Special Events, Spectacular Citywide Decorations and Holiday Values

Millions of twinkling lights, festive parades, special events, hotel deals and shopping mark the annual celebration

Denver, Co. (November 13, 2015) - Running from Thanksgiving weekend through the middle of January, Mile High Holidays features dozens of opportunities for visitors and locals alike to celebrate the season. Denver comes alive with traditions including parades, performing arts, fantastic shopping and the largest holiday light display in Colorado, among many other events and activities.

"The holiday season in Denver is a time-honored, cherished celebration in every corner of our city," says Richard Scharf, president and CEO of VISIT DENVER, The Convention and Visitors Bureau, the creator and promoter of Mile High Holidays. "From our cultural community to our top notch shopping to our warm, inviting hotels, the entire city of Denver invites people of all ages to get in to the holiday spirit."

From an evening at a performance of A Christmas Carol to a family outing to see the lights at the Denver Zoo or Denver Botanic Gardens, to Santa sightings around the city, Mile High Holidays has something for everyone. For a detailed list of events and more information on special holiday hotel packages starting at $99, go to MileHighHolidays.com.

Holiday Performing Arts

A Christmas Carol
WHEN: November 27 - December 27
WHERE: Stage Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 1345 Champa St.

A Christmas Carol is an essential part of Denver's holiday season. Based on Charles Dickens' classic novel, this joyous and opulent musical adaptation traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge's triumphant overnight journey to redemption. Live from the Stage Theatre, A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations.

The SantaLand Diaries
WHEN: November 27 - December 27
WHERE: The Jones, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 1345 Champa St.

Crumpet the Elf returns to The Jones for more hilarious holiday hijinks in this acclaimed one-man show. David Sedaris' offbeat tales from his stint as a Macy's elf in New York City are the sure cure for the common Christmas show.

The Nutcracker
WHEN: November 28 - December 27
WHERE: Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 1345 Champa St.

Children and adults will enjoy Colorado Ballet's 55th annual production of the classic Christmas ballet The Nutcracker, featuring fantastic characters, brilliant dancing, exquisite sets, dazzling costumes, timeless choreography and Tchaikovsky's extraordinary arrangement performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis
WHEN: December 12 & 13
WHERE: The Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 1345 Champa St.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis has been America's favorite holiday tradition for the past 30 years. Grammy Award winner Chip Davis has created a show that features the beloved Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along with dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting.

A Christmas Story, The Musical
WHEN: December 16 - 27
WHERE: The Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 1345 Champa St.

Based on the classic 1983 movie, the story takes place in 1940's Indiana, where Ralphie has a big imagination and one wish for Christmas. A kooky leg lamp, pink bunny pajamas, a cranky department store Santa and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the obstacles that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas dream. The Associated Press calls A Christmas Story, The Musical "a joyous Christmas miracle."

Mile High Holiday Events

WHEN: Nov. 20 - Dec. 23
WHERE: Skyline Park, on the corner of 16th and Arapahoe streets, Downtown

The Christkindl Market includes vendors from Germany and other countries, as well as local artisans, offering high-quality, handcrafted gifts such as traditional hand-carved wooden figurines, handmade candles and ornaments. Traditional German food, warm Glühwein (hot spiced wine), and traditional Christmas carols and live German music make the market a full holiday experience.

WHEN: Nov. 24, 2015 - Feb. 15, 2016
WHERE: On the corner of 16th and Arapahoe streets, Downtown

One of the most popular holiday events in Denver, The Southwest Rink at Skyline Park returns in 2015 with ice skating and family fun. The Southwest Rink at Skyline Park returns in 2015 with ice skating and family fun. The rink is FREE and open to the public with the option to bring your own skates or rent a pair at a minimal cost.

WHEN: Dec. 3-6
WHERE: 4400 Fox St.

Denver Flea is a contemporary marketplace showcasing makers and retailers who cultivate the Colorado lifestyle. This will be the 7th Denver Flea - the biggest and best yet with the collaborative support of Imbibe Events, LOLO LLC, Sam Fields LLC, and the Flea community at large.  

