50+ Denver Holiday Events (and other fun, too!)
posted by: Amber Johnson
Santa Breakfast. Sugar Plum Tea Party. Grand Illumination at Denver Union Station. These are just a few of the 50+ Denver activities you’ll find in Denver this week. See our event calendar for full listings.
Mile High United Way Turkey Trot
Nov 22, 8 – 11 am
Run your yams off at the annual Mile High United Way Turkey Trot in Denver’s beautiful Wash 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 entertainment, music, booths and a beer garden sponsored by Great Divide Brewing Co.
12 Days of Flea at Denver Union Station
Nov 23 – Dec 16
The Denver Flea is excited to announce their new Union Station Holiday Market by Denver Flea! The Denver Flea will be hosting 12 Days of Flea with shopping events for four consecutive weekends kicking off on Black Friday, Nov. 23 and running through Sunday, Dec. 16. All Flea events will be held at Union Station on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Holiday Sugar Plum Bazaar at McNichols Civic Center Building, Denver Arts & Venues
Nov 23 – 24
Come down to the Sugar Plum Bazaar and enjoy the lighting of the lights at the City and county building the same night. We will have over 100 local artisans and businesses as well as a couple bars and food trucks. It is the perfect place to bring your family that is in town for the weekend and get ALL your holiday shopping done while supporting small businesses.
The Nutcracker Ballet at Macky Auditorium
Nov 23 – 25
This Thanksgiving weekend, the curtain rises for America’s favorite ballet with the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra and Boulder Ballet. Don’t miss this thrilling and heart-warming spectacle, all performed to Tchaikovsky’s masterful score.
Grand Illumination at Denver Union Station
Nov 23, 4:00 – 8:00 pm
Denver Union Station will officially launch the holiday season on Friday, Nov. 23rd with Denver’s grandest Grand Illumination celebration yet. This festive annual Grand Illumination event will feature a performance of classic holiday hits by the Denver Dolls, a visit from Santa & Mrs. Claus, Christmas carolers and more. The highlight of the evening will be the lighting of the landmark train station’s NEW outdoor Christmas tree, a 40 foot tall tree that will feature more than 7,000 holiday lights. The tree will officially be lit by Dinger, the beloved mascot of the Colorado Rockies.
Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens
Nov 23 – Jan 1
This annual holiday lights extravaganza transforms our York Street location into a twinkling winter wonderland. Don’t miss the interactive light display, featuring a large field of sound-reactive, animated LED lights Seasonal entertainment available on select evenings.
Denver Nuggets vs. Orlando Magic at the Pepsi Center
Nov 23, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
The Denver Nuggets face off against Orlando Magic
The Nutcracker at Belliston Academy of Ballet
Nov 23, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Belliston Ballet’s 2018 exciting ‘all youth’ production of The NUTCRACKER. It is amazing to witness that which driven and focused young people are capable of. Belliston’s Nutcracker has enthralled audiences with an impressive display of costuming, sets and dance for over 26 years. While the show is visually entertaining for the entire family, the best part is that this production, above others, has a way of gently warming the heart while inspiring its audience to find the magic of the holiday season. Use Discount Code BBMARTIN for a great group discounted price.
Movie at the Symphony: Home Alone in Concert at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex
Nov 23, 7:30 – 9:30 pm
A holiday classic, Home Alone features renowned composer John Williams’ charming and delightful score performed live as the film is shown on large suspended screens in Boettcher Concert Hall. Macaulay Culkin stars as Kevin McCallister, an eight-year-old boy who’s accidentally left behind when his family leaves for Christmas vacation, and who must defend his home against two bungling thieves (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern). Hilarious and heartwarming, Home Alone is holiday fun for the entire family.
