5 Awesome and Overlooked Free Things in Denver

Free Things in DenverIt’s hard to imagine a Denverite who at some point or another hasn’t hopped on the 16th Street bus, thumbed through a Westword, or relished the lazy Sunday summer soundtrack of City Park Jazz. As a city, Denver has an abundance of incredible freebies to appreciate. And, unlike First Fridays or museum free days, there are some free things in Denver that are still overlooked…

1. Grow some shade with Denver Digs Trees. The Denver Digs Trees program is provided by The Park People, a nonprofit organization whose aim is to “preserve, enhance, and advocate for Denver’s parks, recreation resources, open space, and urban forest.” Since program inception in 1991, Denver Digs Trees has provided more than 45,000 free trees to residents throughout the city. Unfortunately this year’s application deadline has passed BUT you can still be added to the wait list, and you can also shop their Earth Day sale on April 16. Tree distribution day is also April 16 for those who have already signed up.

2. Tinker away in a veritable creative workshop at the Denver Public Library’s Idea Lab. Perfect a hobby, launch a business, or just create for the sake of creating. The Idea Lab, housed in DPL’s Central location and open year-round, is a digital media lab and maker space where anyone can use their equipment (no library card needed!) to make videos, music, art, crafts, or whatever else you can dream up. What might you find here? Digital cameras, GoPro cameras (available for check out), lighting kits, scanners, printers, sewing machines, every kind of software you can imagine, and dozens of other things that I didn’t even know existed and still don’t understand what to do with. They even offer a recording studio and 3D printing. The only limitations here are self-imposed.

3. Keep your kids safe and your sanity intact with the ParentSmart Health Line and Children’s MD mobile app. These free 24-hour services by Children’s Hospital Colorado provide you with helpful answers and medical guidance without having to drag your little one to the emergency room at 3am. The ParentSmart Health Line, at 720-777-0123, is manned by registered nurses 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Children’s MD app offers a ton of info to put your mind at ease and receives rave reviews from the parents who use it.

4. Expand your mind by attending a Tattered Cover author event. Author readings, film series, lectures…the Tattered Cover truly provides a community service by acting as Denver’s cultural-sharing gathering place. And it seems there’s no one they can’t get: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Gene Hackman, Michael Caine, Jimmy Carter have all made a Tattered Cover appearance throughout the years. Scheduled events are nearly every day and held at multiple locations.

5. Plant your garden with the City of Denver Mulch Giveaway. Every spring the City of Denver hosts a free mulch giveaway and discounted compost sale for Denver residents. This year’s event will be held on May 7 at the Havana nursery location. It might not be the most exciting freebie you ever get, but you will have more money to pay for that hard-earned beer once that yard work is done.

What’s your favorite Denver freebie?

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