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Winter makes The Mile High City sparkle. Denver is also the world's largest après ski town. It's a great place to gear up, find deals and acclimatize before you hit the higher Rocky Mountain ski slopes of Colorado. 

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.

WINTER EVENTS

SKI FACTORY TOURS

WHEN: Tuesdays-Saturdays
WHERE: Meier Ski

Meier Skis offers two tour options to learn about how trees are turned into skis. Grab a seat at the bar, made from ski core wood with windows looking onto the factory floor. Enjoy a complimentary locally brewed beer while a friendly skitender explains the ski building process. 

URBAN HOLIDAY MARKET

WHEN: Nov. 7–8, 2020
WHERE: Skyline Park
This two-day, open-air holiday market in the heart of downtown Denver is the place to get all of your gift shopping done in one fun-filled weekend. Browse an eclectic collection of local art, crafts, holiday gift, specialty foods and much more.

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.

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. 

CASTLE ROCK STARLIGHTING

WHEN: Nov. 21, 2020
WHERE: Downtown Castle Rock
The Castle Rock “Lighting of the Star” is a beloved community event dating back to 1936. The same spirit of volunteerism, generosity and love of tradition exists today, as Castle Rock businesses and residents prepare to celebrate Starlighting downtown on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

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.

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. The exhibit is installed along a 500-foot banner at Cherry Creek Park behind the shopping center (near the bike path).

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. 

DENVER WINTER BREW FEST

WHEN: January 23, 2021
WHERE: Mile High Station  
Toast the winter season at Winter Brew Fest. This annual event at Mile High Station celebrates craft beverages from around Colorado and other U.S. microbrews and features live local music, food and other vendors. Cheers! 

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.

GET OUTSIDE

Denver is a year-round outdoor playground. The Mile High City boasts more than 4,000 acres of traditional parks and parkways, which include 2,500 urban natural acres. In the winter, they take on a wondrous glow, offering opportunities for cross-country skiing, sledding and snowshoeing. Stroll through Washington Park and City Park during this season and take in gorgeous views of the skyline, framed by the Rocky Mountains. Cheesman Park positively glitters in winter, with large snowy expanses stretching out in front of you. Snowball fight, anyone?

Here are some other ways to get outside from our blog. Take a spectacular holiday lights tour. Check out the best places to snowshoe near Denver. Go urban snowboarding at Ruby Hill Rail Yard. Browse the skis and have a craft beer at Meier Skis. And stroll through the city on an architecture tour

Nightlife, Indoor Fun, Game Bars and Museums

While Denver locals love the outdoors, there is plenty of indoor entertainment. Head to dance clubs and places to hear jazz like Nocturne and Dazzle, along with several jazz concert series.

Want to burn off some energy from cabin fever? At DAGAR you can throw axes at wooden targets while enjoying local craft beer, wine and artwork. And at  Archery Games Denver in nearby Arvada, you can shoot foam-tipped arrows at your friends.

Or do you want to have a drink while stimulating your mind? Located one block from Coors Field, Viewhouse Eatery, Bar & Rooftop has a rooftop patio with great views, a downstairs tavern bar and a turfed courtyard, featuring a variety of lawn games. Or chase away the winter chills at these restaurants, bars and lounges with cozy fireplaces.

Winter is also a great time to take in Denver's art museums. See world-class exhibitions at Denver Art Museum or contemporary art at MCA Denver (Museum of Contemporary Art Denver). Here's how you can experience Denver's art scene in one day. Also, learn about natural history at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and human history with a Colorado spin at History Colorado Center.

WINTER DAY TRIPS

RED ROCKS & GOLDEN

The concert season at Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre (18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison) may be over, but you can still enjoy this natural wonder year-round. The Red Rocks Visitor Center's winter hours are 9 a.m.–4 p.m., seven days a week. Check out the Red Rocks Hall of Fame, featuring photos and memorabilia from more than 40 years of incredible concerts. Learn about the massive rock formations in the Geologic Niche and explore the Trading Post Loop Hiking Trail, a 1.4-mile adventure through spectacular rock formations, valleys and a natural meadow. After you've enjoyed Red Rocks, spend some time in nearby Golden's Old West-themed downtown, with a charming selection of shops, restaurants and attractions. 

CENTRAL CITY AND BLACK HAWK

I-70 West and Exit 243 onto Central City Pkwy.
Head for the hills and check out all the fun Central City and Black Hawk have to offer. Located 34 miles (55km) west of Denver, the two towns offer more than 30 casinos with blackjack tables, craps, roulette, poker games and more than 10,000 slot machines. In 2009, gambling stakes were raised to $100, to the delight of high rollers. The two cities are also known for having some of the best-preserved Victorian architecture in the West. Other attractions include the Teller House Hotel, where President Grant once stayed and the Central City Opera House, which still features an outstanding summer season of opera after more than 100 years. There are mine tours, mining museums and several places offering instruction in the fine art of in-stream gold panning where a half billion dollars of the coveted, shiny metal was once found.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

I-25 North to Exit 217, US Hwy. 36 west to Estes Park
The legendary Rocky Mountain National Park, located just an hour from The Mile High City, offers spectacular snowshoeing and cross country skiing options that will take you to some of the most scenic and serene spots in all of Colorado. Rent cross country skis and/or snowshoes in Denver and take the short drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park - you won't regret it. Check with rangers at visitor centers for info on the right trail for you.

 

 

WINTER FUN AT NEARBY SKI SLOPES

Located two hours or less from most Front Range ski areas, Denver has always been the gateway to Colorado skiing and boarding.

