Top 10 Outdoor Summer Activities in Denver

There's no shortage of sun in Colorado. It's said we get 300 days of sunshine. And, while you might consider summer to be over after Labor Day, know this: Balmy weather in Denver can stretch well into October. 

So, how can you fill up your summer itinerary with fun? 

Colorado has plenty of options. You can catch movies in the famed Red Rock amphiteater? You can "surf" within city limits in this landlocked. And, the Denver Zoo, for a limited time, has a pre-historic dinosaur exhibit. 

If summer weather leaves you itching to spend time outdoors, look no further than our list of Top 10 outdoor events in Denver. 

  • 01 of 10

    Attend a Concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre

    ••• Bob Ash/VISIT DENVER

    Located 15 miles west of Denver, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre boasts natural acoustics for outdoor concerts. While the amphitheater is in Morrison, the park falls under Denver's jurisidiction. Highlights of the 2017 concert schedule include Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt, En Vogue, Pretty Lights, String Cheese Incident and Reggae on the Rocks. 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
    ••• Photo by Ian Baldwin on Unsplash

    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. To truly indulge in Colorado's peaches, head to Jill's Restaurant and Bistro at the St. Julien in Boulder, where they serve a peach melba with raspberries and French vanilla ice cream.

  • 03 of 10
    City Park pavilion
    ••• The pavilion on Ferril Lake makes a scenic setting for a concert at City Park Jazz. Photo (c) 2007 Nina Davidson licensed to, Inc.

    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. You can find the summer 2017 line-up here.

  • 04 of 10

    Denver is eager to celebrate the summer. Look no further than its calendar full of summer festivals. The festival season gets started with a cool Chalk Art Festival that takes over Larimer Square with professional artists transforming the sidewalks into stunning art. 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 goes out on a high note with the popular Taste of Colorado Festival that features food from local restaurants, as well as free concerts throughout Labor Day Weekend.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 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. Yes, even in this landlocked state you can catch waves in the surf simulator. Among the newest attractions is Cowabunga Beach, a wave pool at the front of the park that's been converted into a boogy boarding pool. 

  • 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. Also, throughout the summer and fall 2017, the Denver Zoo has some 21 life-sized animatronic zoos throughout the zoo.

  • 08 of 10

    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. On a cooler summer night, the hotel will toss out blankets for you to bundle up in near the fire pits. 

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Hit the Greens at Denver Public Golf Courses

    ••• 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. For a fun family day, you can head to the city's Aqua Golf, which includes 36 (yes, 36!) miniature golf holes with sand traps and water features as well as the signature driving hole that goes out into the water.

  • 10 of 10

    Admire the Denver Botanic Gardens


    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. to 8 p.m. daily.

    This article was updated by Brittany Anas