Denver is a huge city with a diverse population, so there’s always something unique going on! If you’re looking for an awesome Denver festival, parade, or cultural event, we’ve got a list of the best. And it’s got a little bit of everything—music, holidays, food, art, and more!
EXPERIENCE YOUR CITY
Denver County Fair
The Denver County Fair isn’t your typical county fair. Because Denver is a progressive city, it only makes sense that its county fair would be progressive, too! Held at the National Western Complex in Elyria Swansea during the summer, you’ll experience everything from big wheel races and bug eating competitions to cat shows, food trucks, and live music. It’s a wacky, ground-breaking event you need to see for yourself!
Want to celebrate the spirit of Mile-High City? Check out Denver Days during the summer! This citywide festival is centered on getting to know your neighbors and the members of your community. Block parties, picnics, service projects, cultural showcases, events to support local businesses, live music, and more is what you’ll find when you join in and embrace everything Denver!
Denver St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Considered the single largest gathering of Colorado residents each year, the Denver St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Downtown Denver is a can’t-miss event. The parade and St. Patrick’s Day events have been going on for more than 50 years! Keep in mind that it’s best to get downtown early to grab a spot. Also, the Denver St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee recommends Blake Street from 23rd and 27th avenues for families and south of 20th Avenue on Blake Street to see the full performances.
Denver Veteran’s Day Festival
Organized by the Colorado Veterans Project, the Denver Veteran’s Day Festival celebrates and honors our nation’s military and provides exposure for local veterans organizations that help the community. The festival includes a parade that salutes veterans, live music stages, games and family activities, and good food. Don’t forget to sign up for the 5k or 10k run! All of the proceeds go directly to veterans!
Meet in the Street
Hosted by the Downtown Denver Partnership and the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, Meet in the Street is like one giant block party in Downtown Denver! The festival lasts five weekends in the summer and turns the 16th Street Mall into an active pedestrian mall! Enjoy craft beers and wine on extended patios, catch great local bands, and be sure to take the kids to the climbing walls and face painting activities!
Parker Days Festival
A parade, tons of food, carnival rides, and three concert stages with free music—that’s what you get at Parker Days Festival in Parker. Hosted in the summer, it’s a great opportunity for anyone in South Denver to get out, enjoy the weather, and spend some time with family. Entrance to the festival and concerts is free!
The Pumpkin Festival is a fall staple in Denver! Hosted by Denver Botanic Gardens, this family-friendly festival invites people from all over the city to pick out a pumpkin, participate in fun fall activities, enjoy food trucks and beer vendors, and experience live music from children’s, bluegrass, and country bands. There’s also a corn maze, tractor pulls, pony rides, and carnival games!
South Platte RiverFest
Paddle down the South Platte River and enjoy a variety of riverside activities at South Platte RiverFest. This two-day summer festival at Confluence Park draws food and beer vendors, musicians, artists, and outdoor enthusiasts from all over Denver. RiverFest benefits The Greenway Foundation, which has worked to revitalize the South Platte River, greenway trails, and riverside parks for the past 40 years.
EMBRACE THE CULTURE
Cherry Blossom Denver
Celebrate Japanese-American culture at Cherry Blossom Denver in LoDo! Each year since 1972, the Cherry Blossom Festival (or “Sakura Matsuri” in Japanese) has paid tribute to Japanese culture, food, music, and art. Watch flower arranging, dance, and martial arts demonstrations. Learn about Buddhism. Taste sake and teriyaki chicken. And listen to the sounds of taikō drums, kotos, shamisens, and shakuhachis.
Cinco de Mayo
The annual May 5th celebration of Cinco de Mayo honors the culture of Denver’s Latino community! You can catch the festival at Civic Center Park in Downtown Denver and enjoy parades, mariachi bands, traditional Mexican dancing, and excellent Mexican cuisine! Don’t forget to stick around for the Taco Eating Challenge, Chihuahua Races, and Quinceanera Fashion Show!
Colorado Black Arts Festival
Since its inception in 1987, the Colorado Black Arts Festival has celebrated the African-American community, its art, and its culture, and attracts patrons and artists from all over Colorado. Head to City Park during this summer festival to watch the annual CBAF parade, check out awesome jazz and blues bands, watch interpretive dance groups and African drummers, and view paintings, drawings, and sculptures!
