Despite what you may have heard, having fun in Denver doesn’t have to break the bank. Yes, some things definitely can cost a chunk of change, however, there are still a variety of fun free things to do in the city that can be a fun way to spend the afternoon. So, coming from a Denver local I’m excited to share the best free things to do in Denver, Colorado!
Hangout in Washington Park
When the weather is nice I love to hang out in Washington Park. This park is one of my favorites in Denver because there are a number of activities you can do, especially when the weather is warm. The park is quite large and has two lakes that you can take a walk around.
You can also bring a blanket and just relax and hang out with friends or have a picnic. There are benches you can relax on, bike paths if you want to bike, and a rose garden you can walk through. During the summer months, you can also pay to rent bikes, water bikes, and paddleboats to take out on the lake.
Tour The Mint
Another fun and free thing to do in Denver is to tour the Denver Mint! They offer free tours Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
During the tour, you get a behind-the-scenes look at the facility and will learn how money is printed and made, along with the history of the U.S. Mint. The tours are about 45 minutes long and are all around something unique and fun to do in Denver!
Walk Along The Cherry Creek Trail
The Cherry Creek Trail runs through Downtown Denver. The trail is paved and is excellent for biking, roller skating, jogging, or going for a walk. It runs along a creek and is a great way to enjoy a little bit of nature without leaving the city. The trail also features beautiful murals painted on the walls and dips below the busy streets of Denver.
Visit the Rocky Mountain Arsenal
The Rocky Mountain Arsenal is a free wildlife sanctuary located just northeast of Denver. It is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is free to visit. At this outdoor 15,000-acre wildlife sanctuary, there are a number of activities visitors can do.
Such as take a wildlife drive that is 11 miles long that takes you through grasslands, wetlands, woodlands, and pastures with a series of signs. On the drive, you’ll be in a prime position to see a variety of wildlife. You can also go hiking at the arsenal, go bird watching, view wildlife, as well as go catch and release fishing for 3$ a day.
Free Zoo Day
A couple times a year the Denver Zoo offers free admission. As a way to give back to the community and make the zoo accessible to all, the zoo announces a handful of dates every year when anyone can enter.
The Denver Zoo is a day of fun for everyone and you’ll be able to see a variety of animals. From sea otters, elephants, giraffes, and exotic birds. The zoo is quite large and hosts a large variety of different animals that are always exciting to see and learn about!
Free Museum Days
Denver has a variety of museums that also offer free admission a couple of times a year, be sure to check out their websites to see when those dates are. You can visit museums such as the Museum of Nature and Science which have specific dates that are free admission.
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) offers free admission for anyone under 18 and healthcare workers, and on the first Saturday of every month admission is one penny.
The Denver Art Museum offers free admission to those under 18 and has a variety of free days for adults throughout the year.
The Museo de las Americas which is a Latin American art museum offers free admission on the first Friday of every month.
Tour Hammond’s Candy Factory
Hammond’s Candy Factory, located just outside of Downtown Denver, offers free tours Monday-Saturday. On the tour, you’ll get to learn and see how the candy is made and the history of Denver. You’ll also get a sweet treat to take home at the end of the tour.
Downtown Denver Walking Tour
If you are wanting to explore Denver and learn in detail about the history of the city, you may want to go on a free walking tour. The tour lasts about 2 – 2.5 hours, is 1.7 miles long with plenty of stops, and takes you right through the heart of downtown.
On the walking tour, you’ll see a variety of important buildings and parks. You’ll walk past the Capitol Building, Civic Center Park, the U.S. Mint, Larimer Square, 16th Street Mall, and more.
Feel like taking a tour on your own time? Click here for more info on going on an audio self-guided tour in Denver!
Visit the Farmer’s Market
You can find a variety of Farmer’s Markets in Denver generally between April and October depending on which Farmer’s Market you want to visit.
You not only will find locally grown fresh produce, local restaurants and food trucks selling breakfast or lunch but also a lot of the Farmer’s Markets have live music and family-friendly activities.
You don’t have to spend money to go, you can hang out and enjoy the festivities and free entertainment as something fun and free to do in Denver!
Tour the Governor’s Mansion
Located in Downtown Denver the Governor’s Mansion offers free tours to the public. The elegant mansion serves as a home that the current governor can choose to live in as well as a space where the governor can work.
Window Shop 16th Street Mall
16th Street Mall is a popular tourist area in Downtown Denver. The mall is lined with big and small stores, restaurants, and cafes. It has shuttles that run up and down the street and there are sometimes pianos or chess games available to play.
16th Street Mall can be a fun place to walk around and window shop. Popping into unique stores or just enjoying the beauty the street has to offer, it’s definitely a free and fun way to spend an afternoon in Denver!
Denver, Colorado has a variety of activities that are perfect for any budget. As someone who lives in Denver, I’m excited to share the best free things to do in Denver, whether you’re on vacation or someone who lives in the city and is looking for something free and fun to do. I hope you enjoyed this guide and enjoy the Mile High City! Happy travels!