The days have already started getting shorter, but summer is far from over in The Mile High City. In the weeks leading up to a festive Labor Day weekend, Denver will host a brand new, reimagined professional cycling race; and the city will be the very first to show the Broadway-bound production of Disney’s Frozen. There will also be annual favorite events, blockbuster exhibition debuts and world tour stops to help celebrate the summer finale.
“We are thrilled to welcome several new national and international events to The Mile High City this year,” says Richard Scharf, president and CEO of VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Late-summer is a perfect time for us to showcase our 300 days of sunshine, urban adventure and remarkable cultural offerings; and these new events and exhibitions – which are attracted to Denver for those very reasons – coupled with perennial favorite food, art and music events are going to make this a summer finale to remember.”
Below are several events taking place during Denver’s summer finale; for a full list of events, exhibitions and more – including hotel deals – go to the VISIT DENVER website.
NEW Colorado Classic & Velorama Colorado Festival, August 11-13
Professional bike racing will return to the Centennial State with the new Colorado Classic, a four-day series of races that will bring together top international men and women cyclists. Races are scheduled in Colorado Springs and Breckenridge with a big finale weekend in Denver, where the women’s criterium will be on Friday, followed by the men’s Peak to Peak Highway out-and-back race on Saturday, and the exciting men’s city circuit through Denver’s neighborhoods and the beautiful City Park on Sunday, all culminating in an exciting finish in the center of the hip RiNo (River North) Arts District.
The Denver stages will also include a three-day street party spanning more than 12 city blocks. The aptly-named Velorama Colorado will feature live music – including headliners Wilco and Death Cab for Cutie and the Old 97s – a bike expo with 150 exhibitors, food, craft beer and various cycling events in RiNo. It will be coupled with an expanded Denver Flea highlighting nearly 200 artisan vendors.
Frozen Premiere, August 17 – October 1
The beloved Disney tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves comes to life on the stage in August. The show features a renowned Broadway cast and creative team including Caissie Levy as Elsa and Patti Murinas Anna, along with Tony Award-winning choreographer Rob Ashford. Premiering at the Buell Theatre in Denver first – before it reaches Broadway in New York – the highly anticipated new musical will run through October 1, 2017.
A Taste of Colorado, September 1-4
This festival, held in Denver’s Civic Center Park and on the surrounding streets, highlights some of Colorado’s favorite food establishments – from ethnic specialties to traditional favorites, diners can enjoy full-sized or sample portions of their favorites throughout the festival.
Denver Food + Wine Festival, September 5-10
Denver Food + Wine Festival is a multi-day extravaganza of food, wine and spirits education, promotion and tastings at locations around the city. Events include new and classic options like Dinner Under the Stars, a Culinary Cinema Series, SHAKE DOWN (a cocktail event) and the signature event, The Grand Tasting. Denver Food + Wine Festival aims to highlight industry impact, promote workforce development and celebrate Denver as a culinary destination.
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre Summer Concert Series
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre is a world-famous outdoor concert and recreation venue located approximately 30 minutes from Denver. The only naturally-occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world, Red Rocks is recognized for its star-studded concert roster and ambience, as well as its awe-inspiring hiking and biking trails. Headliners in August and September include Darius Rucker, Thievery Corporation, A Tribe Called Quest, Pretty Lights, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Muse and more. In addition to concerts, the venue also hosts a Film on the Rocks series, featuring cult classics.
Arts & Culture
Final Weeks of Vikings: Beyond the Legend, through August 13
In what is the largest collection of Viking artifacts to visit North America, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s Vikings: Beyond the Legend lays waste to the one-dimensional stereotype of bearded barbarians with horned helmets and showcases a culture of surprising refinement, complexity and achievement. Fresh insights revealed through new archaeological discoveries and more than 500 treasures, many never before seen outside of Scandinavia, show why the Vikings will always capture peoples’ imaginations.
The Western: An Epic in Art and Film, through September 10
The Western: An Epic in Art and Film at the Denver Art Museum is the first major exhibition to examine the Western genre and its evolution from the mid-1800s to the present through fine art, film, and popular culture. Featuring 160 works, the exhibition explores gender roles, race relations and gun violence—offering a visual journey that is more than cowboys and American Indians, pursuits and duels, or bandits and barroom brawls.
Biennial of the Americas, September 12-16
The Biennial of the Americas festival connects the people of Denver with their community and with the Americas. Bringing together inspiring artists, innovators, leaders and experts from the Denver metro area and from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean together around the most pressing issues of our time, the festival features art exhibitions, installations and cultural programming.
Calder: Monumental, through September 24
American artist Alexander Calder (1898-1976) is considered one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century and is known for his bold, energetic sculptures. Calder: Monumental at Denver Botanic Gardens features these iconic works of bolted steel plate – which rise in sweeping curves or puncture space with geometric lines – revealing the artist’s exploration of forms, volumes and voids. Using shapes that resonate with the natural world, Calder’s large lively abstractions will interact with Denver Botanic Gardens’ vibrant landscape.
Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place, through October 22
Denver Art Museum’s Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place features site-specific installations by 13 Latino artists that express experiences of contemporary life in the American West. Energizing and vibrant artwork is presented by Denver artists and Dmitri Obergfell and Jaime Carrejo, as well as artists from around the country.
