Winter makes The Mile High City sparkle. Denver is also the world's largest après ski town. It's a great place to gear up, find deals and acclimatize before you hit the higher Rocky Mountain ski slopes of Colorado.
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: Thru Dec. 19, 2020
WHERE: Denver Pavilions
This winter, Denver Pavilions, downtown Denver's outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment district, will transform into a holiday wonderland with a brightly lit forest surrounding three popular Parade of Lights floats on Glenarm Street. And on Friday and Saturday nights (5–7 p.m.), enjoy live carolers, Santa visits (from safely atop the Santa Sleigh float) and free family photos with any Denver Pavilions receipt.
WHEN: Thru Dec. 20, 2020
WHERE: Dairy Block
This outdoor market in the heated alleyway at Dairy Block pays homage to the quaint holiday festivals of Europe. Shop every weekend (Friday—Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.) between Thanksgiving and Christmas while enjoying a seasonal beverage.
WHEN: Thru Dec. 23, 2020
WHERE: Civic Center Park
This free outdoor event brings the most beloved elements of an authentic German holiday experience to The Mile High 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. This year, the Denver Christkindl Market is moving to a spacious, open-air location in Civic Center Park.
WHEN: Thru Dec. 23, 2020
WHERE: Fillmore Plaza
Join the festivities this holiday season as Cherry Creek North visitors fill Fillmore Plaza between 1st and 2nd. Shop from 30 vendors featuring products in European chalet-style clad shipping containers; enjoy live music by bands and carolers, and sip cocktails and hot beverages throughout Fillmore Plaza.
WHEN: Thru Dec. 24, 2020
WHERE: Stanley Marketplace, Aurora
Come get your Christmas tree at Stanley Marketplace! Neighborhood Christmas Tree Co. sources trees direct from farms in a variety of sizes and types, including Noble, Fraser, Nordman and Grand firs. They'll have a selection of Charlie Brown-inspired mini-trees, too, as well as a small assortment of holiday accessories, like wooden reindeer and wooden snowmen.
WHEN: Thru Dec. 31, 2020
WHERE: Throughout downtown Denver
The Downtown Denver Partnership is transforming the community tradition, 9News Parade of Lights, in 2020! This year's parade will be a multi-week, socially safe extravaganza of activities across downtown. The floats you know and love will be displayed throughout downtown, from Denver Pavilions to Denver Union Station, offering multiple chances for our community to relish in the charm and excitement of the holiday season again and again. Download the mobile app for the exact locations but here's where they are roughly located:
On Wynkoop Street between 17th and 18th streets
Home for the Holidays Float Presented by American Furniture Warehouse
Toybox Float Presented by 5280 Publishing
In the parking area off of Market Street between 18th and 19th streets
Jewelry Box Float Presented by The Crazy Merchant Inc.
In the courtyard at 16th and Lawrence streets
Gift Box Station Presented by Donor Alliance
On the plaza at 16th and Arapahoe streets
Ram Station Presented by Colorado State University
Clocktower Float Presented by 9NEWS
Christmas Story Float Presented by Confluence Ministries
On Glenarm Place between 15th and 16th streets
Santa Float Presented by Ent Credit Union
Share the Magic Presented by KOSI 101.1
Gingerbread House Float Presented by Xcel Energy
WHEN: Thru Jan. 2, 2021 (5-9:30 p.m. on most Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays; and 5-8 p.m. on some Sundays)
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: Thru Jan. 2, 2021, Thursdays–Saturdays (No tours Dec. 24–25)
WHERE: Denver City & County Building
There's nothing quite like an evening stroll under twinkling holiday lights to celebrate the season! Embark on a fun-filled 1.5-hour Holiday Lights & Sights walking experience as you take in all of the magic and cheer of this festive time of year in The Mile High City. Along the way, you'll learn about the unique history, architecture and holiday traditions of Denver and Colorado.
WHEN: Thru Jan. 3, 2021
WHERE: Cherry Creek North
New for 2020, explore 16 sparkling blocks with more than a half million lights and discover eight twinkling displays choreographed to music.