9NEWS Parade of Lights
WHEN: Dec. 4 (8 p.m.) and 5 (6 p.m.)
WHERE: Downtown Denver

The 9NEWS Parade of Lights is the signature event of the downtown Denver holiday season. The countless sparkling lights, marching bands, giant balloons, majestic floats and delightful characters will once again wow hundreds of thousands. Viewing along the parade route is free, and grandstand tickets are sold for seating in front of the beautifully illuminated City & County Building.

WHEN: Dec. 5-6, 12-13 & 19-24 (Reservations Required)
WHERE: Downtown Aquarium

Join Sharkey and Santa for a delicious breakfast buffet at Denver's Downtown Aquarium. After breakfast, explore the Aquarium Adventure Exhibit with more than one million gallons of extraordinary marine life. 

WHEN: Dec. 20
WHERE: Skyline Park, on the corner of 16th and Arapahoe streets, Downtown

More than 300 tuba players from all over the region will play favorite holiday tunes in Skyline Park, which will be decorated for the season, making it a perfect setting to experience this holiday spectacular.

WHEN: Dec. 31
WHERE: Downtown Denver

Ring in the New Year with Denver's annual New Year's Eve Fireworks with viewpoints along the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver. There will be two displays, one at the family-friendly hour of 9 p.m. and the other at midnight. Costumed entertainers will interact with crowds between shows, featuring magicians, costumed characters, balloon artists, stilt walkers, comedians and more. 

WHEN: Jan. 9-24, 2016
WHERE: National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt St.

Held every January at the National Western Complex, it is the world's largest stock show; and each year is bigger and better than the last, with more than 15,000 animals, rodeo performances, Mexican rodeos, bull riders, horse shows, livestock competitions, auctions and booths selling everything from cowboy boots to Native American jewelry. This year, the public is invited to visit the Stock Show grounds for free on January 19 in celebration of the funding of the future National Western Center project.

Holiday Light Displays

WHEN: Nov. 27
WHERE: Downtown Denver

Downtown Denver's Grand Illumination features beautiful lighting displays at the City and County Building, Larimer Square, Denver Pavilions, Denver Union Station, Skyline Park, the 16th Street Mall and the historic D&F Tower. Festivities at Denver Union Station begin at 5:30 p.m., with a countdown to "light the lights" live with 9NEWS at approximately 6:30 p.m.

WHEN: Nov. 27 - Dec. 31
WHERE: City & County Building, 1437 Bannock St.

The largest lighting display in Denver comes on nightly at 6 p.m. at the City & County Building, where 600,000 lights deck the neo-classical building. The bell tower plays carols nightly as well.

WHEN: Nov. 27 - Jan. 2, 2016
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St.

Embrace the holidays with thousands of colorful lights draped in elegant designs at Blossoms of Light. The 2015 event features new elements, including the return of the grand illuminated O'Fallon Perennial Walk and the Romantic Gardens. Refreshments and seasonal entertainment will be available, and thousands of lights in the Gardens' amphitheater are synchronized to favorite holiday tunes.

WHEN: Dec. 4 - Jan. 3, 2016
WHERE: Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele St.

Denver Zoo Lights will nearly double in size this year, spanning 70 acres of Denver Zoo's campus, with nightly entertainment, animal encounters, Santa meet-and-greets and, of course, illuminated animal sculptures that swing through trees, jump across lawns hide in bushes and appear in places where they are least expected.   

Holiday Shopping

Downtown Denver
With more than 450 unique shops and more than 300 restaurants, Downtown Denver is the perfect place to spend the holiday season. People can enjoy holiday shopping at the Denver Pavilions, Larimer Square, and stroll down the 16th Street Mall for eclectic finds for everyone on their list. There will be free parking on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday in the Denver Pavilions underground garage.


WHEN: December

WHERE: Larimer Square, Larimer St., between 14th and 15th Sts.

It's the happiest season of all at Larimer Square, where historic charm meets holiday cheer. With festive dining options and boutiques filled with treasures for everyone on the Nice List, Larimer Square also features carolers, carriage rides, and Santa on any given day. Visits with Santa are FREE and open to the public.



WHEN: December

WHERE: Denver Pavilions, 500 16th St.

