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Forget about the turkey: Denver's Thanksgiving Weekend returns with fun (and free) events, performing arts, live music and plenty of family-friendly activities.

Don't miss out on great Denver hotel deals during Thanksgiving Weekend.

FEATURED EVENTS

GRAND ILLUMINATION

WHENNov. 24, 2017
WHEREDowntown Denver
Grand Illumination features beautiful lighting displays in the LoDo District and Denver Union Station. Downtown's unique holiday atmosphere is sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Festivities at Denver Union Station include a countdown to this year's holiday lighting, carolers and treats, drinks at The Terminal Bar and more.

LIGHT THE LIGHTS

WHEN: Nov 24, 2017
WHERE: City & County Building, 1437 Bannock St.

The official kick-off to the largest lighting display in Denver happens on November 24 at 3 p.m. with festivities at the City & County Building, and at 6 p.m. 600,000 lights will illuminate the neo-classical building. Enjoy family-friendly fun, food and live music in the light of the City and County Building at Light the Lights.

SANTA'S FLIGHT ACADEMY

WHEN: Nov. 9–Dec. 24, 2017
WHERE: Cherry Creek Shopping Center
Let your little ones help Santa ready his sleigh for the big day during Santa's Flight Academy! Visit with jolly St. Nick, try out his Flight Suit Visualizer and enjoy the magical snow and light show at Cherry Creek Shopping Center

DENVER CHRISTKINDL MARKET

WHEN: Nov. 17–Dec. 23, 2017
WHERE: 1515 Arapahoe, Denver, CO 80111​

The Christkindl Market includes vendors from Germany, Ukraine, Ireland and other countries — as well as local artisans — offering high-quality gifts, such as hand-carved wooden figurines, handmade candles and ornaments. Traditional German food will tempt your taste buds. Sip on warm Glühwein (hot spiced wine) as you listen to traditional Christmas carols and live German music. Entry is free and the entire family is invited.

DOWNTOWN DENVER RINK AT SKYLINE PARK

WHEN: Nov. 21, 2017–Feb. 14, 2018
WHERE: Skyline Park, the corner of 16th and Arapahoe
Grab your family and friends and head to 16th and Arapahoe in downtown Denver to the Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park. Skate rentals are $6-$8, or bring your own pair and take a spin on the ice for free! Free days for kids will take place throughout the season. Look for regularly scheduled entertainment and activities each week including: Friday night DJs; Saturday morning skating lessons; Saturday night concerts; and Sunday afternoon family entertainment. 

SANTA'S VILLAGE AT CHATFIELD FARMS

WHEN: Nov. 24–Dec. 24, 2017
WHERE: Chatfield Farms at the Denver Botanic Gardens

Bring the kids to meet Santa (and his reindeer), make crafts with Mrs. Claus and take a magical hayride under twinkling holiday lights at Santa's Village. Afterward the whole family can shop for handcrafted gifts in Santa's workshop. 

ZOO LIGHTS

WHEN: Preview Weekend Nov. 24–25, 2017
WHERE: Denver Zoo

Zoo Lights will span 70 acres of Denver Zoo's campus with nightly entertainment, animal encounters, Santa meet-and-greets and, of course, illuminated animal sculptures that swing through trees, jump across lawns hide in bushes and appear in places where they’re least expected.

BLOSSOMS OF LIGHT

WHEN: Nov. 24, 2017–Jan. 1, 2018
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens

Embrace the holiday season at Blossoms of Light. The first night will display over one million colorful lights draped in elegant designs highlighting the Gardens' winter beauty. Enjoy sparkling passages, new displays and romantic kissing spots under the mistletoe, all made even more beautiful through HoloSpex glasses. Warm drinks and tasty treats will also be available. 

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ TRAIN RIDE

WHEN: Nov. 9–Dec. 23, 2017 
WHERE: Colorado Railroad Museum 

Grab your golden ticket! The beloved children's book comes to life in The Polar Express™ Train Ride, a theatrical recreation at the Colorado Railroad Museum that takes place inside a real train car, complete with cookies and hot chocolate. 

PERFORMING ARTS

'FIRST DATE'

WHEN: Nov. 11, 2017–Apr. 22, 2018 
WHERE: Garner Galleria, Denver Center for Performing Arts

A drink at a busy New York restaurant turns into a hilarious high-stakes dinner when blind date newbie Aaron is set up with serial-dater Casey in the endearing musical "First Date." 

'JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR® DREAMCOAT'

WHEN: Nov. 17–Dec. 23, 2017 
WHERE: Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities

This family-friendly, Bible-based musical follows the life of Joseph, his family and his famed coat of many colors. Don't miss this holiday favorite, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor® Dreamcoat."

'A CHRISTMAS CAROL'

WHEN: Nov. 24–Dec. 24, 2017 
WHERE:
Stage Theatre, Denver Center for Performing Arts
Keep the holiday spirit flowing with this classic Christmas tale from Charles Dickens. "A Christmas Carol" is the ultimate holiday treat for theatergoers young and old. 

DRUMS OF THE WORLD

WHEN: Nov. 26, 2017 
WHERE: Boettcher Concert Hall, Denver Center for Performing Arts

This popular annual family concert takes attendees on a musical trip around the globe. Drums of the World features your very own Colorado Symphony percussionists playing rhythmic instruments new and old — it'll be everything but the kitchen sink! Arrive early for pre-concert activities in the lobby.

'THE NUTCRACKER'

WHEN: Nov. 26–Dec. 24, 2017 
WHERE: Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver Center for the Performing Arts

A holiday tradition, Colorado Ballet's performance of Tchaikovsky’s famous score was named the best-loved "The Nutcracker" production in the country last year. 

'THE SANTALAND DIARIES'

WHEN: Nov. 24–Dec. 24, 2017 
WHERE: The JonesDenver Performing Arts Complex
For a less traditional take on the holiday season, don't miss "The SantaLand Diaries," based on author David Sedaris' hilarious account of his stint as a Macy's Christmas elf in New York City. This one-man show isn't for kids, but it will leave adults roaring with holiday cheer. 

KATY PERRY

WHEN: Nov. 26, 2017 
WHERE: Pepsi Center
Wrap up the holiday weekend as Katy Perry brings her Witness Tour to the Pepsi Center

SPORTING EVENTS

DENVER NUGGETS VS. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

WHEN: Nov. 24, 2017
WHERE: Pepsi Center
Thanksgiving weekend isn't just for watching sports on the couch. Head to the Pepsi Center to watch the Denver Nuggets take on the Memphis Grizzlies.  

COLORADO AVALANCHE VS. CALGARY FLAMES

WHEN: Nov. 25, 2017
WHERE: Pepsi Center
Hockey more your speed? Watch the Colorado Avalanche battle the Calgary Flames at the Pepsi Center.    

HOLIDAY SHOPPING KICKS OFF

The holiday shopping season kicks off after Thanksgiving. There will be free parking on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday in the Denver Pavilions underground garage.