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Denver Free Days 2020: Denver’s top museums and attractions

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to be a tourist in your own town? Are you going to go see all the great museums (and zoo) that Denver has to offer in 2020? We’ve got you covered with more to see for FREE! Since 1989 the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) has received taxes where the funds were to support enlightening ad entertaining the public through presentations, exhibitions, advancement or preservation. Part of making these facilities available – is offering free days throughout the year.

January

February

March

 April

 May

 June

 *Due to a grant the Denver Art Museum is free to kids 18 and under every day (does not include special exhibits).

**U.S. 4th graders are eligible for a free annual National Parks pass

Special note to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) cardholders: most Denver area museums and cultural center offer deep discounts by showing your EBT card at the ticket counter. Admission is just $1 per person for up to 10 people. For more information visit here.

 Plus, there are several venues that are free every day:

 Colorado Sports Hall of FameMuseum of Outdoor ArtsAurora History MuseumArvada Center GalleriesUS Air Force Academy Visitor Center and ChapelCU Art MuseumCU Museum of Natural HistoryUnited States Mint (you need to make a reservation for this one); Colorado State CapitolUS Olympic Training Center (Colorado Springs)Hudson GardensColorado Springs Pioneers MuseumCripple Creek Heritage Center (near Colorado Springs)Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum (Colorado Springs)Peterson Air & Space Museum (Colorado Springs)Dr. Lester L. Williams Fire Museum (Colorado Springs)Penrose Heritage Museum (Colorado Springs)

  These are the free days that we are aware of as of the time of this writing. We recommend that you double-check with the venue before heading out should they make any changes to their free days. 

55 family events in Denver this week

It’s the final countdown to Christmas with the Nutcracker Circus, SnowDome Spectacular, Handel’s Messiah – Awakening and TubaChristmas. See our event calendar for full listings. 

Also, don’t miss Family Travel: 40+ Holiday Vacation Ideas in Colorado and Denver guide to the holidays: Santa Arrivals & Christmas events!

Free Day at Plains Conservation Center 
Dec 19, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
This Aurora-based center helps students and adults grow their knowledge and appreciation of the prairie ecosystem and the cultural history of Colorado through a variety of educational programs managed by Denver Botanic Gardens. In cooperation with the City of Aurora.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Carolina Hurricanes at Pepsi Center 
Dec 19, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Colorado Avalanche vs. Carolina Hurricanes live at the Pepsi Center!

The Nutcracker with Ballet Ariel at Lakewood Cultural Center 
Dec 20  – Dec 23
Ballet Ariel’s imaginative and winsome interpretation of The Nutcracker returns at the height of the holiday season to the Lakewood Cultural Center. Tickets are on sale now. Ballet Ariel’s professional company and 30 students from the Ballet Ariel School and Lakewood Dance Academy brilliantly perform this eternal classic. Directed by Ilena Norton and Oleg Dedogryuk, Ballet Ariel’s The Nutcracker once again defines the season.

Holiday Cheer at Central Presbyterian Church 
Dec 20  – 21 
Visions of sugar plums dance in your head — and down the aisles — at Holiday Cheer! Showcasing selections from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s popular wintertime ballet, The Nutcracker, Cherry Creek Dance transports you into a young girl’s Christmas dream of tin soldiers, dancing snowflakes and sugary sweets. Arvada Chorale joins in the festivities to sing more of your beloved carols at everyone’s favorite seasonal celebration.

Brewery Lights at Anheuser-Busch Biergarten and Tour Center 
Dec 20  –  22
The holiday lights are lit, the cocoa is hot, and the 30-foot inflatable snowman is back – it’s beginning to look a lot like Brewery Lights at the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten and Tour Center in Fort Collins! The fifth annual Brewery Lights celebration begins Nov. 15, with guests of all ages invited to spread holiday cheer at a variety of festive activities during the wonderful holiday experience.

