The 9NEWS Parade of Lights is the signature event of the holiday season in downtown Denver, taking place at 6 p.m. on Dec. 4, 2021. In addition to the parade, there are many other ways to get into the holiday spirit. Check out elaborate lights displays, blockbuster museum exhibitions and much more. Stay for the weekend and take advantage of great hotel deals.

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.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS | FAMILY-FRIENDLY EVENTS | MUSIC & PERFORMING ARTS | MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS

PARADE DETAILS

The 9NEWS Parade of Lights is free and will make a circuit through the heart of downtown beginning at 6 p.m. on Dec. 4, 2021, featuring 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

PARADE ROUTE

The parade will follow the same route as it has in the past by starting in Civic Center Park, then making a circuit around downtown and ending roughly at Glenarm Place and 13th Street. For more information, see the 9NEWS Parade of Lights web page. 

FAMILY-FRIENDLY EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

DOWNTOWN DENVER RINK

WHEN: Thru Dec. 31, 2021
WHERE: Skyline Park
Bundle up for some free ice skating in the heart of downtown and enjoy special events. 

THE POLAR EXPRESS TM TRAIN RIDE

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. 

CHERRY CREEK NORTH HOLIDAY MARKET

WHEN: Nov. 18–Dec. 24, 2021
WHERE: Cherry Creek North
The free Cherry Creek North Holiday Market at Fillmore Plaza features 30 local artisan vendors, live music, and festive drinks and decor.

CAMP CHRISTMAS

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.

DENVER CHRISTKINDLMARKET  

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 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. 

FILM ON THE ROCKS

WHEN: Dec. 3–5, 2021
WHERE: Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison
Enjoy a one-of-a-kind drive-in movie experience at the iconic Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre with a new lineup of films to celebrate the holidays. Here's what's happening for Parade of Lights weekend:

  • Dec. 3: "Gremlins" (7:30 p.m.) 
  • Dec. 4: "Jingle All the Way" (4:30 p.m.) and "Batman Returns" (8 p.m.)
  • Dec. 5: "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (4:30 p.m.)

SANTA AT MCGREGOR SQUARE

WHEN: Dec. 3 & 5, 2021 
WHERE: Milepost Zero food hall

Santa will be available for photos on the following dates/times on Parade of Lights weekend:

  • Dec. 3, 5–8 p.m.
  • Dec. 5, 2–5 p.m.

 

A HUDSON CHRISTMAS: EXTRAVAGANZA OF LIGHTS

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.

DISTORTIONS MONSTER WORLD

WHEN: Thru Dec. 31, 2021
WHERE: Denver Pavilions
Ready to get up close and personal with the things that go bump in the night? Come to Distortions Monster World (if you dare), where surprises will greet you around every corner on an out-of-this-world interactive adventure. This series of cinematic environments featuring immersive installations and infamous creatures and characters will truly transport you to another place!

A STORYBOOK HOLIDAY IN EVERGREEN

WHEN: Nov. 27–Dec. 31, 2021
WHERE: Evergreen

See classic Christmas Stories depicted in ice! The mountain community of Evergreen is “hiding” ice sculptures around town and Santa is flying in from the North Pole to do some special readings. 

SENSORY SANTA WITH AUTISM SPEAKS

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.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS MINI GOLF

WHEN: Nov. 5–Jan. 9, 2022
WHERE: Adventure Golf & Raceway, Westminster
During the holiday season, Buccaneer Bay, Adventure Cove and The Lost Continent transform into beautiful holiday-themed light displays with more than 100,000 interactive lights on all three courses! 

MUSIC & PERFORMING ARTS

'AMERICAN SON' 

WHEN: Nov. 11–Dec. 11, 2021
WHERE: Curious Theatre Company

A mother frantically paces a police station in the middle of the night, desperately trying to pry information about her missing son from evasive detectives. As tensions escalate and the story unwinds, the chasm between Jamal’s interracial parents widens. Winner of the prestigious Laurents/Hatcher Award and a New York Times Critic’s Pick, this explosive drama examines our nation’s racial divide through the eyes of parents on the brink. 

'A CHRISTMAS CAROL'

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.

COLORADO BALLET PRESENTS 'THE NUTCRACKER' 

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.

