While I’m always somewhat disappointed to see summer come to an end, I look forward to the fun things that fall brings. PSL at Starbucks of course, homemade chili and cornbread, new wines to try and colorful holiday cocktail drinks (I drink beer in the summer – ha ha!), football, Octoberfest, Great American Beer Festival, cooler temperatures, and of course Halloween. (Remember the joke that you know you’re from Colorado when you make sure your Halloween costume can accommodate your winter coat?)
In Colorado even though it’s fall, the weather is often mild well into November, so it’s a great time to get out and enjoy all the activities they offer in the Denver area. I’ve listed a number of them here – both for families with children and more adult oriented activities for the older crowd. After putting this post together, I’m excited to do some of these things!
Fall Color Viewing
Colorado is THE place to be to see the fall colors. The season usually runs from mid to late September into mid-October. The mountains, where the best colors are, turn color before the suburbs and city turn. You can check out a map of fall foliage peak times here. The drawback to all this beauty is the number of people who want to view the colors so prepare for traffic and lots of people. HuffPo has a list of some of the best places to see the colors. This site has some nice fall hikes that are somewhat close to Denver as well.
Hundreds of carved, glowing jack-o-lanterns will light up the night at Denver Botanic Gardens on York Street on October 18th and 19th and 25th and 26th from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. You can get seasonal food and beverages and enjoy live music, free face painting, costume contests, scavenger hunts, crafts and circus performers.
The Denver Zombie Crawl is THE most epic Zombie Crawl in the country. The annual event will take place on October 7 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and includes a Thriller Dance, Costume Contest and After Party. One of the fun parts is the $10 wrist band that lets you get discounts and specials and helps offset the costs of the Zombie Crawl.
It’s an old-fashioned Pumpkin Harvest Festival at the Four Mile Historic Park on October 7th and 8th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can build your own scarecrow or pick out a great pumpkin from the pumpkin patch. You’ll also get to tour the park in a horse drawn wagon, learn about Colorado history, and play county fair games. Of course, no fall festival would be complete without a beer garden and food trucks.
A blog post on Fall events in Denver wouldn’t be complete without at least mentioning the Broncos. Weekly watch parties start on September 11 at the Viewhouse Eatery, Bar & Rooftop at 20th and Market St downtown. They have a 190″ courtyard LED TV and dozens more flatscreens throughout the restaurant. They’ll have giveaways and food and drink specials the entire game. You can also reserve tables or cabanas.
Fright Fest at Elitches isn’t just scary Halloween stuff – it’s still all your favorite rides plus somewhat scary and fun activities during the day for younger kids and super scary temptations at night for everyone else. During the day you’ll see small ghosts and goblins running about and get free candy too. At night the genuine fright comes out, and haunted creatures roam the park looking to scare you. It happens Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 29 through October 29.
We do sell real estate here, so I have to remind you not to miss the Colorado Fall Home Show at the Colorado Convention Center downtown September 8th through the 10th and if you donate a non-perishable food item you get $2 off a ticket. It will feature 250 companies and over 400 booths. You can go to free seminars with interior designers, see the sugar art show and cake competition, and much more.
September 15-17th is Boulder’s 30th Annual Fall Fest where you can enjoy three days of food, music, beer, and children’s activities along the famous Pearl Street Mall. On Saturday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. The Raygunomics band will play a concert. There’s an entire area devoted to children’s activities on 14th St between Pearl and Spruce. City of Boulder parking will be free on Saturday and Sunday, and a good place to park might be 15th and Pearl or 10th and Walnut but don’t lose your garage ticket or it will cost you $50! While on the Pearl Street Mall don’t miss the greatest bath store in the history of the world – Lush. 😃
The Fall Festival at Cottonwood Farms runs from September 23rd to October 31st this year from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and you can try the corn or straw bale maze, and check out the farm animals and tractors. The only thing they charge for is the wagon ride which happens on Saturdays and Sundays.
