If you’re looking for fresh mountain air, bountiful sunshine, and a host of different things to do, you need to book a trip to Denver, Colorado. And although each season in this city has its unique advantages and drawbacks, the best time to visit Denver is the summertime.
If you already know what you want to do or know what you prefer for a visit, use this handy list to shorten your planning time.
Events and Festivals
Like most destinations in the US, summer is the best time for events and festivals in Denver. No matter what you like, the Mile High City has something for you from June to August. Music lovers have many festivals or any concert at famous Red Rocks Amphitheater, food lovers have A Taste of Colorado and other gastronomy festivals to choose from, and even plant lovers can find summer exhibitions at Denver’s Botanic Gardens. If you want the most to do and the best weather to do it, summer is the time for you.
Summer is the most popular time, so winter is the best time to visit Denver if you don’t like crowds. The small crowd sizes come with the colder temperatures, but be aware that not everything is open for business in Denver during winter. Make sure what you want to see or do is open before booking and enjoy it at its least crowded.
Denver can experience precipitation any day of the year, but the best time for pleasant weather is Summer. Denver is found in the semi-arid continental climate zone, which is a fancy way of saying the temperatures don’t get too extreme, and there’s not a lot of precipitation. That means most can enjoy Denver’s summer all-day and into the comfortable nights. Denver’s temperatures are even, but be aware of triple-digits during summer.
The shoulder seasons of spring and fall are generally the best value per dollar. Accommodations are at their cheapest, and most attractions aren’t charging peak pricing. Many attractions are also cheaper during the winter, but with shoulder season, you'll find that many more attractions and events are open, and the weather is more enjoyable.
Summer is the best time to visit Denver due to a combination of great weather, events, festivals, and attractions. (However, that also means that summer is the most crowded time in the city.) There’s no potential of snow or ice to cancel any events, and major thunderstorms are infrequent and short-lived. Summer can get hot, but low humidity keeps the heat tolerable. Summer highs can occasionally hover anywhere from the high 90s to triple-digits, so pack appropriately and always keep an eye on kids in the heat.
There are several festivals, attractions, and events to choose from no matter what your family or you and your friends like. Summer brings the re-opening of Elitch Gardens Theme Park, the big bloom at Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado Rockies baseball, and more.
Events to Check Out:
- Cherry Creek Arts Festival traditionally occurs in early July in the shopping and business neighborhood known as Cherry Creek. Hundreds of artists from around the globe display their work for admirations and buy.
- A Taste of Colorado is held on Labor Day weekend and is a great time to try unique brews and bites with over 50 unique vendors.
- There are several multi-artist music festivals in and close to Denver during summer including Grandoozy, Juneteenth, and many more.
- Coors Field and the hometown Rockies can be enjoyed all summer long. If you aren’t a baseball fan, you can hang out at the rooftop at Coors Field.
During spring flowers begin to open up, wildlife wakes up, and the city comes back to life after winter. If you love snow and all the activities that come with it, spring is your ideal time to visit Denver. (That said, if you don’t like precipitation, spring is not the right time to visit Denver.) March is Denver’s snowiest month at more than 11 inches, and May is Denver’s rainiest month. Temperatures are comfortable during mid- and late spring, which allows you to take part in plenty of outdoor activities.
Events to Check Out:
- The Denver Chalk Art Festival is fun for the whole family. Get your hands dirty and colorful while 200 unique artists use sidewalk chalk to create masterpieces.
- If you want something a little more ‘refined’ than chalk art, you can visit the Downtown Denver Arts Festival held in late May.
- If you’re in need of culture you can try to Cinco De Mayo Fest, a two-day festival normally held the weekend before May 5, or you can get funky at the Five Points Jazz Festival around mid-May.
Although the weather can get crisp, fall is a still a great time to visit Denver. Snow is not uncommon, but most of the snow and colder weather reserve itself for January and later. Highs in fall tend to hover around the 50s to the 70s while lows generally don’t get past freezing temperatures until December (you should still pack warm and waterproof clothing, though, as freezing temps and snow can strike the area unpredictably.) You can still enjoy parks, hikes around the city, and other outdoor activities without freezing in the fall.
There are also plenty of events and activities during the fall, including home football games for the Denver Broncos but late fall is the time many outdoor attractions and events shut down for the season.
Events to Check Out:
- Great American Beer Fest (GABF) traditionally falls around the first fall weekend and attracts beer lovers and brewers from around the globe. GABF is one of the top beer festivals in the world and can’t be missed if you like your suds.
- Denver residents love their Broncos and going to a Sunday Bronco game can be quite the event. Make sure to tailgate for local brews and eats.
- Close to a half-million people make it to Denver’s Oktoberfest and if you love brats and beer – Oktoberfest can’t be beaten.
Denver is at its slowest during the winter, and that includes tourism. If you like visiting a city without getting caught in throngs of people or sweating through lines, then Denver in winter is the right time for you. Though many outdoor attractions shut down during Denver winters, there are still plenty of great indoor activities including museums, sports, breweries, restaurants, and much more. Visiting Denver during the winter will give you the most intimate experience of the city.
Weather-wise, since Denver is a four-season state, you can expect a true winter. Denver winter temperature highs tend to not push past the low 50s while lows can get into the teens and single digits. With the cold comes freezing rain, wind, snow, and ice that can ruin anyone’s plans. If you don’t do well in the cold, winter is not the right time to visit.
Events to Check Out:
- Many plants go dormant in Denver’s Botanic Gardens during winter, but the gardens themselves are still alive with activity. Try the Botanic Garden’s Blossom of Lights Tour for a unique perspective in a beautiful setting.
- Denver’s Parade of Lights is traditionally held in early December so while it’s not technically winter, it’s a winter-themed event.
- Denver’s Christkindl Market opens from late fall into winter and is a great place to go to get into the holiday spirit. You can expect holiday-themed crafts, delicious treats from around the world, live music, and plenty more.