Denver: My Favorite Things to Do In the Summer

I love Colorado largely because of the mountains, but you know what else? I really love the city too! I always refer to Denver as a cow town because it’s one of the biggest cities in the region yet it’s truly kinda small when compared to large metropolitan areas. It’s not uncommon to walk down the street and see a few familiar faces, and for the most part, I think people here are friendly.

The best part about Denver? There is always something to do! Sure, outdoor activities reign supreme and residents tend to head to the hills at any given moment, but there are quite a few fun activities to fill up your weekend schedule when you’re not sleeping in the dirt.

Film on the Rocks

Every summer, the Denver Film Society and the Denver Arts & Venues team up to put together an epic series of summer films for people to watch. The best part? They show all of these films at Red Rocks, the well-known and stunningly beautiful natural amphitheater in Golden! They drop down a huge screen on stage and people fill the bleacher seats just like they would at a concert. We also go a few hours early to tailgate in the parking lot with some beers and snacks, but if that’s not your thing, you can also grab a seat early and enjoy the pre-film band that plays for a few hours. The lineup for 2014 was announced here, so check it out. We already bought tickets to Labyrinth!

Little Man Ice Cream

Y’all, I die over this ice cream!

Denver

Sure, Little Man is open year round, but it doesn’t really start to buzz until summer when the warm temps create a cozy outdoor seating area around the milk bottle-shaped establishment. Yup, you read that correctly: the ice cream store is shaped like a massive, 14,000 lb, 28-foot tall milk bottle! The ice cream is delightful and the vibe is totally awesome. If you go, check out the salted caramel pb cup flavor……OMG.

Jazz in the Park

Truthfully, I haven’t made it to Jazz in the Park in a couple of years, but I’m really hoping to change that this summer! Every Sunday night through June and July, a different band sets up shop at City Park and plays a free concert at 6pm! Peeps typically set up blankets and bring some food and wine, and honestly, it’s one of the best ways to spend absolutely zero dollars!

Kayakers at REI

Ha, sounds weird, right?! The Denver REI is probably one of the coolest REIs that I have ever seen (outside of the flagship store in Seattle) and it’s located smack downtown next to the Platte River. It has a Starbucks attached with an outdoor patio, and people can sit outside on the patio and watch kayakers come down the river. You see, there are a couple of obstacles set up in the river so kayakers like to test their skills on the water. You can watch some seriously talented athletes while you sip on a latte….not too shabby!

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Wash Park

Washington Park {or Wash Park, as it’s known to locals} is a bit of a scene, but it’s definitely worth a visit. Located in south Denver, the beautiful park is an urban oasis with lakes, gardens, tennis courts and running trails around the perimeter. However, it’s also a veritable hot spot on a sunny weekend day when hundreds of  residents fill the green space with blankets, stereos and volleyball nets. It does have a “see and be seen” vibe, but it’s a fun environment and the nearby restaurants are pretty tasty too!

Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret

Admittedly, you can do this one year round, but since it is located on the 16th Street Mall, it’s kinda fun to head out for a late dinner on a patio and enjoy some drinks in the warm weather while waiting for the show to start. Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret is located in the basement of the historic D&F clocktower at 16th and Arapahoe, and I think it’s probably underground for a reason! All of the shows are PG-13 or R rated burlesque performances, but it’s a fun environment and a unique way to spend an evening. The crowd is small and the room is kind of cramped, but I think it adds to the overall energy of the show. Check it out!

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Denverites—what would you add?

15 Comments

  • Reply Lynn June 12, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    I love resources like this! I wish more bloggers (especially ones who live in awesome cities) would do posts on “what to do in my city” since it tends to be a more “local” insight than the typical travel websites/blogs.

    • Reply heather June 12, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      I’m glad you like it! I’ve been thinking of doing a few other in a similar series (best hikes, best restaurants, bars, etc) so maybe I will!

  • Reply Amanda @runtothefinish June 13, 2014 at 6:35 am

    i WAAAAAANNNNNAAAAA :0) must come visit

  • Reply Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie June 13, 2014 at 8:10 am

    I think Colorado is going to be my summer vacation next year. I can’t wait! I’ve never been and really want to check it out.

    • Reply heather June 13, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      Let me know if you make it here!

  • Reply Kate June 13, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Great list! I also like all of the farmers markets around town and the cruiser rides! Boulder, Denver, Highlands, Golden…there is practically a cruiser ride every night of the week. And food truck parties. Oh Denver, you are so wonderful.

    • Reply heather June 13, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      Farmer Markets FOR SURE! I thought of including Boulder’s but since that isn’t Denver, I nixed it 🙂

  • Reply Kayla June 13, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    OMG, I love Labyrinth…..well any of those weird old kid movies, actually!!!! The Dark Crystal is another fave.

    When I think of Wash Park, I can’t get over all the goose poop that was everywhere!!! Maybe it’s not as bad during the summer?

    You need to add the Breckenridge Brewery to this list!!! Hello amazing smoked hot wings and beer…….

    • Reply heather June 13, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      Ha, there is definitely still bird poop 🙂 And there is no way Breck Brewery is on the must-visit list! With all the breweries in Colorado?! I mean, it’s good but no way!!

  • Reply Alyssa June 15, 2014 at 8:50 am

    I love cities with lots of fun stuff to do that’s not like…. dinner and drinks.

  • Reply Ginna June 15, 2014 at 11:36 am

    This is great! I just moved to Denver and Beth from 3Up Adventures referred me to your blog. I don’t know the city or many people yet so these are some fun things to check out with or without a friend. I would definitely love to read the whole series if you decide to do it! 🙂

  • Reply Monday Monday! » Route Bliss June 16, 2014 at 5:41 am

    […] Denver: My Favorite Things to Do In the Summer via Just a Colorado Gal (as if I need even more reasons to venture back to Colorful Colorado …) […]

  • Reply Carla June 16, 2014 at 5:49 am

    MUST
    BRING
    THE
    CHILD.

  • Reply cocoruns June 16, 2014 at 11:36 am

    You forgot to mention all the great beer that Denver has to offer now! Bike tours are available that let you hit up many of the Denver-based breweries.

    Also, I always try to take out-of-towners to a Rockies game in the summer time (Rockpile tix!).

    This is great – I always forget about Jazz at the Park!

  • Reply Brandy January 5, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    How about a winter list….what to do in Denver and nearby. We are headed that way in a couple weeks..flying into Denver and spending a few days in Steamboat.

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