SnowDome Spectacular at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery 
Dec 20, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Celebrate the holidays at FCMoD! Stop by the museum for holiday crafts, cookies, cocoa, and a few surprises… Enjoy holiday tunes and stunning festive imagery with our special Holiday of LaserDome in the OtterBox Digital Dome Theater. And don’t forget to wear your ugly sweaters.

The Nutcracker Circus at Newman Center for the Performing Arts – University of Denver 
Dec 20 – Dec 27 
Whisk away to the Land of Snow, and Land of the Sweets, and experience the story of Clara and her beloved Nutcracker doll. Set to the music of Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker Circus features acrobatics, jugglers, aerialists, and characters bringing this holiday classic to life in a whole new way. Seven shows at various times!

Denver Nuggets vs. Minnesota Timbervolves at Pepsi Center 
Dec 20, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Denver Nuggets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves at Pepsi Center.

Longs Peak Chorus 2019 Christmas Concert at Heart of Longmont United Methodist Church 
Dec 20, 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
The Longs Peak Chorus proudly presents our 2019 Christmas Concert, “Ring De Christmas Bells” on Dec 20 and 21. $2 of every ticket will go to “Hope for Longmont.” Hear your favorite holiday season songs sung in 4-part a cappella harmony.

The Christmas Revels: A Midwinter Night’s Revels at The Dairy Arts Center 
Dec 20  – 26
In songs both profound and profane, Rocky Mountain Revels will take the stage at the Gordon Gamm Theater to drive the dark away and celebrate the return of the light. Join Rocky Mountain Revels as we sing and dance in celebration of the rituals and traditions of the Winter Solstice and of Christmas. This year we will be joined by the Boulder Renaissance Consort and by members of Solis. Our look at the secular and the sacred music of the Elizabethan Era will feature madrigals, rounds, catches AND returning Revels favorites like The Lord of the Dance, Sussex Mummers Carol, and the Shortest Day.

Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance 
Dec 20  – 22 
For 28 years, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble (CPRD) has been blending dance, live music, spoken word and seasonal celebrations and customs from around the world into a memorable holiday tradition like none other. A Denver original, Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum is a family favorite that inspires audiences of all ages to discover, celebrate and honor the holiday traditions of cultures from around the world.

Handel’s Messiah – Awakening @ Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex 
Dec 20  – Dec 21
A storied holiday classic returns with a freshly enriched design to experience the beloved masterpiece, Messiah. This innovative production is newly organized to clearly present the narrative while still maintaining the great traditions of this noble work. The Colorado Symphony Chorus will be divided between a chamber chorus and a larger chorus, and a narrator is introduced to seamlessly present Handel and librettist Charles Jennens masterpiece in the dramatic context that this story-telling composer would have appreciated.

The Nutcracker Circus at Newman Center for the Performing Arts 
Dec 20  – Dec 22
Whisk away to the Land of the Snow, and Land of the Sweets, and experience the story of Clara and her beloved Nutcracker doll. Set to the music of Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker Circus features acrobats, jugglers, aerialists, and characters bringing this holiday classic to life in a whole new way.

Breakfast with Santa at Downtown Aquarium
Dec 21  – 24 @
Santa is stopping by the Aquarium this holiday season! Dine with him and our mascot, Sharkey, and enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet, exhibit discounts and more!

Inside the Orchestra’s Christmas Tiny Tots Concert at McNichols Civic Center Building, Denver Arts & Venues 
Dec 21, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Tiny Tots gets children truly inside the orchestra by seating the audience on the floor and surrounding them with a 30+ piece orchestra. Designed for children six and under, this 45-minute program gives young ones the chance to interact with the music and learn about the instruments in the process.