Nov 24, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the Evergreen Chamber will once again host the Breakfast with Santa event at the Evergreen Lake House. The morning brings visitors and residents to town for a signature holiday occasion and local holiday shopping for Small Business Saturday. Three seatings of a fabulous pancake breakfast with live Chamber Music await families that would like to meet with Santa and Mrs. Claus in an intimate setting, letting them know their wish list desires. The draw is that the Claus couple strolls amongst the guests, pose for multiple pictures and speak to children individually. Tickets are sold online and at two locations downtown.
Fall Frenzy & Holiday Fair at Arapahoe County Fairgrounds and Event Center
Nov 24, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Please join us for this unique, upscale holiday fair.
CCM Holiday Craft Show and Mini-Market at Jefferson County Fairgrounds
Nov 24 – 25
Join Colorado Community Media for the first ever CCM Holiday Craft Show and Mini-Market. Kick off the holiday shopping season at the Jeffco County Fairgrounds on Satuday, Nov. 24 and Sunday Nov. 25. Shop for unique and different gifts that have been handmade by local artists, crafters, designers and professionals. Get some of the best prices from more than 100 crafters.
Sugar Plum Tea Party
Nov 24 – 25
Centennial State Ballet invites both young and old to join them in a wonderful afternoon at the start of the 2018 Holiday Season! CSB hosts their 16th annual Sugar Plum Tea Party fundraiser during the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend; all proceeds directly support the 21st performance Season of the non-profit youth ballet organization.
The Rocky Mountain Train Show at First National Bank Exhibition Hall, Larimer County Fairgrounds
Nov 24, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
All Aboard! The Rocky Mountain Train Show will be steaming into Loveland. For the hobbyist, it is an all scales show. There will be more than 50 vendors including Choo Choo are US and Rock House Toy Train Station. They will be selling trains in scales ranging from N to G.
The Nutcracker at Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Nov 24 – Dec 23
Just in time for the holidays, Colorado Ballet’s acclaimed production of The Nutcracker returns for its 58th year. In addition to being the largest production of The Nutcracker in the state, Colorado Ballet’s 2016 production was named the best-loved Nutcracker in the U.S. in the 10th Annual Goldstar National Nutcracker Award Contest.
Palmer Lake Fall Lantern Festival
Nov 24, 2:00 – 10:00 pm
November 24th is the day of Palmer Lake’s Annual Star Lighting. Come to the lake in the afternoon for tons of kids’ activities, a chili cook off at the fire department, and live music. Stroll the streets of Palmer Lake, attend our annual chili cook off, enjoy the local restaurants and shops. Then, at nighttime, watch the Star being lit as we release beautiful paper lanterns onto Palmer Lake.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center
Nov 24, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center!
Greeley Lights the Night Parade
Nov 24, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Lighted holiday parade kicks off the Christmas season in Downtown Greeley. After over 50+ lighted parade entries make their way to downtown Greeley, the City of Greeley lights up Lincoln Park.
Drums of the World at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex
Nov 25, 2:30 – 4:30 pm
Marimba, bongos, bass drums, woodblocks, log drums, boo-bams, Chinese cymbals, metal trash cans, darabukkas, talking drums, plastic pipe, acoustic guitar, toy trumpet, tablespoons, Burma gongs, water can, crow call, tambourine, gankogui, and sleigh bells!
Farolito Lighting & Pinecone Ceremony at The Fort
Nov 25, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Join Tesoro as we usher in the holiday season and honor a member of the community who has enlightened the hearts and minds of others. Feel the warmth and watch as pinecones are tossed into the courtyard fire, sending good thoughts and prayers into the night sky. Sing along to Christmas carols from the 1830s and 1840s with music students from the Colorado School of Mines and other strolling musicians. Enjoy Mexican hot chocolate, hot cider, and traditional biscochitos.
