55 family-friendly events in Denver this week
posted by: Amber Johnson
This week, don’t miss the SnowDome: Holiday Spectacular, Las Posadas nativity reenactment at The Fort Courtyard, Bunk with the Beasts at the Denver Zoo and finish your last-minute shopping at Horseshoe Market. See our event calendar for full listings.
Cirque Éloize Hotel at Buell Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex
Dec 19 – 23
Acrobatics, theatre, dance and live music, will draw spectators into a colorful, timeless world. All that remains is to enter through the lobby door and get swept away by the grandeur and poetry of Hotel.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Montreal Canadiens at the Pepsi Center
Dec 19, 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Colorado Avalanche vs. Montreal Canadiens at Pepsi Center!
4th Annual Brewery Lights at Anheuser-Busch Fort Collins Brewery and Tour Center
Dec 20 – 22; 27-29
Witness the magic of twinkling lights during the fourth annual Brewery Lights at the Anheuser-Busch Fort Collins Brewery! Now through Dec. 30, guests are invited to marvel as the brewery is turned into a remarkable holiday experience with something for everyone, including new family-friendly activities and theme nights, beer samples for guests 21+, delicious food and festive entertainment
SnowDome: Holiday Spectacular at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
Dec 21, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Celebrate the holidays at FCMoD! To help you get in the holiday spirit, stop by the museum for holiday crafts, cookies, cocoa, and a few surprises… Enjoy classic holiday tunes from Frank Sinatra and Chuck Berry to Burl Ives along with stunning festive imagery and effects in the show Let it Snow in the OtterBox Digital Dome Theater. Did we mention exploding Christmas Trees? And don’t forget to wear your ugly sweaters!
Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks at the Pepsi Center
Dec 21, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks at Pepsi Center!
Denver Philharmonic’s Holiday Cheer
Dec 21, 7:30 – 9:30 pm
We’re dreaming of a white-sand Christmas. This holiday season we’re headed to the Caribbean for everyone’s favorite concert, Holiday Cheer! Steel drum band Pan Nation, along with the Colorado Chorale, join our beach party to bring the rhythm of the islands to the Antonia Brico Stage. December 21 & 22, soak up the season with timeless classics like the “Hallelujah Chorus” or the beloved-film score from It’s a Wonderful Life. Music Director Lawrence Golan conducts.
Horseshoe Holiday Markets at Belmar
Dec 22 – 23
Voted Denver’s Best Flea Market, the Horseshoe Market will be hosting ‘pop up’ markets with over 70 new vendors each market, every weekend through December 23rd. Shop local and support small businesses. Indoors & cozy, free admission, free covered parking at Belmar and right next to ice rink at Belmar. Plus artisanal food, baked goods, coffee, hot cocoa and cocktail. First 25 customers each day of the market receive a shopping tote and first few lucky customers each day get free ice skating passes to the Rink at Belmar. Dog and family-friendly!
The Nutcracker (Ballet Ariel)
Dec 22 – 23
Ballet Ariel’s classical version of The Nutcracker returns to Lakewood Cultural Center on December 15th for a limited engagement. Ballet Ariel’s The Nutcracker is a traditional interpretation interwoven with original, creative elements, resulting in a beautifully inventive ballet performed by Ballet Ariel’s professional company and Ballet Ariel School students to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. The entire family will be spellbound as Clara and the Nutcracker Prince defeat the Mouse King. Together they travel through a swirl of Snowflakes to the Land of the Sweets to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy. An array of sweets from around the world comes together in a delightful celebration to honor the brave Clara with dancers representing chocolates from Spain, coffee from Arabia, tea from China and candy canes from Russia.
Colorado Mammoth vs. San Diego Seals at the Pepsi Center
Dec 22, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Colorado Mammoth takes on the San Diego Seals
Denver Broncos vs. Los Angeles Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Dec 23, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
The Denver Broncos go head to head with the Los Angeles Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The Nutcracker at Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Dec 24, 1:00 pm – 6:45 pm
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.
Las Posadas celebration at The Fort Courtyard and Grounds
Dec 24, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Celebrated in Mexico and throughout the United States from December 16 to 24, the Las Posadas celebration commemorates Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of shelter on the night of baby Jesus’ birth. Tesoro partners with the Christian Life Movement to present this traditional event. Enjoy Mexican hot chocolate, hot cider, and traditional biscochitos. Outside event – dress warmly.
The Nutcracker (Ballet Ariel)
Dec 26 – 27
Ballet Ariel’s classical version of The Nutcracker returns to Lakewood Cultural Center on December 15th for a limited engagement. Ballet Ariel’s The Nutcracker is a traditional interpretation interwoven with original, creative elements, resulting in a beautifully inventive ballet performed by Ballet Ariel’s professional company and Ballet Ariel School students to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score.
Paw Patrol Live at Bellco Theatre
Dec 28 – 29
X barks the spot in the new tour PAW Patrol Live! “The Great Pirate Adventure”! It’s Pirate Day in Adventure Bay, and Mayor Goodway is getting ready for a big celebration! But first, Ryder and his team of pirate pups must rescue Cap’n Turbot from a mysterious cavern. When they do, they also discover a secret pirate treasure map! The PAW Patrol set out over land and sea to find the treasure for Mayor Goodway’s celebration before Mayor Humdinger finds it first.
Free night at Clyfford Still Museum
Dec 28, 5:00 – 8:00 pm
In appreciation of the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), and in the spirit of community engagement, the Clyfford Still Museum offers free admission on select days throughout the year.