Museum Takeover: Snow Day at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery 
Dec 21, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Do you want to build a snowman? Come chill with us at the museum! Discover all about the science of snow, and how important ice is to our world’s climate. There will be hands-on activities and experiments for all ages. It will be snow much fun! Museum Takeover is a monthly series where we deep dive into a particular subject with fun and educational activity stations in the exhibits gallery. Activities are open to all ages, but recommended for children 5 and older.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks at Pepsi Center 
Dec 21, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks live at the Pepsi Center!

3rd Annual Improv for a Claus at The Studio at Mainstreet 
Dec 21, 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm
This is an original sketch comedy show & charity fundraiser, written by Colorado talent with holiday & Colorado themes and presented in the style of a Second City Revue. Directed by a former member of The Second City – Chicago.

Menorah Making at JCC Denver 
Dec 22, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Menorah Making, Sunday, Dec. 22, 10 a.m.-Noon: Get ready for the first night of Hanukkah by making your own Menorah. We will have a scavenger hunt around the JCC to collect different materials to create your masterpiece. You can also get in a few rounds of Dreidel and win some gelt! $18 per person for members, $25 per person for guests. All ages.

Ugly Sweater Brew Run at Farm House at Breckenridge Brewery 
Dec 22, 10:30 am – 1:00 pm
Wear your most festive, ugliest holiday gear and get ready for some magical winter fun! Join the social fun run/walk along the beautiful Platte river trail and then enjoy seasonal brews or hot chocolate and a big ugly sweater contest.

TubaChristmas at DPAC/Denver Performing Arts Complex 
Dec 22, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Tired of the same old holiday soundtrack? Revive your holiday spirit at the Annual TubaChristmas Concert at the Denver Performing Arts Complex! Tap your toes to your favorite holiday tunes being played by 300 tuba players from all over the region.

Denver Broncos vs. Detroit Lions at Empower Field at Mile High 
Dec 22, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Denver Broncos vs. Detroit Lions at Broncos Stadium at Mile High!

Holiday Brass at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex 
Dec 22, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Brian Buerkle, conductor
Colorado Symphony Brass & Percussion. Holiday Brass is our festive tradition featuring the best of brass! Witness the brilliance and power of the Colorado Symphony brass in a resounding program of seasonal ballads, carols, and more. Whether it comes from the vitality of the Renaissance, the glory of the Baroque, or the nostalgic jubilation in the music of Hollywood’s most popular Christmas movies, Holiday Brass will end your 2019 on a high note.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage at Paramount Theatre 
Dec 22, 2:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Everyone’s favorite holiday classic comes to life in the all-new touring production A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage!

Scotty Wiese Mile High Magic at Bovine Metropolis Theater 
Dec 22, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Mile High Magic is an unforgettable theater experience presented by world-renowned magician Scotty Wiese. What makes Mile High Magic so unique is the tremendous way Scotty blends magic and his life experiences to tell stories, form a community, and motivate others to chase their own dreams.

Sensory-friendly Home for the Holidays 2019 at Lone Tree Arts Center 
Dec 22, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Holidays are about traditions, so continue yours with hometown favorite Home for the Holidays. There’s something for everyone in this family-friendly holiday spectacular: dancers, singers, drummers, holiday songs, and of course, a celebrity appearance by you know who! With a revised storyline for 2019, Home for the Holidays is sure to delight and put you in the holiday spirit.

Twas the Night Before Christmas at Paramount Theatre 
Dec 24, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Start a brand new holiday tradition with your family at this not-to-be-missed show! When Santa’s Naughty and Nice list goes missing, a few dancing mice, a little girl and a wacky elf need to save the day before Santa boards his sleigh!

Denver Nuggets vs. New Orleans Pelicans at Pepsi Center 
Dec 25, 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Denver Nuggets vs. New Orleans Pelicans at Pepsi Center.

Jim Brickman – A Christmas Celebration at Paramount Theatre 
Dec 27, 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Jim Brickman returns to Denver this Christmas to wow the crowd with his uplifting, family-friendly, holiday concert tradition. “Jim Brickman A Christmas Celebration” LIVE, at the Paramount Theatre on Friday, December 27, 2019.

