Denver on a Budget

Denver can be an expensive city to live in and visit, but there are also a ton of ways to enjoy the Mile High City and the mountains on a budget. It can take a little creativity and lots of time outside, but here are my favorite ways to save money & still enjoy our beautiful city.

Hiking

Shocking that a hiking website would list hiking as the top free thing to do, but it’s one of the best parts of living in Colorado. Yes, you need proper footwear and sometimes there are parking fees or state park fees, but it’s one of the best ways to enjoy our state and spend very little money. Also, here are the free National Park Days for 2022.

Feeling stuck inside because it’s winter? Hiking is a year-round sport in Colorado! There are tons of options for hiking in the Front Range & Foothills that are fairly snow-free unless there was just a major storm. 

This is one of my favorites – Trunk picnics are the best even when you’re not trying to save money. Pack up the cooler with lunch or snacks, throw a few blankets in the car & drive to a view for the ultimate picnic spot. 

My favorite spot near Denver is in Boulder driving up Baseline road until you find a spot. Another is a bit longer but it’s totally worth the trip, Lake Estes in Estes Park! This is very much a choose-your-own adventure, so find your favorite trunk picnic spot & enjoy!

Red Rocks Ampitheatre is an iconic place to see a concert but those tickets can be very expensive. However, you can visit the park and ampitheatre for free almost every day! You can walk right onto the stage, there are free self-guided tours and dozens of people working out (some of the best people watching around) but you can get in a great workout just walking the stairs.

Looking to hike?

Red Rocks/Morrison Slide is a favorite 3 mile loops
Trading Post Trail is only 1.5 miles and great for all skill levels!

You don’t have to be on a date… but who doesn’t love a Buy One Get One deal?

This app is seriously worth the $4 a month – just make sure you take advantage of all their deals. Basically you download the app then you have BoGo at dozens or restaurants across Denver. It also makes it a lot easier when you’re wondering where to go, just go to the map and pick a deal togo take advantage of. The Buy One Get One Entrees are the best deals – Avelina, Kona Grill, Kachina, Billy’s Inn and DiFrancos are killer deals but the best may be Beau Jo’s BoGo pizza!

Got kiddos with a sweet tooth? Or maybe that’s you! Take advantage of the free Factory Tour at Hammond’s Candy!

Museums: Free Days

From the Museum of Nature and Science to the Art Museum there are amazing museums here in Denver & they all off free days, sometimes a couple a month. I found this list of free days for 2022 so check it out & plan ahead! Keep in mind these days are very popular so you’ll be in the crowds or have to make a reservation.

Visit One of Denver’s Parks

Denver has incredible parks scattered throughout the city that range from tiny to massive – there are actually 5,000 square acres of parks! During summer & fall you’ll often see people bbqing, setting up volley ball nets, picnics, walking the park or just people watching. They’re all free & all beautiful. Here are a few of my favorites:

City Park
Cheeseman Park
Confluence Park
Washington Park
Sloan’s Lake

Here’s a full list of parks in Denver.

Explore the art in RiNo

RiNo is Denver’s neighborhood on the northwest corner of the city, River North. It has incredible restaurants and bars but one of the most fun parts of this neighborhood is the art. Murals line the streets & alleys and they are truly stunning. There are tours you can pay to take, but you can also walk yourself through the art & take it in for free! Here’s the map of murals & where you can learn more about the Mural Program.

I wouldn’t normally think of visiting a State Capitol as something I’d want on my list, but I did the self-guided tour with my family during one visit and actually really enjoyed it! There’s a ton of history and the building itself is beautiful. A great and free way to spend an afternoon in Denver! 

*Check the website or call ahead for information on the changing covid protocol. As of January 2022 they were only offering guided tours.

I wouldn’t normally think of visiting a State Capitol as something I’d want on my list, but I did the self-guided tour with my family during one visit and actually really enjoyed it! There’s a ton of history and the building itself is beautiful. A great and free way to spend an afternoon in Denver! 

*Check the website or call ahead for information on the changing covid protocol. As of January 2022 they were only offering guided tours.

River Walks

When you think of Denver & the Front Range, you probably don’t immediately think of water, but we have some gorgeous rivers running through cities that make for perfect morning or afternoon walks. Here are a few of my favorites:

Denver: Confluence Park/South Platte River is one of my go-to walks. There is plenty of parking near Confluence Park & then you can pick your route from there. I personally like to start there and then head south toward Empower Field at Mile High.

Golden’s Clear Creek Trail: I absolutely love this walk through one of my favorite foothill towns! It’s just steps drom downtown and offers gorgeous views of the mountains, arond the holidays it’s all lit up and feels like enough of a get away. Golden History Park is right across the river and is free and fun to check out! If you’re looking to spend a little money, restaurants and breweries aren’t far.

Boulder Creek/Pearl Street: I used to do this walk every weekend in college – it’s beautiful and you can follow it all the way up toward Pearl St. Further up the creek there will be tubers in the summer, lots of fisherman. The Farmers Market in the summer is also one of my favorites!

This is a very general list of free things to do in Denver, but if you’re looking for daily deals or events, Mile High on the Cheap does an awesome job keeping up to date!

Did I miss anything? Let me know what else you do in Denver on a budget!

Kylie Bearse

Kylie Bearse

When I’m not exploring the trails, I’m a Meteorologist! You can see me every weekday morning on Fox31 KDVR from 4:30-10am! Have a weather question? Don’t hesitate to ask!

Kylie Bearse

Kylie Bearse

When I’m not exploring the trails, I’m a Meteorologist! You can see me every weekday morning on Fox31 KDVR from 4:30-10am! Have a weather question? Don’t hesitate to ask!

Kylie Bearse

Kylie Bearse

When I’m not exploring the trails, I’m a Meteorologist! You can see me every weekday morning on Fox31 KDVR from 4:30-10am! Have a weather question? Don’t hesitate to ask!

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