There are a ton of free things to do in Denver, but just to make it easier for you, we've narrowed them down to our 25 favorites.
If you like to see how things are made, take a behind-the-scenes tour at local beer, candy, and tea manufacturers. Nature lovers will want to check out the beautiful landscape and red rock formations at places such as Garden of the Gods and Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
If architecture interests you, take a free walking tour where you'll get to see historical buildings such as Union Station, the state capitol building, and the U.S. Mint.
Read on for more recommendations of great free things to do in Denver.
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If you have a sweet tooth like me, one must-do is taking a tour at Hammond's Candy. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the factory where their famous candy canes, lollipops, and ribbon candy are handcrafted and packaged. One of the hidden gems of the tour is that you won't just get to see how the candy is made — you'll also get a free sample.
Tours are free and available several times a day. Reservations are recommended during the summer and holidays and for large groups.
Denver is Colorado's state capitol, and the gold-domed capitol building is conveniently located downtown near some of the city's other major attractions.
Explore the beautiful 1901 building on your own or take a guided tour (which is the only way to see the dome's interior). Admire the grand staircase and murals, and spend some time learning about Colorado's history in Mr. Brown's Attic Museum.
The capitol is open to visitors on weekdays.
Make a special trip to Morrison, just 15 miles west of Denver, and see the world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre. This breathtaking outdoor concert venue was naturally formed and has perfect acoustics. It's free to visit when no events are scheduled, but splurging to see a concert is well worth it.
Within Red Rocks Park are a visitor center, trading post, and the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. You can also explore the park's rock formations and take in views of the Denver metro area.
You might be surprised at how much you miss when you cruise around the Mile High City. There are all kinds of interesting places and sites are scattered around it that only take a bit of time to fine when you are here.
If this is something you are interested in doing, then the Denver Story Trek is perfect for you and your family. These self-guided tours allow you to walk, bike, or even drive your car around the city as you find these wonderful places and things. A few exampled include the Molly Brown House Museum, J.S. Brown Mercantile Building, Fire Station #3, the Black American West Museum, and so much more!
Another benefit of these treks gives you the ability to go whenever you want and see them at different times of the day.
Sports lovers will want to check out the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. The museum, located at Sports Authority Field at Mile High (home of the Denver Broncos), honors the accomplishments of the state's top athletes.
Special exhibits include a look at Broncos players and Colorado's historic female athletes, plus some exhibits are designed just for kids to explore.
The museum is free, but there's a fee if you want to tour the stadium.
Want to see how coins are made? Then head to the U.S. Mint where you'll learn the history of coin manufacturing and the craftsmanship that goes into it. The Denver Mint, one of only four mints in the country, produces billions of coins each year, and if you're lucky, coins may be in production during your visit.
Guided tours are free and last approximately 45 minutes. Beginning at 7 a.m. Monday through Thursday, tickets are available at the information window at the gift shop entrance on Cherokee Street. Tickets are given on a first-come, first-served basis and are good only for the same day. If you are looking for free things to do in Denver, this is a one of a kind experience and can not be missed.
Founded in 1998 by the Dikeou family, the Dikeou Collection features the works of more than 30 international contemporary artists. It offers free tours, readings, lectures, workshops, and music events.
Just off 16th Street in downtown Denver, the Dikeou Collection can be visited 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays or by appointment. Cell phone tours are available.
The Great Divide Brewing Co. is an award-winning microbrewery established in 1994 near Coors Field in downtown Denver. You can tour the brewhouse and try out some of the 16 taps featuring seasonally and year-round handcrafted brews.
A second location is in the River North (RiNo) neighborhood. Here you can take a tour of the brewer's state-of-the-art packaging facility, canning line, and beer storage. The taproom offers barrel-aged, limited-release, and seasonal brews. Of all the free things to do in Denver, doesn't touring a brewery sound inviting?
Tours are available daily at both locations beginning at noon.
The historic Boettcher Mansion, built in 1908, is home to the Colorado governor and first family. They reside in a private living space on the second and third floors, but the rest of the beautiful mansion is open to visitors.
The home, a landmark located on Logan Hill, offers tours in the summer and during the holidays. Tours begin on the quarter hour and last 45 minutes.
One way to feel that Rocky Mountain high while giving you some of the free things to do in Denver is the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. Get back to nature at this 15,000-acre sanctuary that's home to more than 330 wildlife species. Take the 11-mile loop drive, and keep an eye out for eagles, coyote, bison, prairie dogs, deer, raccoons, and even turtles.
Be sure to stop at the visitor center to learn more about the refuge. You can also fish, hike, and take part in other recreational activities.
Visit between sunrise and sunset on any day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.
In 1914, seven bison that were part of America's last wild herd were relocated here from Yellowstone National Park. Today about 24 bison from that herd can be seen along I-70 just 20 miles west of Denver.
For the best views of the bison, exit the highway into Genesee Park. When you're done admiring these amazing animals, visit the Genesee Experiential Center, take a hike, or participate in other recreational activities at the park. If you are a fan of wildlife, this is definitely worth your time as you search for free things to do in Denver.
Union Station in downtown Denver has been restored to its original grandeur when it was a bustling train station in the 1800s. Today it's a favorite gathering spot for both locals and tourists. You can just hang out inside, or outside, and people watch to your heart's content as this is also one of the most relaxing of the many free things to do in Denver.
The 1894 historic landmark features the Great Hall, which is an open-seating space where you can relax, enjoy a drink or snack, and do some people-watching. Within the station, you'll also find a few shops, some of Denver's top restaurants and bars, and the luxury Crawford Hotel.