WHEN: Thru Jan. 3, 2021 (Closed Dec. 25)
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.
WHEN: Thru Jan. 16, 2021 (Closed Nov. 26 and Dec. 25)
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 and masks covering the face and nose are required.
WHEN: Dec. 4–Dec. 27, 2020
WHERE: Four Mile Historic Park
Join Four Mile Historic Park in December for a winter spectacular this holiday season featuring an ice skating rink, winter scavenger hunt, kids craft activities, seasonal snacks and beverages, art installations and life-size, interactive video games from Oh Heck Yeah!
WHEN: Dec. 4–Dec. 31, 2020
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.
DENVER WINTER BREW FEST
WHEN: January 23, 2021
WHERE: Mile High Station
Toast the winter season at Winter Brew Fest. This annual event at Mile High Station celebrates craft beverages from around Colorado and other U.S. microbrews and features live local music, food and other vendors. Cheers!
WHEN: Thru Nov. 30, 2020
WHERE: Denver Art Museum
In this free outdoor exhibition, local artist Chinn Wang pairs words and symbols — some familiar and recognizable, some abstract and coded — to explore how learning language functions as the key to storytelling and powerful expressions of identity. A is for… is located in the Martin Plaza in front of the Denver Art Museum.
WHEN: Thru Nov. 30, 2020
WHERE: Cherry Creek Shopping Center
THE FENCE is a juried, traveling outdoor photography exhibit of outstanding images by photographers from around the world. The free exhibit is installed along a 500-foot banner at Cherry Creek Park behind the shopping center (near the bike path).
WHEN: Thru Jan. 3, 2021
WHERE: Cherry Creek North
Stroll through a modern ice palace with Prismatica, an interactive lighting exhibit where visitors can literally play with light by interacting with 25 pivoting prisms that reflect a rainbow of light and color. See it on Milwaukee Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.
WHEN: Thru Apr. 30, 2021
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens - Chatfield Farms Location
This immersive, outdoor, site-specific sculpture was created by weaving flexible saplings and branches into a complex and whimsical architectural form and was created over the course of three weeks with the help of staff and volunteers.
WHEN: Permanent installation
WHERE: Daniels & Fisher Tower
Night Lights Denver features rotating content designed by local artists and the community and projected on the Arapahoe Street side of the Daniels & Fisher Tower. See it for free every Tuesday through Sunday evening.
RED ROCKS & GOLDEN
The concert season at Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre (18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison) may be over, but you can still enjoy this natural wonder year-round. The Red Rocks Visitor Center's winter hours are 9 a.m.–4 p.m., seven days a week. Check out the Red Rocks Hall of Fame, featuring photos and memorabilia from more than 40 years of incredible concerts. Learn about the massive rock formations in the Geologic Niche and explore the Trading Post Loop Hiking Trail, a 1.4-mile adventure through spectacular rock formations, valleys and a natural meadow. After you've enjoyed Red Rocks, spend some time in nearby Golden's Old West-themed downtown, with a charming selection of shops, restaurants and attractions.
CENTRAL CITY AND BLACK HAWK
I-70 West and Exit 243 onto Central City Pkwy.
Head for the hills and check out all the fun Central City and Black Hawk have to offer. Located 34 miles (55km) west of Denver, the two towns offer more than 30 casinos with blackjack tables, craps, roulette, poker games and more than 10,000 slot machines. In 2009, gambling stakes were raised to $100, to the delight of high rollers. The two cities are also known for having some of the best-preserved Victorian architecture in the West. Other attractions include the Teller House Hotel, where President Grant once stayed and the Central City Opera House, which still features an outstanding summer season of opera after more than 100 years. There are mine tours, mining museums and several places offering instruction in the fine art of in-stream gold panning where a half billion dollars of the coveted, shiny metal was once found.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
I-25 North to Exit 217, US Hwy. 36 west to Estes Park
The legendary Rocky Mountain National Park, located just an hour from The Mile High City, offers spectacular snowshoeing and cross country skiing options that will take you to some of the most scenic and serene spots in all of Colorado. Rent cross country skis and/or snowshoes in Denver and take the short drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park - you won't regret it. Check with rangers at visitor centers for info on the right trail for you.
