Denver City and County Building during the holidays

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Thanksgiving Weekend in Denver

Thanksgiving in Denver returns with fun (and free) events, blockbuster museum exhibitions, lights displays and plenty of family-friendly activities.

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 Shopping | Family-Friendly Events | Food & Drink | Music & Performing Arts | Fitness & Sporting Events | Museum & Gallery Exhibitions

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 while Cherry Creek North celebrates Small Business Weekend


Family-Friendly Events & Activities

The Polar ExpressTM Train Ride

WHEN: Nov. 10–Dec. 23, 2023
WHERE: Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden
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 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. 

Ice Castles in Cripple Creek

WHEN: Nov. 10, 2023–Feb. 23, 2024
WHERE: Irene Ave. and 4th St., Cripple Creek
Each year, Ice Castles brings fairy tales to life for hundreds of thousands of families across North America. Since 2011, Ice Castles has been dedicated to creating an experience that will live on long after the ice melts. For all who enter through the icicle-adorned archways, time spent at Ice Castles is a source of joy and inspiration.

Cherry Creek Holiday Market

WHEN: Nov. 16–Dec. 24, 2023
WHERE: Cherry Creek North
The Cherry Creek North Holiday Market at Fillmore Plaza features more than 50 local artisan vendors, live music, and festive drinks and decor. The market is free, open to the public and family- and dog-friendly.

Denver Christkindlmarket

WHEN: Nov. 17–Dec. 22, 2023
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. 

Food & Drink

Thanksgiving Feast at FIRE

WHEN: Nov. 23, 2023
WHERE: FIRE at the ART hotel

You are invited to an all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving feast at FIRE Restaurant, prepared by Executive Chef Ashley Robertson. Enjoy seasonal fall salads, starters, classic sides, a carving station and dessert, plus a mac & cheese bar! There will also be live music from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the dining room, with acoustic tunes from Andy Sydow. Make a reservation on OpenTable.

Thanksgiving Buffet

WHEN: Nov. 23, 2023
WHERE: Downtown Aquarium

The aquarium's buffet will feature traditional Thanksgiving favorites, including carved turkey, cornbread stuffing and house-made cranberry sauce, along with a kid’s buffet and exhibit discounts at the Aquarium! Reservations required.

Brick Burger

WHEN: Nov. 25–26, 2023

Welcome to Brick Burger, where the world of food and fun come together in a unique and exciting way! Brick Burger offers a one-of-a-kind pop-up dining experience that allows you to unleash your creativity and build your burger masterpiece from a selection of colorful and delicious bricks made from the freshest and highest quality ingredients, so you can be sure that every bite will be a flavor explosion. Whether you're in the mood for a juicy beef patty, a crispy chicken fillet, or a hearty veggie option, our selection of bricks has something for everyone.

Tinseltown: Christmas Bar

WHEN: Dec. 1–30, 2023
WHERE: Denver Pavilions

It's time to make every day cheery again! Tinseltown is all about celebrating Christmas, so you can expect Santa, elves, presents, tinsel, festive tunes and lots of winter warmer drinks, including a fabulous Christmas cocktail menu! The halls are more than fully decked with baubles, bows, hanging trees, wreaths and just about every festive goodie ever! You'll be left unable to shake the spirit and joy of our favorite season. Tickets include entry to the themed bar and a bespoke cocktail on arrival. 


Music & Performing Arts

'Little Red'

WHEN: Thru Dec. 23, 2023
WHERE: Weeks Conservatory Theatre

This charming, song-infused retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" finds Little Red at the center of new adventures and new ways of seeing familiar characters. With a wandering wolf, a gardening grandma, singing forest creatures, and characters from other tales joining in, Little Red discovers her own power as a vital doer in her community. Joyous, inspiring and filled with laughs, the musical captures the warmth of Little Red and her family of smart, engaged women while also welcoming a new friendship between Red and Wolf.

'A Christmas Carol'

WHEN: Nov. 17–Dec. 24​, 2023
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. 21–26, 2023
WHERE: Buell Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex

Holding onto hope when times are tough can take an awful lot of determination. And sometimes, an awful lot of determination comes in a surprisingly small package. Little Orphan Annie has reminded generations of theatergoers that sunshine is always right around the corner, and now the best-loved musical of all time is set to return in a new production—just as you remember it and just when we need it most.  


'A Christmas Story'

WHEN: Nov. 23–Dec. 31, 2023
WHERE: Miners Alley Playhouse, Golden

All the elements from the beloved motion picture are here, including the family's temperamental exploding furnace; the boys' experiment with a wet tongue on a cold lamppost; the Little Orphan Annie decoder pin; Ralphie's father winning a lamp shaped like a woman's leg in a net stocking; Ralphie's fantasy scenarios and more. "A Christmas Story" is destined to become a theatrical holiday tradition!

