Top 10 Outdoor Summer Activities in Denver

If summer weather leaves you itching to spend time outdoors, look no further than our list of top 10 outdoor events in Denver. From concerts at Red Rocks to visiting the Denver Zoo, there's no shortage of ways to find fun in the sun this summer.

  • 01 of 10

    Attend a Concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre

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    ••• Bob Ash/VISIT DENVER

    Located 15 miles west of Denver, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre boasts natural acoustics for outdoor concerts. Highlights of the 2016 concert schedule include Dolly Parton, Sublime, Widespread Panic and Eric Church. You can also check out the Film On The Rocks series, where a band and a comedian perform before the featured movie shows. The natural setting makes for a memorable musical experience, and the park also features numerous hiking trails.

  • 02 of 10

    Enjoy fresh produce at farmers markets around the Denver area, from Cherry Creek to Belmar. Colorado peaches, tomatoes and other healthy fruits and vegetables are on display according to their seasons, and most farmers markets also have a wide variety of gourmet treats such as homemade salsa. Late in the summer, peaches get its own festival at the Lafayette Peach Festival.

  • 03 of 10

    Enjoy Free Jazz in City Park

    Smooth jazz and sultry nights make the perfect combination for summer concerts. Free jazz concerts from City Park Jazz are held every Sunday in Denver's City Park from June through August. Pack a picnic and unfurl your blanket. This concert is like a grand finale to a great weekend.

  • 04 of 10
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    ••• Photo © Nina Snyder

    Summertime, when the living is easy, and summer festivals abound in the Denver area. From the Colorado Renaissance Festival to the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, there's something for everyone. The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, pictured at left, celebrates Asian culture every July at Sloan's Lake. Summer ends with the popular Taste of Colorado Festival that features food from local restaurants, as well as free concerts throughout Labor Day Weekend.

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  • 05 of 10

    Splash into summer at one of Denver's 16 outdoor pools.The outdoor pools are open from June through August. Or, head to Water World in Federal Heights. The amusement park has more than 55 attractions and new for 2016 is a fun wave pool that you can boogie board in.

  • 06 of 10
    Castlewood Canyon
    ••• Photo © Nina Snyder

    If the city is stifling your inner hiker, head out of town for these five hikes within a short drive of Denver. The terrain ranges from paved trails to rugged climbs, but all make for scenic day hikes. Find surprise extras in these parks, like camping in a yurt or spotting some rare birds with your binoculars.

  • 07 of 10

    Visit the Denver Zoo

    Giraffe Encounter at Denver Zoo
    ••• Photo © Aron Snyder

    Take a walk on the wild side at the Denver Zoo, which houses more than 4,000 animals. The zoo is open daily during the summer. The Denver Zoo is located on 80 acres in City Park at 2300 Steele St. The zoo's newest exhibit, Giraffe Encounter, allows visitors to feed giraffes from an elevated platform for an extra small fee.

  • 08 of 10
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    ••• VISIT DENVER

    Sneak a peek at the new Denver Art Museum, or take a tour of the Colorado State Capitol with our walking tour. Denver's historic neighborhood of Capitol Hill features a mix of the old and new. Bask in the 19th-century charm of the Byers-Evans House or admire the modernism of the new wing of the Denver Art Museum. Stop in at the new ART Hotel which opened in 2015 for a drink in the Fire Lounge.

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  • 09 of 10

    Hit the Greens at Denver Public Golf Courses

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    ••• Stan Obert/VISIT DENVER

    Ah, a gorgeous summer day. Who wants to be toiling away in a dim cubicle when you could be playing golf? The City of Denver runs seven public golf courses across the metro area. From the 18 holes at City Park to the 9 holes at Harvard Gulch, golfers of all levels can appreciate the fairest fairways in town.

  • 10 of 10

    Admire the Denver Botanic Gardens

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    ••• VISIT DENVER

    Colorado's dry climate challenges gardeners across the state, but the Denver Botanic Gardens always provide inspiration. The gardens contain more than 32,000 types of plants, as well as xeriscape gardens that require little water. The Denver Botanic Gardens' summer hours are 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. daily.

    This article was updated by Brittany Anas