Ongoing Holiday Events and Exhibits
Denver Union Station Holiday Fun
Denver Union Station will officially launch the holiday season on Friday, Nov. 23rd with Denver’s grandest Grand Illumination celebration yet. Held from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., this festive annual Grand Illumination event will feature a performance of classic holiday hits by the Denver Dolls, a visit from Santa & Mrs. Claus, Christmas carolers and the lighting of the landmark train station’s NEW outdoor Christmas tree, a 40 foot tall tree that will feature more than 7,000 holiday lights. Other festive events this holiday season include the Union Station Holiday Market by Denver Flea (Nov. 25, Dec. 2, 9 and 16), free visits with Santa & Mrs. Claus (Nov. 25th, Dec. 2nd, Dec. 9th, Dec. 16th and Dec. 23rd) and Sundaes with Santa on Sunday afternoons (2-4 p.m.) features a make-your-own-Sundae Bar featuring including a variety of sauces & toppings for $5 per person.www.unionstationindenver.com
November 16-January 1
This walkable lighting attraction situated in the award-winning Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra will mesmerize guests as they stroll through the sculpture park, which has been transformed for this joyful time of year. Each night, visitors will revel in more than 60,000 holiday string lights, twinkling bulbs, LED mappable snowflakes, illuminated African stone sculptures, a 20’ LED mappable Christmas tree and a six-song music and light show each evening starting at 5 p.m. In addition to nightly lighting attractions, special weekend programming will run Friday and Saturday evenings from Nov. 16 – Dec. 15 featuring Colorado’s largest inflatable igloo, weekend food and retail vendors, prize giveaways and exceptional performances from dance and musical acts from across northern Colorado. winterwonderlightsloveland.com
Nov 16, 2018 – Dec 23, 2018
This annual event brings authentic German and European holiday traditions to Denver. This market opens every year on the Friday before Thanksgiving, and lasts through the 23rd of December. Guests can find delicious cuisine, festive German drinks, handmade jewelry, toys, clothing, gifts and much more. Live entertainment is featured inside the festival tent every evening, and dancing is highly encouraged! https://www.christkindlmarketdenver.com/
A Hudson Christmas
November 23 – December 31
A Hudson Christmas is an extravaganza of outdoor Christmas lights that will keep the holiday spirit burning bright. Don your warm apparel and get ready to create lifelong memories while you explore this unique display of holiday light artistry. Walk arm-in-arm with loved ones and old friends. See how this woodsy terrain transforms into a winter wonderland where brightly-lit trees weave neon colors into the night sky, reflect off bodies of water, and illuminate happy faces. Share your holiday wishes with Santa Claus, take a family photo on Santa’s sleigh, warm up in the yuletide yurts, sip a steaming cup of hot chocolate, and stop for priceless photo opportunities along the way. hudsongardens.org/concerts-events/a-hudson-christmas
Blossoms of Light
Nov 23, 2018 – Jan 1, 2019
This annual holiday lights extravaganza transforms our York Street location into a twinkling winter wonderland. Don’t miss: The interactive light display, featuring a large field of sound-reactive, animated LED lights. Seasonal entertainment available on select evenings.