Denver Nuggets vs. San Antonio Spurs at the Pepsi Center
Dec 28, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
The Denver Nuggets face off against the San Antonio Spurs
Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks at the Pepsi Center
Dec 29, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks at Pepsi Center!
New Year’s Eve
Noon Year’s Eve at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus
Dec 31, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
We’re bringing in the sights, sounds and excitement of Times Square to the Children’s Museum
A Hudson Christmas at the Hudson Gardens & Events Center
Dec 31 @ 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Bundle up for a visit with Santa at Hudson Gardens in Littleton. Sip hot chocolate as you stroll the outdoor paths lined with trees decked with more than a million twinkling lights.
RESOLUTION NYE 2019 at the McNichols Civic Center Building, Denver Arts and Venues
Dec 31, 5:30 – 11:45 pm
This New Year’s bash boasts three floors of DJs, dance parties, live music, art installations and open bars. Don’t want to miss the fireworks? You don’t have to! The McNichols Building offers a direct view of the Denver New Year’s Eve Fireworks show.
Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo
Dec 31, 5:30 – 8:30 pm
This New Year’s Eve, take the kids on a safari through the Denver Zoo, where you’ll spot more than 150 illuminated animal sculptures, from swinging monkeys to jumping kangaroos.
Bunk with the Beasts at the Denver Zoo
Dec 31 – Jan 1
Children are invited to celebrate New Year’s Eve with a sleepover at Denver Zoo’s Bunk with the Beasts adventure! They will explore Zoo Lights, and celebrate the new year in a safe and fun environment, while parents get a night out on the town! The evening will include a pizza dinner, an evening snack and a warm morning breakfast.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Los Angeles Kings at the Pepsi Center
Dec 31, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Colorado Avalanche vs. Los Angeles Kings at Pepsi Center!
Skate the Lake New Year’s Eve Party at Evergreen Lake
Dec 31, 6:00 – midnight
Join the Evergreen Chamber and our local mountain community for the family friendly, alcohol-free 23rd annual New Year’s Eve Skate the Lake event with Ice Skating, Pond Hockey, Music, Fire Pits & Marshmallow Roasting, Fireworks, Broom Ball, The movie FROZEN, Snacks & Dinner, Hot Drinks and much more! Tickets required.
Denver NYE – White Rose Gala at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Dec 31, 7:00 – 11:45 pm
It’s been nearly a century, but the Roaring 20’s are still the epitome of glitz and glamor, swing and style — everything you want in a New Year’s Eve celebration. Don your best flapper dress or fedora and enjoy multiple rooms of music, from live swing bands to DJs spinning the latest club music and hip hop.
Denver’s Grandest New Year’s Eve Party at the Grand Hyatt Denver
Dec 31, 7:00 – 11:45 pm
Can’t decide what to do for NYE? Enjoy three parties in one at the Grand Hyatt Denver! Rock out to the sounds of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s with the Nacho Men; dance to today’s hottest beats with Club X; or make your own music in the karaoke lobby. Denver’s Grandest New Year’s Eve Party includes open bar with premium pour, a dinner buffet, balloon drops and a champagne toast at midnight
New Year’s Eve Fireworks at 16th Street Mall – Pedestrian Mall
Dec 31, 9:00 pm – 11:45 pm
Ring in the New Year on the 16th Street Mall,and catch one of two spectacular fireworks shows! Come Downtown and dine in one of the many fine restaurants, or make a night of it and stay in one of downtown Denver’s downtown hotels.
Denver Nuggets vs. New York Knicks at the Pepsi Center
Jan 1, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
The Denver Nuggets face off against the New York Knicks.
For additional ideas, go to 20 New Year’s Eve Celebrations in Denver.
Ongoing Holiday Events and Exhibits
Horseshow Holiday Markets at Belmar in Lakewood
Dec 8 & 9, Dec 15 & 16, Dec 22 & 23 (Saturdays and Sundays)
Brief description: Voted Denver’s Best Flea Market, the Horseshoe Market will be hosting ‘pop up’ markets with over 70 new vendors each market, every weekend through December 23rd. Shop local and support small businesses. Indoors & cozy, free admission, free covered parking at Belmar and right next to ice rink at Belmar. Plus artisanal food, baked goods, coffee, hot cocoa and cocktails. The first 25 customers each day of the market receive a shopping tote and the first few lucky customers each day get free ice skating passes to the Rink at Belmar. Dog and family-friendly! Saturdays, 10 am-8 pm, Sundays, 11 am-6 pm. horseshoemarket.com
Denver Union Station Holiday Fun
Denver Union Station is officially in business for the holiday season! Don’t miss 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, free visits with Santa & Mrs. Claus (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
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/
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!
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
ELF Hot Chocolate Bar
The Curtis – a DoubleTree by Hilton invites you to celebrate your festive North Pole spirit this holiday season with a new Elf Hot Chocolate Bar every Friday in December from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. Kick off the weekend with a delicious cup Yuletide cheer – adults are welcome to spike their hot cocoa with a splash of Baileys, Bourbon or Kahlua – topped with a bevy of delicious holiday toppings, including candy canes, sprinkles & marshmallows. Free & open to the public, the Curtis will be collecting donations that will go directly to Denver’s Tennyson Center for Children, which is dedicated to helping children who have experienced severe abuse, neglect, and/or trauma so they can bravely, and safely, change their life’s story. Guests are also invited to decorate snowflakes while enjoying a screening Elf – everyone’s favorite feel-good Christmas movie – all surrounded by the bold & bright holiday decorations in the Curtis lobby.
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 the fun new interactive installation by local artist Nicole Banowetz, The Incubation Effect. Go to https://denverartmuseum.org/ for more information.