'Home Alone' in Concert

WHEN: Nov. 24–25, 2023
WHERE: Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex

Celebrate this modern holiday classic featuring John Williams’ charming and delightful score performed live by your Colorado Symphony as the film is screened for your enjoyment! Hilarious and heartwarming, "Home Alone" is holiday fun for the entire family.

Colorado Ballet: 'The Nutcracker'

WHEN: Nov. 25–Dec. 24, 2023
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.

'Drums of the World'

WHEN: Nov. 26, 2023
WHERE: Boettcher Concert Hall 

Celebrate the season with marimba, bongos, bass drums, woodblocks, log drums, boo-bams, Chinese cymbals, metal trash cans, darabukkas, talking drums, plastic pipes, acoustic guitars, toy trumpets, tablespoons, Burma gongs, water cans, crow calls, tambourines, gankogui and sleigh bells! 

Fitness & Sporting Events

Mile High United Way Turkey Trot

WHEN: Nov. 23, 2023
WHERE: Washington Park

Lace up your sneakers and make the Mile High United Way Turkey Trot a part of your Thanksgiving celebration and help support families in our community!

Turkey Rock Trot

WHEN: Nov. 23, 2023
WHERE: Douglas County Event Center, Castle Rock

Join Castle Rock’s largest running race, indoor expo and Thanksgiving morning tradition: the 19th Annual Turkey ROCK Trot 5K Family Fun Run/Walk/Stroll. Whether you're a serious runner or a leisurely walker, bring the whole family and start a new tradition.

Denver Broncos vs. Cleveland Browns

WHEN: Nov. 26, 2023
Empower Field at Mile High
Join the Denver Broncos as they take on the Cleveland Browns! 

Denver Nuggets vs. San Antonio Spurs

WHEN: Nov. 26, 2023
WHERE: Ball Arena

Head to Ball Arena to cheer on the Denver Nuggets against the San Antonio Spurs!


Museum & Gallery Exhibitions

Confection Perfection: Jolly Rancher Company

WHEN: Thru Dec. 30, 2023
WHERE: Golden History Museum & Park, Golden

Seeking additional income for her family, homemaker-turned-entrepreneur Dorothy Harmsen heard about people making a fortune in Florida selling ice cream from newly invented soft serve machines. In 1949, Harmsen rented a store in downtown Golden and made a down payment on a new machine. Within a few years, she and her husband, Bill, built one of the most iconic confectionery companies in the world.

Epic Events

WHEN: Thru Dec. 30, 2023
WHERE: Golden History Museum & Park, Golden

Epic Events walks you through over three dozen moments that shaped Golden’s past. Those times range from big to small, happy to sad. Some are memorable and some are best forgotten. Step inside this exhibit and feel what it’s like to live through 150 years in Golden.

Legendary People

WHEN: Thru Dec. 30, 2023
WHERE: Golden History Museum & Park, Golden

People are the ingredient that makes Golden a vibrant community. Over the years, so many have called the area home, from nomadic Native Americans, adventurous miners and cunning politicians, to innovative business owners, hard-working students and curious tourists. Their interesting stories make for a rich history. Learn the biographical highlights of some little-known characters, like beloved educator Gertrude Bell, Olympic athlete Lindsey Horan and many more.

Signs O’ The Times

WHEN: Thru Dec. 30, 2023
WHERE: Golden History Museum & Park, Golden

Old signs are powerful evidence of the changes Golden has experienced. Simply put, signs are visual graphics we use to communicate information to each other. We’ve used them for thousands of years, and if you stop and look around, they’re everywhere. The permanent City of Golden collection currently cares for more than two dozen commercial and business signs.

Borderlands of Southern Colorado

WHEN: Thru Dec. 31, 2023
WHERE: History Colorado Center

Presented in English and Spanish, Borderlands explores the shifting geopolitical history of southern Colorado. This area, framed by mountains and rivers, is naturally conducive to unique and resilient forms of cultural connection. An international border crossed over the people in this region, changing their lives forever, when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo moved a portion of the US–Mexico border from the Arkansas River—which flows through the middle of Colorado—down to the Rio Grande in 1848.

