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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.

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 

BLOSSOMS OF LIGHT

WHEN: Nov. 20, 2020–Jan. 3, 2021
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 WANDERLAND LIGHT WALK

WHEN: Nov. 20, 2020–Feb. 28, 2021
WHERE: Cherry Creek North
New for 2020, experience Denver's only free holiday light art walk with dazzling light displays in trees throughout the district, culminating with the transformation of Fillmore Plaza into a sparkling winter light display.

MILE HIGH TREE

WHEN: TBA
WHERE: 16th & Welton Streets
Join in the free nightly 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. 

GRAND ILLUMINATION

WHEN: Nov. 27, 2020
WHERE: Throughout downtown Denver
As part of Downtown Denver's Winter in the City program, Downtown Denver's Grand Illumination event will light up downtown, from Denver Union Station to the City & County Building in Civic Center Park. The lights stay on through the end of December.

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! We are thrilled to announce that 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.

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

21ST ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF WREATHS 

WHEN: Nov. 3–Dec. 11, 2020
WHERE: Aurora History Museum
For more than two decades, artists and other members of the community have decorated and donated wreaths for this holiday-themed fundraiser. Wreaths will be on display at the Aurora History Museum and sold through an online auction. This year's proceeds will help ensure the continuation of exhibits, programs and preservation efforts that have been affected by COVID-19. Reserve an entry time to visit the museum to view the wreaths and vote on your favorite!

THE POLAR EXPRESS TM TRAIN RIDE

WHEN: Nov. 7–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. 

CAMP CHRISTMAS

WHEN: Nov. 12, 2020–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.

DENVER CHRISTKINDL MARKET  

WHEN: Nov. 20–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.

TURKEY TRAILS

WHEN: Nov. 22 & 26, 2020
WHERE: Denver

The annual Turkey Trails s a Thanksgiving-themed run that is perfect for the whole family. Choose from 5k or a 10k. The fun includes great swag, chip-timing, live results and awards, free photos, costumes, a free kids dash, great post-race food and plenty of fun activities. The North Denver race takes place on November 22, and the South Denver race takes place on November 26. 

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! 

MILE HIGH FOOTBALL WATCH PARTY

WHEN: Nov. 29, 2020
WHERE: Mile High Station

Can't make it to Empower Field at Mile High in person? Cheer on the Denver Broncos as they take on the New Orleans Saints with other football fans at Mile High Station in a safe, physically distanced atmosphere. Enjoy drink specials and Coors Light giveaways all day long. Reservations are strongly encouraged due to limited availability

MUSEUM & GALLERY EXHIBITIONS

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 Thursday through Saturday evening.

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. 

PASSING THROUGH BY SCOTTIE BURGESS 

WHEN: Thru Nov. 30, 2020
WHERE: Republic Plaza
This large, site-specific installation by local artist Scottie Burgess consists of multiple wooden rectangular forms that trace the ever-changing Republic Plaza silhouette experienced through its viewer’s fluid perspective, creating a dynamic arrangement that references time, the building and the lives that traverse through its spaces.

SPOOKADELIA 3: BACK TO THE SOURCE

WHEN: Thru Nov. 30, 2020
WHERE: Spectra Art Space
This all-ages experience is part scavenger hunt, part haunt and part art installation. Guests will try to solve the puzzle of the psyche by journeying through the neon jungle of archetypes. Those who solve the puzzle in time will free the Crone and race to get her back to her home in Crone Throne Forest. Each room is immersive, interactive and mind-bending, and while the installations and experience are “spooky,” they're also family-friendly and full of delight.

MASK 

WHEN: Thru Dec. 1, 2020
WHERE: Vicki Myhren Gallery

Masks have become a ubiquitous symbol of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this project, artists call attention to the significance of masks as an issue of public health, a demonstration of civic responsibility and a mode of self-expression and creativity. In turns utilitarian and fantastical, featured masks showcase artists engaging with the pandemic and applying their skills and individual styles.

TREASURES OF BRITISH ART 

WHEN: Thru Dec. 6, 2020
WHERE: Denver Art Museum

Treasures of British Art: The Berger Collection features more than 60 paintings by masters such as Anthony van Dyck, Adriaen van Diest, John Singer Sargent and Thomas Hudson, gifted to the Denver Art Museum by the Berger Collection Educational Trust. 

PINK LEMONADE HOPE: WORKS BY KOKO BAYER

WHEN: Thru Dec. 6, 2020
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens

Pink Lemonade Hope is a series of installations created by Denver artist Koko Bayer in response to the COVID-19 crisis as a reminder of the power of hope. Bayer uses her distinctive “pink lemonade” palette of magenta and bright yellow to reinforce her message through an aesthetic that’s warm, uplifting and — like its namesake drink — deliciously sweet. 

GHOST FOREST: WORKS BY MELANIE WALKER

WHEN: Thru Dec. 6, 2020
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens

Colorado-based artist Melanie Walker’s works on fabric are a contemplative reverie on our origins in nature and the landscapes that continue to sustain us. This exhibition offers visitors a space to reflect on the memories that connect us to wild places — and to one another. Ghost Forest is organized in collaboration with Walker Fine Art.

65TH ANNIVERSARY OF THUNDERBIRDS 

WHEN: Thru Dec. 27, 2020
WHERE: Forney Museum of Transportation
Turkeys aren't the only birds getting attention this Thanksgiving! Head to the Forney Museum of Transportation, a one-of-a-kind collection of over 600 artifacts relating to historical transportation, to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the iconic Ford Thunderbird.

