Winter and Holiday Fun in Denver - From ice skating to museums, here are some of the best free things to do in the Mile High City year-round.
Published: August 30, 2017
By: Diana Rowe
Denver is a family friendly and world class city. But it’s the fun, free things to do that make it great for visiting with kids. From ice skating to museums, here are some of the best free things to do in the Mile High City year-round, along with some winter-only and holiday highlights.
1. Denver Story Trek
Denver Story Trek is a fun way to learn about the Mile High City’s history and its cowboys, soldiers, prospectors, railroad men, doctors, lawyers, artists and more. Download this self-guided tour to your cell phone at denverstorytrek.org. Then bike, walk or drive through Denver’s neighborhoods. You also can pick up a free map at area museums or the Visitor’s Information Center.
2. First Friday Art Walks
Denver loves its art, and celebrates its art in communities with First Friday Art Walks, the first Friday of every month. These family-friendly neighborhood celebrations are located throughout metro Denver. One of my favorite neighborhoods is Art District on Santa Fe, where the street is closed for First Friday and food trucks come in for the evening. It’s colorful, cultural, magical and a great way to introduce kids to art!
3. LoDo’s Tattered Cover Bookstore
Warm up with a stop at one of the largest independent bookstores in the U.S., the Tattered Cover. It has two locations, one in LoDo (Lower Downtown) and a smaller version inside Denver’s Union Station. Browsing is always free. The LoDo location has space for browsers to find a children’s book, settle into a cozy corner and read it to your children.
4. Rockmount Ranch Wear
If your child is a budding fashionista, be sure to stop at the historic Rockmount Ranch Wear, also in the LoDo neighborhood. Step into a page of Wild West history by browsing its western snap-button shirts; this is where they were invented! The walls are a celebrity art gallery of famous personalities like Elvis Presley who have worn these shirts. Note: Browsing is free, but you may be tempted to buy.
5. Sports Hall of Fame Museum
Don’t miss the tribute to sports legends in at the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum. Located at the Sports Authority Field at Mile High stadium, admission is free.
6. Colorado State Capitol Tour
Tour the majestic, gold-domed Colorado Capitol Building. Stand at exactly one mile high on the steps – that’s 5,280 feet! View murals, listen in on the Colorado General Assembly, and more. Free tours are available Monday-Friday.
7. Ice Skating in Southwest Rink at Skyline Park
If you’ve landed in Colorado in the winter, likely you’re a fan of snow. Nothing says winter fun like ice skating. Bring your ice skates for a free spin around Southwest Rink at Skyline Park from late November to mid-February. What? Your carry-on bag didn’t have enough room to pack your ice skates? No problem, rent a pair for just $2.
8. 9 News Parade of Lights Weekend
The holidays just got better when your family vacation takes you to Denver during the 9 News Parade of Lights Weekend, the first Friday and Saturday in December. Join thousands of locals and visitors for a parade of marching bands, grand floats, thousands of sparkling lights, and of course special appearances by Santa. Viewing is free along the 2-mile route, but you might consider upgrading to grandstand seating at the City and County Building.
9. New Year’s Eve Fireworks
Ring in the New Year Colorado-style with a Mile High bundle of fireworks and a mini-parade with magicians, costumed performers, balloon artists, and more! The annual New Year’s Eve Fireworks and Parade take place on the 16th Street mall in downtown Denver.
10. Downtown Denver Rodeo Parade
Get ready for an Old West celebration when Texas Longhorn cattle are driven through the streets of downtown Denver. This annual Rodeo parade kicks off January’s National Western Stockshow and Rodeo, bringing everything western including cowboys, cowgirls, horses, marching bands and floats.
11. St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Did I mention that Denver loves its parades? The luck of the Irish be with you while attending the Mile High City’s annual St Patrick’s Day parade, the largest west of the Mississippi with more than 200,000 parade fans.