New Year’s weekend in Denver offers plenty of opportunities to create new traditions for the New Year, from hotel deals to blockbuster exhibitions, holiday light extravaganzas and more. It is finally time to say goodbye to 2020, and – even though some New Year’s Eve festivities look different this year– there is no better time to create some new traditions and celebrate the ones that can still happen, safely. From extended holiday light displays to family-friendly activities and more, there is plenty to do for New Year’s weekend in The Mile High City while keeping health and safety top-of-mind. And, for the extra celebration that everyone deserves, there are plenty of hotel deals throughout the city to make a night or weekend of the New Year’s holiday.
Below are just a few ways to ring in 2021, including fun hotel packages for a romantic getaway from the couch or family staycation. For more information on events and activities, safety measures and to take advantage of holiday hotel deals, visit MileHighHolidays.com.
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.
Holiday Hotel Deals
Celebrate the New Year in the comfort of a bed someone else made, with champagne that has already been chilled and a meal prepared by…not you – all at great rates. Below are a few highlights; for a full list of New Year’s weekend hotel deals, go to the VISIT DENVER website.
Mavens of Wine at The Maven Hotel
Enjoy a private wine tasting in the comfort of your guest room with The Maven Hotel and Blanchard Family Wines. Sip on three of the winery’s signature wines while you learn about the flavors and origins of each with a custom video tasting experience from owner James Blanchard.
NYEXTHESOURCE at The Source Hotel
The Source Hotel will offer an in-room, three-course dinner tasting menu and champagne toast on New Year’s Eve. One of the hotel’s on-site restaurants, The Woods, will set up a full (but private) restaurant experience in your suite – table, festive tablecloth and flowers included.
New Year’s Package at Magnolia Hotel Denver, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel
Stay in the heart of downtown Denver at The Magnolia Denver, and enjoy a party in your room with prosecco and New Year’s Eve party accessories.
Kiss 2020 Goodbye at the Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center
Celebrate the end of the longest year ever with a bottle of champagne in your room in the heart of downtown Denver. Package includes complimentary parking.
No Fireworks? No Problem
Even without the traditional fireworks, there are still plenty of spectacular light displays to check out through New Year’s weekend.
Zoo Lights, through December 31, 2020
Zoo Lights span 80 acres of Denver Zoo's campus, with nightly entertainment, animal encounters 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. The event features more than one million lights sparkling throughout the entire Zoo.
Mile High Tree, presenting sponsor Modelo® through January 2, 2021
The Mile High Tree, presenting sponsor Modelo®, which made its debut last year, is lighting up the heart of downtown Denver in its new location on the 16th Street Mall at Welton Street. From Thursday – Saturday of New Year’s weekend, visitors can step inside the 110-ft tall immersive art installation – the largest of its kind in North America – to enjoy the dazzling light displays and holiday music. Social distancing measures, mask requirements and limited capacity will be in place.
NEW Merry & Bright Lights, through January 2, 2021
Denver Union Station’s holiday light show – the first-ever displayed on the historic building – features exciting animations, new visual creations by local artists, historic Denver photos and more, all set to holiday music. The light show runs nightly from 5-10 p.m.
NEW Winter Wanderland Light Walk and Prismatica, through January 3, 2021
New for 2020, the Winter Wanderland Light Walk in Cherry Creek North features a canopy of more than a half million twinkling lights dressing hundreds of trees. Along the way, guests can find eight of the trees adorned with vibrant hanging strands of lights choreographed to music. Spectators can also wander through Prismatica in Gart Plaza on Milwaukee Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, a dynamic temporary lighted art installation consisting of 25 towering prisms that rotate at their base and display a kaleidoscope of color.
Blossoms of Light, through January 16, 2021
Embrace the light of the New Year with thousands of colorful lights draped in elegant designs at Denver Botanic Gardens’ Blossoms of Light. The interactive displays feature a large field of sound-reactive, animated LED lights, sparkling passages and new displays, all made even more beautiful through HoloSpex glasses. Warm drinks and tasty treats are also available. Pre-purchased, timed tickets and masks are required.
Night Lights Denver, permanent installation
The Denver Theatre District launched Night Lights Denver in November 2019. This ongoing, year-round projection mapping installation is projected on the Arapahoe Street side of the historic Daniels & Fisher Tower every Thursday through Saturday evening and can be viewed in a socially distant fashion. Night Lights Denver includes rotating content, designed by artists and the community, featuring a wide range of art.
Denver Lights & Sights Walking Tour, through January 2, 2021
Denver Walking Tours is hosting a fun-filled walking experience of many of the downtown holiday light displays. Enjoy the unique history, architecture and beauty of Denver’s holiday lights and top sights – from the elaborate display at the City & County building to Night Lights at the D&F Clocktower, the Mile High Tree, The Brown Palace and more, ending at Denver Union Station’s new Merry & Bright Lights.
The family that quarantined together, should celebrate together. Staying up until midnight might be tough if the day is filled with all these activities, but it will be worth it.
9News Parade of Lights, through December 31, 2020
This year’s annual 9News Parade of Lights, part of the Downtown Denver Partnership’s Winter in the City program, was transformed into a multi-week, socially safe array of activities across downtown Denver. The floats, which usually parade through downtown to kick off the holiday season, are displayed as stationary objects for people to enjoy around the city all season long, spanning from Denver Pavilions to Denver Union Station.
Dogs! A Science Tail, through January 3, 2021
This exhibition at Denver Museum of Nature & Science highlights the extraordinary ways dogs see, hear, and smell their surroundings and explores why humans and dogs are best friends. Experiences range from listening to hidden sounds that dogs can hear but humans can’t, excavating replicas of fossils to determine if they belong to wolves or dogs, walking a dog through an interactive neighborhood to understand how pets strengthen the community, and testing your pop-culture knowledge during a game of “Jeopawdy!” based on the show Jeopardy. Denver Museum of Nature & Science is offering capacity-limited, timed tickets for museum entry and this exhibition.
Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum (Virtual), through January 2, 2021
For 29 years, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble has been blending dance, live music, spoken word and seasonal celebrations and customs from around the world into a memorable holiday tradition like no other. A Denver original, Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum is a family favorite that inspires audiences of all ages to discover, celebrate and honor the holiday traditions of cultures from around the world. The 70-minute performance will be available to ticket holders for unlimited online viewing throughout the season.
Camp Christmas (Virtual), through January 5, 2021
Camp Christmas, an immersive holiday experience, opened to rave reviews from nearly 70,000 people last holiday season. This year, organizers have created an interactive, virtual version that delivers curated crafts, activities, and adventures directly to the homes (or hotels) and imaginations of participants. The digital experience takes place on a web-based app that features multimedia content about the stories, history, and traditions of the season, as well as in-home activities. Campers can earn badges and track their progress as they complete activities in the app. The “Base Camp” package includes access to the app, special events and a few materials mailed to homes to get participants started; and campers can also purchase more robust packages which unlock additional activities and bonus content.
The Art of The Brick, through January 24, 2021
Renowned contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya has taken LEGO® bricks from beloved toys to artistic marvels. Sawaya’s original artworks and his reimagined versions of famous masterpieces from art and culture, such as Van Gogh’s Starry Night and the Venus de Milo, have impressed visitors worldwide. Now, they are on display at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
A Virtual Affair
For those who would prefer to pass the time until midnight from the comfort of their hotel room – or home – there are still plenty of fun and entertaining virtual options to try.
Seven Deadly Sins, presented by Reformation Dance Company, December 31, 2020 or January 1, 2021
Reformation Dance Company will present the full-length original ballet premiere of Seven Deadly Sins, a look at human nature’s devilish reward system versus the angelic values that keep it in check.
New Year’s Eve Comedy Show, December 31, 2020
The ApocaLips Comedy Show will present an all-star night of entertainment, including comedians, sing-a-longs and virtual “midnight” fireworks. Viewers can grab a virtual front-row seat to catch comedians including Jake Hovis, Stephen Young, Von Sprecken, Emily Cornelius, Craig Abramson and more. A portion of ticket sales will support Elevating Connections, a non-profit that provides connecting events for youth separated from their siblings by foster care.
Virtual Denver Beer Tasting Workshop, through January 31, 2021
Denver Microbrew Tour offers a 90-minute interactive beer tasting workshop, daily at 3:30 p.m. The event includes a guided beer tasting by a Denver beer expert, a virtual behind-the-scenes brewery tour, fun Denver history and a list of beer recommendations to continue your education. Add-ons include a mixed 6-pack of beer, a beer tasting toolkit, a beginner’s homebrew kit and more. The cost of the workshop includes logins for five people, making this an ideal way to spend New Year’s Eve “with” friends, safely.
Virtual Cinema from Denver Film Society, ongoing
Denver Film Society continues to offer new releases, “Best of Denver Film Festival” screenings and more – virtually. Films can be viewed on the Roku or AppleTV apps, and programming features livestreams, documentaries and international films, among others.
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