CSU AT 150 

WHEN: Thru Dec. 30, 2020
WHERE: History Colorado Center

Colorado State University celebrates its 150th anniversary this year! In this exhibition, you'll explore artifacts that illustrate the university's groundbreaking work in environmental research, its storied sports history and current and former students' efforts to ensure equal opportunities for all.

AFTER THE ASTEROID: EARTH’S COMEBACK STORY 

WHEN: Thru Dec. 31, 2020
WHERE: Denver Museum of Nature & Science

A new trove of remarkably preserved fossils found by paleontologists from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science near Colorado Springs paints a vivid picture of how Earth recovered after the devastating asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. See some of the very best fossils from the site at a brand-new bilingual pop-up exhibit to bring the discovery to life.

PRISMAJIC

WHEN: Thru Jan. 3, 2021
WHERE: 2219 E. 21st Ave.

In this 1,200-square-foot pop-up installation, you'll follow Shiki, a spiritual yeti guide and leader of the Spirits of the Forest. The immersive experience explores the dreams of this wise spirit in a multi-sensory experience of stunning creativity. 

DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS EXHIBITION 

WHEN: Thru Jan. 9, 2021
WHERE: Longmont Museum
Día de los Muertos makes its return to the Longmont Museum's main gallery this fall for a special exhibition of community ofrendas (altars) and the artwork of renowned Colorado artist Tony Ortega. The exhibition will include paintings, illustrations, prints, mixed media works and a newly commissioned downtown mural in honor of our 20th Día de los Muertos anniversary.

HECHO EN COLORADO

WHEN: Thru Jan. 10, 2021
WHERE: History Colorado Center

See historically significant paintings, sculptures, textiles and writings from Colorado's Chicano/Mexican American community, including prominent figures like Carlota Espinoza, Carlos Fresquez and David Ocelotl García, as well as selections from up-and-coming artists. Hecho en Colorado (Made in Colorado) honors the artistic achievements of a community whose impact continues to shape Colorado culture.

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.

CITIZENSHIP: A PRACTICE OF SOCIETY 

WHEN: Thru Feb. 14, 2021
WHERE: MCA DENVER — Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

This exhibition posits art making as a critical civic act and exemplifies how artists act as citizens. Many of the works address specific political crises, such as the opioid epidemic and Flint, Michigan's battle for clean water. Others highlight specific legal issues that shape American society. 

THE LATE WORKS: CLYFFORD STILL IN MARYLAND

WHEN: Thru Feb. 21, 2021
WHERE: Clyfford Still Museum

This exhibition explores Clyfford Still's later paintings and drawings, made after his move to rural Maryland in 1961. This marks a particularly fertile period for Still, during which he made more than 375 works on canvas and more than 1,100 works on paper (nearly all in pastel) before his death in 1980 at the age of 75. The Late Works will include approximately 70 of these unique works.

THE NEW FOUR FREEDOMS

WHEN: Thru Feb. 28, 2021
WHERE: History Colorado Center

On the brink of war against tyranny, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued his famous proclamation that all Americans had the right to Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear. Almost 80 years later, History Colorado is asking four up-and-coming Denver artists to illustrate the condition of those four freedoms today.

WOMEN BEHAVING BADLY 

WHEN: Thru Feb. 28, 2021
WHERE: History Colorado Center
In works combining watercolor with historical photography, news clippings and text, Denver-based artist Adri Norris highlights women who've made history. 

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.

RAUSCHENBERG: REFLECTIONS AND RUMINATIONS 

WHEN: Thru Mar. 20, 2021
WHERE: Museum of Outdoor Arts, Englewood

This exhibition at the Museum of Outdoor Arts showcases Robert Rauschenberg’s original works spanning from 1962 to 2008 and features more than 50 original artworks by the American Master, making this the largest collection of Rauschenberg’s artworks ever displayed in Colorado.

ONE FELL SWOOP BY PATRICK DOUGHERTY

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. 

GREGG DEAL (PYRAMID LAKE PAIUTE): MERCILESS INDIAN SAVAGES

WHEN: Thru July 31, 2021
WHERE: History Colorado Center

What does America mean to a person whose ancestors were insulted in its founding document? Gregg Deal of the Pyramid Lake Paiute leads an Indigenous exploration of what democracy means in Indian Country through his unique, dynamic works. 

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. 

THE FENCE

WHEN: Oct. 12–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 exhibit is installed along a 500-foot banner at Cherry Creek Park behind the shopping center (near the bike path).

A IS FOR…

WHEN: Nov. 1–30, 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

PRIMA LINGUA: FIRST WORDS OF THE EARTH

WHEN: Nov. 7, 2020–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.

BEGIN AGAIN

WHEN: Nov. 13, 2020–Jan. 9, 2021
WHERE: Walker Fine Art

The turn of a new decade brought with it an intersectional crossroads. And as society shifts, so does the art world. The five artists featured in this exhibition are inspired by healing, hope and wonder, aesthetically working within the realm of ripples and repetition to convey their messages in an array of mediums. 

JACK BALAS, COMMON GROUND: PAINTINGS FOR AMERICA

WHEN: Nov. 13, 2020–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. 

RAÍCES Y RAMAS | ROOTS AND BRANCHES

WHEN: Nov. 21, 2020–Feb. 28, 2021
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens

Inspired by his journeys across languages, Tony Ortega’s artwork explores the Chicano experience in U.S. culture, highlighting the role of place and landscape in connecting community. This exhibition is organized in collaboration with William Havu Gallery.

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. Larimer Square and Cherry Creek North are also celebrating Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28, 2020. Or shop online for handmade gifts and decor at the Jackalope Virtual Holiday Market from November 28 to December 18, 2020.

Dynamic Variation: