Top 10 Outdoor Summer Activities in Denver

Shadows of Denver

Alex Benison (AMBimages)/Getty Images

There's no shortage of sun in Colorado. It's said they 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 watch movies in the famed Red Rock Amphitheater. You can "surf" within city limits in this landlocked.

If summer weather leaves you itching to spend time outdoors, look no further than these top 10 outdoor events in Denver. 

01 of 10

Attend a Concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre

 Rob Lee (CC BY-ND 2.0) / Flickr

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 jurisdiction. The natural setting makes for a memorable musical experience, and the park also features numerous hiking trails.

02 of 10

Shop at a Farmers Market

Courtesy of South Pearl Street

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

Enjoy Free Jazz in City Park

 Courtesy of City Park Jazz

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

Enjoy Summer Festivals

 Courtesy of Denver Chalk Art Festival

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.

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05 of 10

Surf's up in the City

Water World
Visit Denver

Splash into summer at one of Denver's 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 boogie boarding pool. 

06 of 10

Go Hiking on Trails Near Denver

Autumn leaves in mountain landscape
Patrick Lienin/Getty Images

If the city is stifling your inner hiker, head out of town for 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

 Courtesy of Denver Zoo

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

Take a Walking Tour of Capitol Hill

Colorado State Capitol

Jennifer Broome / TripSavvy 

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. 

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09 of 10

Hit the Greens at Denver Public Golf Courses

 headfirstforhalos13 / Twenty20

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 Botanic Gardens

Denver Botanical Gardens

Jennifer Broome / TripSavvy

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. 

This article was updated by Brittany Anas

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