22 Cheap and Free Things to Do in Colorado This Week [Frugal Tips]

by Ryan Nicholson | Last Updated:  June 4, 2020

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Exploring Colorado shouldn’t bust your budget each month. There are lots of cheap and free things to do in Colorado, if you know how to find the best deals.

After living in Colorado for nearly all my life, I have discovered some insider tips and tricks for saving big on Colorado entertainment.

Here are my top picks for cheap and free things to do in Colorado this week!

1. Hike to Doc Holliday’s grave

If you’re visiting Glenwood Springs, go for a free hike up to Doc Holliday’s grave. This is a fun family outing as Linwood Cemetery is the oldest one in the area! 

Dogs are allowed when on a leash and the hike down offers stunning views of the valley below. And the best part is that parking in the area is free too.

It’s a historic hike where you can learn about Doc Holliday’s life and some of the other wild west stories in Colorado.

2. Tour a Colorado brewery for free

Colorado is known for its numerous micro breweries across the state.

Tours at MillerCoors Brewery in Golden used to be free, but now it costs $5. Although, this price isn’t bad at all considering it’s a 30-minute tour and you get to taste samples of beer.

New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins offers a free tour, with story-telling and beer samples for anyone 21 years or older.

A brewery tour is a fun, informative activity where you get to try some beer samples for free!

3. Visit the State Capitol

If you’re looking for some free altitude-themed fun, visit the State Capital in Denver.

Then climb to the 13th step — it’s exactly 1 mile above sea level at 5,280 feet. You will see the marker there and can even take a picture to document your fun!

free things to do in colorado

4. Save big at Glenwood Springs

Planning a visit to the largest mineral hot springs pool in Glenwood Hot Springs? You can get discounts if you go from late September to mid May (Memorial Day).

Glenwood Springs calls it “Value Season,” which will save about $6 off adult entry. You can also stay at the Hot Springs Lodge across the street from the hot springs pool.

A stay at the Lodge comes with free entry into the pool, and free breakfast!

5. Enjoy Colorado Day

Take advantage of all the free activities available on August 1st every year. This day is known as “Colorado Day” because this is the date that Colorado officially became a state on August 1, 1876.

Every year, you will find special events and discounts across the state.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife waves entrance fees to all state parks and you can also take advantage of free museum admission to places like The History Colorado museum.

So mark your calendars!

6. Attend the Denver BBQ Festival

The Denver BBQ Festival is typically held every year at the Mile High Stadium on Father’s Day weekend.

With over 18,000 lbs of mouthwatering meat and totally free entry, you really can’t go wrong! BBQ and beverages are available to purchase as you like.

If you want to make your BBQ experience even more epic, check out the all-inclusive VIP Pit Pass for $100 per adult.

7. Get free water at Manitou Springs

Get free mineral water at Manitou Springs from one of the 8 natural springs throughout the city. Take a drink with your hands, or with a cup and you’ll get a big dose of your daily needed minerals in one sip.

Some locals even enjoy bringing large gallon jugs to fill up because the water is full of minerals your body will love.

Each spring has a slightly different taste so walk around and try them all and find one that suits you best.

free water in manitou springs colorado

8. Check out a museum at CU in Boulder

Boulder is home to the University of Colorado, which means there are lots of things you can enjoy on the cheap at CU’s campus!

Check out the University of Colorado’s three museums:

All three are open to visitors for just a suggested donation.

9. Visit the Golden History Museum and Park

In the town of Golden, just a short drive from Denver, you can get free admission to the Golden History Museum and Park.

Check out cabins from the 1800s, a historical one-room school, and a flock of heirloom chickens at the History Park. You can aslo learn about Golden’s unique history and epic timeline of events and see rare, historical objects.

It is a great thing to do for the whole family or even as a unique date idea!

10. Enjoy Wild Wednesday Hikes

Late each in the month is Wild Wednesday Hikes provided by the Denver Botanic Gardens.

An expert from their Horticulture Department leads tours and hikes across varying landscapes to see different plants and wildflowers.

Many plants and flowers bloom at Denver’s elevation before they bloom in the mountains so you can learn about them first-hand.

The hike is $25 per person or $20 if you are a member. As of now, they have the dates set for May through late July 2020.

11. Get deals at Colorado Ski and Snowboard Expo

If you are looking for discounts on ski passes and ski gear, pre-season might be the best time to stock up for winter.

Check out the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Expo, which takes place at the Denver Convention Center before the start of every ski season.

Nearly every ski area in Colorado is represented there, along with more than a dozen ski and snowboard lines.

colorado ski gear

12. Go outside for Free Entrance Days

Every year, the National Park Service offers Free Entrance Days into more than 400 National Parks. The entrance fee is waived for a completely fee-free experience on specific days of the year.

There are 5 free entrance dates in 2020, just check their website for the exact dates.

It’s important to note that though the fee is waved to enter the park, the other amenities such as camping, boat launches, transportation or special tours are still incurred.

13. Witness living history in Colorado Springs

There are a ton of great free activities to do in Colorado Springs, especially out in nature. Two popular, free attractions are Garden of the Gods and the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum.

