Some of the coolest things to do in Colorado are free. You can climb the stairs or roll out your yoga mat and marvel at the beauty of Red Rocks Amphitheater. You can walk along a loop in City Park that’s exactly 5,280 feet (AKA a Mile High!) in elevation. Or, you can watch money get manufactured during a free tour at the Denver Mint.
But, if you are going to shell out some cash, $10 will get you pretty far here.
Whether you’re traveling on a budget or want to play tourist in your own city, here are 10 things you can do in Denver, all for under $10.
Tour the Byers-Evans House
This historic landmark was the home of two early Denver pioneers. The Byers-Evans house was originally occupied by William Byers, the owner of the Rocky Mountain News newspaper, which has since folded. It was sold to William Gray Evans, who was the oldest son of a former Colorado governor and the president of Denver Tramway Company. For $6 you can tour the 1883 home, where you’ll see ornate mantles, polished wood finishes and brightly patterned wallpapers. The home also houses rotating galleries. Currently, it’s showing the exhibit "Carrying the Torch of Liberty: Colorado Women’s Work in World War I.” It’s the first in a series that will explore the stories of women’s contributions to Colorado.
Play Arcade Games at 1UP
Go ahead, just round up loose change from the couch and head to 1UP, a retro arcade with pinball machines and other throwback games. After the Skee-ball machines eat up all of your quarters, you can get in on a free game of giant Jenga. 1UP has two Denver locations. The LoDo location is in a basement and has 45 classic video games and 16 pinball machines. The Colfax location is roomier, with a stage that hosts live music, 90 arcade games and 42 pinball machines. On any given night you could hear a Beastie Boys cover band or a punk rock band.
Ninety-five percent of artist Clyfford Still’s artwork is on display in this museum, which opened in 2011 in Denver’s up-and-coming central arts district. Mystery had surrounded much of Still’s work as he ended his relationship with commercial galleries in 1950 and only a select few of his works entered the market. In all, visitors can view 3,125 works created by the abstract expressionist painter between 1920 and 1980. Adult admission is $10.
The Source is a a modern-day food hall that breathed new life into an old foundry building. You can pop into a spice shop, grab a beer at the brewery or check out artwork on display from local artists. One of our favorite picks: griddled tacos at Comida, a food truck that expanded into a restaurant. You can sample three of the Mexican street tacos — bacon and jalapeno and chimayo chili roasted chicken are favorites — for under $10. Then, walk off all those calories on a self-guided tour around the arty RiNo neighborhood. Bright murals will greet you around just about any corner.
An interactive experience, this exhibit was developed by leading counterterrorism experts and was designed by Academy and Emmy Award-winning artists. The museum’s goal? Educating visitors about terrorism so they can play a role in enhancing public safety. The lab recommends that visitors be at least 14 years of age. Admission is $8.
Stargaze at the Chamberlin Observatory
Gaze up at the stars at the the University of Denver’s historic Chamberlin Observatory on “public nights” (Tuesdays and Thursdays). Multi-media astronomy presentations start off the night, then visitors are allowed to use the Chamberlin’s famous telescope: a 20-inch Alvan Clark-Saegmuller refractor that makes it easy to see the moon, stars, planets, galaxies and other wonders of the sky. If it’s cloudy, visitors will get a tour of the observatory and an animated video display of the sky for the past month. Adult admission is $4.
Play in Skyline Park
This three-block park in the heart of downtown always has something going on. In the summer, you can play free games like putt-putt and corn hole, relax at pop-up dog parks, or grab a drink in temporary beer gardens. During winter months, you can go ice skating at the at the Skyline Rink. It’s free to skate and you can either bring your own ice skates or rent a pair (rentals start at $6).
This is how you say “beer me!” in Denver. This LoDo brewery holds a “Keep the Glass” night every Tuesday night. You get a quirky glass with dancing cats on it, plus three, 10-ounce pours of your choice of beer. The menu rotates, but you'll find creative brews like a tiramisu stout or a cherry gose that’s not too tart.
Amusement parks are notoriously expensive, but Lakeside Amusement Park is an exception. The park that originally opened in 1908, and you can still ride the original carousel. Back in the day, the amusement park, which is perched on a lake, also had a swimming pool and dance hall. Now, you can still ride rollercoasters—including the famed “Wild Chipmunk” and a wooden rollercoaster—in Colorado’s oldest amusement park. The entrance fee to the park is $3 and then ride tickets cost 50 cents. Rides cost anywhere between 1 and 6 coupons. Your admission gets you one 50-cent ride credit.
Learn the real-life story about Denver’s Titanic heroine and activist Margaret “Molly” Brown through a guided tour at her opulent house that’s preserved in the city’s Capital Hill neighborhood. The Molly Brown House Museum was built in 1880. Molly Brown and her husband J.J. Brown purchased the home in 1894 after striking it rich in the gold mines. The home was in Molly Brown’s possession until she passed away in 1932. The home was spared from potential demolition in 1970 by Historic Denver, Inc. Inside the home, you’ll get a glimpse of the Brown’s lavish lifestyle, learn about her legacy during a 45-minute tour and see historic photos that were taken while Brown lived in the house. Tickets start at $5.