As the crisp Colorado air gradually replaces the warmth of summer and the Rocky Mountains become cloaked in their vibrant tapestry of amber and gold, a magical transformation sweeps across the state. Colorado’s picturesque Front Range Mountains become a canvas painted with the hues of fall foliage, offering residents and visitors an enchanting backdrop for the season’s festivities. It’s a time when the state comes alive with the aroma of hearty cuisine, the clinking of beer mugs, and the joyful laughter of people celebrating life. This is fall in Colorado—an idyllic, cozy, and beautiful time of the year.
In this blog post, we encourage you to immerse yourself in Colorado’s quintessential autumn experience. We’ll guide you to the names, dates, and descriptions of incredible fall festivals near Denver that residents and visitors can’t afford to miss. From Oktoberfest extravaganzas to culinary celebrations that will tantalize your taste buds, these fantastic fall festivals near Denver are a testament to Colorado’s vibrant spirit and love for all things autumn.
Fall Festivals in September
When: September 15–17
Where: Vail Village
Vail is known for its picturesque alpine setting and charming Bavarian architecture. This creates an authentic-feeling European atmosphere, perfect for an Oktoberfest celebration. The architecture and ambiance of Vail Village add a special touch to the festivities, making it feel like you’ve stepped into a traditional German Village. In addition to the beautiful setting, Vail Oktoberfest features keg bowling, live music, traditional German food, contests, family-friendly activities, and LOTS of beer. It’s the perfect weekend escape from the front range. Vail is about two hours from downtown Denver, so consider booking a hotel so you can indulge and stay safe!
When: September 15–17
Breckenridge’s Oktoberfest offers a lively celebration in a historic mining town with Victorian architecture. The festival features a traditional Biergarten, German food vendors, music, dancing, and various contests and games. The event occurs on Breckenridge’s main street, creating a festive atmosphere in a breathtaking mountain town setting. Breckenridge’s Oktoberfest captures the essence of a Colorado mountain community celebrating German traditions.
Great American Beer Festival
When: September 21–23, 2023
The Great American Beer Festival is an annual event celebrating the vibrant craft beer culture in the U.S. It’s a yearly event held in the craft beer capital — Denver, Colorado. The festival features a diverse range of craft beers from across the country. Attendees can enjoy sampling various beer styles, attending educational sessions, and engaging with the country’s best brewers and beer experts. The festival’s renowned beer competition awards medals in different categories, boosting breweries’ reputations. Beyond tastings, the Great American Beer Festival fosters connections among beer enthusiasts and industry professionals through food, music, and interactive experiences.
Downtown Boulder’s Fall Fest
When: September 22–24, 2023
Where: Boulder, Colorado
Celebrate music, art, and community at Downtown Boulder’s annual fall festival. Over the weekend, visitors and locals can enjoy music on multiple stages showcasing local talent. The event features a bustling marketplace of local artisans selling unique crafts, jewelry, and more. Culinary delights from food trucks and local restaurants provide diverse and delicious dining experiences. Craft beer and local wine add to the festive atmosphere. There’s plenty of fun for families as well! Kids will love the interactive zones, arts and crafts, and kid-friendly games. Amidst Boulder’s picturesque fall foliage, Fall Fest embodies community spirit. It offers a warm and lively celebration of the season’s beauty and local culture.
Chile y Frijoles Festival
When: Sept. 22–24, 2023
The Chile & Frijoles Festival in Pueblo, Colorado, is an annual celebration honoring the region’s agricultural legacy. This vibrant event, held over a weekend, focuses on two essential crops: chile peppers and pinto beans. Attendees can explore bustling marketplaces with local produce, crafts, and products. Food takes the spotlight, with vendors serving diverse dishes showcasing chiles and beans in creative and delicious ways. The festival is infused with live music, cultural performances, and contests, fostering a festive ambiance. Beyond the festivities, the event also educates visitors about the crops’ historical and economic significance to Pueblo. The Chile & Frijoles Festival is a flavorful journey into Pueblo’s heritage, inviting everyone to indulge in its culinary and cultural treasures.