WINTER PARK 

Winter Park Resort is nestled at the base of the Continental Divide at the east end of the Fraser Valley. As the closest major destination resort to Denver, Winter Park offers easy access to skiers arriving at Denver International Airport from hundreds of domestic and international points. Just two hours from the airport, the surrounding mountain expanses and breathtaking scenery at Winter Park give visitors the impression that they are far away from the hustle and hassle of city life. If you don't want to drive, hop on the Winter Park Express ski train for a memorable ride through a stunning landscape. 

VAIL

One of the largest ski resorts in the world with more than 5,200 acres of open terrain, Back Bowls spanning seven miles and the most groomed terrain on the planet, Vail has been the ideal winter destination for skiers and snowboarders for more than 50 years. Besides being one of the favorite ski destinations in the world, Vail features everything from Ski & Snowboard School to on-mountain events, shops and spas, numerous dining options and luxurious accommodations. Vail is a mountain resort like nothing on earth.

LOVELAND SKI AREA

Just 53 miles west of Denver on I-70, Loveland Ski Area is super close to Denver and averages 400 inches of snow annually. Loveland's location offers unique skiing possibilities you simply cannot find at other ski areas. There's no glitz here. Loveland has been long known for some of the best skiing and snowboarding conditions in Colorado. At Loveland you get 1,365 diverse acres of terrain and breathtaking views from the second-highest chairlift in the world, high atop the Continental Divide. When you need to escape from the city for a day of riding and a night of good food, Loveland won't disappoint. Daytripper packages are available, including lift ticket, equipment and clothing rental. Ski school lessons are available for all abilities and schedules.

KEYSTONE RESORT

Seventy miles west of Denver, in Summit County, Colorado, you'll find Keystone Resort. With 131 trails, 235 inches of snow, more than 3,000 skiable acres and 20 lifts, Keystone delivers a truly world-class mountain experience, all within a short drive from Denver and the Front Range. At 11,640 feet, Dercum Mountain is home to long, open runs and perfect groomers to keep you cruising all day — a great place to start for beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. For those who crave big air, Keystone's A51 Terrain Park will not disappoint. Named a top-ranked park by Freeskier and Transworld Magazines, this is the place to be for shredders and jibbers. Looking to explore Denver by day and Keystone at night? The mountain offers not only the largest night skiing operation in Colorado, but the longest ski day as well, operating from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

ARAPAHOE BASIN SKI AREA

Known for its excellent snow and extended ski season (the longest in Colorado), Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (or "A-Basin" to locals) is 68 miles from Denver, with killer views. A-Basin's acclaimed terrain and laid-back vibe make it a favorite for experts to beginners. Half of the mountain is above timberline, with open-bowl skiing and snowboarding through spring and into early summer. One of its signature runs, Pallavicini, is one of Colorado's longest and steepest trails. Family-friendly features include two learning areas, a full-service Snowsports School, on-site rentals and three dining locations. On sunny days, you might want to lounge on "The Beach," a stretch near the Early Riser parking lot that backs up to three lower-mountain chairlifts.

COPPER MOUNTAIN RESORT

Winter activities at 9,600 ft. available at Copper Mountain include skiing, snowshoeing, overnight back-country hut trips, sleigh rides and more! As the largest resort in Summit County, Copper offers diverse terrain on a well-designed, easy-to-navigate mountain. Veteran skiers prefer the east side, while beginner and intermediate skiers enjoy the moderate terrain farther west. The resort also boasts 16 miles of cross-country trails and first-rate terrain parks.

ECHO MOUNTAIN

Located just 36 miles from Denver in nearby in Idaho Springs, Echo Mountain is the closest ski area to Denver, making it easy to fit into even the shortest weekend trip! Originally opened in 1960 as the Squaw Pass Ski Area, Echo has gone through many iterations over the years, including a terrain park and a private ski race training facility. It reopened as a ski resort in 2016 and has undergone extensive renovations over the past few years, including a brand new tubing hill, an expanded beginner ski area and a new food-and-beverage menu (featuring“life-changing fries”). Night owls can even take part in night skiing throughout the season!

 

ELDORA MOUNTAIN RESORT

A favorite among locals due to its convenient location — only 21 miles from Boulder and 47 miles from Denver — Eldora Mountain receives 300 inches of snow per year. Eldora boasts Colorado's best snowmaking system. Coverage is 100 percent of groomed terrain, more than any other resort in Colorado. Eldora also holds the distinction of being accessible via public transportation: you can take the bus from Boulder up the mountain and back for a mere $5.25 each way.

Ski and Snowshoe Tours

Take a ski, snowboard or snowshoe tour of Colorado's world-class ski resorts or experience the gorgeous backcountry and let someone else do the driving and planning. Aspire Tours will pick you up from your hotel in Denver and show you an amazing time with experienced guides. Trips usually take 9–10 hours and are perfect for those who have limited days to enjoy the famous ski country. Check out Denver Adventures for full- and half-day snowshoe hikes in the Front Range. Looking for something a little longer? Let Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides lead you on a multi-day ski tour of Colorado's famed mountain huts. 

Outfitting in Denver

Denver is a great place to outfit before you head up into the hills. One of the local supermarket chains, King Soopers, sells lift tickets at a small discount. REI is one of the largest sporting goods stores in the nation, offering a full range of ski, snowboard, cross-country ski, snowshoeing and winter clothing. Denver boasts more winter sports stores per capita (and has the highest number of skiers per capita) of any city in America, and big-city competition makes the prices much cheaper than the mountains. Find more places to rent outdoor gear

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