Located two hours or less from most Front Range ski areas, Denver has always been the gateway to Colorado skiing and boarding.
Winter Park Resort is nestled at the base of the Continental Divide at the east end of the Fraser Valley. As the closest major destination resort to Denver, Winter Park offers easy access to skiers arriving at Denver International Airport from hundreds of domestic and international points. Just two hours from the airport, the surrounding mountain expanses and breathtaking scenery at Winter Park give visitors the impression that they are far away from the hustle and hassle of city life. If you don't want to drive, hop on the Winter Park Express ski train for a memorable ride through a stunning landscape. (Note: The ski train has suspended operations indefinitely due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.)
One of the largest ski resorts in the world with more than 5,200 acres of open terrain, Back Bowls spanning seven miles and the most groomed terrain on the planet, Vail has been the ideal winter destination for skiers and snowboarders for more than 50 years. Besides being one of the favorite ski destinations in the world, Vail features everything from Ski & Snowboard School to on-mountain events, shops and spas, numerous dining options and luxurious accommodations. Vail is a mountain resort like nothing on earth.
Just 53 miles west of Denver on I-70, Loveland Ski Area is super close to Denver and averages 400 inches of snow annually. Loveland's location offers unique skiing possibilities you simply cannot find at other ski areas. There's no glitz here. Loveland has been long known for some of the best skiing and snowboarding conditions in Colorado. At Loveland you get 1,365 diverse acres of terrain and breathtaking views from the second-highest chairlift in the world, high atop the Continental Divide. When you need to escape from the city for a day of riding and a night of good food, Loveland won't disappoint. Daytripper packages are available, including lift ticket, equipment and clothing rental. Ski school lessons are available for all abilities and schedules.
Seventy miles west of Denver, in Summit County, Colorado, you'll find Keystone Resort. With 131 trails, 235 inches of snow, more than 3,000 skiable acres and 20 lifts, Keystone delivers a truly world-class mountain experience, all within a short drive from Denver and the Front Range. At 11,640 feet, Dercum Mountain is home to long, open runs and perfect groomers to keep you cruising all day — a great place to start for beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. For those who crave big air, Keystone's A51 Terrain Park will not disappoint. Named a top-ranked park by Freeskier and Transworld Magazines, this is the place to be for shredders and jibbers. Looking to explore Denver by day and Keystone at night? The mountain offers not only the largest night skiing operation in Colorado, but the longest ski day as well, operating from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Known for its excellent snow and extended ski season (the longest in Colorado), Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (or "A-Basin" to locals) is 68 miles from Denver, with killer views. A-Basin's acclaimed terrain and laid-back vibe make it a favorite for experts to beginners. Half of the mountain is above timberline, with open-bowl skiing and snowboarding through spring and into early summer. One of its signature runs, Pallavicini, is one of Colorado's longest and steepest trails. Family-friendly features include two learning areas, a full-service Snowsports School, on-site rentals and three dining locations. On sunny days, you might want to lounge on "The Beach," a stretch near the Early Riser parking lot that backs up to three lower-mountain chairlifts.
Winter activities at 9,600 ft. available at Copper Mountain include skiing, snowshoeing, overnight back-country hut trips, sleigh rides and more! As the largest resort in Summit County, Copper offers diverse terrain on a well-designed, easy-to-navigate mountain. Veteran skiers prefer the east side, while beginner and intermediate skiers enjoy the moderate terrain farther west. The resort also boasts 16 miles of cross-country trails and first-rate terrain parks.
Located just 36 miles from Denver in nearby in Idaho Springs, Echo Mountain is the closest ski area to Denver, making it easy to fit into even the shortest weekend trip! Originally opened in 1960 as the Squaw Pass Ski Area, Echo has gone through many iterations over the years, including a terrain park and a private ski race training facility. It reopened as a ski resort in 2016 and has undergone extensive renovations over the past few years, including a brand new tubing hill, an expanded beginner ski area and a new food-and-beverage menu (featuring“life-changing fries”). Night owls can even take part in night skiing throughout the season!