Big backyard barbecues and other large gatherings are off-limits this year (we’ll miss you the most, Coors Field fireworks), but there are plenty of other ways to celebrate Independence Day while minimizing your risk of contracting—or spreading—COVID-19. From outdoor movies to live music (with wide latitude from strangers) to a history class about what American independence means to all Americans, here’s how to celebrate a fun, patriotic, and above all else safe July 4th in the Mile High City.
Red, White & Brass from Denver Brass / July 2
To hear trumpets, horns, and saxes from the relative safety of your couch, tune into Denver Brass’ afternoon performance this Thursday. It’s the company’s first-ever live-streamed concert, so you won’t be losing the excitement of a live-action experience. 3 p.m.
Stream John Lewis: Good Trouble from Sie Film Center / Available July 3
In order to understand the present, it is vital to study history. The new biographical documentary about U.S. Rep. John Lewis is a great place to start. The film follows Lewis’ life of activism: from fighting for civil and voting rights, to advocating for changes in health-care and immigration legislation. Though Lewis’ time as social justice advocate goes back more than six decades, each of his fights remains relevant to contemporary America. $13
Independence Eve / July 3
This year, Colorado Symphony’s Independence Eve event will go virtual. With Denver7’s Anne Trujillo and Shannon Ogden as hosts, the symphony will perform alongside the Colorado Ballet, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, and Opera Colorado. Throughout the evening, viewers will have the opportunity to contribute to various foundations, like the Center for African American Health and Food Bank of the Rockies. 8 p.m.
Liberty Run 4 Mile and Kids Firecracker Run / July 4
A holiday isn’t a holiday in Denver without a corresponding athletic competition of some kind. What makes this one different is that you can participate from anywhere. Ditch the portable toilet lines and parking nightmare (and stay socially distanced while you’re at it) by completing your four miles on the trails in Golden, your typical route in Washington Park, or even on your basement treadmill. Just tune in to the online broadcast of their opening ceremony, then set off. But don’t slack on your exercise outfit: there’s a costume contest and prize for best red, white, and blue attire. 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Understand the Whole Story
This year is a good time to consider what was left out in your U.S. history class. Grab your housemates, parents, or kids and sit them in front of a computer to scroll through Google’s Arts & Culture slideshow, “The Struggle for African American Freedom.” The virtual packet of more than five dozen slides contextualizes the Declaration of Independence, addressing who the document included, as well as who it didn’t. From 1776 to the present, passages explain the fight for freedom experienced by all Americans presented alongside images of original documents and artifacts, bringing the fraught tale of our country’s founding and establishment to life.
Celebrate American Diversity at Stanley Marketplace / July 3 & 4
Let the folks at Stanley Marketplace do the work of spacing out picnic spots for you on their huge 48,000-square-foot field. Also, be sure to take full advantage of their prix fixe menu, which features plates from Stanley resident menus, including Comida’s Chimayo Chile Roasted Chicken Quesadilla and sandwiches and salads from Mondo Market. Booze will be available for purchase and tunes will run all weekend long. Act fast for tickets—there are only so many spots! 5-9:30 p.m.; ticket prices vary.
Brass in the Park(ing Lot) / July 2
Enjoy some sonatas, jazz tunes, and American classics as performed by the Arapahoe Philharmonic from the safety of your own car. Adjust your seat to a relaxing position as “Amazing Grace,” “West End Blues,” and more songs drift in through your windows, but don’t touch that radio dial: You car stereo is no match for live instruments. Denver First Church of the Nazarene, 7-8 p.m.
The Cookout / July 4
As protestors across the country continue to advocate for Black lives and against police brutality and systemic racism, Independence Day feels different this year (and rightly so). Denver’s Anti-Racist Club plans to celebrate in a way that furthers the movement by honoring the Black, indigenous, and other communities of color. Part of that work involves understanding the history of our state and its gentrifying neighborhoods, including Cherry Creek North. Join the club and others to “un-learn, re-learn, and re-tell” complete histories. Congress Park, 4-8 p.m.
Zuni Street 4th of July Celebration / July 3, 4 & 5
Live music plus the debut of something called the “Great Keg Wall” make this three-day bash a must for anyone craving that summer-afternoon-at-the-brewery vibe. Performers include a variety of local artists, like the Jason Brazzel Band and Sam Walker Trio. Enjoy the brewery’s specialty beers, including the Made It Thru Helles and its thirst-quenching Cold Queen Kolsch. Pups are welcome on the patio, as long as they can behave themselves around the aromas of that day’s food truck. Zuni Street Brewing Company; times vary
Dinner and a Movie / July 3
Start your weekend off with a family-friendly park night, complete with a picnic, music, and movie. Put together by the Overland Park Co-Housing Collective, this Friday will be the first night of the summer outdoor movie series, starting with the 2019 release Troop Zero. The film tells the story of a girl scout troop made up of ragtag tweens in 1970s Georgia. Starring Viola Davis and the up-and-coming actress Mckenna Grace, the movie depicts perseverance and friendship. And, really, what’s more American than the Girl Scouts? Pasquinel’s Landing Park, 6-9:30 p.m.; free