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Denver Holiday Fun

Holidays in Denver 2022: Your Guide to Events, Lights and Christmas Fun

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Holidays in Denver are downright magical and we have pulled together Holidays in Denver: Your Guide to Events, Lights and Christmas Fun. Check out the very best holiday lights displays in Denver, holiday performances, family-fun activities for families like bumper cars on ice, dreamy candlelight walks, the Polar Express, a trail of lights and so much more. 

MORE FUN IDEAS! If you’re lucky, we’ll have a white Christmas so don’t miss our Ultimate guide to outdoor skating in Colorado and 30 places to go sledding in Colorado. And if you need some inspiration with your shopping, check out our Colorado Holiday Gift Guide with 50+ ideasDenver’s best holiday markets and craft fairs and the 7 Best Christmas tree farms in Denver. Be sure to give back with these 15 holiday toy drives in Denver. 

DRESS IT UP! Do you want to light up your activities even more? Don’t waste your money at the events on glow sticks. This 6-pack holiday Christmas LED light-up bulb necklace is the perfect accessory or get a laugh with these 5 piece Christmas hats and headbands that include Santa Pants, an elf and more. 

Tree farm DenverAnd, of course, don’t miss Denver’s best holiday light displays, family fun activities and holiday performances and places to see Santa in Denver

Holiday Lights in Denver

Cherry Creek North Winter Wanderland & More

WHEN: Nov. 17–Dec. 24, 2022
WHERE: Cherry Creek North
A collection of free holiday offerings throughout the neighborhood, Cherry Creek North’s Winter Wanderland festivities include a dazzling display of nearly one million twinkling lights on more than 600 trees spread throughout the walkable neighborhood. Throughout the holiday season, visitors can enjoy Saturday Night Lights with complimentary holiday treats and festive entertainment with a stilt walker, acrobats and jugglers, a Chanukah celebration and the Cherry Creek North Holiday Market, produced by Fetch Markets.  cherrycreeknorth.com

The Mile High Tree

WHEN: Nov. 18–Dec. 31, 2022
WHERE: Civic Center Park

Join in the free festivities at this festive 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.  denver.org

Blossoms of Light

WHEN: Nov. 18, 2022–Jan. 7, 2023 (Closed Nov. 24 and Dec. 25, 2022)
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 — and sip warm drinks and nibble on tasty treats as you stroll. Pre-purchased timed tickets and masks covering the face and nose are required. botanicgardens.org

bumper cars on iceChristmas at Gaylord Rockies

WHEN: Nov. 18, 2022 – Jan. 1, 2023
WHERE: Gaylord Rockies
There is no better way to celebrate the holiday season in the Denver, CO area than gathering your family for holiday fun during Christmas at Gaylord Rockies. Explore acres of twinkling lights, and exciting activities, shows, and events including ICE! (2 million pounds of carved ice), A Charlie Brown Christmas sculptures, snow tubing, gingerbread decorating, bumper cars on ice and Cirque: Spirit of Christmas. christmasatgaylordrockies.marriott.com

Zoo Lights

WHEN: December 3, 2022–Jan. 1, 2023
WHERE: Denver Zoo
When it comes to holiday magic, you can always count on Zoo Lights—where natural wonders take on a whole new light. This year, their newest installations illuminate nature’s brilliant animation, with enchanting additions like Aurora Borealis, Savannah Sunset and Electric Jungle. As you wander through our winter wonderland, keep an eye out for nightly ice-carving demonstrations, cozy fire barrels and all kinds of festive holiday food and drink. denverzoo.org/events/zoolightsDenver holiday lights

2022 Annual Light the Lights

WHEN: Nov. 23, 2022–Jan. 22, 2023; 5:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m each night
WHERE: City & County of Denver​ Building
Light the Lights Celebration on November 23 from 4:30–5:30 p.m. will feature live holiday music performed by the Denver Municipal Band. At approximately 5:15 pm, Mayor Michael B. Hancock will flip Denver’s giant light switch which will turn on the first holiday light and music show of the season. Following the lighting, each night, at 5:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., an interactive holiday show will occur for 7–9 minutes. It then goes to a static holiday lighting display until 10:45 p.m. there will be a special light schedule on December 3 to highlight activities as the 9 News Parade of Lights begins in front of the City and County Building. The building will remain completely dark for an annual memorial vigil honoring persons experiencing homelessness on December 20. denver.org

