Jane. The bumpier half of Winter Park will end its second-longest ski season in history on Sunday, May 12, with most of the territory's runs still open. Although Winter Park's spring fling celebrations were all held in April, who needs a party when you can spend one more day in powder? Find more information at winterparkresort.com. (And take heart: Arapahoe Basin will stay open well into June.)

For Denver artist Jonathan Saiz, who once vowed to show work at the Denver Art Museum by the time he turned 35, his new DAM installation, #WhatisUtopia, is a dream come true. But the piece, comprising 10,000 miniature works arranged on a column in a grid, is more than a vanity project: Each tiny component will be given away when the exhibition closes. #WhatisUtopia opens on Sunday, May 12, and runs through November 17 at the DAM, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway; you can follow the ensuing action on Instagram at @utopia_is_free. The exhibit is included in the regular museum entry fee of $8 to $13 (free for those eighteen and under); learn more at denverartmuseum.org.

The sun is out and the trails are calling: Get some exercise and enjoy the wildflowers on a trek with CannaVenture, a group of active cannabis enthusiasts that organizes outdoor meetups. From 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 12, you can explore the Royal Arch Trail, a moderately difficult course west of Boulder's Highland Park neighborhood, with the Incredibles team, which will be talking about the company's edibles, concentrates and other infused products. Entry is free with registration at cannaventure.org.

Wake up, sleepyhead! Passion Pit is coming to the Ogden Theatre on Sunday, May 12, and you don't want to miss it. Frontman Michael Angelakos has reassembled the original lineup for a tenth-anniversary retrospective of Manners, the band's remarkably ambitious debut album rife with grand polyphonic flourishes, including accompaniment by a youth choir. Following a commanding performance from opening act the Beaches, Passion Pit is guaranteed to make you party like it's 2009 while eagerly awaiting the followup to 2017's Tremendous Sea of Love. Doors open at 7 for the 8 p.m. concert at the Ogden, 935 East Colfax Avenue; get tickets, $36.75, and more information at ogdentheatre.com.

Yes, Arapahoe Basin is still open...and will be well into June.
Yes, Arapahoe Basin is still open...and will be well into June.
Arapahoe Basin

Plan ahead (and get a jump on the week to come):

Monday, May 13

Here's what to expect at the Healthy Baby Summit: an inspirational day of learning for new and expecting parents. The event, hosted by the Rocky Mountain Children's Foundation, runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, May 13, at the Hilton Garden Inn, 5455 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada; the agenda includes a range of speakers and programs. Breakfast and lunch are provided, and a happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Mothers' Milk Bank. Admission is $75 for new and expecting parents (although they can apply to have the fee waived here), or $90 for pre- and post-natal professionals. Find out more at rmchildren.org.

Was it good for you? The Colorado Sun and the University of Denver will host A Conversation With Governor Jared Polis, with a panel of top lawmakers from both parties discussing the recently completed legislative session. The Sun’s John Frank, CBS4’s Shaun Boyd and DU’s Seth Masket will moderate the event and take audience questions; the discussion starts at 6 p.m. Monday, May 13, at Davis Auditorium in Sturm Hall, 2000 East Asbury Avenue on the DU campus. Admission is free, and a reception follows at 7 p.m.; register and submit questions at du.edu/americanpolitics.

Acclaimed Colorado writer and longtime Westword theater critic Juliet Wittman reads from her new novel, Stocker’s Kitchen, at the Tattered Cover, 2526 East Colfax Avenue, at 7 p.m. Monday, May 13. The plot focuses on Stocker, a restaurateur, a “passionate sensualist” and, frankly, a bully…until he meets a woman who’s as hard-headed and willful as he is. The story that spins out from there is as delicious as the foods for which Stocker is known. Admission is free; find more information at tatteredcover.com.

The deadline to be considered for 21 Best is three weeks before the event. Send information to editorial@westword.com.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.