National Western Stock Show and Rodeo: The National Western Stock Show and Rodeo (tel. 303/297-1166) is held the second and third weeks of January. The rodeo takes place at the Denver Coliseum, and other activities at the National Western Complex and the Event Center. With more than $500,000 available in prize money and 600,00 people in attendance, this is one of the world’s richest and largest rodeos.
Martin Luther King Parade (March and Parade), starting at Civic Center Park. The largest MLK, Jr. march and rally in the United States regularly draws upward of 30,000 people. Participants gather at City Park and march to Civic Center Park, where a large rally takes place to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. (303) 331-4113
Early February: Colorado Crush Arena Football Opening Game, at the Pepsi Center. John Elway’s Colorado Crush debuts. (303) 352-1000
Mid February: Opera Colorado Opening Season, at The Temple Buell Theater. The season continues into the Spring.(303) 893-4100
Late February: All About Kids Expo,, at the Colorado Convention Center. The annual kids expo features a fun-filled forum with games and music for children, and parents can check out child-friendly exhibitors, including health and childcare services, Rocky Mountain PBS and the Denver Zoo. (303) 282-5073
Late February: (28) Buffalo Bill’s Birthday Celebration, at the Buckhorn.
The 100+-year old Buckhorn Exchange Restaurant (one of Buffalo Bill’s favorite watering holes) celebrates his birthday every February 28, with an annual party, look-alike contest, western music, Old West gunfights and other events. (303) 534-9505
Buffalo Bill’s Birthday Party, Feb. 28, at the Buffalo Bill Museum.
At Buffalo Bill’s gravesite, high on top of Lookout Mountain, the Buffalo Bill Museum has a festival with music, entertainment and free admission to the museum. Up to a dozen Buffalo Bill look-alikes attend the event, and celebrate Bill’s birthday with a huge cake.(303) 526-0744.
Chinese New Year, February .This colorful event celebrates the new year with traditional Chinese music, food, and martial arts demonstrations and dance. (303) 623-5163
Denver March Pow Wow, Mid-March. One of the nation’s largest annual Native American gatherings, the Pow Wow features over 700 dancers and musicians from 70 tribes.Authentic arts and crafts, drumming competitions, dance contests and Native American food highlight this colorful event.(303) 934-8045.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Mid-March .A Rocky Mountain version of this famous Irish event features the city’s biggest annual parade with thousands of horses, stagecoaches, marching bands, floats and fun, all with a “Western” flair.Numerous events in downtown follow the parade. (303) 321-7888.
Starz XicanIndie Film Festival, Early April, at the StarzFilm Center on the Auraria campus. The Denver Film Society hosts this three-day event, featuring a collection of films dealing with the Hispanic experience. (303) 595-3456
Ballpark Market, April -October in Ballpark Neighborhood on Larimer between 21st and 22nd.Denver’s urban open-air flea market will be the place to find 100+ vendors selling antiques, furniture, art, clothing, fresh flowers and so much more! Rain or shine, find your treasures here every second Saturday from April to October.(303) 589-2800
Colorado Rockies Home Opener, Mid-April , .Join this Major League Baseball team for their home opener at Coors Field against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Coors Field is surrounded by LoDo, short for “Lower Downtown,” the 26-square block historic district that is home to 80 sports bars, brew pubs and restaurants.
Earth Day at The Denver Botanic Gardens, Mid-April, at the Chatfield Nature Preserve at the Denver Botanic Gardens. The Gardens commemorate this day with free activities, including building birdhouses, picking up litter, planting flowers and enjoying arts and crafts. (720) 865-3500
Starz Denver PanAfrican Film Festival, Late April at the Starz FilmCenter on the Auraria campus. The Denver Film Society pays tribute to the African film experience. (303) 595-3456
Cinco de Mayo, Late April/early May.This is the largest Cinco de Mayo event in the United States, drawing over 400,000 people to Civic Center Park in downtown Denver where hundreds of booths sell Latino food, crafts and art.Several stages feature traditional to contemporary Latino entertainment, from Aztec dancers to strolling Mariachi bands. Mexican dancers in colorful costume, rock and popular groups from Mexico and the best authentic burritos in town are some of the highlights.Cinco de Mayo commemorates the historic Battle of Puebla, Mexico on May 5th of 1862 fought between Mexican guerillas who successfully defended the town against an invasion by a powerful French army. Today, the holiday is a symbol of national pride and unity for Mexicans and people of Mexican descent everywhere. (303) 534-8342, ext. 106.
Colorado Artists Festival, May at the Denver Pavilions, at 16th Street and Glenarm Place. Performance art, educational demonstrations, representational and non-representational works are all a part of this four-day festival Memorial Day weekend.(303)-388-2137, (720) 933-6117
City Park Festival of the Arts, May .This free celebration of one of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods includes amateur and professional artists displaying and selling artwork, as well as nine local bands performing throughout the day. Storytellers, poets and historians will also be on hand to provide entertainment for all ages and cultures. (303) 333-6063
Jazz on the Vine, May at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Purchase discounted tickets in advance for an evening of fine international wines, food and complementary tunes. (720) 865-3500
CHUN Capitol Hill People’s Fair, early June. A Denver tradition for the beginning of summer with 250,000 people attending the city’s most eclectic neighborhood festival. Multiple stages with continuous entertainment, 550 art and craft booths and a food bazaar offering everything from turkey legs to Indonesian specialties, all in beautiful Civic Center Park.(303) 830-1651.
