Travelers to Denver in the winter time may be just passing through on their way to the high country and the slopes, but there are plenty of free things to do in Denver this winter to keep you on the Front Range. The holiday season in Denver brings out brilliant light displays; perfect parades filled with passionately made floats and even free things to do in Denver for athletic as well as extreme sports enthusiasts. From free ice skating to crushing a rail park to enjoying the revelry of the holidays, you can enjoy a free fun-filled time.

1. Shreddin’ in the city Ruby Hill Rail Yard

A great free thing to do in Denver in the winter is to go shredding at Ruby Hill Rail Yard. Created in 2007 by the City and County of Denver and Winter Park Resort, Ruby Hill Rail Yard is an urban terrain park loaded with plenty of slopestyle courses that are suitable for all levels of extreme snowboarders and skiers. The terrain park boasts lights so you can shred during the day or evening.

Location: Ruby Hill Park at 1400 West Florida Avenue.

2. Family fun at the Downtown Denver Parade of Lights

Whether it’s -10 or 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside, one of the most popular free things to do in Denver in the winter is to view the Downtown Denver Parade of Lights. Traditionally the first weekend of December, the Downtown Denver Parade of Lights brings in the joy of the holiday spirit when a plethora of specialty floats take to the streets of the city. The floats are highly adorned with thousands of lights that glow with the cheer of the holiday seasons. Get there early for a prime place along the parade route which ends at the Denver City and County Building on Bannock Street between Colfax Avenue and 14th Avenue.

Location: Downtown Denver. Parade route may vary from year to year depending on construction.

3. Ice Skating at the Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park

Strap on your ice skates and take advantage of the Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park for an exciting time on a chilly night. If you don’t have any skates then you can listen to live DJs on Fridays, Saturday night concerts, and there are morning skating lessons as well as Sunday family days on the ice.

Location: Skyline Park at 16th Avenue and Arapahoe Street in Downtown Denver.

4. Every first Saturday at the Denver Art Museum

A great free thing to do in Denver in the winter on the first Saturday of each month is to stroll through the Denver Art Museum. Courtesy of the Colorado’s Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, the museum is free to the public on the first Saturday of each month. The Denver Art Museum is a gorgeous modern building designed by Daniel Libeskind and once you are inside your eyes will be happy to see art collections that range from Africa to Pre-Columbian to Spanish Colonial to American Indian.

Location: 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway in Downtown Denver adjacent to the Denver Public Library.

5. Holiday Lights at the City and County of Denver Building

Don’t fret if you want to miss the crowds in Downtown Denver that appear from nowhere during the Parade of Lights. Visitors can still revel with the eye popping display of colorful lights that adorn the City and County of Denver Building during the holiday season. On display every evening until New Year’s Day, the building is illuminated in brilliant fashion, and you can view them from Civic Center Park. Don’t worry if you missed the lights in December because there is an encore show during the Stock Show in January.

Location: Bannock Street between Colfax Avenue and West 14th Avenue adjacent to Civic Center Park in Downtown Denver.

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