We can all admit it: last summer was a bust. Denver did its best to transform concerts, food fests, cooking classes, races, art exhibits, movie nights, and more into socially distanced and online events, but it’s safe to say things just weren’t the same. Thankfully, Summer 2021 is making up for it, and it’s nowhere near over. We’ve put together a list of a few ideas for some old-fashioned, in-person summer fun to be had in Denver’s art, music, and food scenes.
First Friday Art Walk, Art District on Santa Fe: The Art District is celebrating summer with the return of the city’s largest gallery stroll. The event takes place on the first Friday of every month year-round. Art enthusiasts can peruse the galleries and shops from the 500 through 1200 blocks of Santa Fe Drive.
Made by Us Merchant Collective: This (almost every) weekend market appears around town with vegan eats, vintage clothes, and handmade products of all varieties. Dairy Block, Infinite Monkey Theorem and Fort Greene are common venues. Admission is free. Check out @madebyus_denver for more details.
MCA Denver: If you haven’t been by the Museum of Contemporary Art lately, there are several worthy exhibits gracing the halls this summer. The current and upcoming lineup includes:
(through August 22)
Keith Haring: Grace House Mural
Colorado in the Present Tense: Narkita Gold, Rick Griffith, Nathan Hall, and Maia Ruth Lee
Jaime Carrejo: Waiting
(September 10-January 30, 2022)
Deborah Roberts: I’m
Jason Moran: Bathing the Room With Blues
Van Gogh Alive: A must-see multi-sensory exhibit you won’t soon forget. Immerse yourself in the world of Van Gogh’s works through September 26. Tickets are $35 for this one-of-a-kind exhibit housed inside the Hanger at Stanley Marketplace in Aurora.
Denver Underground Music Showcase: The Underground Music Showcase is the perfect place to witness Colorado and The Mile High City’s exploding music scene. The Denver Post hosts this annual bonanza in Denver’s Broadway neighborhood. Every local space viable to host an intimate jam session opens its doors for music lovers between Aug. 27–29, 2021.
Evenings al Fresco: Denver Botanic Gardens has put together a diverse lineup of musicians to play among the plants on summer evenings. Through August 30, on Monday and Wednesday nights, you can enjoy a relaxing stroll with a local soundtrack at the Denver Botanic Gardens York Street location.
Reggae on the Rocks: A summer with no Red Rocks shows is just not fun. Thankfully, the beloved, annual Reggae on the Rocks Festival – which has been around for over 30 years – is back! Spend a fun-filled weekend at Red Rocks Amphitheater with popular reggae bands such as Rebelution, Steel Pulse, Inner Circle, The Green, and many others.
The Alice: Everything you could ever want from an Alice in Wonderland-themed pop-up bar, including riddles, challenges, two drinks, and cakes demanding, “Eat me!” Through August 31.
Civic Center Eats: Good news! The annual food truck rally now serves dinner, too. Take your pick from nearly 20 trucks Tuesdays through Thursdays, at Civic Center Park (Broadway and Colfax) through September 30.
Night Bazaar: There are now two locations of the open-air market, bar, and food truck rally! On Fridays between 4-9 p.m. through August 27th, you can catch the rally at 2424 Larimer Street. Or, on Saturdays between 3-8 p.m., go to 1611 Raleigh Street. Admission is free!
As you can see, summer fun is still in swing and there’s plenty to do around the Denver Metro. Hope this quick list of activities helps you make the most of the rest of the season!