Free Things to Do: January 2017

Seven ways to save cash and keep your Instagram feed filled with like-worthy pics from local events—plus one way to splurge. 

January 6 2017, 11:00 AM

Night falls on one of Denver's most beloved art museums; photo by Kelly Shroads

Ride RiNo’s First Friday Circulator Bus | Jan. 6

Denver’s First Friday celebrations could earn a spot on this list every month, but now there's one more reason to love this inexpensive way to visit galleries and spot Denver’s next great artist, thanks to a free bus that will make several stops around RiNo. Bonus? It’ll run on Saturdays as well.

Best for... Anyone hoping to stay warm and avoid parking in Denver’s snowy side streets.

Stop by Penny Saturday at MCA Denver | Jan. 7

Technically, this event will put Colorado residents back $0.01, but since you can probably find that much change in your coat pocket right now, it is nearly free. Can’t fit a visit in this month? MCA Denver hosts Penny Saturday on the first Saturday of every month.

Best for... People who resolved to both save money and visit more museums this year.

Watch the Colorado Symphony’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert and Humanitarian Awards | Jan. 10

Here’s a chance to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy while also applauding the efforts of humanitarian leaders. The event is free, but you’ll need to pick up a ticket in advance at the Boettcher Concert Hall Box Office.

Best for... All of us.

Kick Off the 2017 Colorado Legislative Session | Jan. 11

Legislators are back at the Capitol this month to work on all the things. There are plenty of ways to stay in-the-know without spending dough, from free tours of the Capitol to attending an opening day party, like this one, sponsored by New Era Colorado, an organization dedicated to training, engaging and educating the next generation of young leaders.

Best for... Politicos with and without a cause.

Party at Breckenridge’s Ullr Fest | Jan. 11–14

Go play in the snow—and honor a Norse winter god while you are at it—with a bonfire, parade, and shot ski (this will cost you a $5 registration fee, but proceeds help the Breckenridge Mountain Rotary).

Best for... Just about anyone who loves powder, but parents will appreciate that the first 40 kids at Family Snow Day (Saturday, Jan. 14, at 2 p.m.) will get a gratis sled to take home.

Visit a National Park | Jan. 16

Colorado’s home to four magnificent (yes, we’re biased) National Parks, and on January 16, you can tour any sans admission fee. Might we suggest the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve?

Best for... Outdoorsy types who don’t have a ski pass.

Learn About Salt at the Denver Public Library’s Active Minds Lecture | Jan. 19

One of the world’s most coveted and controversial commodities, salt is the main topic at the Jan. 19 session of this lecture series. Worried that the topic is too, ahem, dry? Don’t be; you’ll learn plenty, like why the word “salary” is related to “salt.”

Best for... Foodies and trivia geeks.


BONUS: If you are going to splurge on something this month, spend $25 at the 15th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration on Jan. 28 to celebrate the year of the rooster, watch acrobats, and listen to opera music.