There’s a lot that happens in the Mile High once the temperature rises, but no matter how packed your schedule gets, there are some unwavering must-dos that will ensure you’re getting the most out of Colorado’s summer days. And yes, they’re basically all just excuses to spend more time outdoors. You don’t have to go in order, but it’s imperative you check each one of these activities off before fall, well, falls upon us.
Red Rocks is the ultimate summer concert destination, but if you can’t snag tickets there, you’ve got plenty of options. Try the Mishawaka Amphitheatre, which is tucked in a canyon outside of Ft. Collins, or just head to City Park any Sunday evening for a free jazz show.
Watch a movie under the stars
We’ve even rounded up the whole summer outdoor movie schedule for you to make this one super simple to check off. No excuses.
Though it’s moved locations and changed ownership a few times over the years, this 35-foot hot dog-shaped food stand that’s been around since the 1960s can be found about an hour outside of Denver in Bailey.
Cool down with some locally made ice cream
Standing in line for ice cream at Little Man is totally worth the wait, but they’re not the only ice cream destination in town any more. You should also check out the retro vibes at Sweet Cooie’s, grab an ice cream flight at High Point Creamery, opt for ice cream tacos on Tuesdays at Nuggs, or indulge with a beer milkshake at Frozen Matter.
Especially since they’re actually giving the city plenty to cheer about this year.
Stock up on fresh summer produce at a farmers market
Show up hungry because you’ll also find prepared food and usually some entertainment on hand too, making this way more than simply an outdoor grocery shopping trip. Farmers markets can be found all over town but Union Station’s on Saturdays and Boulder’s Saturday and Wednesday events are our picks.
Go brewery hopping
There are over 100 craft breweries, brewpubs, and taprooms in the Mile High. Take advantage of the clear skies and warm temperatures, pick a neighborhood, and start sampling brews stat.
You’re never too old for some classic thrills. Plunge 200 feet on the Tower of Doom at Elitch Gardens, cool off in the wave pool at Waterworld, or brave the old-school wooden coaster, The Cyclone, at Lakeside -- Colorado’s oldest still-operating amusement park.
Denver’s the literal gateway to the Rockies so even if camping, hiking, and tubing aren’t your thing (do you even exist in Denver?), just drive west and get some quality recharging time in the mountains before the cold temps return.
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Molly Martin is a freelance writer in Denver, Colorado who is always on the lookout for fun things to do. Follow her Mile High adventures @mollydbu on Twitter and Instagram.