MUSEUM & GALLERY EXHIBITIONS

SHIKI DREAMS BY PRISMAJIC 

WHEN: Thru Dec. 19, 2021
WHERE: Prismajic

Shiki Dreams is the latest immersive adventure from Prismajic, the creators of 2019’s smash hit Natura Obscura. The multi-sensory immersive experience leads guests on a fun and mystical journey of exploration and discovery that combines art and technology in beautiful and amazing ways.

MUSEUM FOR BLACK GIRLS 

WHEN: Thru Dec. 31, 2021
WHERE: 
1421 26th St.
"Black Girl Magic" is more than a buzzword or trend. It's the essence of Black women. The Museum for Black Girls is a space to celebrate this essence, as well as educate about the journey to our present state and liberation. Finally and most importantly, our museum serves as a love letter to Black women and our experience. This interactive pop-up gallery features multiple, vibrant exhibits.

EARTH ILLUMINATED 

WHEN: Thru Dec. 31, 2021
WHERE: Denver Pavilions

Earth Illuminated is an immersive experience where the natural world and digital media merge to take you on an ethereal journey. Wander through a 13,000-square-foot space showcasing our planet's beauty from air, land and sea. Explore a series of immersive environments and large-scale interactive art installations that change the way you experience art and nature.

FORTY YEARS ON THE ’FAX 

WHEN: Thru Dec. 31, 2021
WHERE: History Colorado Center

Take a nostalgic ride down Colfax, with stops at the quirky and memorable places that gave the street its worldwide reputation.

TRUTH, BEAUTY AND POWER: CHRISTOPHER DRESSER AND THE AESTHETIC MOVEMENT 

WHEN: Thru Jan. 2, 2022
WHERE: Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art 

Following a temporary closure due to water damage earlier in the year, the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art has reopened with a new exhibition: Truth, Beauty and Power: Christopher Dresser and The Aesthetic Movement. Museum visitors will learn about this lesser-known design movement (1865-1900) along with Dresser, a British designer. The exhibition features works from the museum's permanent collection, many of which will be publicly displayed for the first time. 

FERVOR: ANA MARÍA HERNANDO 

WHEN: Thru Jan. 2, 2022
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens

Interdisciplinary artist Ana María Hernando harnesses the power of painting, poetry and installation to honor and alter traditional feminine craft and community. Her love of plants, flowers and the spirit of nature permeates her work. Fervor features her installation Écoutons | Escuchemos | Let's Listen, created in response to bird sounds submitted from more than 200 people across the globe.

LONGMONT 150 

WHEN: Thru Jan. 9, 2022
WHERE: Longmont Museum, Longmont

It’s been 150 years since the Chicago-Colorado Colony founded the town of Longmont! This anniversary exhibit looks back on the forces that shaped Longmont’s past and the recurring themes that will undoubtedly define its future.

DEBORAH ROBERTS: I'M 

WHEN: Thru Jan. 30, 2022
WHERE: MCA DENVER — Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

Roberts's mixed media works on paper and on canvas combine found images sourced from the Internet with hand-painted details in striking figural compositions that invite viewers to look closely and to see through the layers. She focuses her gaze on Black children — historically, and still today, among the most vulnerable members of our population — investigating how societal pressures, projected images of beauty or heroism, and the violence of American racism condition their experiences growing up in this country as well as how others perceive them. 

JASON MORAN: BATHING THE ROOM WITH BLUES 

WHEN: Thru Jan. 30, 2022
WHERE: MCA DENVER — Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

Renowned artist and musician Jason Moran presents a gathering of artworks that celebrates space and creative expression in jazz history, as well as the importance of music and live performance as vital forces in Black culture and American life. Through a range of media, Moran highlights his fascination with the physical environments where music is born and how the residue of music-making can be captured.

IMMERSIVE VAN GOGH 

WHEN: Thru Feb. 6, 2022
WHERE: Lighthouse Denver

Renowned for transforming venues into unforgettable art experiences, the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit strives to highlight the unique architecture of its spaces while integrating influences from its history and community. Get ready to be transported the second you step inside!

SMOKING MIRRORS: A REFLECTION ON IDENTITY IN MEXICO AND THE USA, 1821-2021

WHEN: Thru Feb. 26, 2022
WHERE: Museo de las Americas

This visual arts exhibit curated by the Chicano/a Murals of Colorado Project honors the Colorado Chicano/a mural tradition of using public art in service to the people and communities that are historically dehumanized and oppressed in US society.