Opera Pops: Central City Opera season opener, early June at the Marriott City Center in downtown Denver. The opera season opens with a selection of fast-paced, opera classics performed by a group of international artists. (303) 292-6700, (800) 851-8175
Annual Summer Art Market, Mid-June . The Art Students League of Denver hosts the Annual Summer Art Market. The artwork of ASLD faculty, students and members will be exhibited and offered for sale with a price to fit every budget. Voted “Best Arts Festival” by Westword, this event has grown to include over 130 artists.(303) 778-6990.
Ride the Rockies, Late June , location to be decided. The annual bicycle tour pedals through challenging mountain passes. (303) 820 1338
Fuller’s Denver Polo Classic, Late June. The largest professional polo spectator event in the Rocky Mountain Region combines the thrill of competition with the beauty of horsemanship. Gourmet food, wine tasting, and live entertainment.(303) 832-8390
Cherry Blossom Festival, Late June .Celebrate Japanese culture through performances, exhibits, food and drink, and lively demonstrations. Taiko drums, martial arts, the tea ceremony, and teriyaki chicken are just some of the highlights, held at Sakura Square.(303) 295-1844
Central City Opera Summer Festival, Late June-August, at the Central City Opera. The opera season officially takes off. . (303) 292-6700, (800) 851-8175
PrideFest, Late June starting at Cheesman Park. A morning parade leads to a flamboyant festival in Civic Center Park filled with food, live music and information from and about the local gay and lesbian community. (303) 733-7743
Botanic Gardens’ Concert Series, June at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Jazz, pop, folk and blues artists return for another summer at Denver’s most intimate outdoor venue. (720) 865-3500
Colorado Renaissance Festival, Every Saturday and Sunday, June-August . “Joust for you” kicks off the annual Renaissance Festival in a 350-acre evergreen forest south of Denver in Larkspur. Colorado’s premier summertime event offers, fun, pageantry, over 200 artisans and food fit for a king all in a 16th century marketplace. Also, armored knights on horseback in the
Denver Blues and Bones Festival, June at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium. Blues and barbecue come together for this annual outdoor festival. (303) 295-1195
Denver International Buskerfest, June on the 16th Street Mall. Jugglers, magicians, contortionists and other bizarre street performers converge on downtown Denver. (303) 295-1195
Juneteenth, Mid-June .Denver celebrates Juneteenth in the Five Points neighborhood, commemorating the end of slavery in Texas, with a parade, Gospel Extravaganza, entertainment and delicious and exotic food.(303) 832-3770
Mayor’s Music Festival , June at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The mayor hosts his annual festival, headlined by jazz and R&B acts. (303) 640-2637
Cherry Creek Arts Festival, early July. Ranked as the No.1 fine arts and craft exhibition in the nation, this festival draws more than 250,000 people to Cherry Creek North, a tree-lined area of shops, galleries and cafés. All 200 of the participating artists are selected by a jury and represent every type of media from photography and watercolor, to jewelry and glass. Entertaining music and dance performances are held on several stages and food can be found at “Culinary Row,” a series of 18 booths from Denver’s top restaurants offering a variety of signature dishes. (303) 355-2787.
Colorado Gay Rodeo, Mid-July at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. This traditional rodeo adds features such as a goat dressing and a Wild Drag Race. (303) 839-8810
Colorado Irish Festival, Mid-July. Traditional Irish music performed by international stars, Irish Feis (Irish Dancing competition), Irish Drama and Storytelling, crafts, souvenirs, games, food and of course, Irish drink. Clement Park, Bowles and Pierce St.(303) 561-4007
National Hot Rod Association/POWERade Mopar Parts Mile High Nationals, Mid-July, at Bandimere Speedway. High-speed hot rods return to Morrison’s drag strip. (800) 664-8946
AT&T LoDo Music Festival, July in LoDo. Six stages featuring national acts are joined by street performances, a drum circle, tons of food and merchandise galore. (303) 295-1195
Confluence Concerts, starting July . Free summer concert series on the Riverfront, where Cherry Creek meets the South Platte River at Confluence Park in Lower Downtown, featuring the best in local entertainment – from jazz and blues to classical performances. Every Thursday in July. (303) 637-2645
Wildnights at the Denver Zoo, every Wednesday beginning July .Discover the mystery and magic of the Denver Zoo at twilight while exploring cultures from around the world. This multi-cultural event celebrates the influence of animals on worldwide music, stories, cuisine and beliefs. (303) 376-4846
Dragon Boat Festival, July 31 – August 1, .Colorful boats decorated as dragons highlight this annual event at Sloans Lake. In addition to all-day boat races, this pan-Asian sport and cultural event features live Asian entertainment and an Asian marketplace for food and gifts. (303) 722-6852
Denver Grand Prix, Mid-August. Start your engines : the Denver Grand Prix is coming to the Mile High City. For three days, the area around the Pepsi Center in downtown Denver will be turned into a rack track seating 60,000 people. The 1.68-mile track will see Indy cars racing through 14 turns at speeds between 165 and 175 miles per hour.(888) 827-7333
Colorado Scottish Festival, Mid-August, .A celebration of the Celtic world with music, clan tents, pipe bands, drumming, Scottish athletic competitions, highland dancing and folk music.(303) 238-6524.