When: Sept. 22–24 & September 29–October 1, 2023
Where: Downtown Denver
Oktoberfest Denver captures the spirit of German festivities in the heart of Colorado’s capital. Spanning several weekends in September, the event infuses traditional Bavarian culture, music, food, and beer into the city’s vibrant atmosphere. Dressed in German attire, attendees enjoy lively music and dance performances, creating an authentic ambiance. The festival’s focus on beer is evident through a wide range of German and local brews, complemented by hearty German cuisine. Games, contests, and artisan vendors add to the fun, while family-friendly activities make it inclusive for all ages. Set against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, Oktoberfest Denver unites Denver’s community in a celebration that brings a touch of Bavaria to the Mile-High City.
Colorado Springs Oktoberfest
When: September 29–October 1, 2023
Where: Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs Oktoberfest brings German festivities to the city’s charming backdrop. Held over a weekend in September and early October, the event infuses traditional Bavarian culture with local flair. Live music, including German tunes, sets the festive tone, while beer gardens offer an array of German and local brews. Authentic German food, like bratwurst and pretzels, fills the air with mouthwatering aromas. Attendees can engage in games and contests, from stein-holding to keg rolling, adding to the lively atmosphere. Artisan vendors showcase various goods, and family-friendly areas cater to kids. Colorado Springs Oktoberfest melds German traditions with the city’s unique character, inviting everyone to revel in the music, food, and camaraderie against the backdrop of the city’s stunning landscape.
When: September 30–October 1, 2023
Where: Estes Park
Elk Fest in Estes Park, Colorado, is an annual celebration of the fall elk rut, typically held in early October. The festival offers a unique chance to witness the awe-inspiring mating behaviors of these majestic creatures. Attendees can experience guided wildlife tours to observe male elk bugling — their distinctive mating call. Educational presentations and interactive exhibits provide insights into elk behavior and their role in the ecosystem. Vendors and artisans often offer elk-themed crafts and merchandise. Beyond being a wildlife spectacle, Elk Fest emphasizes wildlife conservation and fosters a deeper connection to nature. It’s a wonderful opportunity for all ages to engage with the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains and gain a greater appreciation for local wildlife.
Fall Festivals in October
Cider Days in Lakewood
When: Saturday – Sunday, Oct. 7-8, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: Belmar Park in Lakewood, Colorado
For a refreshing twist on fall beverages, head to the annual Cider Days festival in Lakewood, just a short drive from Denver. This two-day event (October 7 to 8th, 2023) pays homage to the beloved apple in all its forms. Explore an apple cider press, taste a wide variety of apple-based treats, and even try your hand at apple cider making. With live music, tractor rides, and a charming farmers’ market, Cider Days is the epitome of autumn’s simple pleasures.
Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival
When: Oct. 6–8, 2023
The Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival offers a unique blend of artisanal spirit tastings and Victorian mountain town charm. Discover handcrafted whiskeys, gins, and more while meeting the distillers behind them. Join mixology workshops, taste gourmet pairings, and enjoy live music against a stunning alpine backdrop. This festival is a toast to mountain distillation and the breathtaking beauty of Breckenridge in the fall. Don’t miss your chance to raise a glass and savor the flavors of this exceptional event.
Pumpkin-Palooza at Denver Botanic Gardens
When: Friday – Sunday, Oct. 6-8, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms
For a more family-friendly and nature-inspired fall experience, mark your calendar for the Pumpkin Palooza at the Denver Botanic Gardens. This autumn extravaganza, held from October 6 to 8th, 2023, is a paradise for garden enthusiasts and families alike. Wander through the enchanting gardens adorned with thousands of pumpkins, gourds, and colorful mums. Enjoy live music, indulge in seasonal treats, and let the kids participate in fun-filled activities like pumpkin decorating and hayrides. It’s an idyllic way to celebrate the beauty of fall amid the serene landscapes of the Botanic Gardens.
Knock Your Boots Off Beer Tasting & Chili Cook-Off
When: October 14, 2023
The Knock Your Boots Off Beer Tasting & Chili Cook-Off in Golden, Colorado is a lively gathering of beer enthusiasts and chili aficionados alike. Sample craft beers from local breweries, each with its distinct character, and savor hearty, mouthwatering chilis vying for the title of the best. With live music and a festive atmosphere, it’s an unmissable autumn experience that perfectly captures the spirit of Golden, Colorado. Get ready to indulge in a mouthwatering fusion of brews and bold flavors.
