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Make the most of your (vaccinated) Denver summer

Vaccination rates are up, and Covid-positivity rates are down, leading public health officials to lift restrictions. Here are a few ideas for getting your summer pumping.

June 2, 2021

By Mark Cox

It’s time to ditch the sweatpants – and not just because the temps are rising in the Mile High City.

With vaccine rates up and Covid-positivity rates down, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Monday updated its COVID-19 public health order to end restrictions on large indoor gatherings, as well as to amend some of the rules regarding masks. The new order went into effect yesterday and will expire on July 1, though it could be amended or expanded based on the virus’ activity in the state. Denver's Department of Public Health and Environment followed suit yesterday, lifting capacity restrictions on large outdoor venues operated by the city, including Empower Field at Mile High, Coors Field and Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

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Indeed, if you’re not vaccinated, eased restrictions mean there won’t now be as much protection for anyone still vulnerable to the virus. So please do tread carefully until you’re able to get a jab.

Here’s a few ideas for getting your Hot Vax Summer cooking in the Mile High City.

Capacity counts

Colorado concert, sports and entertainment venues are lifting capacity limits and improving safety measures.

Red Rocks has a fabulous series of concerts planned for the summer – including the Avett Brothers, Wilco, Foreigner and Wu-Tang Clan (with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, no less!). The legendary venue is back to full capacity and it also really has its, er, act together in terms of safety. There are now four separate entrances and parking lots, distanced seating, sanitization stations, and even touch-free restrooms.

The Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche are each making playoff runs just as vaccinations are allowing Ball Arena to increase its capacity. Both teams will now be allowed to host 10,500 fans per game (57.3% capacity), an increase from 7,750 fans (42.3% capacity) after KSE received approval from the CDPHE, along with the Denver Department of Public and Environment. Masks are mandatory at the indoor venue, but not outside at Coors Field, which now can fill up to 70 percent of capacity (35,000 of 50,144).

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Levitt Pavilion’s series of free summer concerts are back to full capacity as the nonprofit venue returns to its mission to ‘build community through music.’ Check out Flobots, Robert Randolph, Yonder Mountain String Band and more at the outdoor venue at Ruby Hill Park. There are some Covid precautions to note: RSVP is mandatory for all entrants, six-foot social distancing between groups is required, no cash will be accepted, and smoking is prohibited.

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Get your culture on…

Let’s face it: last year’s cultural zeitgeist was largely defined by Netflix’s release schedule, but Denver’s museums and galleries are once more ready for action. Most venues still have limited capacity and timed tickets, but you can finally get up close and personal with the exhibits again – and there’s plenty to see.

The Denver Art Museum has a dazzling display centered around fashionista Véronique Peck (wife of Gregory, the Hollywood legend). Or you can check out some rarely seen works by Salvador Dalí at Denver Botanic Gardens.

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For history heads, they’re currently unwrapping the mysteries of Stonehenge at Denver Museum of Nature & Science. And don’t miss Van Gogh Alive, a huge, multi-sensory ‘experience’ at The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace that invites you to not merely admire the painter’s works, but “immerse yourself in them.”

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Elevated epicurean

This summer, what if you don’t just go out – but also up? The Mile High City is justly celebrated for its growing collection of soaring rooftop terraces, where alfresco diners can soak up the sun while taking in majestic views and staying Covid-safe.

For true foodies, established favorite Avanti offers a global range of cuisines (French, Italian, Venezuelan, Asian) and superb rooftop decks with cosy furniture.

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Perched even higher in LoHi, Postino mixes wines and graze-worthy Italian dishes with a panoramic patio view that takes in both the city and the Rockies. For an ideal Saturday evening out, Linger combines a creative menu with an unbeatable vista of the city’s illuminated skyline. And if you really want to reach for the skies, head to 54thirty, is the highest open-air rooftop bar  -- at 5,430 feet high you may get vertigo while noshing tuna tartar, but the Rocky Mountain views are worth it.

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