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10 Free Things to Do in September

From festivals and film screenings to hikes worth traveling for, here are 10 ways to give your wallet a break (while having fun) this month. 

Catch a peek of panoramas not accessible by car by taking a ride on the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad. Photo courtesy of the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad

1. Supernova | Sept. 24

Why: If you couldn’t stop playing Pokémon Go in July (or were at least digging the idea of where the game will take animation, gaming, and technology), then you’ll love this one-day, outdoor, digital-animation festival, which will play on three LED billboards near the Colorado Convention Center.

2. Explore Hidden Colorado | Your choice

Why: This month’s cover story includes more than 80 options—many free!—to explore the Centennial State. Plus, there’s a good chance that your coworkers haven’t discovered them yet (read: bragging rights).

3. Star Trek: The Original Series Screening at Sie FilmCenter | Sept. 8

Why: A free screening of the original series to celebrate its 50 anniversary? Yes, please.

4. Yoga Rocks the Park at Sunken Gardens Park | Sept. 11

Why: It’s National Yoga Month, so you might as well rock a warrior pose during this free class. Love the workout? Consider showing your thanks with a donation to Food Bank of the Rockies), the program’s nonprofit partner.

5. The Crush | Sept. 12–18

Why: Over a period of days, street artists will transform RiNo’s buildings with massive, colorful murals; watch it happen.

6. Denver Botanic Gardens Free Day | Sept. 14

Why: Nights are getting cooler, which means that summer’s bountiful blooms are about to go away; swing by the gardens on this free day to capture the last bursts of color.

7. Denver Chili Fest | Sept. 10

Why: The chilly weather brings in roasted chili season. This festival has free quesadillas, music, and a recipe contest.

8. Cherry Arts Festival at Stanley | Sept. 16–18

Why: You’ve been eagerly waiting for the Stanley to (finally!) open. This three-day arts festival gives you the perfect excuse to swing by and check out one of Denver’s newest (and most talked about) spots.

9. Sand Canyon Trail | Your choice

Why: Well worth the drive to southwestern Colorado, this 6.2-mile trek is ideal for admiring sandstone formations and Ancestral Puebloan ruins.

10. Rocky Mountain PBS Kids Fun Fest | Sept. 10

Why: You’ll hear a “that was the best day ever” chorus on the way home after you take your kid to meet Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Looking for more things to do in Denver? Check out our events calendar.

Follow senior editor Natasha Gardner on Twitter and Instagram.

Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner is a Denver-based writer and the former Articles Editor for 5280.

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10 Free Things to Do in September

Squeeze in late-summer hikes, spend a day at the Denver Botanic Gardens, and sample varied tastes of the Rockies this month—all on a budget. 

—Courtesy of Shutterstock

1. Photo Mash-up Workshop with ideaLAB | Sept. 12

Why You Should Go: You’ll get to pick out a historic Denver photo at History Colorado and then hit the streets to photograph the same spot to see how the city has changed.

2. Denver Free Walking Tours | All month

Why You Should Go: You need an excuse to play tourist at home, so park your car, slather on some sunscreen, and take a two-hour walk around the heart of the Mile High City—with a tour guide, of course.

3. Denver Museum of Nature & Science Free Day | Sept. 27

Why You Should Go: Late September weather can be fickle. If it’s too hot or too brisk to play outside, come inside and practice your dinosaur speak (read: “rawr!”) with the fossils.

4. A Taste of Colorado | Sept. 4–7

Why You Should Go: Because you (hopefully) aren’t working, which will give you ample time to unwind at this four-day fest.

5. Colorado State Fair | Through Sept. 7

Why You Should Go: A summer without a state fair (read: fried foods, livestock competitions, and concerts) just doesn’t feel complete.

6. Pikes Peak World Cup Downhill Skateboard Race | Sept. 12–13

Why You Should Go: Watching skateboarders hurtle down the road is exhilarating, even if you are just standing still and watching.

7. Denver Botanic Gardens Free Day | Sept. 9

Why You Should Go: If the crowds for the corpse flower scared you away, here’s your chance to see what’s blooming at the Gardens.

8. Hang out at a Farmers Market | Various dates

Why You Should Go: After spring storms delayed crops, the market stands are finally bursting with fresh produce. You’ll often find live music and you’ll always find someone willing to talk about all-things-food. Bonus: If you do spend some cash, check out for tips on what to cook now.

9. Cuba: Past, Present & Future | Sept. 24

Why You Should Go: This “Active Minds” event at the Sam Gary branch of the Denver Public Library tackles one of the most timely news topics of the summer.

10. Hike the Betasso Preserve | All month

Why You Should Go: This quick, four-mile trek is close to bustling Boulder, but the walk is blissfully serene.

Follow senior editor Natasha Gardner on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner is a Denver-based writer and the former Articles Editor for 5280.