BLACK IN DENVER 

WHEN: Thru Mar. 5, 2022
WHERE: History Colorado Center

Narkita Gold is a Denver-based artist who's been honing her skills in digital photography since 2009. Her exhibition Black in Denver is a portrait and interview series that takes delves into Black life in Denver.

A DECADE OF DISCOVERY: CLYFFORD STILL IN DENVER 

WHEN: Thru Mar. 6, 2022
WHERE: Clyfford Still Museum

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Clyfford Still Museum, this exhibition takes inspiration from the museum’s beloved inaugural exhibition while highlighting some of its most compelling revelations since. Featured surprises include photographs of lost paintings from the 1930s, undocumented and mysterious artworks found during inventory, ways in which our understanding of Still’s earliest years and artistic training has expanded, and even a few architectural quirks of the building.

STATE HISTORICAL FUND RETROSPECTIVE 

WHEN: Thru Apr. 30, 2022
WHERE: History Colorado

This exhibit explores the rich contributions of History Colorado's State Historical Fund. Through the preservation of the built environment, the SHF has enhanced vibrant communities across the state for more than three decades.

SCULPTURE ON THE GREEN II: FEATURING ROBERT MANGOLD

WHEN: Thru May 2022
WHERE: Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre

MOA presents Sculpture on the Green II at Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre, the second installation of an ongoing, annual, rotating exhibition. This year features Colorado sculptor Robert Mangold. The sculptures are made from industrial steel piping. Some are painted a brilliant red, while others are simply polished, allowing for the beauty in the raw material to be revealed.

BRICK & SOUL // ARMANDO GENEYRO 

WHEN: Thru July 30, 2022
WHERE: History Colorado Center

Local photographer Armando Geneyro connects the build environment with the people who shape its meaning. A versatile photographer, Armando specializes in events coverage and photojournalism. His passion for street photography allows him to connect to his subjects and immerse himself in different cultures.

SEEING THE INVISIBLE 

WHEN: Thru Aug. 1, 2022
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens

Seeing the Invisible presents virtual works that engage with existing features of the natural landscape. The augmented reality exhibition features new works by international artists including Ai Weiwei, El Anatsui, John Gerrard, Ori Gersht, Mohammed Kazem and Sigalit Landau — including several artists’ first works in AR. Beyond the boundaries of what is possible with physical artworks, many of the works created for the exhibition address themes of nature, environment, sustainability and the intersection of the physical world with the digital one.

MEMORY MIRROR 

WHEN: Thru Mar. 5, 2023
WHERE: Denver Art Museum

Lares Feliciano's Memory Mirror is an immersive installation that invites visitors to explore their relationship with memory through animation, dioramas and interactive storytelling. Designed to evoke the memory of a relative's living room, this exhibition will transform the museum's Precourt Family Discovery Hall into a surreal domestic den that is both familiar and fantastic.

REVISIÓN: ART IN THE AMERICAS

WHEN: Oct. 24, 2021–TBA
WHERE: Denver Art Museum

This thematic presentation will explore land, people and place by linking ancient and contemporary artworks that address political and social issues at the heart of the region’s cultural heritage as well as expand the narrative through voices that include women artists and contemporary voices that speak to the diversity of the Americas.

GIO PONTI: DESIGNER OF A THOUSAND TALENTS

WHEN: Oct. 24, 2021–TBA
WHERE: Denver Art Museum

Gio Ponti was one of the most inventive Italian architects and designers of his time. For more than 60 years, Ponti’s exuberant approach found expression in public and private commissions from buildings, interiors, and furniture to glass, ceramics, and flatware. These diverse and prolific achievements led to Ponti’s hiring in 1965, at the age of 74, to collaborate with Denver-based James Sudler Associates on the design of a new building for the Denver Art Museum.

BY DESIGN: STORIES AND IDEAS BEHIND OBJECTS

WHEN: Oct. 24, 2021–TBA
WHERE: Denver Art Museum

A series of thematic installations drawn primarily from the architecture and design collection, By Design: Stories and Ideas Behind Objects illustrates the abundance and versatility of approaches to design. How does it come into being? Who creates it and for what purpose? How does it serve society? What trends inspire it?