A Ferris wheel with a view at Boulder Creek Festival. (Provided by BCE Productions)
Summer is just around the corner. We can smell the hot dogs wafting in the air. The grills are getting fired up in backyards across the state. Ball games are being played at Coors Field. The kids are out of school (or should be soon). And now we’ve got a three-day weekend ahead.
Colorado knows how to celebrate the first unofficial kickoff to summer. It’s time to fill Memorial Day weekend up with loads of fun. But where to start?
We’ve rounded up 14 fantastic Colorado Memorial Day events and activities just for you. Water parks are opening, bands are gearing up to hit stages, kegs are being tapped and campsites are getting booked.
Pictured: The Silver Queen Gondola at Aspen Mountain. The gondola will be running from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. over Memorial Day weekend. (Provided by Aspen Snowmass)
Aspen Snowmass kicks off summer
Location: Aspen Mountain, 601 E. Dean St., Aspen
When: May 27-29
Memorial Day weekend is when Aspen Snowmass launches summer programming and operations. From May 27-29, you and your friends can ride the Silver Queen Gondola at Aspen Mountain to take in the views from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Or get in one last snowball fight while you can — there is still lots of snow at the top of Aspen Mountain.
Motorcyclists ride through the streets in Grand Lake during the Annual Memorial Day Parade & Ceremony. (Provided by Visit Grand County)
Location: Grand Lake
When: May 29 at 10 a.m.
Take time out of the weekend to honor those who served to protect and defend our nation. The Grand Lake Memorial Day Parade & Ceremony includes veterans, service groups, horses and loads of patriotism. Once the parade wraps up, stick around for some live music.
A paddleboarder rides on Waneka Lake in Lafayette, Colorado. Boat rentals also include paddleboats, kayaks and canoes. (Provided by City of Lafayette)
Paddleboat or stand-up paddleboard on Waneka Lake
Location: 1600 Caria Dr., Lafayette
When: Water rentals kick off on May 27 from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. (closed Mondays)
Get out those coolers, sunscreen the kids and get ready for a day at Waneka Lake. The boathouse will officially open for the season. You can rent canoes, kayaks, paddleboats and stand-up paddleboards. Life jackets are also available to rent (and required if you go out on the water). The park at Waneka offers a fun place for little ones to let out their energy, and there’s plenty of tables for picnicking.
Bradford McDevitt gets his taco cheered during the 2014 Bolder Boulder in Folsom Field on May 26 Memorial Day in Boulder. (Paul Aiken, Boulder Daily Camera file photo)
Location: Folsom Field, 2400 Colorado Ave., Boulder
When: May 29, 2017; festivities kick-off at 5:45 a.m. (so no hitting the snooze button!), but runners take off in assigned waves
We can’t write a Memorial Day Guide without including the BolderBoulder. It’s a true classic. Folks from all over the country come to partake in the race that involves various activities and entertainment at Folsom Field in Boulder. Around 50,000 participants and more than 70,000 spectators enjoy the BolderBoulder 10K each year. It’s fabulous people-watching: You’ll see racers dressed as tacos, wearing tutus, decked out in ’70s race gear and more. Different waves makes it perfect for runners, joggers and walkers of all levels and experience. Race on.
Over 50,000 people are expected to attend the Denver Arts Festival over Memorial Day weekend. This year, Colorado band Dotsero is set to perform. (Provided by Denver Arts Festival)
Location: Stapleton Northfield, 8304 E. 49th Place, Denver
When: May 27-28
Stroll around the Denver Arts Festival to take in the fine work from local artists and a select group of national artists over Memorial Day weekend at Stapleton’s Conservatory Green. If you can’t find a babysitter over the weekend, don’t stress it, they have a kids ‘n canvas mini painting party with Gallery On The Go. Kids get to paint a mini canvas magnet and take their picture in a photo booth.
Denver Day of Rock
Location: 16th Street Mall
When: May 27
The perfect summer kickoff for a great cause. Denver Day of Rock is a one-day music festival that benefits the work of Amp the Cause, which supports numerous nonprofits in our community. The festival offers five different stages of live music along Denver’s 16th Street Mall. The lineup includes Austin Young Band, Barnaby Bright, Dearling, The Dustbowl Revival and Heather Maloney to name a few. It’s free. Or purchase a VIP package for $250/each that includes catering and open bar access at five lounges throughout the event
Kids enjoy rolling in inflatable balls on water in a pool at the Boulder Creek Festival in Boulder. (Provided by BCE Productions)
Location: Downtown Boulder along Boulder Creek, from Broadway to 14th Street, between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue
When: May 27 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; May 28 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; May 29 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Boulderites, unite! All weekend long, the Boulder Creek Festival features a large variety of events, activities for the kids, bounce houses, concerts, food vendors and even a beer garden. The fest has nine separate areas with over 500 different vendors, and it’s free.
