Bike sharing, free events, and cash back apps can help you save big on your Denver vacation.
Memorial Day weekend is one of the best times to visit Denver. Not only will you likely get to enjoy the perfect spring weather in the Mile-High City, you'll also be in town during some of the city's best celebrations.
Some fun and inexpensive happenings this Memorial Day weekend include:
- The Friday Night Bazaar
- The Black Love Mural Festival
- Denver's Summer Concert Series
- Film on the Rocks Drive-In at Red Rocks
- The Colorado Music & Arts Festival
It's easy to let your budget get away from you when you travel -- especially in a city like Denver that's packed full of fun activities, good food, and world-class microbrews. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to travel safely and on a budget in 2021. We've got some money-saving tips to share that can help make your Memorial Day trip to Denver memorable without draining your personal finances.
1. Weigh the cost of renting a car against public transportation, rideshare apps, and biking
Denver's public transportation system -- the RTD (Regional Transportation District) -- is one of the best in the country. Depending on where you're staying, it might make more financial sense to rely on a mix of public transportation and ridesharing apps rather than renting a car. As you plan your activities for the weekend, you can look through the routes you plan to travel to see if it makes sense to rely on public transport. Both the RTD website and Google Maps are great for looking up public transportation routes.
Biking is also an affordable way to get around, and Denver is a huge cycling city with a great system of bike lanes and bike paths that stretch out beyond the city limits. Whether you're staying at a hotel or Airbnb that offers bicycle rentals or you plan to take advantage of one of Denver's bike sharing programs, it's easy to get access to two wheels while you're there.
If you plan to go on a lot of road trips outside the city limits, it probably makes more sense to rent a car. Check to see if your credit card covers rental insurance -- if it does, you can decline the rental agency's collision insurance to save a little extra cash.
2. Take advantage of free attractions in (and outside of) Denver
There's no shortage of free and very inexpensive things to do in Denver, whether you're looking for city activities or are ready to get out in the great outdoors. Both Meetup.com and Facebook events are great places to find these activities, which range from yoga in the park to free beer tastings to live music events.
If you bike or skate, the Denver Skatepark offers 60,000 square feet of skating terrain and is also a fun place to people watch. The city's also known for its abundant farmer's markets -- the South Pearl Street market is particularly popular and offers visitors a great way to get to know the local culture and eat on the cheap. Finally, Denver is home to plenty of city parks where you can explore stunning walking paths, kayak or pedal boat across lakes and rivers, or even bike a few hours outside the city.
Road trips are the bread and butter of any good Colorado trip, and they're also a pretty affordable way to get out and explore. Rocky Mountain National Park offers some of the most stunning views in the country and is just over an hour outside the city. Visit Mount Evans to drive up the highest paved road in all of North America, and don't forget to stop at one of the many hot springs just outside the city for a warm, relaxing dip.
3. Set a strict food budget, plan your meals, and download Denver's cash back app
You'll want to eat (and if you like beer, drink) out at least a few times while in Denver, but doing so every meal can really break the bank. The best way to save money on your Memorial Day trip is to plan out your meals before you leave. Research restaurants in the area and pick a few you feel are truly worth your money. This will also help you beat the Memorial Day weekend crowds as you can make reservations in advance.
For other meals, stop at a grocery store to pick up some essentials. If you're going on a road trip or hitting up the park for the day, pack your lunch and some snacks to avoid spending unnecessary money. If you have a kitchen where you're staying, you can also cook breakfast before leaving or eat once you get back.
And don't forget to try cash back apps. Denver-based cashback app Ibotta can help you save money on both dining out and groceries. Download the free app and be sure to add any relevant offers before you head out. Just make sure to keep your receipts so you can upload them to Ibotta for cash back.
It might also be wise to consider getting a good cash back credit card before you leave. If you plan on dining out a lot, there are some great credit cards for dining that will help you earn on your food spending. If you have more trips planned throughout the year, you might also want to look into travel credit cards. Either way, if you're looking at a credit card with an annual fee, make sure your projected earnings will outweigh the fee.
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