Garden of the Gods is home to the iconic, stunning red rock formations with access to both the park and visitor center.

The Pioneers Museum collects and exhibits the extensive history and culture of the Pikes Peak and Colorado Springs Region.

All of this admission is totally free. You could spend all day at both without spending a penny!

14. Learn about money at the Denver Mint

One free thing to do while in Denver is to visit one of the country’s three Mints. Visitors will learn about the history of the United States Mint and how coins are produced for the American public.

Free tours run Mondays through Thursdays from 8 am to 3:30 pm. The guided tour lasts about 45 minutes and is totally free. You can save money while learning about money!

Sadly, there are no free samples.

15. Sample free brews in Colorado Springs

If you want to discover new breweries in the Pikes Peak area, check out the Colorado Springs Crafts and Drafts Passport.

You get discount drinks and free tastings at local breweries, wineries, distilleries, and even specialty coffee roasters.

When you sign up, a pass is instantly delivered to your phone through text and email (so there is no app to download).

When you visit a participating venue, simply present your phone to get the code and redeem your discounts.

And it’s totally free to sign up!

top colorado craft beer

16. Use a Discovery Pass

If you’re visiting the south-central area of Colorado, be sure to check out the Discovery Pass.

This digital pass includes 47 local small businesses that offer over $600 in savings and lots of other freebies for eating, drinking, lodging, shops and entertainment in Salida and Buena Vista, CO.

You get savings like 2 for 1 entrees, accommodation specials, free beer tastings, $5 off menu items, and more.

And the pass only costs $25. If you use the code TAKE5CO you get $5 off making the pass only $20 each!

17. Make the most out of brunch

Who doesn’t love brunch? In Colorado brunch eateries offer discounts and freebies when you sign up for their email list.

We have signed up for many of them and have gotten free brunch entrees, drinks, coffee and more.

As a local, not only will you get all the goodies, but you will be able to get the latest news about their additions to menus, like when they change out seasonal food.

Also, don’t forget to check out their rewards programs and stamp cards.

18. Ride the free Breckenridge Gondola

The Breckenridge Gondola, also called the BreckConnect, is free to ride up and down all day.

Enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains, the town below and fresh air of 7,600 ft above sea level. The gondola ends at one of the mountain peaks and offers many places to eat with break-taking views.

Feel free to bring your leashed dog on the gondola as there are many hiking trails around the resort weather permitting.

The gondola does carry bikes up as well in the off season, but there is a fee. And you will need a lift ticket if you want to hit the slopes up there during the ski season.

19. Drive to see the Continental Divide

One of the most brag-worthy (and free) activities you can do in Colorado is driving up and over the Continental Divide. The road stays open in winter, weather permitting.

Follow the road and you will hit the summit of Loveland Pass at 11,990 feet! The summit has some parking areas and you can stop to enjoy the view and take pictures.

There is even a sign with a marker of the altitude so you can take a photo and document the proof.

continental divide colorado

20. Enjoy free entry to museums

Colorado has some of the best public libraries in the country. And the Denver Public Library is no exception. It offers perks like free passes to museums in the area.

How? Book a free pass at least 30 days in advance by going to their TixKeeper website. Admission is valued for up to two adults plus quests.

You can find free tickets to the History Colorado Center, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Molly Brown House, the Denver Zoo, Butterfly Pavilion, and several other places.

21. Grab the Mile High Culture Pass

If you’re looking for even more culture in your life, check out the Mile High Culture Pass. This 3-day Culture Pass gives you admission to some of Denver’s most popular cultural attractions for around $32.

This pass includes admission to the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Art Museum, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science across a 3-day period.

In addition, you will receive exclusive discounts at other Denver attractions, including bike shares across the city! This is a great way to discover multiple activities across Denver if you’re here for just a few days exploring.

22. Try the GetOutPass Colorado

The GetOutPass Colorado is a great gift for the entire family. Each pass offers free access to activities across Colorado — including Denver and Colorado Springs.

For a flat-rate yearly fee you can get a pass to places like Water World, SeaQuest Aquarium, Elitch Gardens, Skyzone Trampoline Park, FatCats Bowling, and Colorado Mini Golf.

You even get lift tickets to Monarch Mountain / Sunlight Mountain Resorts!

The pass includes over $3,000 in FREE admissions for attractions in 4 Colorado cities! And if you use code: coloradolife40 you will save $40 off the annual pass.

Visit getoutpass.com/colorado and use code: coloradolife40 to save $40 instantly.

If you are looking for free things to do in Colorado, or just want cheap ways to explore the state, use this list as a reference to plan your next adventure!

Ryan Nicholson is a homegrown born and raised Colorado native. Being a rare unicorn to have grown up in CO, he has a unique perspective on the changes here and knows all the hidden spots to get outside in this state. Ryan's a classically French trained chef so he LOVES to try new foods and places to eat. When he's not experimenting in the kitchen or working as a personal chef along the Front Range, he loves to get outdoors and away from it all hiking, camping and backpacking.