Colorado State Fair, Late August-Labor Day weekend, at the Pueblo Fairgrounds. Parades, concerts, contests, animals and art exhibitions return to the fairgrounds. (800) 876-4567, (719) 561-8484
Rocky Mountain Balloon Festival, Late August, at Chatfield State Park.A spectacular sight as hundreds of hot-air balloons in all shapes and sizes take-off together at sunrise.Other activities include a “balloon glow” on Saturday night and a “Benefits of Space” exhibit presented by NASA. (303) 697-1039
Corn Maze Opening, August-October at Chatfield Nature Preserve, Murray Farms and Anderson Farms. Corn fields are carved into intricate mazes for fall. (720) 865-3500,
Festival of Mountain & Plain: A Taste of Colorado, Labor Day Weekend .Denver celebrates Labor Day Weekend with a feast and a festival in Civic Center Park for 400,000 people. Enjoy the free entertainment, great food from 50 of Colorado’s best restaurants, artisans and carnival rides.(303) 295-6330.
Larimer Square’s Annual Oktoberfest, mid-September, .This fall tradition is celebrated at Larimer Square, a restored section of Denver’s oldest street.German bands, dancing, oompah bands, beer, bratwurst, food booths, colorful costumes, a Kinderplatz and of course, more beer.(303) 685-8143
Great American Beer Festival, Late September, at the Colorado Convention Center. The biggest gathering of beer aficionados boasts more than 1,500 different beers from 300 American breweries. (303) 447-0816
The Colorado Performing Arts Festival, September at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.Demonstrations of the state’s rich and diverse performing arts are displayed including dance, theater, music, opera, story-telling and more, all at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, the largest such center under one roof in the US with 9 theaters seating 10,000 people.(303) 640-6952.
Colorado Ballet season opens in September .The ballet releases its schedule each February. (303) 893-4100
El Grito de la Independencia Fiesta, September . This celebration of Mexican Independence from Spain includes live music on three different stages, authentic Mexican food, a variety of arts and crafts exhibitors, children’s attractions and colorful cultural costumes. The event is held from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the new City Light Pavilion located in the heart of lower downtown Denver.(303) 534-8342
The Starz Denver International Film Festival, Mid-October, at The Temple Buell Theater and the Starz FilmCenter on the Auraria Campus. Dozens of filmmakers introduce a slate of new movies. (303) 595-3456 or www.denverfilm.org
Boo at the Zoo, October at the Denver Zoo. The Denver Zoo transforms into a haunted park filled with mysterious creatures and fun for tiny trick-or-treaters. (303) 376-4800
Holiday Gift & Garden Market, November at the Denver Botanic Gardens. The 39th annual Gardens’ holiday shopping event features horticultural and crafty gifts, as well as good and beverages. (720) 865-3500
Light Up Larimer! November on Larimer Square. Organizers flip the switch on the shopping district, kicking off the holiday season downtown. (303) 685-8143
Denver Christkindl Market, November-December at the Denver Pavilions. German culture comes to the shopping center with more than 30 vendors serving gingerbread, smoked sausage, roasted nuts, beer and hot spiced wine. (303) 260- 6000
Winterfest, Weekends, November -January .Larimer Square becomes a holiday extravaganza every weekend featuring carolers, a tuba concert, ice sculpting, and other activities. The festivities are kicked off with a lighting ceremony on the first day. Victorian buildings are decked out in evergreens and ribbons. (303) 534-2367.
Blossoms of Light, December at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Each December night showcases an illuminated 12 acres of the gardens, featuring carolers, dancers and other festive sights. (720) 865-3500
Georgetown Christmas Market, December . The magic of an old-fashioned Christmas is recaptured in Victorian Georgetown.In the tradition of the Swedish Julmarknad and the German Christmarket, there will be crafts, homemade foods, and delicious European foods.(303) 569-2840
Xcel Energy Parade of Lights, December starting at the Denver City and County building. Two dazzling evenings of floats, costumes, the state’s top marching bands and magnificent lights. (303) 534-6161
Annual Tuba Christmas, December on Larimer Square. What started out as a small gathering of tuba players has emerged as a holiday tradition with more than 300 musicians performing a concert with Christmas favorites. (303) 685-8143