Denver does Oktoberfest so big they need two weekends in a row to fit all the fun in. September 22nd and 23rd and then again on the 29th and 30th. Naturally, there will be food, music, and amazing beer but there’s also a wiener dog race, brat eating contest, keg bowling, and a stein hoisting competition. The fun is on Larimer St between 20th and 22nd Streets and is free to enter – you can buy beer and food while you’re there. The event is open 11 a.m. to midnight on all four days, and parking is the usual for downtown Denver, if you want to park there, you’ll pay. Easy walking distance from Union Station though if you want to take a bus or light rail.
If you’re in Broomfield, you can check out the Oktoberfest event at Lutheran Church of Hope at 1305 W 10th Ave from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on September 22nd and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on September 23rd. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy beer, brats, face painting, polka, local vendors and more. It’s free to enter, and you can get buy food and pay for activities while you’re there.
The RINO Oktoberfest will be held this year on Saturday, September 16 at 12 p.m. at The Rackhouse at 2875 Blake St where there will be great beer and food. Tickets are $20 and can be bought ahead of time or at the door. Ticket sales benefit the RiNo Arts District.
Here’s a fun way to benefit veterans and enjoy an Oktoberfest party at the same time. Saturday, September 16, 2 – 5 p.m. at the Tri-City Elks Club at 525 Main St in Louisville. $15 charity beer tasting plus a silent auction. 65 different beers featured plus door prizes and snacks. This year’s charity is the Rocky Mountain Fisher House that provides a home away from home for military families whose loved one is hospitalized.
If you’re an early riser, this fall breakfast event at Berry Patch Farms at 13785 Potomac St from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. sounds delicious! $10 for adults and $5 for children and the menu includes fresh farm quiche, cinnamon rolls, melon, and coffee. Dan Rau will give a talk about bee keeping. (The following weekend they’ll be doing chili cooking demonstrations.)
Run the Rocks 11th Annual event is October 8th at 9:30 a.m. in the Red Rocks Amphitheatre to benefit the American Lung Association. Enjoy a 5K run or walk OR a 10K run throughout the majestic Colorado Red Rocks plus listen to five local bands perform music throughout the morning. You get a race packet and a t-shirt for participating.
Pumpkin Patches + Corn Mazes
Pumpkin patches are another popular event within the Denver area because we still have so much spacious farm land close to the city and the suburbs.
September 20th through October 31st you can enjoy Fall Fest at Anderson Farms in Erie. They have a 30-acre corn maze, a hayride out to their pumpkin patch, pumpkin launching a petting zoo and a ton more. If you appreciate a good scare, most Fridays and Saturdays feature a Zombie Paintball and a Haunted Hay Ride and Ghost Town. Prices depend on the event or activity so check their website for more information.
Chatfield Farms in Littleton has a 7-acre corn maze from September 15 to October 29 – Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, there’s even a mini-maze for kids under 10. You can buy traditional fall foods while you’re there including funnel cakes, hot dogs, lemonade and kettle corn. A special Pumpkin Festival will take place from October 13-15. Enjoy the After Dark Corn Maze (after 7 p.m. – which is not haunted) using glow sticks. But if you like your corn maze haunted there’s the Dead Zone Scream Park too!
Buffalo Bill’s Fall Roundup is free to enjoy on September 17 all day. They’ll have crafts and kids activities plus great photo opportunities. Meet Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley too!
Toby’s Pet Parade and Fair on Saturday, September 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Parfet Park is in honor of Toby a 10-year-old Australian Shepherd who was found running loose with tape wrapped around his muzzle, and he was malnourished and dehydrated. He was taken to Foothills Animal Shelter where he was rehabilitated and adopted, and now he has a variety of jobs including sponsoring a parade in his honor. It’s $20 per dog to participate in the parade and raises money for the Foothills Animal Shelter.
If you’re the type of person who takes Talk Like a Pirate Day very seriously, you need to sign up for Northglenn’s Pirate Festival or Pirate Ball on September 15th and 16th. This year, they’ve done away with tickets for the adults-only ball on the 15th from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and you’re strongly encouraged to dress up for the event. There will be a variety of food vendors plus beer, rum, and mead to buy. Of course, there will be great music as well. For the Pirate Festival, kids of all ages are welcome, and it takes place on Saturday, September 16 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. where entrance is free, and there will be food and drinks you can buy. A Cardboard Boat Regatta Race will start at 1 p.m. in addition to a variety of activities including bounce houses, sword fighting, and crafts to make.