Denver Zoo Lights
November 30 – January 6, 2019
Always a memory-making sell-out, be sure to get your Zoo Lights tickets early. Zoo Lights, now in its 28th year and presented by your Hometown Toyota Stores, is Denver’s premier light show spread across 60 acres with over a million bright lights, animated animal sculptures, Santa and Mrs. Claus visits, animal encounters, exciting entertainment, and treats for kids of all ages. https://www.denverzoo.org/events
Holiday Flea at Denver Union Station
November 23 – December 16, 2018
Gather your family and friends for the Union Station Holiday Market by Denver Flea, four weekends of shopping, festivities and winter fun, all at the historic Denver Union Station! Hundreds of Colorado’s best makers and artisan brands will pack the Plaza of Union Station each weekend, starting Friday, Nov. 23, for a holiday shopping wonderland in the heart of the Mile High, paired with music, eats, drinks and more. Tickets are $5 per person, and are good for entry/re-entry for the specific weekend for which they are purchased. Children 12 and under are free. http://www.denverflea.com/
Christmas in Color at Water World
November 23 – December 31
Load up your friends and family into the van (or car, or truck) and experience Christmas like never before. Drive through acres of more than 1.5 million lights perfectly synchronized to holiday music you’ll hear right through your radio. You’ll drive by giant candy canes, snowmen, arched pathways and more. It’s like being immersed in another world. In fact, we won’t judge you if you join the kids with your face pressed against the window. https://christmasincolor.net/
Santa’s Flight Academy at Cherry Creek
Nov 10, 2018 – Dec 24, 2018
Santa is looking for cadets to help him prepare his sleigh for the big day! Create memorable moments with a magical snow and light show inside Santa’s sleigh, the Flight Suit Visualizer, and of course, a visit with Santa Claus. Don’t miss this one-of-kind interactive experience! www.shopcherrycreek.com
Santa’s Village at Chatfield Farms
Nov 23, 2018 – Dec 23, 2018
Santa and his friends move to Chatfield Farms in November! Chatfield Farms is transformed into a magical village. Join us for an exciting holiday experience for all ages. Hop on the hayride to catch a short movie at Santa’s cinema and find unique holiday gifts in his workshop. Admission includes: Santa’s live reindeer, kids get pictures with Santa, Snow Man and the reindeer, craft with Mrs. Claus, holiday lights, hayrides, Santa’s Cinema on Elf Boulevard, and Santa’s Workshop will include craft vendors.
St. Nick on the Bricks at Pearl Street Mall
November 23-24; December 1, 8, 15, 22
Kids of all ages can visit with Santa at the Downtown Boulder Visitor Information Center for free. Bring your list and a camera to capture priceless holiday memories.
Olde Golden Christmas
Dec 1, 2018 – Dec 31, 2018
At the closing of each year, Golden celebrates tradition back to a simpler time of strong family traditions and small-town holiday celebrations. The authentic and historic main street of Golden becomes the central festive location for Olde Golden Christmas, a city-wide, December-long celebration, including a traditional candlelight walk, Victorian carolers, holiday art market, live theater, a dazzling light display along Clear Creek, Santa encounters, free Newfoundland dog pulled cart rides, shopping, dining, three parades down Washington Avenue, and so much more! http://goldenchamber.org/olde-golden-christmas/
Denver’s vibrant new micro-district in the heart of Lower Downtown – is ringing in the holiday season with festive outdoor decorations lighting Denver’s first pedestrian Alley, carolers, along with new shopping and dining outlets, visits from Santa and a pop-up shop celebrating local experiences. Denver Milk Market is getting in the Holiday spirit by hosting Santa and his sleigh for FREE family photos. Every child that has their photo taken with Santa can head to Morning Jones inside the Market to receive free gingerbread cookies and milk! Santa will be located at the lobby entrance to Milk Market from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on December 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 22nd and 23rd. dairyblock.com
The Polar Express
November 10- December 23, 2018
2018 Polar Express Train Ride performances run select dates November through December. Show Times: 5:00PM, 6:30PM & 8:00PM. Each performance will last approximately 75 minutes. coloradorailroadmuseum.org
Ice Skating Rink at Denver International Airport
November 23, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Returning in 2018 for it’s 3rd year, the FREE Ice skating on the DEN Plaza. There truly is Snow Place Like DEN for the Holidays!