Luminova Holidays

WHEN: Nov. 25, 2022–Jan. 2, 2023
WHERE: Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park​
This family-friendly event brings larger-than-life holiday displays and immersive experiences for all to enjoy. Stroll through the Park with over 200,000 square feet of larger-than-life light displays, a 65-ft. tree, twinkling snowmen who never melt, 300-ft. candy cane tunnel, photo ops galore, and more! See the lights from high above on the Ferris Wheel while sipping hot cocoa, listen to the holiday cheer of strolling carolers, and enjoy some of your favorite Elitch Gardens rides. luminovaholidays.comLuminova at Elitch

A Hudson Christmas: Extravaganza of Lights

WHEN: Nov. 25–December 26, 2022
WHERE: Hudson Gardens & Events Center

A Hudson Christmas is back again this holiday season with our dazzling display of lights. Our lighted forest of towering trees will enchant guests of all ages. Sing and dance to some of your favorite holiday songs in our grove of dancing Christmas Trees. Stroll through our winter wonderland, say “hello” to some of our giant snowmen and glowing reindeer, and enjoy a walk through our holiday light tunnel. And don’t forget to grab a cup of hot cocoa to warm your hands and heart this holiday season. hudsongardens.org

Christmas in Color

WHEN: November 19, 2022–January 1, 2022
WHERE: Bandimere Speedway, Water World, Araphoe County Fairgrounds
Drive through millions of lights perfectly synchronized to holiday music you’ll hear right through your radio. Drive-by giant candy canes, snowmen, arched pathways and more. Take your time enjoying this lighting extravaganza – we won’t judge you if you join the kids with your face pressed against the window! christmasincolor.net

Grand Illumination–Merry & Bright Lights Show–Miracle at Union Station Cocktail Bar–Santa Visits

WHEN: Nov. 26–Dec. 27, 2022
WHERE: Denver Union Station
The annual Grand Illumination event on Nov. 26 will feature performances of classic holiday hits by the Denver Dolls, the Sound of the Rockies, a visit from Santa & Mrs. Claus, and the grand highlight of the evening—the lighting of the station’s outdoor 40-foot-tall Christmas tree that features more than 7,000-holiday lights. Be sure to check out the Magical Sleight Ride VR-Lapland Adventure, Classic Holiday Movies and the Minie Holiday Express Train. Santa and Mrs. Claus will make regular appearances from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Nov. 28 and December 5, 12 and 19. unionstation.org/holidays

Parade of Lights

WHEN: Dec. 3, 2022; 6 p.m.
WHERE: Throughout downtown
This free holiday spectacular features extravagantly illuminated floats, giant helium-filled character balloons, magnificent marching bands, traditional equestrian units, and vibrant cultural displays. And of course, special appearances by Major Waddles the Penguin and Santa! The parade begins at 14th and Bannock Streets where you can purchase grandstand seating in front of the City and County Building. Spectators can view the parade for free along the two-mile route on Tremont Street between 14th and 17th Streets, on 17th Street from Tremont to Arapahoe Street, on Arapahoe between 17th and 15th Streets, and on 15th Street from Arapahoe to Glenarm. For more information, see the 9NEWS Parade of Lights web page. 

Trail of Lights

WHEN: Nov. 25, 2022–Jan. 1, 2023 (Closed Dec. 25, 2022)
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms
Tucked into the foothills under the dark sky, the glow of lights can be seen for miles. Just under a mile of walking trail, the illumination of cottonwoods, box elders and pine trees line the pathway through the Green Farm, Crossroads, Deer Creek Discovery Children’s Play Area and 1880s Hildebrand Ranch homestead. There is the option of a shorter path for those who want to take a shorter stroll. botanicgardens.orgTrail of Lights Denver

December Delights

WHEN: Nov. 27, 2022 through Jan 2, 2023
WHERE: Four Mile Historic Park

Join Four Mile Historic Park for December Delights as we explore Victorian holiday traditions with an immersive experience in the Four Mile House. New this year, guests will be entertained by holiday classics from the Colorado Caroling Company as they wander the Park, and the Dapper Brass Band performing in Grant Hall. Don’t forget to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus in the Bee House or shop for that perfect gift from curated local vendors in the Holiday Marketplace. fourmilepark.org/december-delights

Night Lights Denver

WHEN: Permanent installation Tuesday and Sunday evenings
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. nightlightsdenver.com

Electric Safari

WHEN: December 2-4; 9-23, 25-January 1
WHERE: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Electric Safari at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is the only place in Colorado Springs where you can see over 85 one-of-a-kind light sculptures, take a picture with Santa and visit your favorite animals! Electric Safari tickets are temporarily not available for purchase by non-members or reservations by members. cmzoo.org

