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Night Lights Denver continues to light up downtown.
Night Lights Denver continues to light up downtown.
Third Dune Productions

Five Free Things to Do in and Around Denver This Weekend

A new year, a new opportunity to get out and experience all that this city has to offer. The first First Friday of the year promises to have some great events, but there are plenty of other options around...and these five won't cost you a cent to experience.

Here are the best free events over the weekend, as well as a few bonuses:

Night Lights Denver

Friday, January 3, 5 p.m.
16th and Arapahoe
The Denver Theatre District has switched it up for the new year with new artwork at Night Lights Denver. The Arapahoe Street side of the Daniels & Fisher Tower on the 16th Street Mall now sports illuminated pieces by Colorado-based artists Marc Billard of Lumonics, Conor King and Maya Dite-Shepard. Night Lights Denver, which debuted in November, is a permanent projection mapping installation with content that rotates on a monthly basis; it lights up the building every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening, starting at dark and running for about three hours. Find out more at nightlightsdenver.com.

First Friday Five Points Jazz Hop
Friday, January 3, 5:30 p.m.
Welton Street, three locations

Five Points was once known as the "Harlem of the West," because of the live jazz you'd find there, and now it's coming back with the First Friday Five Points Jazz Hop, a monthly series created by the organizers of the annual Juneteenth celebration, Norman Harris and Christopher Banks. “We’re trying to keep the jazz vibe in the Five Points community alive while bringing the community together at the same time,” Banks says. “It’s going to be awesome. Every first Friday, you’ll be able to see local jazz musicians, R&B bands.” The awesome lineup for January 3: Joshua Trinidad Trio at 5: 30 p.m. at Spangalang Brewery, 2736 Welton Street; Tenia Nelson Trio at 7 p.m. at Dunbar Kitchen & Taps, 2844 Welton; and Vashti Jazz at 8:30 p.m. at Goed Zuur, 2801 Welton. All performances are free; find out more here.

Marijuana Deals Near You

Wagar Faizi: Sufi Meditation and Spiritual Wisdom
Friday, January 3, 7 p.m.
Mayu Meditation Center, 1804 South Pearl Street

Start the new year by connecting with your spiritual center. The Mayu Meditation Center is offering a short talk on practical spiritual teachings, followed by a silent Sufi meditation that follows over 1,500 years of tradition. Instruction will be under the guidance of Murshid Waqar Faiz: "Always remember that happiness is not attained by remembering what you possess, but rather by the way you think." Admission is free; find out more at faizi.org.

Cool! Simon Beck will make art out of snow in Silverthorne.
Cool! Simon Beck will make art out of snow in Silverthorne.
Simon Beck

Silverthorne SnowBALL: The art + science + safety + fun of snow
Friday, January 3, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
44 Maryland Creek Lane, Silverthorne

The mountain town of Silverthorne is ramping up activity this year, starting with the construction of a new town core. But it's also paying attention to aesthetics: It's commissioned snow artist Simon Beck for a two-week engagement that starts Thursday, January 2. Beck will be tromping around town on his snowshoes, creating a series of five to fifteen ephemeral creations. At the Silverthorne SnowBALL: The art + science + safety + fun of snow from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on First Friday, January 3, you can not only see Beck in action, but meet avalanche dogs and join in competitions organized by the Colorado Rapid Avalanche Deployment team; send your kids to snow science activities from the Keystone Science School or winter-themed crafts from the Frosted Flamingo; and join in snow painting, snowman building and sledding. A DJ will be on hand providing live entertainment, and hot chocolate and adult libations will be available for purchase. Find out more at silverthorne.org.

Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School: Lit Women
Sunday, January 5, 5 to 7 p.m.
Millers & Rossi, 3542 Walnut Street

The Denver Public Library is launching a Winter of Reading with a series of activities around town. At this fun event, Dr. Sketchy will discuss women of literature, as model Ann Flynn poses as Jacqueline Susann, Dorothy Parker and more, all for your sketching pleasure. There will be snacks and a cash bar; admission is free. Register at denverlibrary.org/rinopopup.

Bonus:

Admission to the Denver Art Museum is free on Saturday, January 4 (you'll be to pay to get into Monet, though...if there are any openings, that is). Admission to the Museum of Boulder is free on Sunday, January 5. And admission to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is free on Monday, January 6. Find more iformation on museum free days at scfd.org.

Know of a great free event? Send information to editorial@westword.com.

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