Free and cheap things to do in Denver in May

Kids bowl free

Families will be bowled over by this fun, budget-friendly offer, especially with the start of summer. Through September, kids (15 and under) can bowl two games every day for free at various participating bowling centers around the state. Participating bowling alleys are in Broomfield, Colorado Springs, Cortez, Estes Park, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Grand Junction, Greeley, Sterling, Thornton, Walden and Windsor. Hours and offer dates vary by location. Kids Bowl Free participants must be registered at the specific alley. Shoe rental is required, but not included in the offer. However, some bowling centers offer an unlimited shoe rental pass at a special rate.

Margot Elena’s warehouse sale

You may not have heard of Margot Elena, but the company sells high-quality bath and beauty products through national retailers and smaller boutiques. Based in Denver, Margot Elena is holding a warehouse sale (9800 E. Easter Ave.) in Centennial on May 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Shoppers can enjoy up to 80% off on many Margot Elena beauty brands, including TokyoMilk, Lollia, Library of Flowers, The Cottage Greenhouse and Love & Toast. Find an assortment of body care products, fragrances, home décor, candles and more. The first 50 people in line receive a special welcome gift. Plus, all shoppers get a Love & Toast shopping tote, while supplies last. As this is an actual warehouse, closed-toe shoes are highly recommended. Credit cards only.

Free guacamole from Teremana Tequila

For the third year, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and his ultra-premium tequila, Teremana, are encouraging people to support local restaurants. The superstar is reimbursing diners for their guacamole (up to $10 per person for a single order) when they purchase the dip with any Teremana Tequila cocktail anytime from May 1 to 7. Be sure to get an itemized receipt to submit online. Once the submission is approved, funds will be transferred via Venmo. Find a local restaurant or bar that serves Teremana tequila at

Free Comic Book Day

Pow! Zap! Free! Comic book fans can swoop into local comic book shops around Denver for super fun on Free Comic Book Day, May 6. For more than 20 years, the action-packed day is the biggest event in the comic book industry — a single day when shops around the world give away comic books to all. It’s the perfect opportunity for newbies to ignite a new hobby or true fans to add to their growing collections. Many local shops are participating, including 5280 Comics, All C’s Collectibles, Hall of Justice Comics & Collectibles, Mile High Comics and Mutiny Information Café.

Colorado Chocolate Festival

The annual Colorado Chocolate Festival at the Crowne Plaza DIA (15500 E. 40th Ave.) in Denver takes place on May 12 and 13. The sweet celebration features more than 50,000 chocolate samples from 80-plus national and regional vendors. This year’s festival offers a new Chocolate Spa with chocolate facials, a cocoa butter massage and more.  Family-friendly activities include Chocolate Bingo, a Chocolate Crown contest, free chocolate cake for Moms, chocolate tasting with the Chocolate Therapist and more. Admission is $10; kids 12 and younger free. Taste Tickets ($10 for 12) allow attendees to sample treats. The festival runs from 4 to 9 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Denver Botanic Gardens plant sale

Dig in to the always-anticipated annual spring plant sale at the Denver Botanic Gardens May 12 and 13, with tens of thousands of plants available. In addition to 15 plant divisions (herbs, vegetables, hanging baskets, seeds, container gardens, water-smart plants, etc.), the sale includes gardening supplies and gifts. Plus, the Gardens’ horticulturists will be on hand to answer questions. Shoppers are encouraged to bring their own wagons and carts or even recycled boxes to transport plants. The sale runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Reservations are required. Credit/debit cards and checks only.

Rocky Mountain Stamp Show

Philatelists are placing a stamp of approval on Denver. Hundreds will be at the Rocky Mountain Stamp Show on May 26 to 28 at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds (25690 E. Quincy Ave.) in Aurora. More than 40 vendors will showcase their wares. Plus, “What’s in Your Attic?” offers free advice for those wanting to learn more about inherited stamp albums and old family collections. Young collectors, ages 8 to 14, can attend Stamp Camp Denver with lots of hands-on activities. Admission is free. The show runs Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Denver Postcard & Paper Show

Back in the day, postcards were all the rage. See for yourself at the Denver Postcard & Paper Show on May 26 and 27 at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds (25690 E. Quincy Ave.) in Aurora. The event is one of very few shows in Colorado offering a wide variety of antique and collectible postcards, trade cards, stereoview cards, photographs and other paper ephemera. For beginning collectors, there will be bargain boxes of postcards  starting at just 25 cents each. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free. Early bird admission $10 for entry at 9 a.m. on Friday.