Fireworks near the Observation Tower at Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park. The park will have a fireworks show on May 28, 2017, in honor of Memorial Day in Denver. (Garrett W. Ellwood)
Fireworks at Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
Location: 2000 Elitch Circle, Denver
When: May 28 at dusk
Roller coasters. Water slides. Beer. Funnel cakes. What more can you possibly need over Memorial Day weekend? Fireworks! On May 28, enjoy a full day at Elitch’s and stick around for an amazing fireworks show that will kick off at dusk. The Water Park also opens over Memorial Day weekend — and new for 2017: Mega Wedgie, three new speed slides at six stories tall and 40 miles per hour. (They specifically say no thongs or g-string swimwear is allowed. Darn it.)
The Alpine Slide at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs. The park is kicking off its summer concert series over Memorial Day weekend. (Matt Inden/Miles, Colorado Tourism Office)
Summer Kick-Off — Music on the Mountains
Location: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
When: May 26 from 6-10 p.m.
Nothing like partying on top of a cozy mountain to make you feel like a true Coloradan. Head for the hills and celebrate at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park for their summer kick-off party with a concert by the Missing Link Bank and a performance by Dance of the Sacred Fire. The concert is free with the donation of a can of food for the local food pantry. Or if you want to enjoy all the rides, upgrade to a Funday Pass for $38.
A standard cabana rental at Water World in Federal Heights includes a dining table, four chairs, two lounge chairs, semi-private lounger area, limited WiFi, cooler with ice, free sunscreen and one keyed all-day locker for $129 plus municipal fee. (Provided by Water World Colorado)
Rent a Cabana at Water World
Location: 8801 N. Pecos St., Federal Heights
When: Opening for the season on May 27 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
While we’ve been snowed on all winter long, the folks at Water World have been working hard at preparing new cabanas for our enjoyment this summer. Standard cabana rentals start at $129. The water park officially opens to the public over Memorial Day weekend — and they’re even unveiling a new mascot. We can hardly wait. Is it a giant wave wearing Speedos? Who knows, the suspense is killing us. The park will also be offering a plethora of new food items and a specialty pavilion that features beer and beach-type frozen concoctions.
Cañon City Balloon Classic
When: May 27-29
Location: Holy Cross Abbey, 2951 U.S. 50, Cañon City
Show of hands to those who love watching balloons know matter how old you are! At the Cañon City Balloon Classic, attendees will enjoy delicious food, wine (enough said), works of local artisans and balloon launches with skydivers. There will also be live music and plenty of activities for the little ones in the Kids’ Zone. Stay in the evening for the Balloon Glows and the Abbey Glow.
Veterans Memorial Day Tribute
Location: POF Hall, 1340 Sherman St., Denver
When: May 27 from 10 a.m.-noon
The Annual Veterans Memorial Day Tribute is a time to honor all fallen Colorado heroes and families on Memorial Day weekend. The event will feature touching biographies and stories, name readings, the Remembrance Wreath laying and more.
Flowers at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s plant sale in 2016. Over Memorial Day weekend, the zoo will have a plant sale in Colorado Springs. (Provided by Cheyenne Mountain Zoo)
Plant sale at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Location: 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road, Colorado Springs
When: May 27-29 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
If you’re looking to update your lawn over the three-day weekend, you’re in luck. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is having a plant sale with many varieties of grasses, perennials, herbs and more, all weekend long. And bonus: All plants are Colorado-grown. We get it, you need more information. Here’s the official list of all the plants for sale. Zoo admission is not required to attend the plant sale.
MeadowGrass Music Festival
Location: LaForet Conference & Retreat Center, 6145 Shoup Road, Black Forest
When: May 26-28
One of Colorado’s most eclectic music fests is back and better than ever. The MeadowGrass Music Festival’s lineup features more than 20 national, regional and local artists, such as The Kinnikinniks, Zach Heckendorf with Acoustic Ambush and Gipsy Moon. In addition to the music, the festival also offers music workshops, yoga, various kids’ activities and camping. $120 general admission for the whole weekend; other packages available.
Visit Colorado.com for more Memorial Day happenings.