For the serious foodie who doesn’t mind wearing pajamas to a public event. The Stanley Marketplace is home to the Rise & Dine Brunch sponsored by Denver Food & Wine Festival. Sunday, September 10, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets are $55, you must be at least 21 years old (bottomless mimosas!), and you get to enjoy cuisine from Denver’s most amazing brunch restaurants.
The 92nd Annual Arvada Harvest Festival will take place this year in Old Town Arvada on September 8th – 10th. This all volunteer event highlights the history of Arvada and focuses on families and sponsoring free or low-cost activities for all ages.
Castle Rock’s Brewfest Under the Stars is on September 8th this year from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and tickets are $65. The event takes place at The Millhouse at 1381 W Plum Creek Pkwy, and your ticket includes beer samples from numerous Colorado craft brewers, hors-d’oeuvres from local chefs, and live music. And like always, attendees get to vote on the best beer and the winner can proudly display the trophy all year.
Does your dog love to swim? Sign him up for the Dog Daze event on September 9th at The Bay in Broomfield before they close it down until next year. They ask that you pre-register to guarantee a spot, but unfortunately, they don’t say how much it costs. It runs from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. No people swimming, by the way, just dogs!
Broomfield Days is Broomfield’s yearly huge event for the entire community. It starts on Friday, September 15, with a golf tourney and Bingo to benefit the Senior Resources of Broomfield. On Saturday there’s a 5K race, clowns, a parade, trade fair and craft festival, food, entertainment, demonstrations – basically just a giant party right in the heart of Broomfield. Midway Park from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. And because Colorado is especially keen on dogs there’s a section called BowWow Broomfield that is devoted to dogs with adoption areas, small dog races, Dock Dogs demonstrations, and competitions, plus dog related businesses of course!
Sign up for Zombie Golf before all the slots are taken! It’s on October 14 at the Legacy Golf Course from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. – $70 for tickets, and it’s a 9-hole golf tournament where you’ll have to fend off zombies in the middle of the game, and the fee includes dinner and prizes.
The Halloween Harvest Festival will take place on Saturday, October 21st, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and festivities will include carnival games, live music, food and more. It’s free! Wear a costume and celebrate fall and Halloween.
Saturday, September 9, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. the Lafayette Brew Fest at 600 S. Public Rd. The event features 25 breweries and cideries, and you buy tokens to purchase tastes and a souvenir cup. Iron Spoke Reunion will play music, and the event will include the following restaurants: UTurnBBQ, Sammy’s Fried Cheese, Suburban Wiener, Butcher and the Blonde, and Low County.
The annual Harvest Fest will take place on September 9th this year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Community Park. Activities include a fishing derby for kids, an all you can eat pancake breakfast for $4, a chili cook-off (where you can also purchase roasted chilis to take home), a food cart and a beer garden and much more.
If you’re uncomfortable with your kids going from door to door on Halloween try out the Trunk or Treat event at Carpenter Park Fields (parking lot) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, October 21st. Kids trick or treat to each car trunk decorated by volunteers. It costs $1 to get into the popular event. Also, they’re looking for volunteers to pass out Halloween candy and people to donate candy to the event. Also, if your kids (over 10) enjoy a good scare there’s a haunted area called Garden of the Ghouls, and for the younger or more sensitive set, there’s a Boo Bayou too.
Cider Days 2017 are Saturday and Sunday, October 7th and 8th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $6 and go on sale September 5th at 10 a.m. The event includes live performances, activities, and treats – and don’t forget the hard cider tasting. And it’s not all about hard cider it’s about apple baking and cooking and other fun farm related activities.
You’ve seen The Shining right? It takes place at the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, and some insist the hotel really is haunted. Naturally, they do Halloween right there: two weekends in October the 20th and 21st and Saturday, October 28th. The first weekend is a Murder Mystery Dinner and Masquerade Ball and the second weekend is the Halloween Masquerade Party.
Longs Park Scottish-Irish Highland Festival takes place September 7-10th where you’ll find music, food, and parties all weekend.