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Forget about the turkey — Thanksgiving in Denver returns with fun (and free) events, light displays, performing arts, and plenty of family-friendly activities.

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

LIGHT DISPLAYS | FAMILY-FRIENDLY EVENTS | PERFORMING ARTS | MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS | SPORTS

HOLIDAY LIGHT DISPLAYS 

MILE HIGH TREE

WHEN: TBA 2020
WHERE: Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex

Join in the free nightly festivities at Denver’s newest 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 every 30 minutes throughout the evening. At 39-feet in diameter, the conical structure can host up to 140 guests at a time for an immersive viewing experience within the tree itself. There will be areas to purchase both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks as well as holiday treats. 

ZOO LIGHTS

WHEN: TBA 2020
WHERE: Denver Zoo

Zoo Lights will span through 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. 27, 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. 

A HUDSON CHRISTMAS

WHEN: TBA 2020
WHERE: Hudson Gardens & Events Center
Bundle up for a visit with Santa at Hudson Gardens in Littleton. After sharing your list with Ol' Saint Nick, sip hot chocolate as you stroll the outdoor paths lined with trees decked with more than a million twinkling lights.

GRAND ILLUMINATION

WHEN: TBA 2020
WHERE: Denver Union Station
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 and County Building at Civic Center Park. Afterward, meet Santa, enjoy drinks at Terminal Bar and dance to holiday classics by the Denver Dolls. The lights stay on through the end of December.

LIGHT THE LIGHTS

WHEN: TBA 2020
WHERE: Denver City and County Building

The City and County of Denver and 9News present the annual lighting of Denver's City and County Building. This fun and heart-warming tradition is nearly 100 years old and is the perfect kick-off to the holiday season! Don't miss the ceremonial flipping of the light switch between 6:30 and 7 p.m. Be sure to explore the winter festival in Civic Center Park, which will feature a variety of family-friendly crafts and activities, a heated Bookmobile and story-time tent, a mural-painting project, roaming carolers, food trucks, beer and warm beverages from 4 to 8 p.m. Bring hats, gloves and scarfs for the Giving Tree to benefit Denver families in need. 

FAMILY-FRIENDLY EVENTS

ICE SKATING AT DOWNTOWN DENVER RINK AT SKYLINE PARK 

WHEN: TBA 2020
WHERE: Corner of 16th and Arapahoe
Take a spin on the ice — for free! Grab your family and friends and head to 16th and Arapahoe in downtown Denver to the Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park in Downtown Denver! Skate rentals are $7–$9, or bring your own pair and skate 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.

OLDE GOLDEN CHRISTMAS

WHEN: TBA 2020
WHERE: 1010 Washington Ave., Golden
Olde Golden Christmas includes a community candlelight walk, Victorian carolers, free Newfoundland dog-pulled cart rides, holiday art market, parades, shopping, music and theater productions, Santa Claus, holiday lights, art and more!

SANTA'S FLIGHT ACADEMY

WHEN: TBA 2020
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

THE POLAR EXPRESS TM TRAIN RIDE

WHEN: TBA 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.

DENVER CHRISTKINDL MARKET

WHEN: TBA 2020
WHERE: Skyline Park
The Christkindl Market includes vendors from Germany and other countries, as well as local artisans, offering high-quality, handcrafted gifts such as traditional 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 to enjoy this great tradition! 

MILE HIGH UNITED WAY TURKEY TROT

WHEN: TBA 2020
WHERE: Washington Park    
Run your yams off at the annual Mile High United Way Turkey Trot in Denver's beautiful Washington Park. The four-mile race and quarter-mile family fun run is expected to host over 10,000 participants in support of Mile High United Way's work in the community to improve the lives of children, families, and individuals in need. This year's Turkey Trot will include a start and finish village featuring pre-race coffee, live entertainment, music, booths and a beer garden sponsored by Great Divide Brewing Co. 

SANTA'S VILLAGE AT CHATFIELD FARMS

WHEN: TBA 2020
WHERE
Chatfield Farms Botanic Gardens
Explore Chatfield Farms as it is transformed into a magical village. Santa's Village is a family-friendly holiday event including hayrides, holiday gifts, Santa’s Workshop and so much more.