Located on the 16th Street Mall, the Denver Pavilions is a 350,000 square foot open-air retail, restaurant, and entertainment complex. With 40 restaurants, shops & entertainment venues, Denver Pavilions is a convenient and fun resource for holiday festivities. This year, the Denver Pavilions Holiday Carousel returns to the 16th St. Mall and complements additional holiday activities at the shopping center.

Cherry Creek Shopping Center
Cherry Creek Shopping Center is the region's most popular shopping destination with more than 160 stores and restaurants, including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macy's and 40 others unique to the region. The shopping center's newest addition, the flagship RH Denver Design Gallery, is an extraordinary 4-level, full line design gallery, featuring a multi-story atrium, outdoor garden and rooftop park, plus dedicated galleries for the brand's numerous product lines. Pick up a complimentary Passport to Shopping at Guest Services, offering incredible discounts.


WHEN: Nov. 6 - Dec. 24

WHERE: Cherry Creek Shopping Center

Inspired by the magic of winter, The Ice Palace at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center is a magical snow and light show inside a soaring 30' dome encircled with a series of interactive arches and snow globes that culminates with a visit to Santa Claus. In celebration of "The Peanuts Movie," the interactive display will showcase scenes from the new movie, a photo opportunity at Snoopy's dog house and more.

Cherry Creek North
Cherry Creek North is Denver's premier shopping and dining destination in the Rocky Mountain region. With its twinkling holiday lights and festive atmosphere, this charming district is home to sophisticated fashion boutiques like Andrisen Morton, Kate Spade, Hermes, Lawrence Covell, Calypso St. Barth, Loro Piana and St. John Boutique among 16 blocks of more than 200 independently-owned luxury shops, galleries, spas, and top-rated restaurants.

Gift Shops at Museums & Attractions
No admission fees are necessary to get in to some of the most unique shops in town. The Denver Art Museum has beautiful posters and prints in addition to art books and handmade jewelry. Grab a piece of the cutting-edge arts world at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver's eclectic SHOP MCA. The Denver Zoo's two-story gift shop, Kibongi Market, offers hand-crafted ceramic and art items from Africa and a wide selection of toys and clothing. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science's gift shop has a great selection of books, science kits, DVDs, CDs and more. Denver Botanic Gardens' Shop at the Gardens offers all-natural gifts, plants and gardening supplies, art and much more. The Molly Brown House Museum features art deco-inspired jewelry, home décor and gift items.

Belmar will host a holiday celebration including outdoor ice skating, ice sculpting competitions and live music all nestled within 80 shops and restaurants. Stroll the tree-lined streets adorned in thousands of sparking white lights, as you enjoy a gallery walk, shop local boutiques and national brands or simply sip warm beverages on a café patio near the fireplace. Belmar is located ten minutes from downtown Denver. Free garage parking and a free light rail shuttle makes access easy.

Park Meadows Retail Resort
Experience holiday magic in true Colorado-style at Colorado's only retail resort. Visit Santa in his charming Alpine Village, enjoy live entertainment and warm up by blazing fireplaces with a cup of hot cocoa. Enjoy premiere shopping and delectable dining with 185 stores and restaurants including American Girl, LEGO, Disney, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Nordstrom, Madewell, Apple and many more. Take advantage of a complimentary holiday gift wrapping station on select Saturdays and Tuesdays throughout the holiday season.


WHEN: Nov. 7 - Dec. 24

WHERE: Park Meadows Retail Resort

Colorado's largest enclosed shopping center will offer plenty of time with Santa this holiday season. With events from Pet Nights to Family Portraits, Park Meadows offers a Santa experience for the entire family.

Southwest Plaza Mall
Recently renovated from end to end, the all-new Southwest Plaza Mall features 1.3 million-square-feet of holiday shopping bliss. Find more than 50 newly opened stores and restaurants including H&M, Forever 21, Eddie Bauer, Gap, Pandora, I Heart Denver and more.


WHEN: Nov. 14 - Dec. 24

WHERE: Southwest Plaza

Southwest Plaza's recent transformation brings together the best of modern Denver with exciting new retail and restaurant offerings. New this holiday season, kids can join Shrek and his friends on a magical, interactive adventure to find Santa at the North Pole.