Boo at the Zoo
When: October 20-22, 27-29 and 31, 2023
Where: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs welcomes families to embrace the Halloween spirit at Boo at the Zoo. This enchanting event transforms America’s Mountain Zoo into a bewitching wonderland. Kids and adults alike can don their costumes and embark on a journey filled with trick-or-treating, eerie animal encounters, and mesmerizing entertainment. With pumpkin patches and haunted houses, Boo at the Zoo promises a spine-tingling yet family-friendly experience amid the stunning backdrop of the Colorado Rockies. It’s a magical blend of wildlife and Halloween thrills that ensures a howling good time for all.
Bloody Mary Festival
When: October 22, 2023
Where: RiNo Arts District in Denver
Brunch aficionados won’t want to miss the Bloody Mary Festival in Denver’s trendy RiNo Arts District. This annual event gathers mixologists and enthusiasts to craft and enjoy extraordinary Bloody Marys. Discover classic recipes and inventive twists, all infused with Colorado’s local flair. With live music, delectable brunch bites, and a lively atmosphere, it’s more than a festival; it’s a social celebration. Whether you’re a Bloody Mary connoisseur or just seeking a flavorful Denver day, this festival offers a memorable experience that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more. Join the festivities and toast to the ultimate brunchtime classic.
Emma Crawford Coffin Races & Parade
When: October 28, 2023
Where: Manitou Springs
The Emma Crawford Coffin Races & Parade is an annual spectacle in Manitou Springs that defies convention. Teams assemble with homemade coffins, creatively adorned and carrying their “deceased” Emma Crawford, racing them down Manitou Avenue to honor the town’s legendary ghost. It’s an oddball event where humor meets history, and locals and visitors alike join in the festive spirit. Amidst the spirited atmosphere and eccentric costumes, this celebration is a unique slice of Manitou Springs’ charm, blending the macabre and merry in perfect Colorado style. Don’t miss this unforgettable and offbeat affair.
Fall Festivals in November
Denver Arts Week
When: November 3rd—11th, 2023
Where: Various Locations Around Denver
Immerse yourself in the Mile High City’s vibrant art scene during the captivating Denver Art Week. This annual event showcases an array of art experiences, from gallery exhibitions to special performances, all designed to immerse you in Denver’s creative spirit. Discover hidden gems, meet local artists, and explore a city that comes alive with color, culture, and imagination during this week-long artistic extravaganza. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or just curious, Denver Art Week invites you to be part of a citywide canvas that celebrates the boundless power of human expression.
Georgetown Bighorn Sheep Festival
When: November 11, 2023
Where: Idaho Springs
The Bighorn Sheep Festival in Georgetown is a captivating celebration of Colorado’s iconic wildlife. Against a backdrop of rugged mountain beauty, witness the annual migration of bighorn sheep. This spectacle draws nature enthusiasts from far and wide. Engage in educational programs, guided tours, and family-friendly activities while admiring these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. With stunning views and a deep connection to nature, the Georgetown Bighorn Sheep Festival is a must-visit for wildlife lovers and anyone seeking a glimpse of Colorado’s wild side.
Mile High United Way Turkey Trot
When: Thursday, November 23, 2023
Where: Begins in Denver’s Washington Park
Thanksgiving morning in Denver kicks off with the Mile High United Way Turkey Trot, a cherished community tradition. Families, friends, and visitors gather to run, walk, or trot through the city streets, all for a good cause. This festive 4-mile run/walk benefits the Mile High United Way, supporting local families in need. The event radiates the spirit of togetherness and gratitude as participants of all ages participate in a heartwarming holiday ritual. Knowing you’re contributing to a brighter future for Denver’s community is a joyful way to start Thanksgiving Day. Join the trot and make your Thanksgiving memorable.
Now that you know about these remarkable fall festivals in and near Denver, your Colorado autumn season promises to be unforgettable. Whether you’re a fan of authentic German beer, gourmet cuisine, or simply reveling in the beauty of fall foliage, Colorado’s fall festivals have something for everyone. So, slip on your coziest sweater, grab a mug of mulled cider, and join us in celebrating the enchanting fall season in and near the Mile High City. Your autumn adventure awaits!