On June 12, 1947, just nine days before the first day of summer, snow fell in Denver, Colorado. It went down in history as the city’s latest snowfall on record. Flash forward 60 years to June 8, 2007, and pre-summer snowflakes sprinkled down on the city again. While the weather can be unpredictable in this part of town, that doesn’t keep everyone from willing sunshine and shorts weather on the first day of summer.
This year, the solstice occurs on Monday, June 20, 2016, and we’ve got the inside scoop on some of the best things to do in Denver to celebrate. Whether you’re romping around on vacation or sneaking out for some sunshine on your lunch break, the longest day of the year just got a little bit brighter.
Sunrise: Wakey wakey! The sun rises at 5:32 a.m. today, so set an alarm—or maybe two—and catch as many solstice rays as you can. If you need caffeine pumping through your veins before you can properly face the day, get your buzz at Rooster & Moon. This trendy coffee pub’s organic, fair-trade coffee and homemade pastries will set your gears in motion.
Midday: Kick off your shoes and wiggle your toes in the blades of grass at City Park. It sure feels like summertime now, huh? Toss around some horseshoes and steer a pedal boat around Ferril Lake. You can also find respite from the solstice sun at the park’s Denver Museum of Nature and Science, where the futuristic Robot Revolution exhibit is on display until August.
Afternoon: When it’s time to nosh, head northwest to The Source, an artisan food market in RiNo. Comida’s fresh and zingy ceviche and Crooked Stave’s sour brews spell out summertime in the finest way. After fueling up, zig zag your way through the stalls and pick up some fresh flowers from the Beet & Yarrow floral shop.
Viewfinder tip: Book your tickets for the Midsummer Nights Tour today. Discounts are available for students and members.
Evening: If you’ve memorized Shakespearean sonnets by heart, then the Midsummer Nights Tour was made with you in mind. It features a tour through the Denver Botanic Gardens, where you’ll discover special plants, like love-in-idleness, that made appearances in the playwright’s famous works. The tour starts at 6 p.m.
Sunset: The sun will slip under the horizon at 7:44 p.m. tonight, and you can round out your itinerary at Bear Creek Lake Park’s Summer Solstice event. At 7:30 p.m., the Learning Circle Amphitheater is hosting a birds of prey demonstration, followed by a star gazing session. Telescopes will be available for you to view the strawberry full moon in the Denver sky.
Whether you’re making a hotel in Denver your temporary home base or simply looking for some solar fun, jump-start the sunny season with these Denver summer activities.
Highlights from Denver summer solstice 2015
- Early morning breakfast at Purple Door Coffee
- Big Gay 5K as part of the Denver PrideFest celebrations
- Denver Century Ride with the Post Ride Street Party
- Westword Music Showcase hosted concerts all around the Golden Triangle district
Highlights from Denver summer solstice 2014
- Sunrise hike at Lookout Mountain
- Brunch at Snooze
- Skrillex show at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater
What summer events in Denver are topping your list this year?