ONGOING EVENTS

Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens
Nov. 29, 2019 – Jan. 3, 2020
IThe Gardens’ signature event for over three decades, this annual holiday lights extravaganza transforms our York Street location into a twinkling winter wonderland. With fresh and exciting new features, along with some fan favorites, this year’s display is brighter and more expansive than ever before. Join us for this family-friendly event that has become a holiday tradition for thousands of Front Range families. botanicgardens.org

Santa’s Village at Chatfield Farms
Nov. 29 – Dec. 15
Santa and his friends transform Chatfield Farms into a magical village! Hop on the hayride to catch a short movie at Santa’s Cinema or walk under the magical light displays. Stop at Elf Boulevard to drop off your letters to Santa. Let the kids play in a real elf house and see the elves hard at work. Enter a life-size snow globe.www.botanicgardens.org

Fetch Holiday Markets at Denver Sports Castle
Nov. 30 – Dec. 15
For three weekends this winter, that gigantic, historic building on Broadway will be your home for all things holly-jolly. This is so much more than shopping, though. We’re filling it with festive drinks, activities, and gifts for everyone on your list! It’s going to be the kind of Christmas party you wish your company could throw — with hundreds of makers, artists, creators and YOU. thisisfetch.com/holiday-markets

A Christmas Carol at Simpich Showcase
Nov. 8 – Dec. 4
A CHRISTMAS CAROL’s timeless narrative is brought to life with sparkling vitality on the Simpich stage with over twenty handmade marionette actors animated by Dickens himself. In this original adaptation by puppeteer David Simpich, Ebenezer Scrooge is launched into and transformed by a night of delightful and poignant Christmas remembrances and foreboding forecasts. The outcome is both a continuing inspiration and celebration of the Promise of the Season. tickets.vendini.com

Camp Christmas at the Hangar at Stanley Marketplace
Nov. 21, 2019 – Jan 5, 2020
Not for the faint of festivity, this over-the-top indoor immersive installation turns the holiday spirit all the way up with mesmerizing displays of decorations that shift time and reality. Camp Christmas is Denver’s newest holiday experience, where yuletide traditions of the past and present get merrily mashed together in a massive 10,000-square-foot wonderland. It’s not just pretty lights and mistletoe. denvercenter.org

A Christmas Carol – The Musical  at Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities
Nov. 22, 2019 – Dec 22, 2019
Bring the whole family to enjoy this holiday classic,  Charles Dickens’ classic tale takes us on a journey to the past, present and future this holiday season! With music by Alan Menken ( Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid ) and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime, Seussical ), this musical version of curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge’s life and ultimate redemption is the perfect holiday tradition for the entire family. christkindlmarketdenver.com

A Hudson Christmas
Nov. 29 – Dec. 31
A Hudson Christmas has become a holiday tradition for thousands of families and friends from across the Denver area! Walk arm-in-arm with loved ones at this winter wonderland decorated with thousands of outdoor lights. Explore the trails where bursts of light and color wrap around trees, shimmer on bodies of water, illuminate happy faces, and bring a twinkle to your eye. Share your holiday wish list with Santa Claus, watch Christmas trees dance to holiday music, sip a steaming cup of hot chocolate, and stop for photo opportunities along the way. www.altitudetickets.com

The Nutcracker at Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Nov. 30 -Dec. 29
Audiences simply can’t get enough of Colorado Ballet’s acclaimed production of The Nutcracker. Returning for its 59th season, this beloved holiday favorite sells out every year. Experience this whimsical trip to the sugar plum kingdom where magical dances come alive. Secure your seats early for this holiday tradition as most performances fill up prior to opening night. tickets.coloradoballet.org

Christkindl Market at Skyline Park
Nov 22, 2019 – Dec 23, 2019
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!