Colorado Dragon Boat Festival
Held each summer at Sloan’s Lake, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival celebrates Asian culture and the ancient sport of dragon boat races. Watch or participate in the competitive Hong Kong 120 meter, Hong Kong 250 meter, and Hong Kong 500 meter, as well as recreational flag-catching races! And stick around for martial arts demonstrations, live music, dancing, and more honoring Denver’s Asian community!
Colorado Irish Festival
The Colorado Irish Festival in Littleton’s Clement Park celebrates everything green! Tens of thousands show up every summer to hear bagpipes, watch Irish dancing and rock bands, and check out the finest in kilt fashion. There’s even a sheep-herding demonstration, a cultural village for families to explore, a Catholic mass, and Gaelic sports like hurling, camogie and Gaelic football!
Denver Christkindl Market
The Denver Christkindl Market—held at Skyline Park between Thanksgiving and Christmas—is based on an old German tradition in which people strolled through a giant market and bought Christmas decorations and gifts while listening to carols, drinking spiced wine, and viewing holiday lights. This event intends to keep that tradition alive! Enjoy live music, taste authentic German foods like Lebkuchen and Maronen, and purchase holiday gifts for your loved ones!
Denver Greek Festival
Stop by the Denver Greek Festival at Assumption of the Theotokos Cathedral in Glendale! This summer festival is proud to share Greek food, faith, arts, and culture with the Denver community. Listen to live music and watch traditional Greek dancing performed by the Hellenic Dance Academy of Denver and Idomeneas Cretan Dancers. And there’s plenty of baklava and ouzo to go around! Opa!
Denver International Festival
The Denver International Festival celebrates the vast diversity of Mile-High City! This free summer event at Civic Center Park doesn’t just provide the community with live music, more than 30 restaurants and food truck vendors, beer gardens, and dancing. It also supports a different local nonprofit organization every year!
Denver March Powwow
The Denver March Powwow is an annual gathering for local American Indian peoples to come together and celebrate their heritage. With a Grand Entry event showcasing the different tribes and their flags, group dance celebrations during Intertribal Dances, traditional singing and storytelling, and the honoring of the Denver March Powwow Princess (a young representative of an American Indian nation), this is one cultural festival you can’t miss!
From the end of September to the beginning of October, Denver celebrates Denver Oktoberfest in LoDo! This festival has been a Denver tradition since 1969, and it’s earned the title of “The Best Oktoberfest” in the U.S. from several national publications! Enjoy stein hoisting, happy hours, brat-eating contests, live music, and more!
Denver PrideFest celebrates LGBT culture during the summer at Civic Center Park. Organized and produced by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Community Center of Colorado, it’s the third largest pride festival and seventh largest pride parade in the entire U.S., drawing more than 375,000 attendees! With vendors, food, art, and more, it’s not just a fun festival. It’s also a safe and empowering space for Denver’s LGBT community!
Love Europe’s culture, history, and traditions? Head to Highlands Ranch in the fall for the annual European Festival! This event celebrates European-Americans of Irish, Scottish, Greek, Spanish, German, Italian, French, Russian, Romanian, Swedish, Polish, and other descents. Enjoy beer gardens or a picnic while you watch live music and dance performances at the amphitheater. There’s plenty for the kids to do, too!
A two-day event in Lakewood’s Belmar neighborhood, Festival Italiano celebrates Italian culture with the flavors, sights, and sounds of Italy! Come check out the amazing food and wine vendors, play in a bocce tournament, or catch performances by flag throwers, dancers, or musicians. And the kids will love the Grape Stomp event!
Indian Wedding Festival
Explore Indian culture at the Indian Wedding Festival in the fall! This festival celebrates South Asian culture with Bollywood and Indian bridal fashion showcases, fantastic food vendors, live performances by South Asian dancers and musicians, and yoga workshops. There’s also bouncy castles, kite flying, kids yoga, and more for the kids to enjoy, too!
Juneteenth Music Festival
One of the oldest celebrations in the U.S., the Juneteenth Music Festival in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood celebrates the events of June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers in Texas broke the news that the Civil War had ended. The celebration honors African-American freedom and achievement with live music, a scholarship pageant, a parade, and youth education activities.