Butterfly Pavilion’s Living Lights

WHEN: December 17, 2022 – Jan. 2, 2023
WHERE: Butterfly Pavilion, Westminster
Your little ones will love Denver’s newest and most immersive holiday tradition: an evening filled with luminous aerial artists and performers, glowing exhibits and a kids-glow-in-the-dark dance party with the Firefly Princess! Butterfly Pavilion will light up in a rainbow of colors as visitors walk through the exhibits and see the world of invertebrates in a new and enchanting way. Fun and entertaining, this indoor festival of lights helps support Butterfly Pavilion’s mission of invertebrate conservation around the world. butterflies.org

Chanukah Celebration

WHEN: December 18, 2022, at 5 p.m.
WHERE: Cherry Creek North
Celebrate the first night of Chanukah with Chabad of Cherry Creek. Families and guests of all ages will enjoy what is truly a festival of lights with face painting, fire juggling, festive treats and crafts. cherrycreeknorth.com

Denver Tree Lightings and Lights

Mayor’s Tree Lighting

WHEN: Nov. 15, 2022; 5–8 p.m.
WHERE: Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park, Lakewood
Join Mayor Adam Paul to kick off the holiday season with a tree lighting ceremony. This event is free and open to all ages. The tree lighting ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m. and there will be free cookies and hot cocoa. Guests will also get a sneak preview of “Camp Christmas”

Castle Rock Starlighting

WHEN: Nov. 19, 2022
WHERE: 300 Second Street, Castle Rock
Presented by the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce, the Castle Rock “Lighting of the Star” has been a community event shared by residents 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 on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.castlerock.org/castle-rock-starlighting/

Farolito Lighting & Pinecone Ceremony

WHEN: Nov. 27, 2022; 4–5:30 p.m.
WHERE: The Fort Restaurant/Tesoro Cultural Center, Morrison

Welcome 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. tesoroculturalcenter.org/farolito-lighting-and-pinecone-ceremony/Farolito Lighting & Pinecone Ceremony

Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

WHEN: Dec. 6, 2022
WHERE: Aurora Municipal Center, Aurora

Witness the illumination of thousands of strands of lights. This event will have holiday-themed activities, treats, live entertainment and a visit from a special guest in a jolly red suit. auroragov.org/

Family-Friendly Denver Holiday Events & Activities 

The Polar Express Train Ride

WHEN: Nov. 11–Dec. 23, 2022 (on select days)
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. This year, a whole host of carefully crafted updates have been made in order to ensure the health and safety of guests, cast and crew, so put on your pajamas and your most fashionable mask and bring the family to enjoy sharing hot cocoa and cookies together as the “Hot, Hot, Hot—Chocolate” song and dance unfolds before your eyes. coloradorailroadmuseum.orgCandlelight Walk Golden

Olde Golden Christmas

WHEN: Dec. 3-24, 2021
WHERE: Olde Town Golden

More than 45,000 holiday lights will illuminate Golden’s downtown as well as the trees, bridges and walkways along Deer Creek. The popular Holiday Art Market at Foothills Art Center will feature a variety of artisan holiday art gifts and the Holiday Parade will be on Dec. 11, 2021. visitgolden.com

Charlie Brown Goes to the Nutcracker

WHEN: Dec. 3, 10 and 17, 2022
WHERE: St. Julien Hotel & Spa

“Charlie Brown” meets “The Nutcracker” during this annual music tradition hosted by St Julien Hotel & Spa, and performed by Boulder’s own Ron LeGault Trio. This complimentary performance, which blends the music from “Charlie Brown Christmas” show, composed by Vince Guaraldi, with the jazz versions of “The Nutcracker,” written by Duke Ellington, features the Ron LeGault Trio. Curl up by the fireplace in the lobby, sip a seasonal cocktail and spread holiday cheer on December 3, 10 and 17.  stjulien.com/

Santa’s Flight Academy

WHEN: Nov. 11–Dec. 24, 2022
WHERE: Cherry Creek Shopping Center
Your little ones can step inside a 22-foot-tall sleigh and experience the magical snowfall. They can also have their photos taken with Santa. Reservations are recommended. shopcherrycreek.com

Cherry Creek North Holiday Market and Winter Wonderland

WHEN: Nov. 17–Dec. 24, 2022
WHERE: Cherry Creek North
The free Cherry Creek North Holiday Market at Fillmore Plaza features 30 local artisan vendors, live music, and festive drinks and decor.  Festivities include a dazzling display of nearly one million twinkling lights on more than 600 trees spread throughout the walkable neighborhood, the domino effect art installation, Chanukah celebration, Saturday Night Lights and more.  cherrycreeknorth.com

