Both the National Western Stock Show and the Denver Art Museum have free days this week (and the Denver Zoo just opened its lottery for the next free day on January 22), and the MLK tributes start rolling out before next Monday’s holiday.
Keep reading for the fifteen of the best free events in town this week.
Monday, January 10, 12:30 to 2 p.m.
The Golda Meir House Museum celebration will honor the efforts of those who had the foresight to save the tiny Denver duplex that was once home to former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, the Western world’s first female head of state and one of the most influential women in modern history. The duplex was moved twice from 1606-1608 Julian Street before finally landing at the Auraria campus in September 1988. Today the building has been renovated into a community conference area and museum that shows how it would have looked when Meir lived there in 1913. Speakers today include Governor Jared Polis, Colorado State Attorney General Phil Weiser, and state Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet. Find out more here.
National Western Stock Show Free Grounds Admission Day
Tuesday, January 11, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt Street
Thank Arrow Electronics for free admission to the National Western Stock Show grounds, where you can wander around all the new buildings, enjoy the same old vendors in the Hall of Education, and see all the animals. It’s an annual tradition, and one worth celebrating. Find out more here.
Free Day at the Denver Art Museum
Tuesday, January 11, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway
Haven’t been inside the fabulous Martin Building at the Denver Art Museum? This is the ideal way to see the renovated Ponti-designed structure, with a whole new look in every gallery as well as a burst of fresh exhibitions culled from the museum’s vast collections. To take advantage of this free day, reserve a free ticket here; note that the Whistler to Cassatt exhibit still requires paid admission.
The American Cowboy
Tuesday, January 11, 12:30 p.m.
Tattered Cover McGregor Square, 1991 Wazee Street
Active MInds hosts this program on the American cowboy, discussing how his origins extend south of the border to the Spanish colonies in the Americas. Find out more here.
Night Lights Denver
Tuesday, January 11, through Sunday, January 16, 5:15 to 11:59 p.m.
Clocktower, 1601 Arapahoe Street
The January program of the “people’s projector” is up and running, with new works from artists Danielle Cunningham. Joseph Toney and Mario Carrillo illuminating the side of the Clocktower; Clayton Kenney’s crowd-favorite “Snow” from 2019 has also returned. The light shows continue daily (except Monday) through January; find out more here.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute
Tuesday, January 11, 7:30 p.m.
Boettcher Concert Hall, Denver Performing Arts Complex
Pay your respects to the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King at a free concert hosted by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. This traditional celebration, supported by the MLK Jr. Holiday Commission and Denver Arts & Venues, includes guest artists and honors this year’s 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award recipients. Find information and free general admission tickets here.
Wednesday, January 12, through Sunday, January 16, noon to 8 p.m.
Understudy, 890 C 14th Street
The latest project at the Denver Theatre District’s cozy arts incubator space, Understudy, has all the fixings of a traditional arcade — except that they’ve been souped up by a long list of participating local artists. Even the prizes are artist-made: Grab a masterpiece from a claw machine, or redeem coupons for enamel pins, coloring books, miniature paintings, jewelry, tea towels, art prints, small sculptures and more. ARTcade will be open Wednesdays through Sundays through the end of January to accommodate Stock Show visitors; find out more here.
Sunshine and Rainbows Wellness Painting Class
Wednesday, January 12, 3 to 6 p.m.
Denver Milk Market, 1800 Wazee Street
Milk Market is sponsoring a free “wellness” painting class as part of a handful of wellness activities this month. The theme is Sunshine and Rainbows, and you can drop in, make a quick, guided painting, and leave with your art for free. Find out more here.
Colorado Election 2022: Trends and Predictions
Thursday, January 13, 11 am., online
The Crossley Center at the University of Denver presents a virtual conversation on Colorado in the 2022 elections. Crossley Center Director Floyd Ciruli will moderate a panel with Dick Wadhams, former Colorado Republican Party director and current consultant and commentor; Sheila MacDonald, political consultant for Democratic candidates and causes; Melanie Layton, state legislative lobbyist; and Seth Masket, professor and director of DU’s Center on American Politics. Register here.
Mavens of Music
Thursday, January 13, 5 to 7 p.m.
Maven Lobby, Maven Hotel, 1850 Wazee Street
The Dairy Block continues its free Mavens of Music performances with alternative Denver-based soul group Dzirae Gold, which combines Memphis-style soul with classic jazz, and David Lawrence, who blends finger-picking Delta blues and roots Americana with Gypsy-infused jazz guitar. Find out more here.
First Families of Colorado
Thursday, January 13, 6 p.m.
Koelbel Library, 5955 South Holly Street, Greenwood Village
Treasure Box Tours presents this free lecture on some of the families so intrinsic to Colorado history: the Byerses, the Evanses, the Cheesmans, the Tabors, the Moffats, the Boettchers and many others. No reservation required; find out more here.
CSU Day Celebration: Vida Building
Saturday, January 15, 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
CSU Spur, National Western Drive
CSU’s Vida Building is now open at the National Western Complex, and History Colorado will display some elements of its current Power of Horses exhibit there on CSU Day; the free event will include history-focused, hands-on activities — and the chance to have your photo taken with an eight-foot-tall kitten cutout. The Vida Building also features free educational opportunities, including a virtual reality room and a chance to watch animal surgery and therapy. Find out more here.
Friday, January 14, through Sunday, January 16
Beaver Creek Village, Avon
A walkable playground of selfie-friendly, oversized sculptures has been on view in Beaver Creek Village throughout the holiday season, but now it’s time for the art installations to really shine. During the three days of Beaver Creek Wonder, you can explore the interactive artworks and learn about them on interpretive art walks; after dark, enjoy live music, light and fire spinners and other performers while playing among installations of ski-shaped mirrors, a giant snow globe, a cookie truck and more. Skiing can be expensive, but this après-ski pastime is free; learn more here.
Text Me When You’re Home x Larimer Lounge Music and Art Fest
Saturday, January 15, 1 to 7 pm.
Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer Street
Text Me When You’re Home is a Denver-based organization that hosts events aimed at promoting women, queer, BIPOC and other underrepresented artists and musicians in safe and inclusive spaces. The free portion of this event held in partnership with the Larimer Lounge will feature over fifteen local artists, who will be showcasing and selling their work from 1 to 4 p.m.; it will be followed by a ticketed concert with local bands. Get tickets, $12, here or at the door.
2022 New Year’s Clothing Swap
Sunday, January 16: Clothing drop-off, 9 to 11 a.m.; early-bird entry for clothing contributors, noon to 1 p.m.; general admission, 1 to 4 p.m.
Grant-Humphreys Mansion, 770 Pennsylvania Street
The 2022 New Year’s Clothing Swap, already postponed once, is back — no matter what — for its sixth year, moving from History Colorado to the elegant Grant-Humphreys Mansion, a beautiful setting for what’s essentially a big, inclusive girl party with a bring-something, take-something theme. You can drop off gently worn clothing, shoes and accessories to trade beginning at 9 a.m. in order to be eligible for an hour of early-bird shopping; starting at 1 p.m., anyone can join in the hunt. It’s all free for the giving and taking; RSVP and look for rules and regulations at Eventbrite.
Know of a great free event in town? We’ll be updating this list through the week; send information to [email protected]