Unique cultural options, inspired culinary offerings, artisan wares, staycations and more top the list for local holiday gifts this season
This year has been challenging for The Mile High City in so many ways – especially for the small businesses, cultural attractions and hospitality community that fuel our local economy and support tens of thousands of jobs. Now, more than ever, is the time for Denver to come together to help these organizations through the holiday season, and to ensure the places we know and love are there when this is all over. To encourage visitors and residents alike to shop and stay local, VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau has compiled a list of ways to safely support Denver’s businesses within current guidelines.
Whether it’s by visiting a local artisan market or small retailer, buying gift cards or carrying out from the city’s restaurants, supporting the future of our cultural facilities or giving the gift of experience with a staycation, there are plenty of creative – and local – opportunities to find the perfect present, have a memorable holiday and remain safely connected to the community this season.
Below are VISIT DENVER’s Top Five Ways to stay local this holiday season. Information on safety protocols and measures can be found in VISIT DENVER’s Clean & Safe Resource Guide; and full details about Denver’s Coronavirus mandates, recommendations and resources can be found on the City & County of Denver’s website.
- Get Cultured. The challenges of 2020 have turned theaters dark and significantly impacted in-person visits to the city’s cultural facilities – but that does not mean cultural aficionados and newcomers alike cannot still enjoy them! Some of the most unique holiday gifts can come from Denver’s arts and cultural attractions.
A membership to a favorite location both supports the attraction and keeps giving all year long. Annual memberships are available at most museums and cultural attractions – including , which is offering two extra months for the price of its 12-month membership; and Denver Botanic Gardens, which is offering a discount code for ten percent off your online purchase from Shop at the Gardens with the purchase of a gift membership.
Tickets are also available to this season’s virtual performances, future shows, as well as virtual classes from painting to music lessons and more. The holidays are a great time to skip a night of streaming and catch a streamed performance from local theaters. Denver Center for the Performing Arts has gift certificates available in any amount for classes, virtual and future shows and annual subscriptions.
Museum gift shops are also a top place for truly unique gifts – and many of them are online or in-person, no admission necessary. For the first time, Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art has launched an online store; or, for a distanced, in-person experience, Children’s Museum at Marisco Campus is offering a private shopping experience. History Colorado Center has opened its own Etsy store, and Clyfford Still Museum also has an online gift shop with curbside pickup available. Denver Zoo has also collaborated with local and national brands to create a co-branded collection of gifts whose proceeds help care for the animals and support the partner businesses.
- Buy boutique. Denver is home to many unique neighborhoods, all with their own vibe and plenty of boutiques to showcase it. At Denver Pavilions, the I Heart Denver Store is full of gifts created by local artists that highlight everything there is to love about the city. And from the upscale shops in Cherry Creek North and Larimer Square to the independent bookstores, clothiers, galleries and more throughout Denver’s arts districts and cultural neighborhoods like Tennyson Street Cultural District, Art District on Santa Fe and RiNo Art District, small local businesses really illustrate the character of The Mile High City and offer the perfect, found only-in-Denver, gifts.
- Dine Out…Side The Box. The restaurant industry has been hit especially hard throughout this pandemic, and the current closure of in-person dining has all but halted their typically busy holiday season. But the creative spirit of Denver’s culinary industry is shining brighter than ever, and many restaurants are offering holiday ideas ranging from gift card specials (extra $20 when you spend $100 at TAG Restaurant Group locations) to chef-curated boxes from local purveyors (Italian Pantry boxes from Milk Market) and make-at-home meals. Local breweries and wineries are also offering discounted merchandise, growlers, tasting kits and more to pair with the to-go meals of choice.
Of course, if all this shopping makes you hungry, many restaurants are still offering to-go and delivery options, as well as some, for a little "treat yourself" moment along the way.
- Make Merry. There are several artisan markets taking place throughout the city this season, and many of them feature handmade gifts perfect for everyone on the list. From the hand-painted crafts and delicious traditional German food at the Christkindl Market (in its new location at Civic Center Park) to the local wares at the brand-new Cherry Creek Holiday Market, the makers and artisans Denver has become known for have created the perfect gifts for the locavores in your life.
- Make a Night of It. Denver’s hotels are open – and they have some magical deals for Mile High Holidays. Whether you need some R&R after a shopping mission or plan to gift a staycation to the one you love or the whole family, Denver’s hotels have you covered. From deals starting at $89 a night to unique activities like rooftop curling at HALCYON, a Hotel or Avant Ski acclimation at The Source Hotel to shopping packages in Cherry Creek and Downtown, there is an ideal hotel stay for everyone this season. And with New Year’s Eve right around the corner, it’s never too soon to plan safe and fun ways to leave 2020 behind.
Please let us know if you would like further details about specific gift ideas, hotel packages or more ways to keep the holidays local; or for more information on how to keep things local this year, visit MileHighHolidays.com.