With beautiful weather, there is hardly a bad time to go to Denver, Colorado. This fast-growing rising city has beautiful people, good restaurants and even better bars, and a pretty lively arts and music scene plus the entire city is connected through a beautiful series of bike paths and parks. It's a work hard, play hard kind of city and that means people are dedicated to fun of all kinds whether its hiking all the mountains, skiing all powder or drinking all the beer.
No matter what time of year you visit there is always something on offer in the Mile High City.
Editor's note: During COVID-19, please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip and always follow government health advice. Events may be subject to change.
Summer: June - August
Best time for outdoor concerts and rooftop bars
The days can get hot, but a regular afternoon rain cools down the air making evenings just perfect for an evening on a rooftop deck or taking in a concert at Red Rocks. The crowds are bigger, but there is so much to do in the summer in Denver, the crowds just add to the fun.
All the food and fashion trucks gather during lunch time at the Civic Center for Civic Center Eats and the city's more than 20 farmers' markets put on festive, weekly street fairs. Not to mention the numerous art fairs and music festivals filling the massive urban park system. Plus summer is the perfect opportunity to head into the mountains for a quick hike to beat the heat.
Best time for outdoor exploration
Denver has wonderful weather year-round, but fall is the absolute best. With consistent temperatures and mostly dry days, you can (and should) spend every second you can under the enormous Colorado skies. This is the time of year to see the parks and the mountains at their prettiest. Ride bikes through the city stopping at all the breweries along the way, or take a drive to see the Aspens change to gold in the high country.
Winter: December - March
Best time for cozy cocktails, theater season and skiing
The cooler temps mean that everyone heads to the mountains for ski season. Hotel prices in Denver will drop a little, but not enough to write home about. Weather can be unpredictable. It will be 75 degrees one day and snow three feet the next. But you can't beat the snow and skiing just a couple hours drive outside the city. March is spring break which draws huge crowds, especially to the mountain communities, so the airport is jam-packed.
Denver boasts one of the largest non-profit theater organizations in the country. It is home to 10 performance spaces that host everything from Broadway shows to Opera to the Denver Ballet as well as local works and comedy. But the DCPA isn't the only act in town. Denver is also home to numerous homegrown theater companies and the famous Comedy Works and the winter months are prime theater-going season.
Spring: April - May
Best time to get away from the tourists and party with the locals
After the spring breakers have left and before the sun worshippers have arrived, we have mud season. Don't let the moniker fool you though, Denver is not that muddy. There will be less people though, giving you ample opportunity to roam around and see the sites with a little more breathing room. The weather is lovely this time of year, but there is always the possibility there will be a huge snowstorm.
There are also huge city-wide parties in the spring; St. Patricks Day, Colorado Rockies Home Opener, Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day. Bars and restaurants host massive parties that spill into the streets, and there are parades and events all over downtown. If you're joining the revelry utilize the lightrail and the bike paths to get around, if you're not into giant parties, stay away from downtown on these weekends.
It's crowded in Colorado around the New Year and folks stay through to Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. In Denver, the bars and breweries are filled with the folks heading up to the mountains to ski or coming back from their high country adventure as well as all the cowboys from across the US who come for the National Western Stock Show. It's the biggest stock show in the country and has been a Denver tradition since 1906. We're talking rodeos, cattle, cowboys, Wild West shows, hundreds of vendors and more for most of the month.
Key events: National Western Stock Show, Colorado Indian Market and Southwest Art Fest, Martin Luther King Marade, Winter Brew Fest, Winter on the Rocks
It can get chilly in February but the sunshine is plentiful. Did you know that Colorado gets more sunny days than San Diego? It's true and February has just as many sunny days as the rest of the months. It's a quiet month in terms of festivals and events but all the breweries will be serving their winter beers in cozy tasting rooms and restaurant week is a great chance to try all the chef-led cuisine hitting the scene.