Vision and Resolve

WHEN: Thru Dec. 31, 2023
WHERE: Center for Colorado Women's History

This exhibition illuminates how women and their social movements have impacted Colorado’s History. Focusing on suffragist Ida Clark DePriest, gay rights activist Mary Lopez Dussart, disability rights activist Laura Hershey, civic activist Anne Evans and the women leaders of Casa Verde Mothers of Pueblo, this Vision and Resolve allows visitors to experience their stories along with artifacts from the History Colorado Collection. Highlights include Equal Rights Amendment protest wear from the late 1970s and “Western Women Wild with Joy,” a newly acquired contemporary sculpture celebrating suffrage.

Seeds of a Nation

WHEN: Thru Dec. 31, 2023
WHERE: Center for Colorado Women's History

Seeds of a Nation takes visitors through an investigation of the complexities that sprouted with the development of Victory Gardens. Grown out of the necessity of war, Victory Gardens allowed American civilians to contribute to the war effort by planting, harvesting and storing their own food. Even after the war was over, the gardens remained as symbols of resilience, unity and self-sufficiency and contributed to the complex beliefs around what it means “to be American,” especially in turbulent times. 

Zoom In

WHEN: Thru Dec. 31, 2023
WHERE: History Colorado Center

This exhibition has 100 stories to tell. Culled from the vast collections of History Colorado, every object on view had a role in shaping our state—from the age of the Paleoindians to Jack Swigert’s Apollo 13 flight suit and beyond. You could never distill Colorado’s rich history into only 100 objects. But the ones we’ve selected, both ordinary and extraordinary, combine into a telling mosaic of the past—and, just maybe, a glimpse into our future. 

What's Your Story?

WHEN: Thru Dec. 31, 2023
WHERE: History Colorado Center

Each of us is on a journey toward making a difference. Explore your superpower and those of Coloradans past, present and future. Find out how they made an impact on our state, whether by fighting school segregation or being a world-class athlete. See how your experience compares to the challenges and opportunities faced by generations of Coloradans before you. Through one-of-a-kind multimedia experiences, you can tell the world what’s important to you, and share it on the big screen for all to see.

After the Asteroid: Earth's Comeback Story

WHEN: Thru Dec. 31, 2023
WHERE: Denver Museum of Nature & Science
A trove of remarkably preserved fossils found at Corral Bluffs near Colorado Springs brings into sharp focus how Earth recovered after the devastating asteroid impact 66 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs. This discovery is a watershed scientific moment, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science's bilingual exhibit brings it to life. 

By Design: Stories and Ideas Behind Objects 

WHEN: Thru Jan. 1, 2024
WHERE: Denver Art Museum

A series of thematic installations drawn primarily from the architecture and design collection, this exhibition illustrates the abundance and versatility of approaches to design. How does it come into being? Who creates it and for what purpose? What trends inspire it? And how does it serve society?

The World in Denver: Photography by Robert Weinberg

WHEN: Thru Jan. 10, 2024
WHERE: History Colorado Center

Over the course of his career, Robert Weinberg captured images of those who left their mark on Denver. Best known for his work with the Intermountain Jewish News, Weinberg focused on portraits of people in the Denver community. Weinberg's photography adds a valuable dimension to the visual record of the Mile High City during the 1980s and 1990s. Now legally blind, Weinberg created braille labels to accompany his work, ensuring that his photographs are accessible to all. He continues to advocate for the visually impaired community by promoting organizations to assist people with low vision to live independently.

Personal Geographies: Trent Davis Bailey ǀ Brian Adams

WHEN: Thru Feb. 11, 2024
WHERE: Denver Art Museum

This exhibition presents a selection of images by two artists who seek to understand themselves and the places they treasure through photography. Colorado photographer Trent Davis Bailey reflects on his personal history and the relationship between images and memory. Personal Geographies presents work from his series The North Fork, which draws inspiration from childhood memories, small-scale family farms and the landscape of western Colorado. Anchorage-based Iñupiaq photographer Brian Adams has traveled across Alaska and beyond to make pictures that celebrate the Arctic landscape and sensitively share the stories, cultures and perspectives of Inuit people and communities.

Islands Beyond Blue

WHEN: Thru May 14, 2024
WHERE: Denver Art Museum

This presentation showcases the work of Niki Hastings-McFall, a celebrated contemporary artist of Sāmoan and Pākehā descent who has been credited with shepherding contemporary Pacific art onto an international stage. Known for her large-scale and immersive "lei bombing" installations, she used hundreds of synthetic lei to create the installation. Her work is presented in dialogue with approximately 25 treasures from the DAM's collection that illustrate regional historic arts alongside new innovations. This inaugural exhibition aims to dispel romantic notions of the Pacific Islands as a tourist’s paradise through a nuanced exploration of the area’s vibrant cultural landscape. 

Gio Ponti: Designer of a Thousand Talents 

WHEN: Thru July 19, 2024
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, influencing international design for more than 50 years. 

