Denver’s Top Holiday Events and Light Displays
posted by: Amber Johnson
Denver is positively brimming with family fun in December! To help you get the most out of your holidays, we have compiled a list of fabulous ongoing activities and light displays (for one-time events such as festivals or Parade of Lights, be sure to go to our events page.)
If you’re looking for the best holiday lights in your neighborhood, check-out The Denver Post’s Holiday Lights Map.
What have we missed? Be sure to include your favorite traditions below!
Southwest Rink at Skyline Park
Nov. 25, 2015-Feb. 16, 2016
Cost: Free or $2 skate rental
Location: Skyline Park
Southwest Airlines and the Downtown Denver Partnership invite you to grab your family and friends and head to 16th and Arapahoe in Downtown Denver to the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park. The rink will be open daily from November 24, 2015 – February 15, 2016. Skate rental is $2 – or bring your own pair and skate for free! Free days for kids will take place every Sunday throughout the season.
Denver Christkindl Market
November 20-December 23, 2015
Cost: Free entry
Location: Skyline Park
What can you find at the Denver Christkindl Market? After skating at the Southwest Rink, head across the street for music, beer & Gluehwein, entertainment, gifts, crafts and of course holiday spirit. Vendors from Europe and the Colorado area share their unique wares with Denver – so be sure to come and join us at Colorado’s only authentic Christkindl market.
Bonus: Hop onto RTD’s Free 16th Street MallRide and head down to Denver Pavilions to ride the beautiful downtown holiday carousel. $3 per ride or FREE with voucher or a canned food donation.
A Hudson Christmas
November 27, 2015-January 2, 2016
Cost: $8 – $11
Location: Hudson Gardens
Visit the magical Holiday Light Show at A Hudson Christmas. This holiday lights show is a one-mile outdoor path winding through The Hudson Gardens & Event Center in Littleton, Colorado. Tickets include your time walking the Gardens at A Hudson Christmas, wagon rides and visits with Santa!
December 4, 2015-January 3, 2016
Cost: Prices vary by date: $6-$14
Venue: Denver Zoo Address: 2300 Steele St., Denver, CO 80205
Zoo Lights will nearly double in size this year, spanning 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.
Polar Express Train Ride
Nov. 12-Dec. 23, 2015
Colorado Railroad Museum
The story of The Polar Express is being theatrically re-created so you and your family can be immersed in the sights, sounds and intrigue of this classic children’s tale. Prepare to be surrounded by the magic and wonder of the holiday season!
Trail of Lights
November 27, 2015-January 2, 2016
Address: 8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton, CO 80128
Cost: $6 – $14
Spread throughout Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms, Trail of Lights offers visitors a choice of paths; a shorter route takes visitors directly to the children’s play area, while an extended path allows visitors to explore the Green Farm Barn and silo before continuing onto the children’s area and 1880s homestead. Special features for 2015: three-sided light tunnel, synchronized music in the children’s area, warming hut, fire pit, free hayrides, illuminated antique tractors and holiday entertainment on select evenings. HoloSpex 3D glasses and warm drinks are available for purchase. Santa will visit on select nights.
Blossoms of Light
November 27, 2015-January 3, 2016
Where: Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St., Denver, CO 80206
Blossoms of Light features new elements, including the return of the grand illuminated O’Fallon Perennial Walk and the Romantic Gardens. Enjoy thousands of twinkling lights throughout the Gardens, as well as the always anticipated HoloSpex glasses. Seasonal entertainment will be available on select evenings, as well as warm drinks and tasty treats.
Dec. 10, 2015-January 10, 2016
Where: Butterfly Pavilion, 6252 W. 104th Ave., Westminster, CO 80020
Experience Butterfly Pavilion in a whole NEW light at night! Living Lights is a magical journey through our twinkling tropical rainforest and outdoor glowing gardens! You will be able to experience our hands-on exhibits where you’ll see and learn about our animals’ relationship with light including bioluminescence, fluorescence, and biofluorescence.
Homestead Holidays – Golden’s Newest Christmas Tradition
Dec. 3, 2015-Jan. 25, 2016
Venue: Golden History Museums, Address: 923 10th St., Golden, CO 80401
For the first time ever, Clear Creek History Park will be set aglow for the holidays. Thousands of Christmas lights will illuminate the park and historic buildings—inside and out—for a festive gathering and event space. On Friday, Dec. 4 from 6 – 8 pm (during Golden’s Candlelight Walk) enjoy frontier hospitality and holiday cheer. Holiday lights will be on view from sunset to midnight Dec. 3 to Jan. 25, 2016.
