Free and Family-Friendly: 5 Things to Do in Denver
Denver might be best known as an outdoor playground for adventurous adults, but it also has no shortage of family friendly and free options. From kid-friendly hikes to days at the museum, Denver has something for every age, every activity level and every season, plus a whole variety of options that are free.
1. Make a Masterpiece at the Denver Art Museum
If the weather isn’t cooperating, head over to the Denver Art Museum (100 W. 14th Avenue Pkwy., Denver, CO), where admission is free for anyone under 18 and no admission fees for visitors on the first Saturday of each month. While it’s not rare for museums to offer something for the kids, The Denver Art Museum goes above and beyond. Creative Corners spread throughout the museum are spaces for discovery. Games like gallery-themed “bingo” make paying attention a winning strategy and the Just for Fun Family Center offers special exhibit-themed activities. If you’re there on a weekend during the school year or a weekday during school breaks, don’t forget to pick up your free family backpack at the start of your visit. Filled with art projects, games and more, the backpacks are the perfect way to keep kids entertained from start to finish.
2. Relax and Recharge in City Park
Take a break between trips to the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science with a relaxing afternoon in the city’s iconic City Park (1700 N. York St., Denver, CO). Picnic on the lawn, play on the park’s two large playgrounds, explore the lakefront or encourage your kids to run laps around the park’s many monuments and fountains. The park hosts free festivals throughout the year featuring local artisans and is a favorite spot for local sports enthusiasts, so you’ll never have the same experience twice.
3. Submerge Yourself in Storytelling at the Tattered Cover Book Store
The Tattered Cover Book Store is a Colorado landmark, a community gathering place, and the perfect spot to spend a rainy day. First opened in 1971, the independent bookstore and coffee shop has two Denver locations and is known for their frequent special events and top-notch kids programming. Both the Colfax (2526 East Colfax Ave., Denver, CO) and the historic LoDo (1628 16th St., Denver, CO) locations have free weekly story time for children and regularly host award-winning children’s authors and illustrators for readings, book signings and more. Check out their schedule when planning your trip, because you never know which of your kid’s favorite authors might be making an appearance.
4. Go on an Urban Safari in the Art District on Santa Fe
In the Art District on Santa Fe (853 Santa Fe Dr., Denver, CO), art spills out of the neighborhood’s 60 galleries, filling the streets with beautiful public works that make for an urban adventure. Recognized as a “Colorado Creative District,” the neighborhood is easily accessible by light rail. Don’t miss the murals, “Love This City” by Pat Milbery, “Smiling Boy” in the alley between Santa Fe Drive and Inca Street, and “The Mermaid” on the corner of 9th and Santa Fe Drive. Play “I Spy” with the massive murals and pause to take family photos in front of the colorful masterpieces.
5. Have an Outdoor Adventure in Red Rocks
Only 15 miles outside of Denver, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre (18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison, CO) is the perfect place for a true Colorado experience. Explore the iconic amphitheatre before leading your kids along short, family-friendly trails to take in the awe-inspiring rock formations that have made Red Rocks a national icon. Recharge with a picnic before visiting the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. Located in the Trading Post, the Colorado Music Hall of Fame immerses visitors of all ages in Colorado’s musical history. Free admission to the Red Rocks Park, the Amphitheatre, the Visitor Center, Trading Post and the Colorado Music Hall of Fame makes a trip to Red Rocks a whole day full of free family fun. Remember to bring sturdy shoes, rain jackets in case the weather changes quickly, and a camera to capture the adventure.