Labor Day staycation picks in metro Aurora


AURORA | With summer’s end fast approaching, residents on the Front Range are hearing the siren call of the mountains. There’s just one problem with answering that siren’s call: the traffic. So much traffic. Campgrounds? Been sold out for weeks.

Thousands upon thousands of Coloradans will be making their way to higher elevation this weekend, meaning that to try and get a little respite from city living will require sitting for hours upon hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-70.

If sitting in a traffic jam seems like more work than it’s worth, then ditch the drive and check out what’s happening closer to home. Not only will it save money on gas, there’s the added bonus of getting to sleep in your own bed instead of on the ground.

Taste of Colorado 

Fri.-Mon. Civic Center Park, Denver  Admission is free

More than 500,000 people descend on downtown Denver over the free, four-day festival each year to take part in one of Colorado’s long-running traditions. Festivalgoers will have food from more than 50 restaurants to choose from, and plenty of adult beverages to wash it all down with from the likes of Coors Brewery to Breckenridge Distillery.

If the kids are coming along for the ride, there’s plenty of carnival games and demonstrations from artisans like blacksmiths, weavers and Native American art to keep everyone entertained. And if missing out on Saturday’s big start to college football is not an option, the festival features the Coors Light Sports Zone with plenty of big screen TVs and air conditioning.

Along with all the food and fun, there’s music throughout the day. Friday’s lineup will feature world-class percussionist and Prince collaborator Sheila E. and Saturday will have 80s heartthrob Rick Springfield taking the stage.

Third Annual Brews & Views Beer Fest 

2-5 p.m. Sat. Hudson Gardens, Littleton ; Tickets $25 in advance/$30 at door. Designated Driver Tickets $5. 21 and older event

If having some beer and food outdoors sounds like a great idea but you don’t want to face the hundreds of thousands of people at the Taste of Colorado, head a little south for what has become one of Littleton’s signature events.

Brews and Views features more than 30 of Colorado’s finest breweries and festival goers will get to sample them all throughout the event. Along with the fine suds, there will be music, games and plenty of food trucks to peruse.

And what makes the festival such a great alternative to the traffic trying to get to the mountains is the setting. Hudson Gardens is 30 acres of botanical bliss and a fine substitute for the bucolic splendor of the Rockies.

Denver Tattoo Arts Convention 

Fri.-Sun. Colorado Convention Center; $20 a day/$40 three-day pass Tickets at door

If outdoor festivals didn’t make a lasting impression on you, perhaps it’s time for a tattoo.

The Colorado Convention Center is playing host to ink-filled entertainment this weekend. The first year of the festival will feature exhibitions, an artist alley to get a permanent reminder of this weekend’s fun and lots of entertainment including tattoo contests, music and carnival sideshows that will entertain and make you squirm.