A Christmas Carol
Nov. 28-Dec. 28, 2015
Cost: Starts at $49
Where: The Stage Theater
Essential to the holiday season in Denver, A Christmas Carol is a joyous and opulent musical adaptation that traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption.
Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker
Nov. 28-Dec. 27, 2015
Where: Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 1400 Curtis St., Denver, CO 80204
Children and adults will enjoy Colorado Ballet’s 55th annual production of The Nutcracker, featuring fantastic characters, brilliant dancing, exquisite sets, dazzling costumes, classic choreography and Tchaikovsky’s extraordinary arrangement performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. This enchanting production brings the timeless story to life and transports audiences to lands of wintertime magic and delicious sweets. Whether it is your first time or 55th, you and your entire family will adore Colorado’s most spectacular holiday tradition.
Colorado Conservatory of Dance’s The Nutcracker
The Story of the Nutcracker
Nov. 21-Dec. 19, 2015
Miners Alley Children’s Theatre, 1224 Washington St., Golden, CO 80401
Nearly everyone knows the tale of the Nutcracker, a gift to Marie from her Uncle on Christmas Eve. Sadly, the beautiful nutcracker has been broken and later that night Marie goes to check up on it. To her surprise, it has come alive, and a story-within-the-story begins! The audience is invited to become a part of the Nutcracker story and everyone gets to live happily ever after.
Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum
Dec. 5-21, 2015
Cost: $30 – $40
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Address: 119 Park Avenue West, Denver, CO 80205
Granny’s memories are her gifts to those she loves, but she has forgotten many of her stories and the magical dances she’s seen and performed in her lifetime. In her youth, she danced in winter festivals honoring the birth of Christ, the African Harvest, the Native American Winter Solstice, the Celtic Yule Time, and Las Posadas in Mexico, Kwanzaa in the United States, the ancient Hebrew Festival of Lights, the Chinese New Year, and the Caribbean’s Junkanoo Day. Now Granny seeks to relive these memories of rich cultural traditions, bringing them alive again for her grandchildren TiSean and Nakia through dance, live music, and storytelling.
Georgetown Christmas Market
December 5th, 6th, 12, and 13
Where: 6th Street, Georgetown, Colo.
Each December the town of Georgetown transforms for two weekends into a bustling Christmas scene reminiscent of Christmas of long ago. Thousands come to this tiny mountain town to experience a traditional holiday where Christmas hasn’t changed in 100 years: roasted chestnuts, holiday shopping, horse-drawn wagon rides through historic Georgetown, and wonderful sights and smells. Visitors enjoy appearances by St. Nicholas in his traditional dress and the daily procession of the Santa Lucia. Carolers in Victorian costume, dancers, and other family entertainment provide hours of memorable performances.
Nov. 30, 2015-January 3, 2016
Cost: From $10
Glenwood Caverns Adenture Park, 51000 Two Rivers Plaza Road, Glenwood Springs, CO
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is delighting guests again this year at Winter on the Mountain with a dazzling display of more than a half million lights, a warming hut decorated as the North Pole, fire pits for roasting s’mores and lighted thrill rides. A giant Christmas tree with a light show choreographed to music takes center stage in the plaza. Holiday visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus and carolers add more cheer. Visitors to this family-friendly, mountain-top park in Glenwood Springs, Colo., find themselves welcomed with Colorado-style hospitality and winter festivities.
Experience the full majesty of Handel’s masterpiece – one of the most revered oratorios of all time – when the Colorado Symphony and Chorus exalt Messiah skyward to soaring new heights. On Sunday, December 20, join them for the return of the Messiah Sing-Along. After over a decade, here is your chance to sing-along with the renowned Colorado Symphony Chorus for Handel’s glorious masterpiece and truly be a part of the holiday spirit. Come one, come all and join the orchestra and chorus for this specially priced Sunday concert, $25 for adults and $10 for children.
Molly Brown House Holiday High Teas
Nov. 27, 2015-Jan. 5, 2016
Location: LoDo Neighborhood
Following the Grand Illumination on Nov. 27, visitors can enjoy holiday window displays as part of the LoDo Aglow Window Design Contest. You can even vote for your favorite by text message.