Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a traditional celebration that joyfully commemorates life after death by honoring ancestors and family members who have passed.

For more than 3,000 years, indigenous people in Mexico practiced the tradition of celebrating death as a natural part of the life cycle. When the Conquistadors stumbled upon the Aztec Indians practicing this ritual, they believed it was a mockery of death. The Spaniards wanted to make this ritual more Christian, so they moved the dates to coincide with All Saints Day and All Souls Day (Nov. 1 and Nov. 2), when they believed the spirits of the dead visited their families.

On this day families make altars and place ofrendas, or offerings, of food and other gifts on them, such as pan de muertos baked in shapes of skulls, papel picado, candles, incense, yellow marigolds and, most importantly, a photo of the dearly departed.

Bring your family and friends to celebrate this colorful, heart-­felt tradition at the Gardens! Now in its eighth year, this traditional Day of the Dead celebration offers fun for the whole family.

Día de los Muertos costumes are encouraged.

Featured Activities:

  • Children’s crafts
  • Live art demonstrations (weather dependent)
  • Lucha Libre (weather dependent)
  • Cultural entertainment and demonstration
  • Costume contest
  • Face painting available for purchase

El Mercado

Artist vendors from Colorado are out to share their Día de los Muertos original art. Prints, art pieces, folk art, jewelry, T-shirt designs and more are available for purchase. Here is craft vendor application. Applications are due by Sept. 21, 2018.

Reserve Your Altar Site

Denver Botanic Gardens invites you to create your own ofrenda (altar or shrine) to honor someone who has passed away. This is an opportunity to pay homage to deceased loved ones (adults and children)—family, friends, ancestors, devastated communities or those in the military who gave their lives. Please fill out the application form. Applications are due by Friday, Oct. 5.

Volunteer Opportunities

For more information, email vol@botanicgardens.org or call 720­-865­-3565.

Sponsorship Opportunities

For information about becoming a sponsor for this event, email development@botanicgardens.org.

Email dia@botanicgardens.org with any questions about the Día de los Muertos Celebration.



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Where do I park?
The Gardens is expecting large crowds during this event.

  • We encourage the use of RTD buses or Denver B­-cycle to avoid parking hassles.
    There is a B­-cycle station next to our York Street entrance.
  • Limited free parking is available in our parking complex between York and Josephine streets.
  • Street parking is available in Cheesman Park, where posted.
  • This year we are also offering a free Park-n-Ride service from East High School.  Check back in October for more details.

What kind of food is available?

  • Offshoots Café will be open during the event.
  • The Gardens’ UMB Bank Amphitheater offers a wonderful spot for picnicking. We encourage you to pack a picnic from home to enjoy at the Gardens.
  • No alcohol will be served or permitted.

What forms of payment will be accepted at Día de los Muertos?
The Gardens accepts cash and all major credit cards. Please note: there is no ATM on site.

Is the event inside or outside?
Día de los Muertos is primarily an outdoor event. Wear good walking shoes and appropriate clothing to keep you warm and dry during the event.