Free admission and rides at Mile High Flea Market

The Mile High Flea Market (I-76 & 88th Ave.) in Denver includes covered shops, open-air sellers, a farmers’ market, food stands and amusement rides for the kids. Open every weekend year-round from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., the market often boasts more than 2,500 sellers. This summer, admission is free on the final Friday every month – May 26, June 30, July 28 and Aug. 25. Regular admission is still affordable at $2 per person on Fridays and $3 on Saturdays and Sundays. A $5 three-day pass is good all weekend. Kids (8 and under) get in at no cost. Plus, the shopping mecca is offering Free Ride Fridays on June 9 and July 21 with complimentary rides all day.

Colorado Remembers

The city of Aurora and Colorado Freedom Memorial host a Colorado Remembers ceremony at Springhill Community Park (756 Telluride St.) on May 27 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event features a free-will donation pancake breakfast, tribute, displays of military artifacts and themed entertainment. The memorial holds the names of more than 6,000 Coloradans killed or missing in action. The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard and Drill Team from Washington D.C., along with the Sound of the Rockies Men’s Chorus and the Beverly Belles are expected. Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets.

INSPIRE Arts Week Lakewood

For eight days, Lakewood encourages residents to experience the city’s heritage, culture and the arts. INSPIRE Arts Week runs from May 27 to June 3, with dozens of free and low-cost arts and cultural experiences such as interactive art demonstrations, art walks and studio tours. This year, events will be spread across Lakewood at more than 20 locations, including galleries, cultural centers, shops and more. A free Rockin’ Block Party is scheduled for June 3 at the Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park (801 S. Yarrow St.) From 5 to 11 p.m., enjoy kids’ activities, music by Ronnie Raygun and the Big Eighties, food trucks and “Back to the Future” under the stars. For a complete schedule of events, including fees, visit

Free train rides for kids in Boulder

Boulder’s Tebo Train, a 100-percent electric-powered kiddie train, is offering free rides to children 10 and under (along with accompanying adults). All aboard Monday through Friday mornings from May 30 to Sept. 1. The train boards in front of Wells Fargo at the corner of 13th and Pearl streets starting at 9:30 a.m. each day. The last train leaves “the station” at 11 a.m. sharp. The four-car train runs from 13th and Pearl along the Pearl Street Mall to the 1400 block and is the only vehicle, other than strollers, permitted on the pedestrian mall.

Recycle paint

Coloradans love to recycle anything and everything, but disposing of leftover paint can be a hassle. PaintCare, a free paint recycling program with more than 150 drop-off sites across Colorado (most in paint and hardware store) can help. The program accepts all paint brands, regardless of where they were purchased, and most house paints, primers, stains, sealers and clear top coatings (varnish and shellac). All sites accept up to five gallons per visit. Leaking, unlabeled and empty paint cans are not accepted. Funding for the recycling program comes from a small fee added to the price of new paint sold in Colorado.

DCPA backstage tours

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts offers the perfect behind-the-scenes experience. There are two tours available. The Venues Tour offers an in-depth look at the DCPA venues, including the newly renovated Bonfils Theatre Complex. The 90-minute guided tour takes place on Mondays at 10 a.m. The Studio Tour allows participants to discover the people and processes that bring theater to life. Learn more about the talent of costume designers, set builders, propmakers and technical specialists needed to transform a show from concept to the magic you see on stage. The 90-minute guided tour takes place on Saturdays at 10 a.m. Tickets are $12 for each tour and must be reserved online in advance.

Every month, Laura Daily and Bryan K. Chavez at compile the “Cheap Checklist” to help smart shoppers find freebies, discounts and deals. Send tips to [email protected] 14 to 21 days in advance. More freebies, discounts and deals at

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