Get an up-close look at many of Denver's top attractions on this free walking tour of downtown. You'll learn about the city's history, architecture, and many landmarks.
The two-hour tour begins at 10 a.m. at the Veteran's Memorial a block west of the state capitol and ends at Coors Field. Stops include the Capitol Building, Civic Center Park, Denver Art Museum, U.S. Mint, Denver Performing Arts Complex, Larimer Square, Writer Square, Union Station, and more.
The tour is about two miles on easy terrain and is accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. Tours run daily May 1 through Oct. 31 and on the weekends Nov. 1 through April 30. Reservations not required. Rain or shine.
If you can't wait for fireworks on the Fourth, another of the free things to do in Denver includes coming down to Civic Center Park in downtown for an Independence Eve fireworks display. The free party includes patriotic music, a light show, and a grand fireworks display in this historic 12-acre park that functions as Denver's civic and cultural center.
Get there early to grab a great spot on the lawn. Concessions are available, but you can also bring your own snacks.
If you're an early bird, you don't have to stay up until midnight to see fireworks. At the 16th Street Mall in downtown, you can watch a great fireworks display at 9 p.m. If you're a night owl who wants to ring in 2017, stick around for the fireworks display that starts at the strike of twelve.
The celebration features musicians, comedians, and performing artists. Both shows on the 16th Street Mall are identical.
If you are an art lover, and are looking for free things to do in Denver, you will have many choices to choose from during your visit.
Some of the more well known museums include the Denver Art Museum, The Denver Botanic Gardens, The Molly Brown House, and more. Being that each museum has different free days, make sure to check them for your trip so you won't miss out.
Summer is a great time to catch live music in Denver, because many venues offer outdoor concert series. One of the best is the free City Park Jazz concert series, which for more than 30 years has featured some of the best local musicians.
Catch the free concerts on Sundays from June to August at the Ferril Lake Pavilion in City Park.
If you are into hiking, Denver is the perfect place for you and your family. Being that it is located next to the Rocky Mountains, you can easily get to, and hike, in the foothills with very little effort. It's a great way to get the heart pumping.
Make sure to plan ahead as the Mile High City is known for tiring people out quickly since there is less oxygen at this altitude.
Since Denver is located in such a beautiful area, there are lots of outdoor festivals for you to visit and enjoy. These festivals range from music to beer to jewelry to film and beyond. Being that there are so many outdoor festivals, you are most likely to find one that fits your desire as you search for free things to do in Denver.
Some of the favorites include the Denver Beer Olympics, the Evergreen Bluegrass festival, Denver Yoga festival, and many more. Click the links below for more details by month.
The River North District, or RiNo if you want to impress the locals, is fully stocked with murals everywhere you go. Some are very obvious, and huge, while others are smaller and take a bit more of a search to find as you explore this as one of your many free things to do in Denver.
Make sure you bring along your camera, or at least use your cell phone, to take photos of these magnificent murals during your visit.
Fairmount Cemetery is one of Denver's most fascinating attractions. As another of the free things to do in Denver, you can explore its 280 acres of wildlife, plants, historic structures, and grave sites dating back to the 1890s.
You won't want to miss the Fairmount Mausoleum built in 1930 — it houses the city's largest collection of stained glass.
Art lovers will appreciate the many ornate headstones. On a self-guided tour, look for these sculptures made of metal, white marble, and granite and admire the craftsmanship that went into making these beautiful works of art.
There are a variety of different free, self-guided tours that cover a wide range of interests. You can take tours of the cemetery's tree collection, rose collection, private mausoleums, and sculptures along with the grave sites of Colorado notables such as governors, war heroes, and baseball players.
Discovered in 1877, by Arthur Lake, Dinosaur Ridge has a special place in the history of dinosaurs and dinosaur buffs. It is famous for having a number of different dinosaur fossils, including the most famous, Stegosaurus, which is the Colorado state fossil.
So, if you like to learn about our distant past, you are going to enjoy Dinosaur Ridge! In addition to fossils, it is also famous for the hiking trails and for the massive tracks of the Iguanodon. There are free self guided tours where you can take your time and see all the sights as you explore this time capsule of history as you do more of the free things to do in Denver.
If you want to see some Colorado's amazing nature, head to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. This public park with many red rock formations is designated as a National Natural Landmark and is a great place to bike, hike, rock climb, picnic, and more.
The Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center is free to enter and has more than 30 exhibits, a gift shop, cafe, and a Geo-Trekker movie experience.
Be sure to watch one of the free nature presentations at the visitor center and sign up for a free walk led by a naturalist.
One of the great free things to do in Denver is to visit Flagstaff Nature Center in Boulder. At the center, exhibits will teach you about the native plants, wildlife, and history of the surrounding Open Space and Mountain Parks. You'll also find interactive activities and games that kids as well as adults enjoy.
The center, located at the summit of Flagstaff Mountain, is free and open Fridays through Sundays from May through September.
Another one of the fun free things to do in Denver is to take a guided tea tour of the Celestial Seasonings headquarters in Boulder. In the advanced manufacturing facility, tea lovers can get a behind-the-scenes look at how tea is blended, packaged, and shipped. Of course, you can taste some free samples of many varieties, plus you can visit the Mint Room, Tea Shop, and Celestial Cafe.
The 45-minute tours run daily at the top of the hour and are first-come, first-served (no reservations required). If you want to see the factory in full swing, visit Monday through Friday because tea isn't in production on the weekends.