This weekend is packed with free fun, with Cinco de Mayo in Civic Center Park, free comic day, Kentucky Derby festivities and, finally, Mother’s Day activities. And there are plenty of other things to do along the way, including taking advantage of the Four Colorado Days, which Governor Jared Polis announced as a way to show the state has bounced back from the worst of the COVID pandemic. (Don’t be confused: The state will still celebrate Colorado Day on August 1, Colorado’s birthday that became a state in 1876.)
Keep reading for a dozen free things to do in and around Denver:
A Parisian street market
Saturday 7 May, 8 am to 2 pm
Aspen Grove, 7301 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton
With over twenty years behind it, A Paris Street Market remains a classic flea market with an emphasis on hand-picked vintage, antique and artisanal wares. It started in 2001 on Main Street in downtown Littleton; another season kicks off this weekend, serving the southern suburbs of its old home in the parking lot at Aspen Grove, where it will be every first Saturday of the month until October 1. A second location has recently been added to Park Meadows; it starts on May 21 and runs every third Saturday through October 15. Details here.
Spring plant sale
Saturday, May 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m
Denver Botanical Gardens, 1007 York Street
Whether you can safely plant your garden right after Mother’s Day in Colorado remains a matter of debate, but this weekend is sure to be when people swarm garden centers for showy summer flowers. But experienced gardeners plan ahead for the annual spring sale at the Denver Botanic Gardens, knowing it’s the place to go for the latest varieties and specialty plants for every kind of garden, from water-rich, street-sloping strips to alpine rocks. gardens. Free tickets are going fast – find yours ASAP and RSVP here in advance.
Heirloom Tomato Plant Sale
Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m
Farm 39, 3611 Chestnut Square
The Sparrow, 475 Corona Street
Tracy Weil, a RiNo pioneer long before helping to found the RiNo Art District, began growing tomatoes on his estate in 2009 at his Chestnut Place outpost—the one he just sold for $5.8 million in February. It was and still is a hobby dedicated to preserving heirloom varieties and helping build better salads, and after two pandemic years of experimenting with socially distancing and online selling, this year it returns to a live and in-person sale. at two locations: Weil’s Farm 39 and the backyard of Alamo Placita, fellow tomato lover Carolyne Janssen. Admission is free; check Facebook or Instagram for sales updates throughout the month.
Four Colorado Days
Saturday 7 May and Sunday 8 May from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m
History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway
Colorado will open its doors to the public for free for three days this weekend, offering adults and children alike the opportunity to explore the museum’s insightful exhibits and hands-on experiential activities — including one last chance to The power of horsesclosing May 8, RSVP in advance for free tickets and learn more about current exhibits and attractions here.
Saturday, May 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m
Regis University, 3333 Regis Boulevard
Amy and Doug Yetman founded Horseshoe Market in 2010, one of Denver’s first major craft markets; they’ve driven through all sorts of obstacles since they debuted their concept. And the Horseshoe, with its community of more than 100 hand-picked vendors, just keeps going, through thick and thin. The first market of the year opens this weekend, featuring all the great vintage and craft vendors fans have come to expect. Read more here.
Time Warp Comics: Free Comics Day
Saturday 7 May, 10 am to 6 pm
Time Warp Comics, 3105 28th Street, Boulder
On Free Comic Book Day, thousands of participating stores are giving away millions of comics, and Time Warp has been celebrating the unofficial holiday since its introduction on the first Saturday in May twenty years ago. In addition to offering free comic books, Time Warp is offering a 10 percent discount on the entire store and hosting guests like Mr. Bones, a cosplayer who dresses up as a dinosaur, and musical artist Absolutely Mary Ann. Read more here.
5th of May
Saturday 7 May and Sunday 8 May from 10 am to 8 pm
Civic Center Park
The city’s big free party is back, with food, fun, kids’ activities, taco-eating contests, lowrider shows, Chihuahua races, and music and other performances both days, including 8 Segundo’s (6:30 p.m. Saturday) and Grupo Control (Sunday 6.30 pm). Read more here.
Best Moms Shopping Event
Saturday, May 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m
Children of the Sun, 2715 West Eighth Avenue
Shopping for a mom who loves folk art, fair trade, and locally made crafts and other items is always fun and just that little bit easier at Hijos del Sol, the shopping side of Denver’s Latino Cultural Arts Center. The shop is stocked for Mother’s Day with beautiful leather bags, beautiful beadwork, silver jewelry, Carlos Santana hats, and beautiful hand-carved and painted alejibres just waiting to find a new home. Check out the current merchandise here before you leave.
Cinco de Mayo in Westwood
Saturday, May 7 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
3600 to 3900 Morrison Road, between Lowell and Osceola Streets
For a Cinco de Mayo celebration with a real community spirit, head to Morrison Road in Westwood, where ethnic authenticity and some history about why Cinco de Mayo is even celebrated are spread throughout the neighborhood’s annual street market. Visitors are rewarded with live music and mariachis, folk and Aztec dance performances, lucha libre competitions, art exhibits, lowriders and vendors of arts, crafts, clothing, and homemade Mexican food, as well as Revolutionary art, an exhibition organized by D3 Arts. Find a complete overview of events here.
Saturday, May 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m
RiNo Art Park, 1900 35th Street
The Greenway Foundation organizes Art on the River as a way for families to discover the different ways art can be inspired by nature. This year’s edition will take place in the new RiNo Art Park. There are crafts (including a cyanotyping program with @twobeecreative), clay art workshops with artist Piloto Nieves, nature games, food, community resource tables, stilt walkers and more! Admission is free, but registration is required here.
Sweet Tea Blk Market
Saturday 7 May, 2 to 6 p.m.
RiNo Art Park, 1900 35th Street
RiNo ArtPark welcomes yet another innovator to the complex with the debut of Sweet Tea Blk Market, a seller’s market that combines visual artists, craftsmen, makers, tattooists and tea drinkers with one thing in common: these black micro-entrepreneurs are getting a foot in the door of the local commerce at street level. The event also hosts a free clothing collection/exchange especially for queer and transgender people of color. Find more information here.
Counterpath Free Bookstore Event / Lecture
Saturday 7 May, 4 to 6 pm
Counter Path, 7935 East 14th Avenue
Counterpath started out as a small press publisher and performance space, but there’s a lot more going on here than lectures and art shows. It has become a hub for the East Colfax neighborhood, a food bank, community garden plot, and the Free Bookstore, a giant little library of free books up for grabs. On May 7, the bookstore will be celebrating a major donation of books from retired Native American scholar Penelope Kelsey, who has left Counterpath’s office library, including many books on Native literature, history and culture. Poet Crisosto Apache will join the celebration to read from his book of poetry ghost word, from Gnawing Teeth Publications. Find information here.
Know of a great free event in town? We will be updating this list throughout the week; send information to [email protected]