Beat the Dog Days of Summer with these Summer Festivals and Markets in Denver

    With multiple heat waves already hitting the Mile High, it’s safe to say we have now entered the dog days of summer. Even though it may be tempting to cool off indoors, Denver offers the best blend of culture, food, music and shopping to bring our community together all summer long. From the bustling farmers’ markets that showcase Colorado’s finest produce to the lively festivals that celebrate our city, spending your summer at these local events guarantees memorable experiences that beat sitting by a fan all day. Whether you’re a resident or visiting for the season, beat the heat with our roundup of summer festivals and markets in Denver and nearby.

    Denver Water Lantern Festival

    People outside, lights, water, night Denver festivals and markets
    Photo Courtesy of Water Lantern Festival

    Where: 10698 Garfield St, Thornton

    When: July 12-13, 5:30 pm to 10 pm

    The Lowdown: If you’re looking for a unique family-friendly Denver festival or market to enjoy a summer night, the Water Lantern Festival returns to Colorado this July.

    Begin your night with savory meals provided by local food trucks and rhythmic music to dance and sing along. Each ticket includes a floating lantern kit, an LED candle, playing cards and conversation cards to create memorable moments with loved ones. Made of sustainable materials like rice paper and wood, decorate your lantern to your liking and use it to set goals and intentions or let go of past challenges. At 8:30 pm, it’s time to launch your lanterns! Join together and watch the water glow with thousands of lanterns to spread joy and peace through the night.

    Tickets for this event start at $28.33. Prices increase based on dates throughout June and July.

    Bastille French Fest

    Photo Courtesy of French American Chamber of Commerce Rocky Mountain on Facebook

    Where: Fillmore Plaza, Cherry Creek, 105 Fillmore St, Denver

    When: Jul 12, 2024, 2:00 PM – Jul 14, 2024, 7:00 PM

    The Lowdown: Celebrate July 14th’s Bastille Day with three days of French charm at the Fillmore Plaza. Just in time for Paris to host the 2024 Olympics, Bastille Day French Fest celebrates the best of France from our Mile High home! All are welcome to commemorate one of the oldest nations through authentic cuisine, French wines, art, and shops from local and French artisans. Laze at the lounge bar Le Café de Paris and indulge in Champagne and savory delights from the heart of France. Spend the summer weekend with a taste of European charm and luxury and say “Vive la France !”

    Douglas County Fair and Rodeo

    Photo courtesy of Douglas County Fair and Rodeo.

    Where: 500 Fairgrounds Drive, Castle Rock

    When: July 26 – August 4

    The Lowdown: Nothing screams summer like the nostalgic scents of crispy corn dogs and doughy funnel cake, the tastes of tart icy cold lemonade, the sounds of children cheering for prizes and the sites of Ferris wheel lights flashing in the sky on a warm July night.

    No matter your age, celebrate your inner child at the Douglas County Fair and Rodeo. Enjoy the classic thrills of the tilt-a-whirl, pet bunnies and goats at the Kodiak Ranch Petting Zoo and feast on deep-fried goods all day. This year, sing along to the chart-topping singles of award-winning country artist, Chris Janson with #1 hits like Drunk Girl and Buy Me a Boat. All week long, witness the heart-pounding excitement at the rodeo with bareback riding, bull riding and steer wrestling. Whether it’s your first time or your fifth year in a row, the Douglas County Fair will bring you back to your childhood with nostalgic fun for everyone.

    Admission to the fairgrounds is free for all. Carnival wristbands start at $32 for unlimited rides and special event tickets vary.

    Lavender Festival

    Lavender plant, outside, Denver Festivals and Markets
    Photo Courtesy of botanicgardens.org

    Where: 8500 W Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton

    When: July 20 and 21, 9 am to 4 pm

    The Lowdown: At Chatfield Farm, experience the aroma of summer with the sights and smells of over 2,000 lavender plants at the 2024 Denver Botanic Garden’s Lavender Festival. Explore miles of violet shrubs and other curated gardens while taking in the therapeutic fragrance. Take the opportunity to support local growers and artisans by shopping for handmade lavender products. Watch performances from local Colorado bands including The Altaira Flute Ensemble in the Lavender Garden. This event provides fun opportunities for the whole family with blacksmith demonstrations, barrel train rides, lawn games, a kid’s craft area and a variety of food to keep tummies happy.

    Tickets for kids cost $9, $13 for students and seniors and $15 for adults.

