DENVER, April 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The days are getting longer again, and The Mile High City is ready to help visitors embrace the season and enjoy the beautiful weather. This summer features blockbuster events, art exhibitions and plenty of culinary, entertainment and hotel options, making Denver the place to be for a weekend getaway this spring and summer.
"Denver is truly a four-season destination, but the excitement of spring leading into summer is hard to beat," says Richard Scharf, president and CEO of VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau. "With Denver's bright, sunny days comes an unmistakable energy in the city that runs through our events, exhibitions and evenings out; and there is plenty going on in the city to appeal to everyone."
From cultural and music festivals to romantic date night ideas; and from stimulating exhibits and events to abundant sports and recreation options, spring and summer are a perfect time to visit Denver. Plus, great hotel rates and packages encourage visitors to make a weekend of it.
Below are just a few of the exciting things happening in Denver in the coming months; for a full list of events, things to do and hotel deals, go to the VISIT DENVER website.
A Place in the Sun, through Apr. 24
Denver Art Museum
This exhibition presents bold, large-scale paintings by lifelong friends and fellow artists, Walter Ufer and E. Martin Hennings, who were instrumental in defining American art in the twentieth century; and it is the first exhibition to present the major award-winning paintings by each artist. Organized chronologically, this exhibition highlights the parallels and differences between the artists' lives and artistic development. Both artists gravitated toward subjects drawn from the Southwest's rich American Indian and Hispanic cultures, its serene landscape, and vibrant light.
Chocolate: The Exhibition, through May 8
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Chocolate: The Exhibition traces the history of chocolate from its earliest cultivation to its ubiquitous rise in the modern world. A life-size cacao tree, interactive Aztec marketplace and stunning historic and educational displays will engage the senses as they illustrate how the "food of the gods" came to be.
Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection, through June 5
Denver Art Museum
The Samurai collection of Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller is one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of Japanese samurai armor, weapons and accoutrements in the world, exploring the life, culture and pageantry of the samurai from the 12th through the 19th centuries. The exhibition tells the iconic story of the samurai through 140 objects, showcasing items of folklore, religion, nature and foreign influences.
Stories in Sculpture: Selections from the Walker Art Center Collection, Apr. 29 – Oct. 2
Denver Botanic Gardens
Organized by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Stories in Sculpture: Selections from the Walker Art Center Collection features works from the institution's renowned permanent collection. Thirteen seminal modern and contemporary sculptures will make an unprecedented move to Denver while the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden undergoes the first major reconstruction project since its opening in 1988. Artists in the exhibition include Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, George Segal, Saul Baizerman, Deborah Butterfield, Barry Flanagan and Judith Shea.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre 75th Anniversary & Summer Concert Series
Recently named to the National Historic Register and celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2016, Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre is a world-famous outdoor concert and recreation venue located approximately 30 minutes from Denver. The only naturally-occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world, Red Rocks is recognized for its star-studded concert roster, natural acoustics and ambience, as well as its awe-inspiring hiking and biking trails. Headliners for 2016 include Thievery Corporation, Bob Dylan, My Morning Jacket, Avett Brothers, DeVotchKa with The Colorado Symphony and many more. The park and amphitheater are open daily; Summer Concert Series and event schedules can be found online.
Independence Eve Presented by Anadarko, July 3
Civic Center Park
The annual Independence Eve Celebration in Civic Center Park will feature a free patriotic concert from local funk sensation Funkiphino and the 101st Army Concert Band from Buckley Air Force Base; an innovative light show on the Denver City and County Building; and a stunning fireworks finale. Lawn seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis; blankets or low-rise concert/beach chairs are encouraged. Attendees are welcome to bring their own picnics; concessions will also be present on-site.
Arts & Culture
Denver Chalk Art Festival, June 4-5
More than 200 professional, amateur and student artists will show off their incredible talents in what has become one of Denver's most treasured events. Over the course of two days, the artists will take to the streets armed with vivid pastel chalks and spend hours recreating major masterpieces or sharing original works of art. Spectators will watch as the intricate chalk paintings come to life and spread out to adorn four downtown blocks in and around Larimer Square. Visitors will enjoy live music, food and beverages while also having the rare opportunity to interact with the artists as they work.
Denver Comic Con, June 17-19
Colorado Convention Center
This three-day fan convention features the best in comics, sci-fi and fantasy television shows, movies, Japanese animation, cosplay, toys, gaming and celebrities in these genres. Announced lineups include: Carrie Fisher from "Star Wars;" Karl Urban of "Star Trek" and "Lord of the Rings" fame; Stan Lee, legendary Marvel Comics writer and producer known for "Iron Man" and much more; and Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley from "The Vampire Diaries."
Denver PrideFest 2016, June 18-19
Civic Center Park
Recognized as one of the top ten pride events in the country, Denver's PrideFest is a celebration of community, heritage, family and culture. Produced by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Colorado (The Center), more than 250,000 people from Colorado and surrounding areas come out to enjoy the parade, rally, music, entertainment, food and much more.
SeriesFest 2016, June 22-26
Sie FilmCenter and Red Rocks Amphitheatre
SeriesFest is an international celebration dedicated to showcasing the best new pilots from established and emerging content creators, and it takes place in the birthplace of cable television. As trailblazers in independent content development, the annual event aims to create a global marketplace for episodic storytelling by bringing together industry luminaries, emerging artists, and passionate audiences to advance compelling and creative content as well as celebrate television history and engage in meaningful dialogue.