DINOS! Live, through October 31
Denver Zoo is taking visitors back in time with DINOS! Live, an exhibit through which animatronic dinosaurs come to life around the park. Guests will see Mesozoic marvels, from a tyrannosaurus rex to a stegosaurus, and be able to compare them to animals that live at the Zoo and in the wild today.
Common Ground, August 13 – November 12
Denver Art Museum will host Common Ground, the first comprehensive American exhibition of photographer Fazal Sheikh’s work, featuring more than 100 images of individuals living in displaced and marginalized communities around the world.
Backstory: Western American Art in Context, through February 11, 2018
Artists of the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries captured the landscapes and people of a rapidly changing West – as events set in motion dynamics that still shape the region today. Backstory: Western American Art in Context at History Colorado Center pairs nearly 50 masterpieces from the Denver Art Museum’s renowned collection with History Colorado’s wealth of artifacts to tell the stories beyond the art.
Nature’s Amazing Machines, through January 1, 2018
Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s exhibition, Nature’s Amazing Machines, uses real objects, scientific models and hands-on elements to showcase the marvels of natural engineering. Discover how a giraffe’s heart pumps blood up its long neck, how a toucan stays cool in the jungle and how it might feel to fly. Visitors will also see modern designs inspired by natural adaptations, like Velcro, wind turbines and chainsaws.
First Friday Art Walks (First Friday of every month) – On the First Friday of every month galleries, studios and cultural attractions in Denver’s creative neighborhoods stay open late for a night of art, food, drink and fun. This year, RiNo (River North) Art District and the new Drink RiNo group sponsors a free shuttle every First Friday from 5pm-12am (and Saturdays 2-10pm) that has multiple stops at galleries, studios, breweries and eateries throughout RiNo. For more information, interactive maps and video tours of the arts districts and neighborhoods, check out VISIT DENVER’s Neighborhood Guides.
Sports & Recreation
Rocky Mountain Showdown, September 1
The Rocky Mountain Showdown celebrates a 120 year-old football rivalry between the University of Colorado Buffaloes and the Colorado State University Rams. Played at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, home of the Denver Broncos, the game features pregame events, music, entertainment, marching bands, cheerleaders and giveaways.
U.S. Women’s National Team vs. New Zealand, September 15
The famed U.S. women’s national team will face New Zealand’s women’s team at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on September 15. Soccer fans will welcome the return of two hometown heroes, Lindsey Horan and Mallory Pugh alongside the full Women’s National Team, who have played in Denver for five out of the six times they have visited the state.
Professional Sports – Colorado Rockies and Colorado Rapids
Denver is home to seven professional sports teams, including Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies and Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids. Fans can catch the Rockies at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Detroit Tigers, San Francisco Giants and more during August and September. The Rapids kicked off their season on March 18, and tickets are available through the summer.
Musical Performances & Festivals
Justin Bieber at Sports Authority Field, August 12
Bieber will be coming to Denver’s Sports Authority Field at Mile High as part of his wildly successful Purpose World Tour. Since the North American launch of the tour in March 2016, Bieber has sold out 64 U.S. and 52 international tour dates, thrilling fans around the world with a dynamic, must-see live show.
Ed Sheeran at Pepsi Center, August 15
Following the debut of Ed Sheeran’s newest album, Divide, the Grammy Award-winning artist announced an international tour – including a stop at Denver’s Pepsi Center.
Phish at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, September 1-3
Legendary jam band, Phish, will play their annual Labor Day Weekend shows for three nights over Labor Day weekend for the sixth year in a row. This year, the shows have moved to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Featuring unmatched jam sessions and an always-entertaining live show, Phish will celebrate Labor Day with its devoted following from Denver and around the country.
The fun does not end when Labor Day weekend is over. Visitors can look forward to Denver Beer Fest from September 29 – October 7 – a nine-day celebration of the city’s renowned brewing culture culminating in Great American Beer Festival, October 5-7. A full list of events will be available on the Denver Beer Fest website later in August.
Solar Decathlon, October 5-15
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition of 10 contests that challenge student teams to design and build full-size, energy-efficient, solar-powered, sustainable houses. The winner most successfully blends design excellence, smart energy strategies, innovation, and market potential. The event is held at the 61st & Peña commuter rail station near Denver International Airport on the University of Colorado A line. Student teams provide free public tours of their houses, and this year will also feature a sustainability expo; professional, consumer and middle school education events; and a community festival.
About VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau
Celebrating 108 years of promoting The Mile High City, VISIT DENVER is a nonprofit trade association that contracts with the City of Denver to market Denver as a convention and leisure destination, increasing economic development in the city, creating jobs and generating taxes. A record 17.3 million visitors stayed overnight in Denver in 2016, generating $5.3 billion in spending, while supporting nearly 55,000 jobs, making Tourism one of the largest industries in Denver. Learn more about Denver on the VISITDENVER website and at TOURISMPAYSDENVER or by phone at 800 2 Denver. Denver International Airport (DEN; flydenver.com) connects The Mile High City to more than 180 destinations worldwide including nonstop service to 24 international destinations in 10 countries. Follow Denver’s social media channels for up-to-the-minute updates at: Facebook.com/visitdenver; Twitter.com/visitdenver; Instagram.com/visitdenver; and YouTube.com/visitdenver.
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