    Denver Tattoo Arts Festival

    Photo Courtesy of Villain Arts

    Where: Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th St, Denver

    When: July 19 – 24

    The Lowdown: If you’re yearning to get your first tattoo or add to your collection, escape the summer heat at the Colorado Convention Center for the 7th annual Denver Tattoo Arts Festival. Meet featured artists like Jack Hatchet, Flip Shades and Cody Gower, and have them turn your body into a gallery at this Denver festival. If you’re not ready to commit, the festival offers plenty of other activities and entertainment. Witness show-stopping performances from America’s Got Talent stars, Ringling Brothers’ acts and Burlesque dazzlers.

    Do you have a misspelled word or an eerie image that overstayed its welcome? Enter the Inkless Ugliest Tattoo Contest for free tattoo removal treatments. Do you have a tattoo you’re proud of? Enter the Best of Show contest!

    Tickets for one day cost $23. Three-day passes are $45. Children under 12 attend the festival for free.

    RiNo’s Outdoor Movie Night

    Where: 2631 Larimer St, Denver

    When: 2nd Thursdays of the month, July 11 – October 10

    The Lowdown: Grab your cozy blankets, comfy chairs and best buds for RiNo’s Outdoor Movie Night series at the Lot on Larimer. What better way to spend a pleasant summer evening than a film under the stars? Relax and watch classics like Back to the Future, The Parent Trap and Addams Family Values while sipping complimentary Topo Chico and snacking various food from the market. Take advantage of this opportunity and enjoy a free screening at sunset through October!

    A Paris Street Market

    Photo Courtesy of aparisstreetmarket.com

    Where: 7301 S. Santa Fe Drive, Littleton

    When: July 6, August 3, September 7 and October 5, 8 am to 2pm

    The Lowdown: From July through October, roam the streets of France right here in Colorado at Aspen Grove’s A Paris Street Market. Shop through vintage and artisan treasures provided by unique vendors. Look through an assortment of Parisian-inspired clothing and trinkets, antique dishes and hand-crafted gems resembling goods right from the shops of France! This is a great summer activity to support local sellers while experiencing a taste of marvelous Paris.

    Cherry Creek Fresh Market

    Photo Courtesy of Colorado Fresh Markets

    Where: Cherry Creek Shopping Center, East Side, 3000 E 1st Ave, Denver

    When: May 4 – October 12, 9 am to 2 pm

    The Lowdown: Every Saturday, rain or shine, take a stroll and purchase local products offered by Colorado vendors and farmers at Cherry Creek Fresh Market. Since 1997, this market has offered the best in-season produce, local dairy, aromatic flowers and specialty foods from all over the state. At one of the best summer festivals and markets in Denver, you can purchase plump and juicy cherries or stock up on locally grown vegetables. Spend your summer Saturdays absorbing the sunshine and buying fresh food from the Mile High and beyond.

    Cherry Creek Fresh Market offers validated parking.

    Saturday Night Bazaar

    Photo Courtesy of denverbazaar.com

    Where: 1611 Raleigh St., Sloan’s Lake

    When: Saturdays, June 18 – September 24, 4 pm to 8 pm

    The Lowdown: If you’re looking for a Saturday Denver festival or market set in the evening, Saturday Night BAZAAR in Sloan’s Lake offers over 50 vendors, delicious street food, crafted cocktails and a place to mingle. Listen to live bands while purchasing hand-made gems from Vixin Jewelry, Soapherb, Mile High Mud, Buddy Scrub and more. Find a new favorite shop or street food from local merchants. Chow down on specialty brats from Billy’s Gourmet Hot Dogs or cool off with an indulgent dessert from Eskimo Bros. Nitro Ice Cream. Since 2015, Denver BAZAAR has offered an “ongoing celebration of art, eats, and creativity” for Mile High locals or visitors.

    Urban Market at Union Station

    Union Station, building, outside, cars, Denver Festivals and Markets
    Photo Courtesy of Denver’s Union Station on Facebook

    Where: 1701 Wynkoop, Denver

    When: Various Dates, July 6th – November 17th, 12 pm to 6 pm

    The Lowdown: Spend sunny afternoons at Denver’s historic Union Station discovering the most eclectic local vendors around the Mile High at one of the best Denver markets in the city. From self-made jewelry and unique furniture to soaring live music and delectable dishes, Urban Market at Union Station offers a free immersive experience. This year, the heart of Denver celebrates its 10th anniversary with a refresh to the transit hub and downtown destination, including the Great Hall and Crawford Hotel (the iconic hotel inside Union Station). Commemorate this special year by stopping by Urban Market and see what makes this one of the best summer festivals and markets in Denver.

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