Orthodox Food Festival & Old Globeville Days
With ethnic cuisine from Eastern Europe, live entertainment, and children’s activities, the Orthodox Food Festival & Old Globeville Days at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Cathedral in Denver’s Globeville neighborhood is a perfect outing for families! This summer festival embraces Greek, Serbian, Romanian, Ukrainian, and Russian cultures, showcasing dancers, musicians, and iconography from Orthodox culture!
A Taste of Puerto Rico Festival
Head to the Civic Center in Downtown Denver for A Taste of Puerto Rico Festival during the summer! Each year, the event—which is also the current titleholder of “largest Caribbean festival in Colorado”—attracts nearly 20,000 attendees with its great Puerto Rican cuisine and live performances. Come Rumba with the crowds, try some frijoles, and purchase unique Caribbean décor, clothing, and accessories!
EAT & DRINK
Bourbon & Bacon Fest
If bacon mac n’ cheese and milkshakes made with bourbon and bacon sound delicious, you need to check out Bourbon & Bacon Fest in the spring! This Downtown Denver event allows you to check out food samples from local restaurants paired with premium bourbon. It’s one festival you don’t want to miss!
Collaboration Fest held in the spring at Sports Authority Field is one of the most creative beer festivals you’ll ever attend! The beers are crafted by two or more breweries working together to create a unique combination of flavors. The brewers—who are a mix of Colorado breweries and other regional, national, or international breweries—determine what yeasts, hops, and malt they’ll combine to make their beer. And then attendees get to taste more than 70 different combinations! It’s a beer lover’s dream come true!
Denver Beer Festivus
Looking for a festivus for the rest of us? You need the Denver Beer Festivus! This December event invites breweries throughout Denver to come share their creations with the 21 and over public. Food vendors are available throughout the event (though food isn’t included in the general admission), and the event has a fleet of buses available to shuttle attendees to and from the event safely! And you have to check out the Rare Beer Row area of the festival to discover beers that are harder to find on shelves!
Denver Brew Fest
Denver Brew Fest hosts two different beer festivals at Mile High Station during the year: Summer Brew Fest and Winter Brew Fest! With live music from local musicians and bands, delicious food, and more than 100 craft beers for you to sample, these are two great craft beer festivals in Denver you don’t want to skip!
Denver Food & Wine Festival
Hosted in the fall on the grounds of the Pepsi Center, the Denver Food & Wine Festival is all about food, wine, and spirits education! Learn more about wine glasses during the Riedel Seminar or how to pair wines during the wine pairing dinner. You should also checkout The ShakeDown (which unites soul food, cocktails, and jazz bands), and Rise + Dine (a brunch event at Curtis Hotel). Of course, you can’t miss the festival’s ultimate event, The Grand Tasting, which features restaurants and chefs from all over Denver!
Denver Taco Festival
With cheap tickets and free admission for kids 12 and under, the Denver Taco Festival has become a summer festival favorite. The street tacos are the main draw, ranging from tacos with Colorado green chiles to Greek-style tacos, all from independent food trucks, restaurants, and taco specialists. You can also sample more than 40 different kinds of Tequila and catch music and dance performances. Don’t forget to check out the festival’s wacky events like the high-speed daredevil chihuahua race or Lucha Libre wrestling!
DSTILL is Denver’s ultimate spirits and craft cocktail festival! This fall event includes a concert, educational workshops, cocktail events, and distilled spirit tastings. Attendees of the festival’s showcase get unlimited samples of spirits from top distillers across the country and a commemorative glass to take home!
Great American Beer Festival
The Great American Beer Festival is held at the Colorado Convention Center every fall. It’s the largest collection of U.S. beer ever served with more than 800 participating breweries! Not only is this a public beer tasting event, but it’s also a beer competition for the breweries involved. Brewers can submit their beers in the competition, which are then tasted by attendees and judged by a professional panel!
South Denver Beer Festival
Head to Littleton during the summer for the South Denver Beer Festival! Enjoy more than 200 craft beers, wines, and ciders. Grab something to munch on at one of the many food trucks available. And try your hand at some fun lawn games. The festival even provides a free shuttle to and from the Littleton Light Rail Station, so you can get to and from the event safely!
A Taste of Colorado
Held in the fall at Civic Center Park in Downtown Denver, A Taste of Colorado brings the community together with food, music, kid-friendly activities, and shopping! Get everything from food truck street tacos to Asian cuisine. Listen to country bands, indie folk musicians, and classic rock tributes. Take the kids to enjoy carnival rides and games. And purchase one-of-a-kind gifts, clothing, and home furnishings. There’s a little something for everyone at this festival!
