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Thanksgiving in Denver returns with fun (and free) events, blockbuster museum exhibitions, lights displays and plenty of family-friendly activities. Don't miss out on great hotel deals. For a delicious deep dive into Denver's culinary scene, check out these Thanksgiving meals for takeout.

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 | SPORTING EVENTS |MUSEUM & GALLERY EXHIBITIONS |HOLIDAY SHOPPING

HOLIDAY LIGHTS 

THE MILE HIGH TREE, PRESENTING SPONSOR MODELO®

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. 

WINTER WANDERLAND LIGHT WALK

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.

BLOSSOMS OF LIGHT

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. 

WINTER AGLOW ON GLENARM

WHEN: Nov. 27–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.

DENVER LIGHTS & SIGHTS WALKING TOUR  

WHEN: Nov. 27–Dec. 27, 2020
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.

 

PARADE OF LIGHTS

WHEN: Nov. 27–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

TRAIL OF LIGHTS  

WHEN: Nov. 27, 2020–Jan. 3, 2021
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.

NIGHT LIGHTS DENVER

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 every Tuesday through Sunday evening.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY EVENTS

THE POLAR EXPRESS TM TRAIN RIDE

WHEN: Thru Dec. 23, 2020
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. 

DENVER CHRISTKINDL MARKET

WHEN: Thru Dec. 23, 2020
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. This year, the Denver Christkindl Market is moving to a spacious, open-air location in Civic Center Park.

CHERRY CREEK HOLIDAY MARKET

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.

NEIGHBORHOOD CHRISTMAS TREE CO. CHRISTMAS TREE LOT

WHEN: Thru Dec. 24, 2020
WHERE: Stanley Marketplace, Aurora

Come get your Christmas tree at Stanley MarketplaceNeighborhood 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.

CAMP CHRISTMAS

WHEN: Thru Jan. 5, 2021
WHERE: Online

This digital experience takes place on a web-based app where campers can explore fantastical places like Sweetsville, Fairy Forest and Treehouse Village. Each location includes multimedia content about the history and traditions surrounding the holiday season, as well as in-home activities. Campers can earn badges, track their progress and receive up to five packages featuring a wide variety of Christmas-themed activities.

APRES HOLIDAY MARKET DENVER

WHEN: Nov. 27–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.

HOMETOWN MARKET - HOLLYDAY MARKET

WHEN: Nov. 28, 2020
WHERE: South Holly Church, Centennial

Enjoy this open-air market featuring handmade and vintage items from 40+ vendors. Find unique, one-of-a-kind gifts made by local artisans. Buy for your loved ones, or treat yourself! Items will include holiday and home décor, accessories, jewelry, kids toys, party supplies, vintage finds, art, candles, artisanal food and more!

HOLIDAY CRAFT & GIFT SHOW - SON SHINE SHOWS

WHEN: Nov. 28–29, 2020
WHERE: Norris Penrose Event Center, Colorado Springs

Head south for Colorado Springs' largest craft and gift show of the year, featuring more than 120 local and national vendors. Enjoy live music and food-truck eats, raffles, silent auctions and family fun while you shop!

MUSEUM STORE SUNDAY

WHEN: Nov. 29, 2020
WHERE: Participating Museums
On Sunday, participating museum stores throughout the metro area will offer relaxing, inspired shopping from your favorite museums and cultural institutions online. 

SPORTING EVENTS

DENVER BRONCOS V. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

WHEN: Nov. 29, 2020
WHERE: Empower Field at Mile High

Cheer on the Denver Broncos as they take on the New Orleans Saints! 

MUSEUM & GALLERY EXHIBITIONS

EYES ON: ANTHONY MCCALL 

WHEN: Thru Nov. 29, 2020
WHERE: Denver Art Museum
Between 1972 and 1974, London-born, New York-based artist Anthony McCall recorded a suite of seven fire performances. Landscape for Fire presents five performers dressed in white walking a precisely choreographed pattern across an airfield in North Weald, England, igniting small fires. Shifting configurations of light and dark unfold across a thirty-six-point grid, as the field of grass becomes a meadow of light. 

THE FENCE

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, presented by the Colorado Photographic Arts Center. The exhibit is installed along a 500-foot banner at Cherry Creek Park behind the shopping center (near the bike path).

A IS FOR…

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

WINTER ART MARKET

WHEN: Thru Jan. 3, 2021
WHERE: NEXT Gallery, Lakewood

NEXT Gallery will be open Fridays from 5 p.m.–10 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Purchase artwork and support local artists!

JACK BALAS, COMMON GROUND: PAINTINGS FOR AMERICA

WHEN: Thru Jan. 9, 2021
WHERE: William Havu Gallery

Originally based in Chicago and Los Angeles, artist Jack Balas who divides his time between painting, drawing and photography, cross referenced at times with writing and other media. 

SHANTELL MARTIN: WORDS AND LINES

WHEN: Thru Jan. 31, 2021
WHERE: Denver Art Museum

London-born, New York-based contemporary artist Shantell Martin has collaborated with iconic brands and artists from Puma and Nike to Max Mara and Kendrick Lamar. This interactive multimedia installation features Martin’s signature black and white drawings that explore intersectionality, identity and play.

PRIMA LINGUA: FIRST WORDS OF THE EARTH

WHEN: Thru Feb. 21, 2021
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens

Aspen-based artist Jody Guralnick explores the intersection of science and art, bringing to light the microscopic and often unnoticed structures of lichens, mushrooms, molds and more. For her, these tiny organisms are comparable to the first words of the earth — the building blocks of nature's language.

THE LIGHT SHOW

WHEN: Thru Mar. 7, 2021
WHERE: Denver Art Museum

Let there be light! This brilliant exhibition features around 250 pieces pulled from the Denver Art Museum's nine curatorial departments and explores humanity's drive to understand both physical light and metaphorical, spiritual and divine light.

HOLIDAY SHOPPING KICKS OFF

The holiday shopping season kicks off after Thanksgiving! Shop small during Cherry Creek North's  Small Business Weekend. There will be free parking on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday in the Denver Pavilions underground garage, and check out Larimer Square's locally owned boutiques on Small Business Saturday. Or shop online for handmade gifts and decor at the Jackalope Virtual Holiday Market from November 28 to December 18, 2020.