Cherry Creek Arts Festival, July 2-4
Cherry Creek North
Cherry Creek Arts Festival is a world-class and award-winning celebration of the visual, culinary and performing arts, and enjoys an attendance of more than 350,000 visitors over three days. The event gives patrons the rare and special opportunity to meet and talk with international visual artists, sample fine cuisine, visit special exhibits and artist demonstrations and entertain their families with interactive art activities and exciting performing arts.
Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, July 30-31
Sloan's Lake Park
The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival is a free family-friendly festival highlighting Colorado's rich Asian Pacific American heritage. A window to the Pan Asian world, this diverse festival is the only one of its kind in the United States. It showcases an array of traditional and contemporary performing arts, cultural customs, cuisine and a marketplace of unique and hard-to-find arts, crafts and vendors, in addition to two days of action-packed dragon boat racing.
Neighborhoods and Art Districts
Denver has several exciting neighborhoods and arts districts, each with its own lively personality and attractions to discover – from the Golden Triangle neighborhood featuring world-class museums to the up-and-coming RiNo (River North) Art District, which is home to bold, colorful street art and chef-driven restaurants. For information, interactive maps and video tours of the seven arts districts and many neighborhoods, check out VISIT DENVER's Neighborhood Guides.
Musical Performances & Festivals
Five Points Jazz Festival, May 21
This free festival celebrates the past of Denver's Historic Five Points District. Once known as the Harlem of the West, Five Points was home to several jazz clubs which played host to many of jazz music's legends such as Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, among others. Since its inception in 2004, the Five Points Jazz Festival has grown each year in size and popularity. In 2016, the festival has added 20 additional vendors, three more stages and expanded four blocks.
Project Pabst, May 20-21
The popular music festival of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, Project Pabst, will come to Denver for the first time this May. The festival will be held on Larimer Street, between 27th and 28th Streets
With two outdoor stages and will feature Denver-based headliner Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. Other acts in the lineup include Violent Femmes, Baroness, Courtney Barnett and more. In addition to the Saturday block party, there will be club shows the night before.
Denver Day of Rock, May 28
Denver Day of Rock is a free, one-of-a-kind music event on the 16th Street Mall that features five stages with live music and family-friendly entertainment throughout Denver. This year's performers include The Railbenders, Mark Broussard, Gipsy Moon and more. The event supports Amp The Cause, a local nonprofit organization focused on children's health and education.
Underground Music Showcase (UMS), July 28-31
One of the most popular music festivals in Denver, UMS features more than 400 local and national acts at more than 15 venues and stages all around the city. The 2016 lineup features headliners Thee Oh Sees, Allah Lahs and Policia, as well as local bands The Yawpers, The Bright Light Social Hour, Strawberry Runners and more.
Riot Fest, Sep. 2-4
National Western Complex
Riot Fest is a multi-day metal, rock, punk, hip-hop and alternative music festival that started in Chicago in 2005. It has since been such a success that it expanded to have stops in both Denver and Toronto. This independent music festival is full of the best of the best in each genre, from well-known artists to new artists and everything in between; and there is food, carnival rides and more entertainment. The lineup has not been announced, but early bird tickets are on sale now.
Sports & Recreation
Professional Sports – Colorado Rockies and Colorado Rapids
Denver is home to seven professional sports teams, including Major League Baseball's Colorado Rockies and Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids. Fans can catch the Rockies Home Opener on April 8, and there are plenty of games throughout the season. The Rapids kicked off their season in early March, and tickets are available through the summer.
Colorado Cup, July 8-16
Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Two professional German soccer teams, Bundesliga teams Mainz 05 and Mönchengladbach and two top tier, Division 1 teams from Mexico will compete in friendly games with local professional soccer teams during the Colorado Cup, which benefits Funding One's Freedom, a soccer-focused youth development organization. The seven-day event also features pre-season training camps, youth soccer camps, coaching clinics and business forums.
Epicurean & Craft Beer Experiences
After spending the day enjoying all there is to see and do in Denver, visitors can refuel at some of the city's renowned restaurants. Denver is home to a robust culinary scene featuring hundreds of both new and iconic restaurants and award-winning chefs – five of the city's top chefs were recently named James Beard semifinalists in categories including Outstanding Chef (Jennifer Jasinski), Outstanding Restaurateur (Frank Bonanno) and Best Chef Southwest (Steven Redzikowski, Dana Rodriguez, Alex Siedel). The culinary landscape is focused on chef-driven restaurants and locally sourced ingredients and is very eclectic and collaborative. Visitors can dine at some of Denver's award-winning restaurants on Larimer Square, or sample some of the unique flavors at culinary hotspots in neighborhoods like LoHi (Lower Highlands) and RiNo or at Denver's newly renovated Union Station.
The beer scene in Denver is also not-to-be-missed. There are more than 100 brewpubs, breweries and tap rooms in the metro area, and the Denver Beer Trail invites visitors to explore the craft brew culture by highlighting 20 of Denver's best new or classic breweries.
About VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau
Celebrating 107 years of promoting The Mile High City, VISIT DENVER is a nonprofit trade association that contracts with the City of Denver to market Denver as a convention and leisure destination, increasing economic development in the city, creating jobs and generating taxes. A record 15.4 million visitors stayed overnight in Denver in 2014, generating $4.6 billion in spending, while supporting nearly 54,000 jobs and making tourism among the top industries in Denver. Learn more about Denver on the VISITDENVER website and at TOURISMPAYSDENVER or by phone at 800 2 Denver. Follow Denver's social media channels for up-to-the-minute updates at: Facebook.com/visitdenver; Twitter.com/visitdenver; Instagram.com/visitdenver; and YouTube.com/visitdenver.
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SOURCE VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau