Holiday favorites give you the chance to do as the locals do during the holidays in Denver. Read below for some of our most beloved winter rituals and events. Make a weekend of it with hotel deals starting at $89!
We strive to post the most current and accurate event information, but changes and cancellations do occur, so please check the official event website to confirm all details before attending.
WHEN: Through Dec. 31, 2021
WHERE: Skyline Park
Bundle up for some free ice skating in the heart of downtown and enjoy special events.
WHEN: Nov. 12–Dec. 24, 2021
WHERE: Cherry Creek Shopping Center
Your little ones can step inside a 22-foot-tall sleigh and experience the magical snowfall. They can also have their photos taken with Santa. Reservations are recommended.
WHEN: Nov. 18–Dec. 31, 2021
WHERE: Cherry Creek North
During Winter Wanderland, explore 16 sparkling blocks with more than a half-million lights and discover eight twinkling displays choreographed to music. New this year is an interactive art installation, "domino effect" by Creos, which will feature 120 brightly colored dominos, each with its own sound profile. And during Saturday Night Lights (Dec. 4, 11 and 18) stroll beneath 600 illuminated trees while enjoying free festive treats and entertainment.
WHEN: Nov. 19, 2021–Jan. 1, 2022
WHERE: 16th Street Mall at Welton Street
Join in the free festivities at this festive holiday attraction, the Mile High Tree. It’s a brilliantly lit, 110-foot-tall immersive art installation that provides a dazzling lights-and-music show.
WHEN: Nov. 19, 2021–Jan. 8, 2022
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens is proud to host Blossoms of Light, an annual family-friendly event that has become a tradition for people across Colorado. Come interact with incredible light displays — a large field of sound-reactive, animated LED lights — plus sip warm drinks and nibble on tasty treats as you stroll. Pre-purchased timed tickets are required.
WHEN: Nov. 20, 2021; 5–7 p.m.
WHERE: Cherry Creek Shopping Center
Kick off the holiday season with sports talk show host Nick Ferguson. Enjoy hot chocolate, sweet treats and entertainment during the countdown to the lighting of a 60-foot-tall Christmas tree. Then, gather inside for an after-party and more festivities.
WHEN: Nov. 22, 2021–Jan. 2, 2022
WHERE: Denver Zoo
It's official: Zoo Lights has been making magic, memories, and even marriages for 30 amazing years! Presented by Your Hometown Toyota Stores, this illuminating annual event transforms Denver Zoo into Colorado's WILDEST winter wonderland. Don't miss this year's historic celebration, with more than a million lights sparkling over 80 acres—plus a host of special measures to keep your family safe and healthy.
WHEN: Nov. 24, 2021–Jan. 2, 2022
WHERE: Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
Making its Colorado debut, this family-friend event brings larger-than-life holiday displays and immersive experiences for all to enjoy. It features more than 3 million dazzling lights, a 65-foot-tall Christmas tree, a 25-foot-tall snowman that never melts, a 200-foot-long candy cane tunnel, giant ornaments, a wall of lights, rides on limited Elitch Gardens attractions, train rides for the kids (and the kids at heart), interactive activities like a light-up hopscotch, strolling holiday entertainers, Old Saint Nick and his elves, and more.
WHEN: Nov. 25, 2021–Jan. 23, 2022; 5:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m each night (kickoff on Nov. 24, between 6:30 and 6:45 p.m.)
WHERE: City & County of Denver Building
Each night, at 5:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., an interactive holiday show will occur for about 8 minutes, and then goes to a static holiday look until 10:45 p.m. Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock will kick it off on Nov. 24 by throwing a giant light switch between 6:30 and 6:45 p.m. The light and music shows will not play on Mondays because of City Council meetings, but the static light display will still shine. There will not be any lights on Tuesday, Dec. 21.
WHEN: Nov. 26; 5-8 p.m. (Grand Illumination); Nov. 26-Dec. 27; 5-10 p.m. (Merry & Bright Lights Show)
WHERE: Denver Union Station
The annual Grand Illumination event will feature performances of classic holiday hits by the Denver Dolls, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, and the grand highlight of the evening—the lighting of the station’s outdoor 40-foot-tall Christmas tree that features more than 7,000 holiday lights. Also, the Grand Illumination kicks off the Merry & Bright Lights show, which will once again transform the exterior façade of Denver’s landmark train station into a spectacular canvas spreading holiday cheer. You can see it each night of the season. Miracle at Union Station, a whimsical pop-up cocktail bar, will open on Nov. 24. Meanwhile, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be making regular appearances at the station from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 28; and Dec. 5, 12 and 19.
WHEN: Nov. 26, 2021–Jan. 2, 2022
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms
Stroll through the Colorado countryside along a winding path glistening with lights. Features this year include a three-sided light tunnel, illuminated antique and model tractors, a children's play area and warms holiday food and drink. Visitors must purchase a ticket online for a specific day and time.
MORE HOLIDAY FUN
WHEN: Nov. 11–Dec. 23, 2021 (on select days)
WHERE: Colorado Railroad Museum
The story of The Polar ExpressTM is theatrically re-created and combined with a magical train ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum. Children get to meet Santa and experience all the sights and sounds of this classic tale as if happening all around them. This year, a whole host of carefully crafted updates have been made in order to ensure the health and safety of guests, cast and crew, so put on your pajamas and your most fashionable mask and bring the family to enjoy sharing hot cocoa and cookies together as the "Hot, Hot, Hot—Chocolate" song and dance unfolds before your eyes.
WHEN: Nov. 18, 2021–Jan. 2, 2022
WHERE: Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park
An over-the-top, outdoor/indoor extravaganza as big as the season it celebrates! Leave your worries behind and immerse yourself in Denver Center for the Performing Arts' (DCPA's) biggest holiday experience ever! Journey through artist Lonnie Hanzon’s fantastical wonderland of lights, dazzling decorations, music and memorabilia as you explore mesmerizing yuletide scenes spread across a six-acre landscape. Most importantly, Camp Christmas is an opportunity to rediscover (and reimagine!) the holiday spirit and connect with people you love.
WHEN: Nov. 19–Dec. 23, 2021
WHERE: Civic Center Park
This outdoor event brings the most beloved elements of an authentic German holiday experience to the city. Stroll through a European village decorated for the holiday season as you shop for finely crafted artisan gifts and treats at charming wooden huts. Fuel your shopping with authentic Glühwein (mulled spiced wine), German Biers and hot chocolate, and nosh on Bavarian-style pretzels, fresh smoked salmon, Knödel, Goulasch, Nürnberger Sausages, pastries, caramels and European chocolates.
WHEN: Nov. 19–Dec. 26, 2021
WHERE: Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Wolf Theatre
Essential to the holiday season in Denver, "A Christmas Carol" is a joyous and opulent musical adaptation that traces money-hoarding curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption.
WHEN: Nov. 26–Dec. 31, 2021 (on select days)
WHERE: Hudson Gardens & Events Center
Hudson Christmas is back after two long years. You'll be enchanted by even more towering trees draped in thousands of colorful lights. A grove of dancing Christmas trees, a multi-colored forest inhabited by giant snowmen, the holiday light tunnel and glowing reindeer will light up Hudson Gardens into an extravaganza of holiday cheer.
WHEN: Nov. 27–Dec. 24, 2021
WHERE: Ellie Caulkins Opera House
The beloved holiday favorite returns in a dazzling production like no one's ever seen, featuring all-new sets and costumes created especially for Colorado Ballet. A sellout every year, this magical tale of Clara, the Nutcracker and the Mouse King is going to be dreamier than ever.
WHEN: Nov. 27–Dec. 31, 2021
WHERE: Evergreen, various locations
A Story Book Christmas in Evergreen is coming back for a second year with Classic Christmas Stories depicted in Ice. See "hidden" ice sculptures around the mountain community while Santa is flying in from the North Pole to do some special readings. Join the family-friendly scavenger hunt and support local businesses. The grand unveiling is on Nov. 27.
WHEN: Nov. 27–Dec. 19, 2021 (on select days)
WHERE: Milepost Zero food hall
Santa will be available for photos on the following dates/times:
- Nov. 27, 2–5 p.m.
- Nov. 28, 2–5 p.m.
- Dec. 3, 5–8 p.m.
- Dec. 5, 2–5 p.m.
- Dec. 10, 2–5 p.m.
- Dec. 17, 5–8 p.m.
- Dec. 19, 2–5 p.m.
- Santa Paws (pet night), Dec. 15, 5–8 p.m.
WHEN: Dec. 3–4, 2021
WHERE: Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center
Experience an enchanting evening of dancing with your sweetheart amidst 1940s and 50s vehicles, movie set props, re-enactors, sleighs, Christmas trees and live music from big bands and vintage touring acts such as Jukebox Saturday Night, The Satin Dollz, Dandy Wellington, The Hot Tomatoes Dance Orchestra, the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, Joe Smith and the Spicy Pickles, and Bianca and the Flyboys with the Denver Dolls.
WHEN: Dec. 4, 2021; 6 p.m.
WHERE: Throughout downtown Denver
The 9NEWS Parade of Lights is the signature event of the holiday season in downtown Denver. This free holiday spectacular throughout downtown features more than 40 units, including extravagantly illuminated floats, giant helium-filled character balloons, magnificent marching bands, traditional equestrian units and vibrant cultural displays. And of course, a special appearance by Major Waddles the Penguin and Santa! If you miss the parade, the floats will be displayed until Dec. 26 on various plazas like Denver Union Station and Denver Pavilions.
WHEN: Dec. 5–12, 2021
WHERE: Cherry Creek Shopping Center
Individuals with all spectrums of special needs and their families are invited to a private photo session where extra care is taken to support the sensory, physical and other developmental needs to make this a magical holiday experience.
WHEN: Dec. 11, 12, 18 & 19 (matinee shows 2 p.m.); Dec. 11, 16, 17 & 18 (evening shows 7:30 p.m.)
WHERE: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance
A Denver family tradition for 29 years, this incredible blend of dance, music, and spoken word lifts the spirit and fills the heart with joy, love, and peace! Even in challenging times, the magic of "Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum," presented by Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, continues. Guided by the Three Angels of the Rainbow, Granny visits Africa, the Americas, Mexico, Asia, and the Caribbean to celebrate the joy of Holiday Times! From the African Harvest to Kwanzaa, from the Chinese New Year to Junkanoo.... a celebration of both diversity and oneness!
WHEN: Dec. 12, 2021
WHERE: Elway's Downtown
Celebrate the season with festive activity stations and a photo opportunity with jolly Saint Nicholas himself. In the spirit of giving please consider bringing an unwrapped gift to donate to the Rocky Mountain Children’s Hospital. Reservations can be made through OpenTable.