Things to Do

Seven Things to Do for Free in Denver

Adrian Miller will be busy this week.
Adrian Miller will be busy this week.
This week in January usually sees the kickoffs of two annual traditions: the National Western Stock Show and Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations. And even during a pandemic, they're still on the calendar — but they've moved online. Don't expect to see cattle parading along 17th Street, for example, but Honoring the Legacy has corraled a whole lineup of Stock Show events here. The annual Marade has morphed, too; Denver's plans are just now coming together, while Aurora has already rolled out a big MLK roster.

Keep reading for updates, as well as other free events around town:

John Fielder will discuss his mountain photographs, this one of Mount Evans from Chicago Lake, at three events this week. - JOHN FIELDER
John Fielder will discuss his mountain photographs, this one of Mount Evans from Chicago Lake, at three events this week.
John Fielder
Colorado's Highest: The History of Naming the 14,000-Foot Peaks
Thursday, January 14, 6 p.m.

John Fielder and his co-author, Jeri Norgren, are offering three virtual slideshows this week about their new book. Norgren tells the stories about how the peaks were named; Fielder discusses his photography. The program includes musical interludes with Fielder's photos and Bob Wogrin's paintings, as well as historical artwork from the nineteenth century.  Hosted by Summit County Libraries; register here.

Virtual at the Table With Dr. King
Thursday, January 14, 6 p.m.

More Than Music's musical performance is designed to immerse you in the sights and sounds of the civil rights movement and inspire civic action and leadership. Presented by the Mizel Museum, the program is free; register here.

Flags of Hope (Banderas de Esperanza)
January 15 through February 15
Art District on Santa Fe, 500 to 1200 blocks on Santa Fe Drive

What does hope look like? Flags of Hope (Banderas de Esperanza), a project jump-started in Boulder by University of Colorado Boulder MFA candidates Alejandra Abad and Román Anaya, will show you starting January 15 in Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe, where fluttering flags bearing hopeful, community-sourced slogans will fly up and down the street for a month. To cap the bilingual display’s run, the district is planning a COVID-safe motorcade event on February 13, before the flags return to Boulder for a second display at Boulder One Plaza; learn more and watch for updated information here and here. (Boulder will host a not-free virtual talk on the program at 5:30 p.m. January 12; find out more here.)

Colorado Women's Alliance Lunch and Connect
Friday, January 15, noon

Frustrated with politics and public discord but don't know what to do? Opportunities do exist for positive civic engagement; at this online event, the Colorado Women's Alliance Foundation will talk about what boards, commissions, committees and elected offices exist, and how to get involved. It's free; sign up here.

Wes Colton, The Introvert Men's Dating Guide
Friday, January 15, 7 p.m.

Wes Colton, Denver-based dating coach, has just published The Introvert Men’s Dating Guide, available through Amazon for Kindle for $4.99. He's hosting a virtual book launch with a short talk, selected readings from his book and a Q&A; sign up here.

Battle of the Books
Saturday, January 16, 5 p.m.
As part of its Winter of Reading, Denver Public Library presents Battle of the Books with James Mustich, author of 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die, during which five local luminaries will battle to advocate for their favorite books and attendees will vote to name a champion, and have the chance to win book-themed door prizes. Joining Mustich: Governor Jared Polis; city librarian Michelle Jeske; Soul Food Scholar and author Adrian Miller; MSU Denver Chicana/o Studies JTOH Director and author Dr. Elizabeth Renee Fajardo; and Manuel Ramos, author of Chicano noir crime fiction. Their books will be announced during the event. The event is free on Zoom, but you must register here.

Of the Spirit: Conversation About Faith, Race and Ethnicity
Sunday, January 17, 7 p.m.

Adrian Miller, executive director of Colorado Council of Churches (and a busy man this week) will moderate the third online Changing the Legacy of Race & Ethnicity panel conversation hosted by Colorado Humanities, with Reverend Diana Thompson, a Kaikyoshi minister at the Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple; Reverend Joan Bell-Haynes, executive regional minister of the Central Rocky Mountain Region Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Carlos Zarur, who's taught in the University of Colorado anthropology department and the Jewish Studies Program and is currently finishing his doctoral dissertation on Sephardic Jews in Syria and Lebanon; and Kamel Elwazeir, president of the Islamic Society of Colorado Springs. Sign up for the free program at

and two bonus free light shows:
click to enlarge The holidays are over, but this light show continues. - LUMONICS MIND SPA: LIGHT INTERSECTION
The holidays are over, but this light show continues.
Lumonics Mind Spa: Light Intersection
Night Lights Denver
Through January, 5:15 to 10 p.m. nightly (except for Mondays)
16th and Arapahoe streets

Night Lights Denver has a new lineup of lighting up the Clocktower in January, including artists/creatives Andi Todaro, Eliza Struthers-Jobin, the Denver Collage Club (with artwork by dozens of artists) and the Royal Essence Elite Dance Academy. Find out more here.

Lumonics Mind Spa: Light Intersection
Through January 30
UnderStudy, 700 14th Street

One of the big losses of 2020 was artist Dorothy Tanner who, along with her late husband, Mel Tanner, made light sculptures designed to create a state of comfort, relaxation and creativity. Many of them are currently presented in a “fishbowl”-style installation at UnderStudy, located at the Colorado Convention Center — which is closed, but you can see the Lumonics exhibit through the window. Find out more here.

Know of a great free Denver event (in-person or online)? Send information to [email protected]