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Looking for inexpensive or free things to do in the Denver/Boulder area? Want to sample local stores, restaurants, & attractions without breaking the bank? Mile High Cheapskates
Laura Daily, Bryan Chavez and Claire Walter show you how to get the best for less. To get in touch, email us: info@milehighonthecheap.com
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Mile High on the Cheap is a member of Living on the Cheap, a network of websites published by frugalistas, journalists and consumer advocates. Find practical advice on saving money on groceries, travel and shopping, plus tips from our experts on how to live the good life for less at Living on the Cheap.

Enter To Win: New Year’s White Rose Gala Tickets

EnterToWinRing in the new year the way it was meant to be: decked out in sequins and fedoras. Spend your night at the White Rose Gala New Year’s Eve 2015 on Wednesday, December 31 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Performing Arts Complex in downtown Denver. This  event attracts 2,000 guests who should enjoy the Roaring 20’s Theme. The venue will house Gatsby Castle, Ash City, a NYC Speakeasy, flapper girls, ballroom dance exhibitions and more than 40 performers. Spend the night listening to a 10-piece Big Band “Colorado Swing Cats” (including a full horn section) with classic 20s music or pop over and listen to the Vegas-style DJs. Don party hats, blow noisemakers and revel in a confetti blast at midnight. MHOTC has two sets of two General Admission tickets (value $138) to give away. If you long to kick up your heels, here’s how to enter: Click here to read more…

Sawaya Law’s Free Holiday Cab Ride Home

If you celebrate the holidays by imbibing, spare yourself the risk of a DUI — or worse. Call a cab for a FREE ride from a single location to your home in the Denver Metro area, pay the driver and send your receipt to the Sawaya Law Firm for reimbursement (up to $35.) This safe-driving offer is in effect from Tuesday, December 23 through Thursday, January 1. Participants must be 21 or older. Attorney Michael Sawaya has been providing this service during holiday periods for several years, as a way to save lives and reduce injuries caused by impaired drivers. Send your receipt, along with a copy of a valid driver’s license, to: Holiday Free Cab Ride Program, The Sawaya Law Firm, 1600 Ogden St., Denver, CO 80218. For more information, call 303-847-0296.

Santa Visits Mark’s Auto Sales in Lakewood

SantaAndReindeerIt’s getting down to the wire, but Santa Claus is still making some personal appearances in the metro area. If you want to skip some of the longer lines at malls, on Tuesday, December 23, Mr. Claus will be at Mark’s Auto Sales in Lakewood from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Santa is available for FREE photos (which his elves will print for you on the spot) and hear Christmas wishes from kids of all ages. There will be FREE small gifts and hot chocolate. 7800 W. Colfax Ave., Lakewood, 303-592-7725. For other places to meet Santa, visit our See Santa page.

Extra 20% Off Up To 5 Groupon Local Deals

Dollar sign buttonHere’s an extra special holiday deal. Groupon always saves you money, usually at least half off, which makes any offer, service or product you get from them offers much more affordable. Now, for two days only, through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, December 23, get an extra 20% off up to five Groupon Local Deals when you use the promo code HURRY20. What makes this deal “special” is that it is good on up to five local deals instead of the usual one only. That’s anything from dinner at The Wooden Table to salon packages to Christmas trees to movies at Elvis Cinemas. Your maximum discount is $50 per deal. The only exclusions are Jamba Juice, KIND and American Apparel offers, and some “third-party” transactions (we don’t know what those are either, but likely the site will tell you if the code isn’t valid). To get the deal, use this link to take you to the Groupons in the Denver-Boulder area.

The Fort Hosts Mexican Christmas Tradition, 12/24

Christmas treeLas Posadas is celebrated in Mexico from December 16 to 24 to commemorate Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of shelter on the night of baby Jesus’ birth. The Tesoro Cultural Center and the Christian Life Movement have again partnered to present this traditional event at The Fort Restaurant on Wednesday, December 24 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. In addition to a piñata for kids to hit for candy, the public is invited to join in the more solemn candlelight procession, singing the Posadas songs, escorting a live donkey and sheep to the manger in the outdoor courtyard of The Fort. Following this FREE family-friendly, interactive celebration, the restaurant again serves complimentary biscochitos and hot beverages. It is an outdoor event, so dress accordingly. The restaurant, a replica of Bent’s Old Fort, is at 19192 Hwy. 8, Morrison; 303-839-1671.

