Denver’s Top Summer Festivals, Exhibits & Events

Denver is known for its 300 days of sunshine and the abundance of urban adventure that comes along with its Rocky Mountain backdrop. This summer, The Mile High City will be home to new international events, blockbuster exhibitions, family-friendly festivals and plenty of hotel deals for an ideal summer.

There is an abundance of activity in Denver this season – from romantic date nights and girlfriend getaway ideas to family events; sports and recreation options to music festivals and unique museum exhibits, and a bit of everything in between. There are also dozens of discounted hotel rates to encourage visitors to make a weekend of it.

Below are just a few of the exciting things happening in Denver in the coming months; for a full list of events, go to VisitDenver.org.

Denver Day of Rock, May 27

Denver Day of Rock is a free event in downtown Denver that features five stages of live music along Denver’s 16th Street Mall. Denver Day of Rock unites the community through music and family-friendly entertainment while raising funds to support Amp the Cause, a Denver nonprofit that raises awareness about critical family issues and local charities. This year’s lineup features country superstar, Cam, along with well-known acts such as Austin Young Band, The Dustbowl Revival, The Railbenders and more.

DINOS! Live, July 1 – October 31

Denver Zoo will take visitors back in time with DINOS! Live, an exhibit through which 20 animatronic dinosaurs will come to life around the park. Guests will see Mesozoic marvels, from a tyrannosaurus rex to a stegosaurus, and be able to compare them to animals that live at the Zoo and in the wild today.

Denver Chalk Art Festival, June 3-4

More than 200 professional, amateur and student artists will show off their incredible talents in what has become one of Denver’s most treasured events. Over the course of two days, the artists will take to the streets armed with vivid pastel chalks and spend hours recreating major masterpieces or sharing original works of art. Spectators will watch as the intricate chalk paintings come to life and spread out to adorn four downtown blocks in and around Larimer Square. Visitors will enjoy live music, food and beverages while also having the rare opportunity to interact with the artists as they work.

Denver Comic Con, June 30 – July 2

This three-day fan convention at the Colorado Convention Center features the best in comics, sci-fi and fantasy television shows, movies, Japanese animation, cosplay, toys, gaming and celebrities. Announced guest speakers include: Nathan Fillion, best known for his roles on “Castle” and “Firefly”; Wallace Shawn from “The Princess Bride” and “Toy Story”; Lou Ferrigno from “The Incredible Hulk”; Garret Wang, who played Harry Kim on “Star Trek: Voyager”; and Bonnie Bright, who played Ginny Weasley in all eight “Harry Potter” series films.

Cherry Creek Arts Festival, July 1-3

Cherry Creek Arts Festival is a world-class and award-winning celebration of the visual, culinary and performing arts, and enjoys an attendance of more than 350,000 visitors over three days. The Cherry Creek North event gives patrons the rare and special opportunity to meet and talk with international visual artists, sample fine cuisine, visit special exhibits and artist demonstrations and entertain their families with interactive art activities and exciting performing arts.

NEW: Slow Food Nations, July 14-16

For the first time ever in the United States, Slow Food Nations will gather leaders, farmers, chefs, educators and foodies for a weekend of tastings, tours and talks. For three days, downtown Denver will become the center of the North American food universe. Innovation meets tradition during exciting culinary workshops, seminars, dine-around dinners, tours, informal eating and drinking and a grand tasting hall. Under the banner of Slow Food Nations, Slow Beer, Slow Fish, Slow Meat, Slow Grain, Slow Wine, Slow Gardens, Slow Money and other Slow Nations will organize product-specific seminars, tastings, and culinary workshops for both experts and novices. Denver’s cellars, warehouses, and restaurants will become spaces for food enthusiasts, chefs and industry experts to interact with each other and taste new flavors.

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, July 29-30

The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival in Sloan’s Lake Park is a free family-friendly festival highlighting Colorado’s rich Asian Pacific American heritage. A window to the Pan Asian world, this diverse festival is the only one of its kind in the United States. It showcases an array of traditional and contemporary performing arts, cultural customs, cuisine and a marketplace of unique and hard-to-find arts, crafts and vendors, in addition to two days of action-packed dragon boat racing.

Frozen Premiere, August 17 – October 1

The beloved Disney tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves comes to life on the stage in August. Premiering at the Buell Theatre in Denver first – before it reaches Broadway in New York – the highly anticipated new musical will run through October 1, 2017.

Rocky Mountain Showdown, September 1

The Rocky Mountain Showdown celebrates a 120 year-old football rivalry between the University of Colorado Buffaloes and the Colorado State University Rams. Played at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, home of the Denver Broncos, the game features pregame events, music, entertainment, marching bands, cheerleaders and giveaways.

A Taste of Colorado, September 1-4

This festival, held in Denver’s Civic Center Park and on the surrounding streets, highlights some of Colorado’s favorite food establishments – from ethnic specialties to traditional favorites, diners can enjoy full-sized or sample portions of their favorites throughout the festival.

Biennial of the Americas, September 12-16

The Biennial of the Americas festival connects the people of Denver with their community and with the Americas. Bringing together inspiring artists, innovators, leaders and experts from the Denver metro area and from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean together around the most pressing issues of our time, the festival features art exhibitions, installations and cultural programming.

First Friday Art Walks (First Friday of every month) – On the First Friday of every month galleries, studios and cultural attractions in Denver’s creative neighborhoods stay open late for a night of art, food, drink and fun. This year, RiNo (River North) Art District and the new Drink RiNo group will sponsor a free bus every First Friday from 5pm-12am (and Saturdays 2-10pm) that will have multiple stops at galleries, studios, breweries and eateries throughout RiNo. For more information, interactive maps and video tours of the arts districts and neighborhoods, check out VISIT DENVER’s Neighborhood Guides.

Vikings: Beyond the Legend, through – August 13

In what is the largest collection of Viking artifacts to visit North America, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’sVikings: Beyond the Legend lays waste to the one-dimensional stereotype of bearded barbarians with horned helmets and showcases a culture of surprising refinement, complexity, and achievement. Fresh insights revealed through new archaeological discoveries and more than 500 treasures, many never before seen outside of Scandinavia, show why the Vikings will always capture peoples’ imaginations.

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre Summer Concert Series

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre is a world-famous outdoor concert and recreation venue located approximately 30 minutes from Denver. The only naturally-occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world, Red Rocks is recognized for its star-studded concert roster and ambience, as well as its awe-inspiring hiking and biking trails. Headliners for the 2017 Summer Concert Series include Chris Stapleton, Tom Pretty & The Heartbreakers, Dispatch, Widespread Panic, Miranda Lambert and more. In addition to concerts, the venue also hosts comedy shows, with 2017 headliners such as Dave Chapelle, and a Film on the Rocks series, featuring cult classic films.

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