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September means the beginning of fall colors in the high country. So pack your hiking boots and head west before the colors fade. Photo by Ali Longwell

Things to Do in September That Won’t Break the Bank

Here are 11 (mostly) free things happening in Colorado this month.

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Embrace Fall | Your Choice
While it may take a little longer for fall to settle into Denver, the high country will soon become a canvas of colors. While there are a number of ways to enjoy the scenery—mountain drives, fall hikes, and mountain biking—you’ll want to get out and explore as soon as the leaves start turning. Ski season will be here in a flash.

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Enjoy the lift off of dozens of hot air balloons at this Colorado Springs event. Courtesy of Hot Apple Productions

Lift Your Spirits in Colorado Springs | September 2–4
At the fourth annual Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off, you can start your day by enjoying a locally made breakfast while watching 70 hot air balloons ascend above Memorial Park. Take part in a number of adrenaline-inducing activities throughout the weekend—from skydiving demonstrations to wakeboarding exhibitions and paddleboarding—or explore local vendors and listen to live entertainment. In the evening, the balloons will glow above the festivities.

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Hunt for Art in Golden | All September
The best free events are the ones that make you money, right? If you find yourself in Golden this September, be on the lookout for one-of-a-kind glass orbs created by local artists. The Foothills Art Center will be hiding one a day during the Golden Glass Orb Hunt. Finders will be rewarded with the opportunity to win $200 to a Golden business of your choosing, plus you can keep the glass orb for your mantle.

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A poster for the free Foreigner concert, where the band will ride to their Red Rocks Concerts in Porsches. Courtesy of Prestige Imports

Meet Your Juke Box Hero | September 4
The legendary rock band, Foreigner, is headlining a Red Rocks show over Labor Day, but Prestige Imports in Lakewood is giving fans the chance to enjoy a free acoustic set before they take the stage. The performance is free to attend, but autographs will benefit the Grammy Foundation’s music education initiative in public schools. To cap it off, the band will ride to Morrison in style—in a fleet of Porsches.

Participate in an Arvada Tradition | September 8–10
The 92nd Arvada Harvest Festival will take over the streets of Olde Town Arvada this month. The family-friendly event features the annual parade, a 5K and 3K, arts and crafts fairs, carnival rides, a food fair, belly dancing, live music, and more.

Witness Urban Beautification | September 11–17
Spectators of all ages can watch urban art in action at the seventh annual CRUSH. Throughout the weeklong celebration, exterior walls throughout RiNo will be transformed with new, original works from locally, nationally, and internationally renowned artists. In addition, the event will host film screenings, lectures, parties, and more.

(Bonus: Take a look at vibrant street art throughout Denver)

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Experience the Hispanic culture of Denver’s Westwood neighborhood at the annual Chile Fest. Courtesy of Westwood Chile Fest

Celebrate the Culture of Westwood | September 16
Eighty percent of Denver’s Westwood neighborhood is Hispanic, and during Westwood Chile Fest, the Morrison Road corridor will embrace and celebrate this culture. Check out the one-day event for the local food, live music, arts vendors, carnival games, contests, and more.

Pick Your Pumpkin | Your Choice
Fall is just around the corner, and that means the local pumpkin patches and corn mazes are set to open soon. Cottonwood Farms in Boulder opens September 23 and Rock Creek Farm in Broomfield opens September 24. Roam the grounds, pick out your pumpkin, and enjoy your first foray into the season.

Cherry-Creek-State-Park
Try a new outdoor recreation activity in more than 3,000 acres of open space at Cherry Creek State Park. Courtesy of Cherry Creek State Park

Find Your New Favorite Outdoor Sport | September 23–24
Looking to try a new outdoor recreational activity? There’s a good chance you can learn it at the inaugural Outdoor Adventure Expo at Cherry Creek State Park. Throughout the weekend, the park will be split into areas where attendees can participate in everything from climbing and sailing to shooting and fishing, all while getting expert advice in the new-to-you sports.

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Head to Estes Park to experience the elk invasion. Photo by Stevie Crecelius

Sound the Bugles | September 30–October 1
If you’ve ever been to Estes Park in the fall, you’ve likely witnessed the mass migration of elk as they take over the town. The annual Elk Fest event kicks off what’s locally known as “Elktober.” During this weekend, you can shop for elk souvenirs, learn more about these beautiful animals, enjoy food, beer, and live entertainment, and witness Native American storytelling and music. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot some of the elk herd, as well.

NCAR
Inside the NCAR Mesa Lab Visitor Center. Courtesy of NCAR Mesa Lab Visitor Center

Find Your Inner Scientist | Your Choice
Did the solar eclipse get you really pumped about science? The UCAR Center for Science Education is dedicated to sharing atmospheric and related sciences with the public at the Mesa Lab Visitor Center in Boulder. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon, visitors can take a guided tour and learn about the work the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is conducting, as well as explore exhibits on everything from climate to the sun and the moon to weather.

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