Book Copper Mountain Deals Today to Save

CopperMountain-logoToday, December 22, is the final day to book Copper Mountain’s One Two Free! dollar-stretching package. Book two nights of lodging and get a third night FREE. Get 33% off adult performance and junior rental packages booked for three or more days. Buy two days of youth or adult group lessons and get the third FREE. Save 33% on two or more tubing sessions and also on Woodward freestyle lessons. Plus, kids 12 and younger ski FREE. Also, get a FREE Secret Pass upgrade for lift access 15 minutes early and priority liftlines. Secure this package now for only $30 down, and pay the balance when your reserve. Most Colorado skiers and riders already have their season passes and multi-day tickets, but clue out-of-state friends or family who are coming to ski this season on a good lift ticket deal. Today is also the drop-dead date for lift ticket deals. Anyone who has a place to stay or is contemplating day-tripping from the metro area needs to jump on lift ticket values for one to seven days, with or without rentals. Buy online for savings that range from 37% to 50% off at-the-window prices (regularly $89 per day for adults).

BOGO Entrée at Mimi’s Cafe

Ingredients sourced from France is just one of the ways Mimi’s Cafe stays connected to its roots. From tangy orange zest to creamy goat cheese, its menu is full of French-inspired ingredients and dishes — all against a French cottage-themed backdrop. We think the best word to describe its atmosphere is “cozy.” Dining there is like taking a break in the French countryside. (Okay, maybe not exactly, but you get the point.) Through Sunday, January 11, 2015, get a FREE breakfast, lunch or dinner entrée at Mimi’s Cafe with the purchase of a second entrée (of equal or greater value) and two beverages. (The offer is NOT valid on Christmas or New Year’s Day.) The discounted dish requires this printable coupon. The coupon is not valid on with any other offer or discount. One coupon per check — dine-in only. Mimi’s Cafe has 7 locations on the Front Range.

Holiday Lights Spark the Night Scene

Holiday LightsDriving or strolling through a fairyland of outdoor light displays is a holiday treat that costs no more than gasoline or shoe leather. Here are a few favorites, most now using energy efficient LED bulbs:

  • Downtown Denver: Christmas is a time when even those most ardent suburbanites come downtown. The opulent light display decorating the City and County Building (at Civic Center Park) from the ground floor to the dome has been a holiday tradition since 1935 and the lighting is spectacular by any measure. Sparkling lights also illuminate the historic (and now restored) Union Station in the heart of LoDo. More than 100,000 lights festoon the trees of the 1.25 mile-long 16th Street Mall. Ride the FREE mall shuttle and gaze at the magical scene. Strings of white lights strung across Larimer Street between 14th and 15th Sts. provide a brilliant and festive setting for great dining and shopping (window or otherwise).
  • Washington Street, Golden’s quaint main street, is lined with lighted trees, but the greatest concentration is along Clear Creek and especially around the visitor center at Washington and 10th.
  • Historic Downtown Littleton decks itself out in millions of multi-colored lights that adorn the trees along Main Street.
  • Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall and several blocks to the east and west of the pedestrian zone as well as some cross streets are festooned with lights, tree trunks are wrapped with strings of lights and the plaza in front of the Boulder County Courthouse (between 13th and 14th Streets) features lighted trees, an “electric fountain” and a canopy of lights. Above the city, a lighted star shines from Flagstaff Mountain, a local tradition since 1947.
  • If you want to see decorations on private homes rather than public spaces, check out the Denver Post’s Holiday Lights Photo Map.