Top Taco Denver
Check out Top Taco Denver at University of Colorado Denver’s Auraria Campus each summer! You can sample unlimited tacos and tequilas from Denver restaurants while listening to live music. And you can even vote for your favorite tastes in four award categories: Top Traditional Taco, Top Vegetarian Taco, Top Creative Taco, and Top Cocktail.
CELEBRATE ART & MUSIC
Held in the heart of Downtown Denver at the Denver Pavilions, ArtStir Denver is a summer festival that features more than 100 local and regional artists, craftsman, and sculptors. You’ll find everything from photography and paintings to mixed media and furnishings. ArtStir also features food and beverages from local restaurants and brewers! Keep in mind that a portion of the proceeds benefits VSA Colorado/Access Gallery, an nonprofit that provides opportunities for people with disabilities.
Aurora Arts Festival
The Aurora Arts Festival welcomes the Denver community to the Aurora Cultural Arts District every summer! The festival lineup is jam-packed with beer gardens, artist showcases, food trucks, and performances from local dancers and musicians. Grab the kids and head to Aurora!
Cheesman Park Art Fest
Walk the beautiful Cheesman Park in Denver while admiring art and crafts from more than 130 artists at Cheesman Park Art Fest in the summer! This festival is free to the public and doesn’t have any commercial booths or sales. You simply enjoy the art! Come see unique and handcrafted paintings, jewelry, pottery, glass sculptures, and more! There are also food trucks available should you get hungry!
Cherry Creek Arts Festival
Head to Cherry Creek in the summer to check out Cherry Creek Arts Festival! You’ll find pop-up performances, live music, and art experiences among the main attractions at this festival. Stop by Culinary Avenue, where the festival’s food trucks and unique dining experiences are located. Or visit Artivity Avenue, where you can participate in interactive art with the whole family!
Denver Arts Festival
Formerly the Downtown Denver Arts Festival, the Denver Arts Festival is hosted at Stapleton’s Conservatory Green Plaza in the summer. This fine arts and crafts festival supports local artists, as well as national artists, drawing more than 50,000 people each year. It’s a free event that’s open to the public!
Denver Chalk Art Festival
With more than 200 artists devoting hundreds of hours to their chalk art, Larimer Square’s Denver Chalk Art Festival might be one of the coolest festivals in LoDo. Come check out this free street festival in the summer, and don’t forget to stop by the Kids’ Corner, where you can get chalk for the kids for a small donation!
Denver Day of Rock
A one-day music festival with five stages along Denver’s 16th Street Mall, Denver Day of Rock brings Denver residents out for Memorial Weekend to rock out, relax, and have a good time! It’s all about uniting the community through music. The festival also raises funds for the Denver nonprofit Amp the Cause, which provides child health and education fundraising and service projects in Colorado communities.
Denver Film Festival
The Denver Film Festival is the ultimate event for film lovers. Held in November at the Sie FilmCenter, the UA Denver Pavilions multiplex, and Ellie Caulkins Opera House, you can see more than 250 films, ranging from documentaries and indie films to blockbusters! Don’t forget to check out the red carpet presentation, as well as the Q&A sessions and special panels!
Five Points Jazz Festival
Five Points Jazz Festival is a free event on the third Saturday of every May and celebrates the history and culture of Denver’s Five Points neighborhood (once known as the “Harlem of the West”). You’ll find delicious food and family-friendly activities. More importantly, you’ll get one of the most diverse musical act lineups in Denver—jazz, latin, funk, blues, and many more styles!
Held at the National Western Complex in Elyria Swansea, Riot Fest brings musicians and bands together for a three-day festival in the fall! You’ll hear everything from electronic and indie folk to heavy metal, and there are carnival rides and other activities available to attendees! Riot Fest also provides personal lockers with cell charging stations that allow attendees to store items they don’t want to carry and charge their phones!
Underground Music Showcase
The Underground Music Showcase, presented by The Denver Post, is the largest independent music festival in the Rocky Mountain region! In fact, this summer music festival is held throughout the Denver area at more than 15 different venues! If you enjoy Denver’s local music scene, this is your showcase!
Which Denver festival is your favorite? Did we leave one that you love off of our list? Let us know in the comments!
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All images have either been provided by a listed organization or are licensed under the Creative Commons.