Check out Colorado’s best festivals

Denver offers fun galore in the summertime

June 11, 2018

We’re CU in the City, and summer in the city means festivals! Perhaps unsurprisingly, Denver has some great ones. From food fests to art displays to music shows, there’s an event to scratch just about every urban itch this summer.

A couple big festivals have already come and gone, but many great summer events are still to come. Here is our list:

Black Arts Festival

16th Street Fair
The 16th Street Fair runs multiple weekends throughout the summer.

July 13 – 15, City Park
For 32 years, the Colorado Black Arts Festival has worked to showcase Colorado’s African-American artistic talent. The festival brings gospel music, a film pavilion, an art show and a scavenger hunt, which encourages visitors to learn more about African and African-American culture. Admission is free.

Underground Music Showcase

July 26 – 29, South Broadway
Also known as The UMS, this festival brings music lovers together with Denver’s preeminent independent artists. For nearly two decades it’s been known for its local focus, as well as intense, crazy, high-energy performances. A weekend pass is $35.

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival

July 28 – 29, Sloan’s Lake Park
Inspired by a 2,000-year-old Chinese tradition, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival showcases Denver’s Asian and Asian-American communities in a cultural celebration. Events range from the traditional to the silly, with Japanese dance, an anime tent, a scavenger hunt and a spicy ramen eating contest. Admission is free.

Denver International Festival

Aug. 4 – 18, Civic Center Park
A celebration of global food, music and art, the Denver International Festival also helps give back to the city’s own local communities by raising money at its annual benefit concert. Sample New Zealand ice cream, jerk chicken, crepes, pierogi, arepas and more while listening to music from every continent! There’s also a marketplace featuring local artists. Admission is free.

16th Street Fair

Aug. 10 – 11, Sept. 28 – 29, 16th Street Mall
A free festival just a short walk from CU Denver campus, the 16th Street Fair is Denver’s premier arts and crafts festival. Three weekends this summer, Denver’s best emerging artists and designers will showcase their creations, with live music playing at the nearby Skyline Beer Garden.

Colorado Classic Professional Bike Race & Velorama

Velorama in RiNo
The Colorado Classic Professional Bike Race & Velorama returns for a second year in the RiNo Art District.

Aug. 17 – 19, RiNo Art District
In the Colorado Classic, professional cyclists race through some of Colorado’s iconic scenery from Aug. 16 – 19. On Aug. 18, the race winds through Denver’s RiNo Art District. That weekend, the whole area will be transformed into a celebration of bikes, with exhibitions, local art, live music and games. Ticket prices vary.

A Taste of Colorado

Sept. 1 – 3, Civic Center Park
On Labor Day Weekend, Civic Center Park fills with food, music, crafts and games. A Taste of Colorado has featured acts like George Thorogood, Rick Springfield and The Wallflowers. The main attraction, though, is the food, with a huge variety of local and international cuisine options. And with free admission, you can put your cash toward sampling it all.

Grandoozy Music Festival

Sept. 14 – 16, Overland Park
Grandoozy is a newer addition to Denver’s festival scene, but it’s not just playing around. Organized by the creators of Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, its 2018 musical acts will include Kendrick Lamar, Florence + The Machine and Stevie Wonder. Festival experiences will include an outdoor showcase, an ‘80s ski lodge-themed tent and an all-day dance area. Tickets range from $225 to $300.