Save $5 at Hallmark Gold Crown Store

The holidays are here and Hallmark is the perfect place for cards and gifts. The all-seasons card store is helping customers save money with its $5 off $10+ purchase coupon. You can always find fun trinkets and treasures — perfect for family and friends. (We notice they carry many exclusive Peanuts, Star Wars, Wizard of Oz and Disney gifts and figurines.) The coupon expires Wednesday, December 24. MHOTC Tip: If you’re making several purchases, it might be wise to break your order into smaller $10 increments and use a few coupons for more savings — just bring along a friend or family member, as there is a limit of one coupon per customer.

Join Arc Thrift Store’s eClub for Savings

It seems as though thrift stores are becoming more consumer-friendly and modern these days. Good news for us “cheapskates”! You can join Arc Thrift Stores eClub for exclusive benefits and it’s all FREE. Membership includes invitations to early bird shopping events, thrift shopping secrets & tips, exclusive member-only discounts and opportunities to participate in surveys. Of course, since it’s an eClub, you must sign-up online.

Little Feet’s Not So Little Holiday Sale

Little Feet and More is celebrating the holidays in a big way. Right now, everything throughout the store is 15% off. This includes all shoes, boots, socks and accessories! This family-friendly retailer specializes in personalized service — meaning they will help you find the perfect shoe for your child’s tootsies — and stock name-brand lines like Keen, Nike, Adidas, Timberland, Ecco, Stride Rite, Jumping Jacks and others. Little Feet also carries Robeez, Primigi, and Riley Roos sized from newborns to toddlers. But you can find shoes up to youth sizes 6 or 7 which generally takes your tot into those ‘tween years. Open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Little Feet is in Cherry Creek North, 201 University Blvd. #103, 303-388-9535.

Joe’s Crab Shack: $10.99 Family Happiness Hour

lobsterSeafood is always an expensive dining option, right? Well, if you like your seafood with a discount, consider Joe’s Crab Shack’s new Family Happiness Hour from Monday to Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. only. The deal is $10.99 for adults. Adults choose from one of the following: beer-battered fish, crispy shrimp, crispy clams, calamari or beer-battered chicken. Plus, the meal is served with five sides: french fries, coleslaw, hushpuppies, crispy onion strings and southern green beans. (Yes, you get all of them!) Kids can join the feast for $4.99 each and can choose popcorn shrimp, crispy fish or crispy chicken, as well as a beverage. (The adult meal does not include a beverage.) The offer is for a limited time. We tried to confirm what age group consitutes “kids”, but we’re unsuccessful — so parents may want to call ahead. There are 3 locations in Colorado – Aurora, Colorado Springs and Westminster.

Hampden Panera Pours 99¢ Coffee Until 11 a.m.

Panera BreadIf you’re near Hampden & 1-25 in the morning, you might swing by Panera Bread for a quick and “cheap” pick-me-up. Through December 31, the location at 6385 E. Hampden Ave. is pouring a brewed coffee for just 99¢ (reg. $1.99.) until 11 a.m. everyday. Please note that the offer is only available at this location. If you see another Panera Bread location offering the same promo, please comment below or send us a quick update.

Free Christmas Eve Events at Copper

CopperMountain-logoIf you’re day-skiing at Copper Mountain on Christmas Eve, December 24, plan to linger before heading back to the metro area. Several restaurants and cafes offer happy hour specials, so get a bite to eat and then enjoy these FREE events: 6 p.m., Kids’ Glow-Stick Pageant, torchlight parade and Santa appearance; 7 p.m., fireworks over West Lake, and 5 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m., candlelight services in the Copper Mountain Chapel.


Discount Ticket at Monarch for Colorado Pass Holders

MonarchMountain-logoHave a season pass from any Colorado ski resort? Want to spend an day on the snowy slopes of one of the state’s acknowledged powder pockets? Present your pass and get a day ticket at Monarch Mountain for just $35 (adult tickets are regularly $69 at the window, $57 online). Monarch’s regular family-friendly pricing includes discounts not just for children but also for young teens (13 to 15) and seniors (62 t0 68), plus FREE skiing for six and under and 69 and over.