PERFORMING ARTS & MUSIC

'THE THANKSGIVING PLAY'

WHEN: TBA 2020
WHERE: Curious Theatre Company

Good intentions collide with absurd assumptions in this wickedly "woke" parody of the classic, colonialist Thanksgiving story.

'CAMP CHRISTMAS'

WHEN: TBA 2020
WHERE: Stanley Marketplace

"Camp Christmas" is The Mile High City's newest holiday experience, where holiday traditions of the past and present get merrily mashed together in a giant 10,000-square-foot winter wonderland. This over-the-top indoor immersive installation turns the Christmas spirit all the way up with awe-inspiring displays of decorations that shift time and reality. 

'HIP HOP NUTCRACKER'

WHEN: TBA 2020
WHERE: Buell Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex

The "Hip Hop Nutcracker" is a contemporary dance spectacle set to Tchaikovsky's timeless score and performed by a cast of a dozen all-star dancers, a DJ, a violinist, and MC Kurtis Blow, one of hip hop's founding fathers. Digital graffiti transform the landscape from traditional 19th Century Germany to the vibrant streets of contemporary New York City.

'HOME ALONE IN CONCERT'

WHEN: TBA 2020
WHERE: Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex

Kevin McCallister has been left behind when his family leaves for Christmas vacation and must defend his home against two bungling thieves. Enjoy the hilarious and heartwarming film as the Colorado Symphony plays John Williams’ charming and delightful score live.

KS 107.5 ANNUAL TURKEY JAM

WHEN: TBA 2020
WHERE: The Fillmore Auditorium

Dance off that dressing at the KS 107.5 1st Annual Turkey Jam at the Fillmore Auditorium! Featuring The Ying Yang Twins, Twista, Slim Thug, Dem Franchise Boyz, Mike Jones, Bubba Sparxx and DJ Unk.

'THE NUTCRACKER'

WHEN: TBA 2020
WHEREEllie Caulkins Opera House, Denver Performing Arts Complex
The holidays are not complete until you see the Colorado Ballet perform their annual "The Nutcracker," featuring unforgettable characters, dazzling costumes, classic choreography and Tchaikovsky's extraordinary arrangement performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. This dazzling spectacle of glittering snowflakes and shimmering sugarplums will transport audiences to the Land of Sweets.

MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS

THE LIGHT SHOW

WHEN: June 2, 2019–Nov. 29, 2020
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.

REVISIÓN: ART IN THE AMERICAS

WHEN: June 1–Dec. 31, 2020
WHERE: Denver Art Museum

This collection features a selection of nearly 180 objects from the Denver Art Museum's ancient American and Latin American art collections, hailed as one of the best in the country. It will tell a visually compelling narrative about the formation of the Americas from 100 B.C. to today and it is the first exhibition to open in the newly renovated Martin Building.

THE ART OF THE BRICK

WHEN: June 19, 2020–Jan. 24, 2021
WHERE: Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya's original artworks and reimagined versions of famous masterpieces made from LEGO® bricks will wow you. The exhibit also showcases a collection of LEGO-infused, hyper-realistic photography from Sawaya's innovative collaboration with award-winning photographer Dean West. Guests of all ages will be able to put their own ingenuity to work in an area filled with LEGO bricks.

SHANTELL MARTIN: WORDS AND LINES

WHEN: Sept. 27, 2019– 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.

WRITTEN ON THE LAND: UTE VOICES, UTE HISTORY 

WHEN: Dec. 8, 2018–Sept. 2, 2021
WHERE: History Colorado Center
The Ute are Colorado's longest continuous residents. In Written on the Land, you'll journey to the places they call home and hear their stories, told in their own voices through art, photography and video.

AFTER THE ASTEROID: EARTH’S COMEBACK STORY 

WHEN: Jan. 1, 2020–Ends Feb. 11, 2022
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.

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.

SPORTING EVENTS

Check back for the 2020 schedule. 

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. 30, 2019. Or shop for handmade gifts and decor at the 2019 Holiday Craft Show and Mini-Market in nearby Golden.

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