Just because it’s called the “Mile-High City” doesn’t mean that you need to rack up a mile-high bill on a visit to Denver. Save your cash for a farm-to-table dinner or a new pair of hiking shoes; with these cheap and free things to do in Denver, you’ll have a blast without blowing your budget. Thanks to exciting Denver events and affordable Denver activities, there are a myriad of wallet-friendly things to do in Colorado.
Explore City Park
New York City has Central Park, and Denver has City Park. This 300-acre green space lies just east of Downtown and is home to several well-known attractions, like the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the Denver Zoo. While many visitors come to the park just to visit the museums, the park is an attraction in it’s own right. Take a stroll along a scenic trail, catch one of the free live jazz concerts, or just enjoy a picnic by the lake; you really can’t go wrong here!
Grab a beer at a local brewery
While sampling Denver’s local craft beer is certainly one of the essential things to do in Denver at night, it’s also a surprisingly affordable way to go out on the town. Don’t miss the taprooms at Great Divide Brewing Co. (just a 5-minute walk from Stay Alfred at The Ballpark), Ratio Beerworks, and Spangalang Brewery, and for something a bit off the beaten path, check out Crooked Stave Taproom RiNo, which is known for their sours. See for yourself why Denver ranks in the top 3 cities for craft beer!
Indulge in a tasty treat at the Denver Central Market
You know that feeling when you’re hungry but you don’t know what to eat? Satisfy any food craving at the massive Denver Central Market, which features about a dozen vendors and flavors ranging from sweet to spicy. Don’t miss trying a frozen treat from High Point Creamery or fresh fish tacos from Tammens Fish Market!
Admire the collections of Denver’s art museums
An afternoon surrounded by world-class art doesn’t need to be an expensive affair. Compared to the most famous museums, the art collections in the Mile-High City are a bargain. At the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, adult tickets ring in at $8, but afternoon 5pm on most evenings, the ticket price drops to just $5. Admission is always free for art enthusiasts under the age of 18.
Looking for art with a bit more history? The Denver Art Museum also offers an excellent value in addition to an excellent assortment of over 70,000 pieces. Tickets for adults cost $13 (slightly cheaper for locals), and the under-18 crowd is always free. However, on the first Saturday of every month, admission for everybody is free.
Peruse the galleries in the River North Arts District
Have Denver’s art museums given you some artistic inspiration? Continue to explore Denver’s art scene by visiting the River North Arts District, where you’ll find funky streets lined with murals and galleries. Pop in to admire the pieces on display and learn more from the friendly curators. RiNo is also a great home base for any Denver adventures, and Stay Alfred at Dylan is within walking distance of all the highlights.
Looking for cheap things to do in Denver at night? Add RiNo’s First Friday event to your calendar. Between approximately 6 and 9pm, RiNo’s galleries stay open a bit later for visitors to mingle and enjoy live music. An evening gallery stroll is also one of the top romantic things to do in Denver if you’re visiting with a special someone!
Tour Denver’s important government institutions
Denver isn’t only a place for craft beer and hiking; the city works hard too! Take a peek into the inner workings of the state government at the Colorado State Capitol, where you can join a free tour of the stunning building. See the legislative process in action and discover ways you can be a more engaged citizen when you return home.
Another fascinating governmental establishment is the Denver US Mint, which is one of only six active mints in the country. Take a tour of the facility to learn everything you ever wanted to know about printing money and coins, and perhaps head home with a unique souvenir. Traveling with little ones? Both tours are excellent things to do in Denver with kids, though keep in mind tours of the Denver US Mint are only for ages 7 and up.
Window shop at Cherry Creek Shopping Center
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of Downtown Denver to explore the posh Cherry Creek suburb and Denver’s most upscale mall. Even if luxury items aren’t part of your Denver budget, Cherry Creek Shopping Center is a nice place to walk when the weather isn’t ideal for outdoor Denver activities – and to indulge in the fine art of window shopping and people watching. The mall gets bonus points for its fantastic restaurants and an AMC Dine-In movie theater.
Get ready to rock at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
One of Colorado’s most iconic music venues is worth a visit – even if there’s no show playing. At Red Rocks, you can still have a rockin’ workout by running up and down the stairs or hiking on one of the nearby trails. In addition to working your muscles, hone your music trivia skills with a visit to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame at the Red Rocks Visitor Center.
Ready to discover the Mile-High City? With these cheap and free things to do in Denver, your adventures in the West will be both affordable and fun.