Things to Do

Twelve Things to Do for Free in Denver Today

The fest is free today!
The fest is free today!
If you resolved to get more involved in the community in the new year, it's not too late. This last weekend of January is packed with opportunities to learn more about the world around you. And there are plenty of options for free fun, too — including the last days of UllrGrass and ARTcade.

Keep reading for twelve of the best free events in Denver today:

Sunday, January 30, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Parfet Park, 10th Street at Washington Avenue, Golden
Get out and celebrate the last day of UllrGrass, a beer and music festival named for the Norse God of Winter, Ullr (pronounced “ooler”). It's a passion project of Chris and Susannah Thompson, longtime Golden residents who felt their town needed a signature event in the middle of winter to bring the community together — particularly if fest-goers wear Viking regalia and love live music. Sunday is Family Day, with a Virtuosity Dance performance, an UllrEgg hunt, a costume parade and games. And unlike the first two days, today is free! Find out more here.
click to enlarge ARTcade is open at Understudy. - UNDERSTUDY
ARTcade is open at Understudy.
Sunday, January 30, noon to 8 p.m.
Understudy, 890 C 14th Street
The latest project at the Denver Theatre District’s cozy arts incubator space, Understudy, has all the fixings of a traditional arcade — except that they’ve been souped up by a long list of participating local artists. Even the prizes are artist-made: Grab a masterpiece from a claw machine, or redeem coupons for enamel pins, coloring books, miniature paintings, jewelry, tea towels, art prints, small sculptures and more. Find out more here.

Listen to Your Skin With Brendan Constantine
Sunday, January 30, 5 p.m., online

For this month's erotic reading event, Listen to Your Skin will host poet Brendan Constantine in a special, swoon-worthy virtual event. "When does sex begin?" organizers ask. "Is sex strictly bodies on bodies in bodies, under or over or behind? Is it like a river, flowing from a trickle in the mind, before other flows form? Before you've even met your lovers? Does it happen in the space between you as you breathe without touching? Is it conceived in a kiss, or at the moment of consent? Even if it's not sexting, is great conversation sometimes sexual? And if so, why do we even draw distinctions between romantic and platonic sex? And when we're not having sex, it feels like we may never get to again. Our feature, Brendan Constantine, wants to know, y'all: ARE WE HAVING SEX YET?" Find out here.

Night Lights Denver
Sunday, January 30, 5:15 to 11:59 p.m.
Clocktower, 1601 Arapahoe Street

The January program of the "people's projector" concludes today, with works from artists Danielle Cunningham, Joseph Toney and Mario Carrillo illuminating the side of the Clocktower; Clayton Kenney's crowd-favorite "Snow" from 2019 has also returned. A new show starts in February; find out more here.

click to enlarge COURTESY OF TRUONG AN
Courtesy of Truong An

Lunar New Year Street Market Fair
Through Monday, January 31, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Truong An, Far East Center, 333 South Federal Boulevard

The Lunar New Year doesn’t officially begin until February 1, but Asian families traditionally prepare by deep-cleaning their homes and venturing out to buy new clothes, special foods, gifts and decorations. At the Far East Center, gift retailer Truong An stocks up, with fresh festival fruits, lanterns, red envelopes, calligraphy couplets and tiger decorations spilling out onto the sidewalk for holiday shoppers to peruse —weather permitting — right up to the end of January. Meanwhile, plans are in the works for big Year of the Tiger celebrations the first weekend in February. Find more info here.

Art Sale Fundraiser for Marshall Fire Victims
Through Monday, January 31, noon to 6 p.m.
POP! Gallery, 1421 Pearl Street, Boulder

Open Studios artists have donated over 100 pieces of art to support victims of the Marshall fire. Shop the fundraiser sale in the Upstairs Gallery while also catching the Open Studios Members' Exhibit in the POP! Gallery location. Admission to the gallery is free; find out more here.

International Snow Sculpture Championships
Daily through Wednesday, February 2
Riverwalk Center, 2150 West Adams Avenue, Breckenridge

After last year's downsized affair, Breckenridge is back on track to remount the official International Snow Sculpture Championships, a January tradition at the ski resort for thirty years. A global crew of snow-carving artists sculpted their works through the week; seeing the results is free any time through Febraruy 2 is free. Learn more here.

click to enlarge ERNEST WITHERS
Ernest Withers
Walk With Me
Daily through February 16, gallery opens at 2 p.m.
Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street, Boulder
Walk With Me includes more than 100 iconic photographs by famed photojournalist Ernest Withers, which document civil rights activism, sports, music, politics and everyday life. The exhibit (suggested donation $5) is the centerpiece of the NAACP Boulder County's "Walk With Me" Black History Month celebration; find out more about the series here.

McNichols Building Exhibits
Daily, 8 to 5 p.m.
McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue

Four new exhibits debut at the McNichols building this week: On the first floor, Travis Sheridan's Imperfect Pixels and Imperfect Union ask us to remember those the Black community has recently lost and to examine the promises of the U.S. government that go unfulfilled. On the second floor, Zen Gardens From Kyoto to Denver celebrates the beauty of Japanese Zen gardens with large-format photos by the late William Corey and photos of the Denver Botanic Gardens’ Shofu-En Japanese Garden by Scott Dressel-Martin. On the third floor, Tomorrow Is a New Day features deeply personal work from Open Studio Cambodia block-print artist Morn Chear and Open Studio Cambodia founder Lauren Iida, a Japanese-American papercut artist. Admission is free; learn more here.

Without a Home in Aurora
Daily (except Mondays) through May 29: Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Aurora History Museum, 15051 East Alameda Parkway, Aurora

The Without a Home in Aurora exhibit is based on an oral history project that captured the personal challenges, trials and resilience of Aurorans experiencing homelessness. Much of the photography in the display was provided by local street photographer Amy Forestieri; more than twenty people shared their stories. Admission is free; find out more here.

La Cucaracha
Daily through April; check for hours
CSU Pueblo Library, 2200 Bonforte Boulevard, Pueblo
A handful of Chicano and student activists at the University of Colorado Boulder banded together to create La Cucaracha, an alternative newspaper powered by a commitment to the social-justice values of Colorado’s Chicano Movement of the 1970s. They chose Pueblo for the paper’s debut because of the Chicano population and factory workforce there, publishing from 1976 to 1983. And the name La Cucaracha? For poor Chicano workers, the lowly but indestructible cockroach was a symbol of never backing down. The Colorado State University Pueblo has a new exhibit of pages and memorabilia from the newspaper on January 27 that will remain up through April; find information here.

Downtown Denver Rink
Daily through February:  Monday through Thursday, noon to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

1601 Arapahoe Street

Looking for a romantic winter activity that won't break the bank or take you too far from home? You’re in luck: The Downtown Denver Rinkis back with free skating and cheap rentals. The season runs through February 20, and if you want to brush up on your skating skills before you bring a date along, free lessons are offered every Saturday from 9 to 10 a.m. Contact the Downtown Denver Partnership at 303-534-6161 for details; find out more here.

Vida Building at CSU Spur
Daily, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
National Western Complex, 4800 North Bettie Cram Drive
The Stock Show is over, but this amazing new Colorado State University animal-care facility is open year-round, and admission is always free. Inside, you can see cat and dog surgery, watch a mock kids' vet clinic, and experience virtual reality. Find out more here.

Do you know of a great free event in metro Denver? We'll be updating this list through the week; send information to [email protected]