Denver’s toughest tickets: Good luck with these shows, games, restaurants

As Denver’s population has exploded, so have its entertainment options. One might think that growth makes it easier to get into the best restaurants, concerts, and sporting events, given that there are more of them than ever.

One would be wrong.

The metro area and Front Range’s hottest events and venues are slathered in hype, but it’s justified in the form of the state’s newly Michelin-starred restaurants, the nationally ascendant University of Colorado football team, and the biggest concerts at massive, metro-area venues.

Here are a few of Denver’s toughest tickets this season.

Newly Michelin-starred restaurants

It didn’t take long for reservations to flood the state’s most acclaimed eateries after the industry-standard Michelin dining guide bestowed its first Colorado stars this month. In the first 36 hours after getting their respective honors — a single star can be a once-in-a-lifetime win, and multiple stars signal the best restaurants in the world — Brutø and The Wolf’s Tailor were booked through October with 925 reservations, and no availability beyond that.

Beckon in Denver, Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder and Bosq in Aspen also received one star, The Post reported. That means there are now five Michelin-starred restaurants in Colorado. The New York Times also this week named Denver’s La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal and Molotov Kitschen + Cocktails among its 50 U.S. restaurants they’re most excited about.

Price: Weeks or months of waiting, and the (not insignificant) cost of the meal and tip, which can easily exceed $150 per person at fine-dining spots.

University of Colorado football tickets

Denver is a diehard sports town, but so is Boulder these days. The liberal bastion is in the throes of a fawning, lucrative publicity frenzy thanks to the University of Colorado Buffaloes’ head coach, Deion Sanders, his sunglasses, and the team’s 3-0 start to the season. Now that The Rock, Offset and sports stars like Portland Trailblazers head coach Chauncey Billups have been spotted at Folsom Field games, will we ever find affordable tickets — or any tickets at all?

While Folsom Field is a behemoth — with a capacity of more than 50,000, about the same as Coors Field — season passes and tickets to individual games have been gone for months in anticipation of Coach Prime’s debut.

Price: Prices are more than double what they were before the start of the season, and up by 327% since the beginning of last season, according to TicketIQ. The only tickets available on Ticketmaster for the Sept. 30 game in Boulder vs. the USC Trojans are verified resales, which range from $462 (on the low end) to $2,559 for sections along the field. And that’s not even including the unofficial resales.

Denver Nuggets games

Similarly, the NBA champion Denver Nuggets are coming in hot as we approach the home opener for Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Aaron Gordon and the rest of the team.

Tickets to the Nuggets’ kickoff game against the LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers at Ball Arena on Oct. 24 are sold out, and aftermarket prices start at $200 per seat — in the back corner, in the nosebleeds. Want to sit closer to the action? Tickets to that game behind the net start at $350 on aftermarket sites, while the cheapest mid-court spots are in the $600s.

Price: For the rest of the season, cheaper tickets can be found, in the higher levels, depending on the opponent. Still, be prepared to spend at least $100 for a pair of seats with a solid view at a low-interest game and upward of $200 for two seats to see teams like the Golden State Warriors.

Olivia Rodrigo, Zach Bryan and other huge concerts

If you thought Taylor Swift’s Empower Field at Mile High concerts were overhyped, just wait for the 2024 concert season. The massive venue, which Swift sold out twice in as many days, and which hosted a record-breaking crowd for Ed Sheeran in August, has already sold out its June 15, 2024, concert from country megastar Zach Bryan. In fact, they were gone within minutes. Resale tickets are going for up to $1,000 each on Ticketmaster.

Also near-impossible to get: Pop-rock juggernaut and critically acclaimed songwriter Olivia Rodrigo’s “Guts” tour date at Ball Arena on July 30, 2024. Both Bryan and Rodrigo required that fans pre-register in an effort to combat bots and resellers. Rodrigo is leading a 2024 Ball Arena season with highly anticipated shows from Madonna, Tim McGraw, Doja Cat, Jason Aldean, and the Eagles and Aerosmith’s final Colorado concerts, among many others.

Price: Rodrigo tickets went on sale to those who had pre-registered on Sept. 20 for $49.50 to $199.50. They will disappear quickly and resales will be brutal.

Casa Bonita

How did an aging Mexican restaurant known for its kitsch and so-so food mutate into the metro area’s most exclusive dining experience? Unlike reservations at Michelin-starred hotspots, Casa Bonita seats are treated more like concert tickets, with diners who registered through the restaurant’s newsletter waiting for their turn to be invited (many are still waiting — and hoping) and a formal, public opening date yet to materialize.

Price: A few locals have complained that the family-friendly Casa Bonita now seems more like a private club, and one that’s seemingly too exclusive to let most people in. Once you do get an invitation, the flat dinner fee is now $40 for adults and $25 for kids 3-12. Each includes food, a drink, chips and salsa, sopapillas and Black Bart’s Cave, of course. Good luck.

Denver Zoo, Botanic Gardens holiday lights

Holiday events tend to sell quickly regardless of price — see Colorado Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” (Nov. 25-Dec. 24) and Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ “A Christmas Carol” (Nov. 17-Dec. 24). Prices for both range from $40 to $175. But there’s also Christmas Tea at the Brown Palace, and grandstand seating for downtown’s 9News Parade of Lights, and… you get the idea.

The biggest crowd-pleasers in terms of outdoor activities are arguably Denver Botanic Gardens’ Blossoms of Light and Denver Zoo’s iconic Zoo Lights. These institutions have already seen their year-round capacity swell, and tickets have been going on sale earlier to meet demand. Unless you want to get waitlisted, or scrounge for individual tickets at the last minute, pick up your passes when they go on sale and hope there is a time and date that fits your schedule.

Price: Tickets to Denver Botanic Gardens’ Blossoms of Light, running Nov. 17-Jan. 7, 2024, go on sale on Nov. 6. Tickets to Denver Zoo Lights, Dec. 3-Jan. 15, 2024, are on sale Nov. 15. Prices are not yet available, but last year’s tickets ranged from $15 to $25 each.

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