15 of the Best Free Things to Do in Colorado!
Don’t worry: If you’re looking to enjoy yourself in Colorado, you don’t even need to open up your wallet. Anyone can have fun in Colorado, no matter how strict your budget is. There is no need to have a pocket full of cash for these 15 activities, since they all are free to do in the Centennial State. Whether you are looking for an outdoor activity or seeking a unique tour, Colorado has the perfect free experience for you.
No matter where you visit in Colorado, a free hiking trail can be found that does not require a park entrance fee or parking permit. A popular, beloved and free hike in Boulder is the hike up the Flatirons. Head to the Chautauqua trailhead to access the Flatirons. There are various trails ranging in difficulty there. Make sure to hit up the trail early, because due to its popularity parking fills up fast.
There are seven national wildlife refuges in Colorado, and all of them are free and open to the public. The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City is one of the most popular refuges in the state. This wildlife refuge has 15,000 acres of prairie and lakes that attract a variety of bird species as well as bison, coyotes and deer.
Located in Colorado Springs, the Garden of the Gods is one of Colorado’s most popular and scenic spots. Registered as a National Natural Landmark, this area’s sandstone rock formations are absolutely jaw-dropping. Walk around the paved and dirt trails or simply drive through the park. The park and the visitors center are both free for the public.
Coors Brewing Company is a national beer staple that is made right in the colorful state in Golden. Tours are free and visitors get to see the brewing process close-up and personal. Do keep in mind that Colorado is home to a variety of breweries, distilleries and wineries that offer free tours. So if you aren’t in the Golden area, still check in your area for local breweries or wineries that may offer free tours and tastings.
A scenic drive is a great and cheap way to enjoy Colorado. There are actually 26 Scenic and Historic Byways in the state, and 11 of them are federally designated as America’s Byways. The Top of the Rockies Byway winds up to the two tallest peaks in the state, Mount Elbert and Mount Massive. Take a nice break in Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the United States.
There are a variety of historic districts in Colorado that deserve a nice stroll. However Old Town in Fort Collins is said to have inspired Disney’s Main Street USA. Needless to say, it’s an adorable place filled with bookstores, cafés, shops, galleries and restaurants. However to keep this visit free, simply enjoy the outdoor atmosphere of this historic pedestrian mall.
7. Visit Leanin’ Tree Museum and Sculpture Garden
This free museum in Boulder is one of the most popular and beloved free museums in the state. With over 250 original paintings, 100 bronze sculptures and a relaxing outdoor garden, visitors to the Leanin’ Tree leave with a full wallet and a newfound appreciation for art.
Head to the Boulder Farmers’ Market every Wednesday evening or Saturday during the summer to take in Boulder’s eclectic demographic and obsession with whole foods. With live music, free samples and beautiful displays of veggies and flowers, this experience at the Boulders Farmers’ Market can definitely be done without spending a dime.
The Boulder Creek Path in Boulder is a paved route popular with walkers and bikers. This path follows Boulder Creek and runs to Boulder Canyon. This 5.5-mile walk is well-maintained and makes for a great experience when the weather is right.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre is one of the most popular concert venues in Colorado and the nation. When the amphitheater is not hosting famous acts, it’s open to the public for free. Enjoy the trails and visitor’s center and experience for yourself the incredible amphitheater created between jaw-dropping rock formations.
Located in Colorado Springs is the United States Air Force Academy. Known as one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, the Air Force Academy is complete with a visitor’s center and public areas open to visitors for free. Don’t forget to check out the school’s iconic student chapel and Falcon Stadium.
The 16th Street Mall in Denver is an electric pedestrian mall that offers some of the best people watching and window shopping. Free shuttle buses travel up and down the outdoor mall walkway, making transportation cheap and easy.
Outside of La Junta is North America’s largest dinosaur track site. Along the flat five-mile trail, see dinosaur tracks and footprints as old as 150 million years and Native American art that dates back 375 to 3,500 years. Access to the track is completely free, however do have respect for these fragile surroundings by not touching or disturbing the art and prints in any way.
The Colorado state capitol in Denver is open to visitors daily. Take a free self-guided tour of this historic building that welcomes 300,000 visitors annually. The Colorado State Capitol is a free and unique way to experience Colorado’s government building.
The U.S. Mint in Denver is one of four mints in the nation that produces the country’s coins. The Mint in Denver started making pennies, dimes, nickels and quarters in 1906. Free tours are given daily but reservations are required.