Coming Soon

Champagne Cascade  

WHEN: TBA 2023
WHERE: Brown Palace Hotel & Spa by Marriott 

Begin your holiday celebrations by experiencing the 34th Annual Champagne Cascade in the picturesque atrium lobby. This iconic event features master swordsmen using Napoleonic sabers to sever the bottlenecks of Moet & Chandon Champagne. The Champagne is then poured into the uppermost glass of a two-story high, 5,000-plus glass pyramid. As the Champagne is poured, it cascades into the glasses below, creating a stunning display of bubbly liquid as it is cheered on by live holiday tunes and the crowd lining all levels of the holiday-adorned atrium. 

The Mile High Tree presented by Xfinity

WHEN: TBA 2023
WHERE: Civic Center Park
Join in the free festivities at the Mile High Tree. It’s a brilliantly lit, 110-foot-tall immersive art installation that provides a dazzling lights-and-music show. And, for the first time, you can experience two of Denver's most popular holiday attractions in one place: America’s tallest digital tree and the Denver Christkindlmarket, the city’s only authentic German holiday market.

Grand Illumination — Merry & Bright Lights Show — Miracle at Union Station Cocktail Bar — Santa Visits

WHEN: TBA 2023
WHERE: Denver Union Station
The annual Grand Illumination event on Nov. ## 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. ##. Meanwhile, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be making regular appearances at the station from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. #; and Dec. #, ## and ##

Bridge of Lights 

WHEN: TBA 2023
WHERE: Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, Cañon City
In an experience sure to become a time-honored Christmas tradition, you're invited to drive across the Royal Gorge Bridge, 1,000 feet above the Arkansas River, while it's decked out in thousands of holiday lights. Driving across the Royal Gorge Bridge is not regularly offered outside of pre-arranged car club groups, so this is truly something special! Guests can purchase hot cocoa, coffee or cider in a Bridge of Lights souvenir cup and holiday cookies to enjoy while driving through the light display.

Pixar Putt

WHEN: TBA 2023
WHERE: McGregor Square
Pixar Putt is the ultimate pop-up, indoor mini-golf experience made up of 18 fun and interactive holes inspired by the stories, characters and icons from some of Pixar's most beloved films, including "Toy Story," "The Incredibles," "Monsters, Inc.," "Finding Nemo," "Coco," "A Bug's Life," "Wall-E" and "Inside Out." Pixar Putt is set to take guests to infinity… and beyond!

Butterfly Pavilion's Monarch Magic

WHEN: TBA 2023
WHERE: Butterfly Pavilion, Westminster
By supporting native monarch populations, we’re not only keeping an important pollinator population healthy but also helping preserve unique cultural traditions. These butterflies hold an especially significant spot as one of the essential symbols in the Mexican tradition of Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Butterfly Pavilion celebrates this cultural tradition by opening their doors and providing a unique, unforgettable and enchanting experience for all.

16th Street Mall Holiday Festival

WHEN: TBA 2023
WHERE: 16th Street Mall - Pedestrian Mall
This highly attended annual curated marketplace features an awesome selection of one of-a-kind seasonal items, high-quality handcrafted goods, fabulous holiday gift ideas, delicious specialty foods, home décor and unique holiday gifts. While you shop, enjoy Christmas carolers, live entertainers and appearances by Santa!

Downtown Denver Rink

WHEN: TBA 2023
WHERE: Skyline Park
Bundle up for some free ice skating in the heart of downtown and enjoy special events. 

Après Ski Holiday Market

WHEN: TBA 2023
WHERE: Dairy Block
Paying homage to the quaint European holiday festivals, the Aprés Ski-themed weekend festival takes place in the heated alleyway between all the Daily Block shops and restaurants. Running every weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Aprés Holiday Market gives consumers the opportunity to engage with unique, independently owned and high-quality brands to shop while enjoying a beverage and embracing their inner ski vibes.

Rocky Mountain Train Show - Holiday Edition

WHEN: TBA 2023
WHERE: The Ranch Events Complex, Loveland
The Rocky Mountain Train Show steams into Loveland on Thanksgiving Weekend! The show is appropriate for all ages, with story time, trains that kids can run, face painting and picture with Santa for the kids, and more than 60 vendors selling trains in scales ranging from N to G for hobbyists.

Santa at McGregor Square

WHEN: TBA 2023
WHERE: Milepost Zero Food Hall

Santa will be available for photos on the following dates/times:

A Storybook Holiday in Evergreen

WHEN: TBA 2023
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. 

Santa's Flight Academy

WHEN: TBA 2023
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. 

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