Denver Christkindlmarket

WHEN: Nov. 18–Dec. 23, 2022
WHERE: Civic Center Park101 West 14th Avenue, Denver

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. NEW! This year’s market will include a “Kinder Wunderland” with s’more-making stations, yard games and age-appropriate activities. christkindlmarketdenver.com

Four Mile Historic Park: December Delights

WHEN: Dec. 10, 11, 17, 18, 2022
WHERE: Four Mile Historic Park

Join Four Mile Historic Park for December Delights as we explore Victorian holiday traditions with an immersive experience in the Four Mile House. New this year, guests will be entertained by holiday classics from the Colorado Caroling Company as they wander the Park, and the Dapper Brass Band performing in Grant Hall. Don’t forget to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus in the Bee House or shop for that perfect gift from curated local vendors in the Holiday Marketplace. www.fourmilepark.org.

Downtown Denver Rink

WHEN: Nov. 21, 2022 – Feb. 14, 2023
WHERE: Skyline Park
Bundle up for some free ice skating in the heart of downtown and enjoy special events. winterindenver.com/rinkDenver ice skating

Music & Performing Arts 

A Christmas Carol

WHEN: Nov. 18–Dec. 24, 2022
WHERE: Denver Performing Arts Complex, Wolf Theatre

Essential to the holiday season in Denver, “A Christmas Carol” is a joyous and opulent musical adaptation that traces money-hoarding curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption. denvercenter.orgImmersive Nutcracker

The Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle

WHEN: Nov. 19–Dec. 31, 2022
WHERE: Lighthouse ArtSpace Denver

The Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle is the ultimate holiday experience for the entire family. Your family will be enchanted by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s sweeping music, including iconic selections like “The March of the Toys” and “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” as they are immersed in 500,000 cubic feet of holiday wonder!in holiday wonder! immersive-nutcracker.com/denver/

The Nutcracker by the Colorado Conservatory of Dance

WHEN: Dec. 3, 10, 11, 17, 18, 2022
WHERE: Performing Arts Complex at PCS

The CCD production, presented yearly since 1993, boasts gorgeous sets and costumes, stunning choreography, and professional guest artists from around the country. Following each performance, CCD is the only one in the Denver metro area that allows children to learn choreography from the ballet, while in their seats. This year, audience members will also have the opportunity to take socially-distanced photos with the Nutcracker Prince, Clara, and other characters from the ballet to complete the magical experience. Note: Dec. 3 is a sensory-friendly performance. ccdance.org/performances

Colorado Ballet Presents ‘The Nutcracker’

WHEN: Nov. 26–Dec. 24, 2022
WHERE: Ellie Caulkins Opera House

The beloved holiday favorite returns in a dazzling production like no one’s ever seen, featuring all-new sets and costumes created especially for Colorado Ballet. A sellout every year, this magical tale of Clara, the Nutcracker and the Mouse King is going to be dreamier than ever. coloradoballet.org/The-Nutcracker

Home Alone Concert

WHEN: Nov. 25, 26, 2022
WHERE: Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex

Celebrate this modern holiday classic featuring John Williams’ charming and delightful score performed live as the film is screened for your enjoyment! Hilarious and heartwarming, Home Alone is holiday fun for the entire family. tickets.coloradosymphony.org

Beauty and the Beast

WHEN: Nov. 25-Dec. 31, 2022
WHERE: Arvada Center

Be our guest this holiday season with a tale as old as time! When a prince is transformed into a Beast by a spell that can only be broken by true love, it’s up to the bookworm Belle to not only accept his love – but truly love him in return. arvadacenter.org

Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum

WHEN: Dec. 10-18, 2022
WHERE: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre
Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum is a multicultural celebration that touches the hearts of people of all backgrounds, kindling the wonderment and magic shared across the winter holiday season. Each year, Granny highlights new stories from her rich life dancing around the world, making way for new twists and scenes for an artistically fresh production every time. No wonder it’s one of the city’s most beloved family traditions inspiring audiences both young and old through the universal language of dance! cleoparkerdance.org/

A Colorado Christmas

WHEN: Dec. 9-11, 2022
WHERE: Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex

The warm sounds of the holidays fill the Hall with festive seasonal favorites! This family-friendly evening features Devin DeSantis and Christine Mild, with traditional Christmas carols, your favorite new winter tunes, and even some newly arranged surprises! tickets.coloradosymphony.org

Home for the Holidays

WHEN: Dec. 15-23, 2022
WHERE: Lone Tree Arts Center

Holidays are about traditions, so continue yours with this hometown favorite! What better way is there to celebrate the holidays than with LTAC family favorite Home for the Holidays.  lonetreeartscenter.org

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