It's a beautiful fall weekend in Colorado. Visit a farm, enjoy some cider, explore the city through Doors Open Denver, and then wind up at a local theater. And the first scary attractions of the season are starting, too.
See this list for five free things to do around town, as well as Art Attack for the latest gallery shows. Now keep reading for ten events all worth the price of admission:
Fall Festival at Yetman Farms
Sunday, October 2, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Yetman Family Farm, 2995 South Estes Street, Lakewood
What does the Yetman family — the combined brains behind the Horseshoe Market — do when they’re not running one of Denver’s favorite vintage and artisan bazaars? In recent years, they've run a family farm in Lakewood with sweet barnyard animals and a garden of cutting flowers. Now they’re inviting folks to visit the farm on limited dates, and on Sunday will host a Fall Festival, with DIY flower-cutting, animal meetings, live music, a handful of vendors and fall treats. Admission is $7 (kids two and under free); register here and find more details, including parking information, here.
Sunday, October 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park, 801 South Yarrow Street, Lakewood
Greet apple season in style this weekend at Lakewood’s 46th annual Cider Fest, where you’ll find everything apple-icious under the sun, from cider fresh-pressed before your eyes (BYO apples and containers for a sample, five-gallon limit) to apple-based dishes both sweet and savory, including a selection of good, old-fashioned apple pies. A tractor pull, live entertainment, kids’ farm activities and historical demonstrations will beef up the fest. Timed-entry gate admission is $5 to $12 here.
Doors Open Denver
Now Through October 16, with in-person tours on the weekends
All over Denver (and beyond)
Presented by the Denver Architecture Foundation, Doors Open Denver features 24 in-person tours that celebrate educational and cultural campuses across Denver, as well as 24 virtual tours of unique and significant sites across the Front Range. The virtual tours are free and available 24/7 during DOD; the Insider Tours take place on Saturdays and Sundays and include — but aren't limited to — looks at the Denver Zoo, the Denver Performing Arts Complex, the University of Denver and the Auraria Higher Education Center. Tickets for in-person tours are $25 for DAF members and $30 for non-members; virtual tours are free. Get all the details here.
Denver Zoo: Wild Fall
Through October 31, daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., included in zoo admission
Denver Zoo: Trick-or-Treat Trail
Fridays, October 7-21, and daily, October 28-31, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., $20, reserve timed-entry tickets
Denver Zoo, 2350 East 23rd Avenue
The zoo is doing things a little bit differently this year, but it’s all good, with two events as different as night and day. Seasonal daytime extras are covered by Wild Fall, an extravaganza of unscary costumed characters, cool carved pumpkins, fall treats, animal demos and meet-and-greets with some of the zoo’s creepier denizens. On select dates, the zoo will host an evening Trick-or-Treat Trail, with candy stations, a monster mash dance, selfie stations and more creepy critters. Hurry, evening spots are going fast; get those tickets here.
Elitch Fright Fest
Through October 31, weekends noon to 10 p.m.
2000 Elitch Circle
Elitch Gardens Fright Fest is back, transforming into family fun by day (including trick-or-treating) and fright by night (new this year is LockUp: No Escape); all regular rides will be open, too. Kiddieland will close at 6 p.m., no entry after 9 p.m. Admission is included with season pass, or buy a day pass for $49.99 here.
Much Ado About Nothing
Sunday, October 2, 1:30 p.m., with previews daily until opening Friday, October 7, 7:30 p.m. Run continues through November 6
Kilstrom Theatre, Helen Bonfils Complex, Denver Performing Arts Complex
It’s been a long wait, but Shakespeare returns to the Denver Center Theatre Company stage this season, in a new production of the four-way love story Much Ado About Nothing. Directed by DCTC artistic director Chris Coleman and scored by DeVotchKa’s multi-talented Tom Hagerman, the adaptation has both a modern spin and the golden glaze of a long-ago classic. Tickets start at $35 and rise as high as $90. Reserve your seats here.
Ballet Ariel, Carnaval and Sleeping Beauty’s Dream
Sunday, October 2, 3 p.m.
Elaine Wolf Theatre, JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 South Dahlia Street
Denver’s Ballet Ariel professional company and ballet school kicks off a new season with traveling performances of Michel Fokine’s charming Carnaval and Ariel’s original ballet (and a true family favorite), Sleeping Beauty’s Dream, beginning this weekend with two shows at the Denver Jewish Community Center’s Wolf Theatre. Get Wolf Theatre tickets, $20 to $30, here; additional dates are scheduled for October 6 at the PACE Center in Parker and October 16 at the Parsons Theatre in Northglenn. Note that matinee shows will include a tea-party reception with the costumed dancers.
Coyote. Badger. Rattlesnake.
Sunday, October 2, 3 p.m. Run continues through October 15; shows Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7:30 p.m.; also Monday, October 10
Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan Street
To kickstart the fall season, Buntport is reviving Coyote. Badger. Rattlesnake., a comedy written in collaboration with local playwright Ellen K. Graham about trying to bring life to the taxidermied animals in a museum diorama. It turns out to be depressing work for Carroll and Glenn, the live characters behind the glass, who find the situation a hard sell. Tickets for the three-week run are pay-what-you-can; reserve your spot here in advance.
Magic of the Jack O' Lanterns Through October 31, 7 to 11 p.m.; select dates
Hudson Gardens, 6115 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton
Hudson Gardens gets its high-tech glow on for the Halloween season with Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group’s returning seasonal display Magic of the Jack O' Lanterns, which will stand for the entire month of October. Over 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins have been thrown into spooky lit-up vignettes of nautical seascapes, pirate ships, dinosaurs and dragons, guaranteed to make the kids’ eyes pop. Tickets start at $14.99.
One Night Stand Theater: Ghosts of the Radio
Sunday, October 2, 7:30 p.m.
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton Street, Aurora
One Night Stand Theater invites you to travel back in time for an evening of mystery and suspense in Ghosts of the Radio, a one-night-only production with short plays from or inspired by radio dramas of the 1930s and 1940s. “These old-time radio shows showcase a different era of entertainment,” says James O’Leary, artistic director of One Night Stand Theater. “This is our first old-time radio show in five years, and we’re looking forward to the audience and the cast having fun with these tales of thrills and chills along with our homemade sound effects and bogus commercial sponsors.” Get tickets, $10, here.
Do you know of a great event in Denver? We'll be updating this list through the weekend; send information to [email protected]