Key Events: Denver Restaurant Week
March is hands down the snowiest month in all of Colorado, Denver included. It's also the month when the spring breakers appear. Expect crowds at the airport, on the slopes and in all the best breweries and bars. But you can feel spring in the air and the sunny days just make all that snow sparkle and glow.
Key events: Denver March Powwow, St. Patrick's Day
This is the best time to find deals on hotel rooms both in the city and up in the mountains. But the thing the locals are excited about? The Colorado Rockies baseball team starts knocking it out of the park at Coors Field. When that happens, all the patios and roof tops start popping and the party really starts.
Key events: Colorado Rockies Home Opener, 5Points Film Festival
Denver has a huge hispanic population, it used to be Mexico after all and Cinco de Mayo is all the rage, Denver hosts hundreds of exhibitors and food merchants and a good dose of margaritas and don't forget the low riders. No one goes inside in May when the weather is picture perfect and every one is excited to get out their bikes, lace up their hiking boots and bask in that Colorado sun.
Key events: Cinco de Mayo Festival, Five Points Jazz Festival, Colfax Marathon, Derby Day
The official start of summer kicks off with a bang in Colorado. Temperatures are warming in the day but not too hot yet and its cool at night. Red Rocks kicks off its season of concerts and all the weekly events that Denverites love to base their schedules around start ramping up. The parks get crowded, but with frisbees and dogs and music filling air.
Key events: City Park Jazz, Denver Chalk Art Festival, Denver PrideFest, Juneteenth Music Festival
Things are heating up in Denver, both figuratively and literally. July is the high season in the high country, its the best time to get out in the backcountry as the weather is the most dependably lovely. It is crowded around town and in the mountains, so hotel prices will go up, but people are happy to be out plus the city's best music festival rocks South Broadway for three days. The Underground Music Showcase features more than 400 local and national bands across multiple venues.
Key events: City Park Jazz (contd.), Cherry Creek Arts Festival, Underground Music Showcase
Similar to July, temps are hot and hotel prices are sky high. Summer vacation travelers are wrapping up their dog days and road trippers are cruising through town as they tour Colorado's endless playground. Its a great time to visit if a little culture and a little outdoor adventure is the way you like to balance your vacation.
Key events: City Park Jazz, Colorado Classic
If you have the opportunity to travel in the fall, September and October are two of the best months to head to Denver. In the mountains, the aspens start changing to gold which is a wonderful day drive. The temps drop just a bit making it so easy to bike around town. And the city celebrates all things food and beer. In fact, Colorado has more than 400 craft breweries and hosts the Great American Beer Fest, the premier event in the US to celebrate all those ales.
Key events: Taste of Colorado, CRUSH Walls, Denver Food and Wine Festival, Slow Food Nations, Denver Beer Week, Great American Beer Festival, Denver Oktoberfest
With perfect weather and thinning crowds, October is nearly perfect in Denver. There isn't a lot going on events-wise, but the trails, museums and bike paths will be less crowded and the sun will shine for you.
Key events: Denver Film Festival
Temps drop and the snow starts, not so much in Denver, but certainly in the higher elevations. Denver stays fairly dry until the end of the month, but start to expect snow. Nights are cold and medium-weight jackets are appropriate during the day. The Thanksgiving week will see a rise in hotel prices, but early in the month you could find 'early-season' discounts. Denver puts up all the lights and ramps up for holiday celebrations.
Key events: Denver Arts Week, Blossoms of Light, Zoo Lights
With Christmas looming and the temperatures frigid – think down coats, warm mittens and cute beanies – its time for evenings drinking winter cocktails and admiring lights and days of shopping at craft markets. Coloradans are four season adventurers and love when the weather changes, so you'll still see just as many people enjoying the outdoors. If you head up the hill, you will find skiing is in full swing, but the good snow doesn't really come until a little later in the season.
Key Events: Blossoms of Light, Zoo Lights, Denver Parade of Lights, New Year's Eve Fireworks
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