Maybe the best things in life really are free.
If you are traveling on a budget, there are plenty of fun things to do that don't cost a dime. Exploring Colorado's free city parks and trails is a given, whether on bike, foot, horseback or snowshoe during the winter.
But there are also many other freebies that you probably don't know about, such as opportunities to get free beer and whiskey, dance to free live jazz music, see free movies or even attend famous museums without opening your wallet.
Here are our favorite free things to do in Colorado.
1. Visit the famous Denver Art Museum. Although this museum regularly has an entry, it waves the cost on the first Saturday of every month. Learn more about the Free First Saturdays on the Denver Art Museum's website.
2. See animals at the Denver Zoo. Yes, you can visit the Denver Zoo for free occasionally, too. Kids 2 and younger always get in for free.
3. Visit one of the seven National Wildlife Refuges. These are always free. Consider them a local zoo — without walls. See wildlife in its natural habitat. If you're lucky, you may spot a moose, bald eagle or bison.
4. Tour a brewery — and drink free beer. Colorado loves its beer, and it loves sharing it, too. Here are 10 free brewery tours throughout Colorado, including the famous Odell and New Belgium.
5. Or swig spirits. Beer not your thing? Colorado's got your back. We are home to a growing number of local distilleries, and many are happy to walk you through a free tour, complete with tastings. One not to miss: Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey.
6. Join the First Friday Art Walk. The art districts in Denver come to life during the popular Art Walk events, which often feature live music, food, parties, entertainment, demonstrations and, of course, great art.
7. See a movie — in the park. While many outdoor movies are inexpensive, you can find a handful of totally free ones, too. One of the best bets are the free flicks in Civic Center Park, at an event organized by the Civic Center Conservancy, among others. Best of all, these movies are bike-in movies, so hop on your cruiser and you don't even have to pay for gas or parking.
8. Go to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. This museum is one of Denver's best attractions for families, and you can attend at no cost during its regular free days. Members get into the museum for free anytime, too.
9. Take a picture at exactly one mile high. A quintessential Colorado visitor activity is simple: Visit the state Capitol, climb to the 13th step and snap a pic. Here, you'll find the marker of 5,280 feet in elevation. While you're there, take a free tour of the gold-domed Capitol building.
10. Dance the night away. Enjoy free live jazz music at the City Park Bandstand and Pavilion every Sunday night in June and July. Swing dance under the stars.
11. Visit the Rocky Mountain National Park. Although Colorado's flagship park usually charges an entrance, it occasionally opens its gates to let visitors come in for free. Explore the trails, hike through the wildflowers, pop up a tent and keep your eyes peeled for bighorn sheep along the way. This park is one of Colorado's most incredible destinations year-round.
12. Tour the town by foot. Let your curiosity guide you along the 16th Street Mall and beyond — or sign up for one of the family-friendly, educational Denver Free Walking Tours. A trained guide takes you to see Denver's top landmarks, offers expert recommendations on what to do and where to go and all they request is participants tip whatever you feel the experience was worth.