2018 Holiday Preview Exhibition
Nov 1 -30, 2018
Before you know it, the winter holidays will be upon us and the festivities will begin. Be prepared this season, if you aren’t already, and finish your gift shopping now to avoid that last-minute hectic rush. Artists on Santa Fe Gallery + Studios has a huge variety of specialty items that will be perfect for your family and friends – paintings, ceramics, photography, jewelry, sculpture and more! Stop in and have a leisurely look at our fantastic array of functional and decorative art. artistsonsantafe.com
Free Skating at Skyline Park
November 20-February 3
Now in its 9th season, the Downtown Denver Rink offers free ice skating seven days a week. Plus, check out the amazing programming–from Snoga to Broomball. Entry is free but skate rentals are $6 for kids 12 & under and $8 for adults 13 & older. downtowndenver.com
Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker
November 24-December 23
Just in time for the holidays, Colorado Ballet’s acclaimed production of The Nutcracker returns for its 58th year. In addition to being the largest production of The Nutcracker in the state, Colorado Ballet’s 2016 production was named the best-loved Nutcracker in the U.S. in the 10th Annual Goldstar National Nutcracker Award Contest. Live music will be performed by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. Last season’s performance of The Nutcracker sold out, so be sure to get your tickets early! https://www.coloradoballet.org
Seussical at the Arvada Center
Oct 10 – Dec 29, 2018
Enter the fantastic world of Dr. Seuss in the musical, Seussical! Music and dance bring characters like Horton, the Cat in the Hat, and Gertrude McFuzz together on stage. Don’t miss out on all the fun and all the “thinks you can think.” arvadacenter.org/seussical-2
December 15 – January 2
Conveniently located at Denver Pavilions (500 16th Street), the Holiday Carousel returns to Downtown Denver to enhance your holiday experience and create memories for years to come. Free rides will be given from Denver Pavilions restaurants, retailers and entertainment venues with purchase, and from select Downtown hotel partners. Partial proceeds will benefit Food Bank of the Rockies. denverpavilions.com
A Christmas Carol
November 21 – December 24, 2018
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. denvercenter.org
Electric Safari at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
December 7, 2018 – January 1, 2019
Electric Safari at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is the only one place in Colorado Springs where you can see over 85 one-of-a-kind light sculptures and enjoy a full Zoo experience! For all the details, visit: http://www.cmzoo.org/electricsafari
Santa on the Square
November 23 -December 24, 2018
Kicking off the day after Thanksgiving and continuing throughout the weekends in December with extended hours, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be visiting Larimer Square. Photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus are free but please bring your own camera. https://www.larimersquare.com/event/santa-on-the-square-3/
Ongoing General Events
Play Ball!at the History Colorado Center
Apr 7, 2018 – Jan 6, 2019
Treasured memorabilia and iconic photographs bring the past to life through stories that begin on the ball field and echo through American history. Size up your hand against Babe Ruth’s. Find the nails Ty Cobb used to hold his favorite bat together, and admire the glove flashed by Willie Mays to make some of the game’s most memorable catches. See the uniform Joe DiMaggio wore in his final World Series and a receipt for roses he sent to Marilyn Monroe. And much, much more—these are just a few of the one-of-a-kind items on view in Play Ball!
TreeHouses: Look Who’s Living in the Trees! Hands-on exhibit
Jun 2, 2018 – Jan 6, 2019
Explore the forest canopy – indoors! In the Longmont Museum’s newest hands-on exhibition, visitors roam from tree to tree as they discover the many habitats that trees provide for animals large and small, and people too. Climb through large treehouses, become an animal tracker, get face-to-face with wildlife of all sizes, move your feet on the forest-sound dance floor, and more. This exhibition makes learning fun, as visitors explore responsible forestation, wildlife ecology, and local epidemics such as the ash borer beetle. longmontmuseum.org
July 20 – January 6, 2019
Love brainteasers? Enter “Mindbender Mansion,” a quirky place full of puzzles, brainteasers and interactive challenges that put minds of all ages to the test. This unique, high-energy experience opened at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science on July 20.
Denver Art Museum
There are several family-friendly exhibits at the DAM including Stampede: Animals in Art on view at the museum through May 19, 2019. A Walk in the Woods is still on view, which coincides with Stampede, and includes animal-themed artmaking activities and after their summer break, Foxy & Shmoxy: Art Detectives, are back. Children have been really loving the gallery games and book in the exhibition Ganesha: The Playful Protector. Their Learning & Engagment department created a children’s book specially to be used while visiting this exhibition with children, and don’t miss Past the Tangled Present. Go to https://denverartmuseum.org/ for more information.