Ella Enchanted at the Arvada Center
October 11-December 29, 2019
Join Ella as we journey to the fairytale land of Frell on a path to self-discovery! The stage musical of Ella Enchanted has recently been adapted from the beloved Newbery Honor book by Gail Carson Levine. Ella must navigate her world with the “gift” of complete obedience given by her misguided fairy godmother. Adventures will ensue with ogres, giants, elves, wicked stepsisters, and true friends that help Ella find her voice! These whimsical characters make this a captivating tale for children and adults of all ages. arvadacenter.org/ella-enchanted

Christmas in Color at Water World
Nov. 22 – Jan. 4
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. www.showclix.com

Night Light Denver at the Daniels & Fisher Tower
Nov. 7 – Jan. 31, 2020
The Denver Theatre District’s ongoing, year-round projection mapping installation will be projected on the Arapahoe Street side of the Daniels & Fisher Tower every Thursday through Saturday evening. Night Lights Denver will include rotating content, designed by artists and the community, featuring a wide range of art. nightlightsdenver.com

Mile High Tree
Nov. 30 – Jan. 31
Denver’s holiday season just got bigger and brighter with the spectacular new Mile High Tree! Experience the Mile High Tree by stepping inside this brilliantly lit, 110-foot tall immersive holiday tree, opening November 30 in Sculpture Park at Denver Performing Arts Complex – free every evening for the whole family! Amazing lights and music shows take place every 30 minutes along with holiday treats, drinks and photo ops. www.denver.org/milehighholidays/tree

Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park
Nov. 26, 2019 – Feb 16, 2020
The Downtown Denver Partnership proudly invites you and your family to join us at the Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park – Downtown’s destination for fun this winter. Winter of 2019 celebrates one decade of the Downtown Denver Rink which offers free ice skating seven days a week from November to February.  Entry is free! Skate rentals are $7 for kids 12 & under and $9 for adults 13 & older. Purchase your season pass at the Rink for $35 for kids 12 and under and $50 for adults. Skaters are welcome to bring their own skates.

Goodnight Moon at the DPAC/The Randy Weeks Conservatory Theatre
October 4, 2019 – February 16, 2020
A musical twist on the beloved bedtime story. For the past 72 years, families around the world have made Goodnight Moon a part of their bedtime ritual. Now, the beloved children’s book comes to life on stage for a musical adventure! As the clock strikes seven o’clock, it’s time for Bunny to go to sleep. Say goodnight with magical moments filled with songs, kittens and mittens, bears and chairs, a red balloon, a quiet old lady, and – of course – the moon in this delightful tale. denvercenter.org

Zoo Lights: Illuminated with Life
Nov. 29 – Dec 30
Zoo Lights celebrates its 29th year as one of Denver’s most beloved and popular holiday traditions. To protect the magic of the season tickets are limited by date and issued for a one-hour entry time window. Most evenings sell out in advance and tickets will not be available at the door for evenings that sell out. www.denverzoo.org/events/zoolights/

Denver Pavilions’ Holiday Carousel at 16th Street Mall and Glenarm Place
Dec. 20 – Jan. 2
The Denver Pavilions’ Holiday Carousel returns to Downtown Denver. This year the Blue Knights Brass Ensemble will kick off the season with a free performance in front of the carousel at 2 pm on Sat. December 21. Rides will be offered for a nominal fee of $3 or free with a voucher from any Denver Pavilions’ merchant or community partner. Food Bank of the Rockies has once again been chosen as Denver Pavilions’ designated charity partner for the attraction. Partial proceeds from rides will be donated to this vital charity within the community that helps fight food insecurity in the area. denverpavilions.com

Olde Golden Christmas
Nov. 30 – Dec. 31
Each year during the holiday season, Golden takes a step back in time. Back to a simpler time of strong family traditions and small-town holiday celebrations. The authentic and historic main street of Golden will be the central festive location for Olde Golden Christmas, a city-wide, month-long celebration from November 30th to December 31st including a candlelight walk, holiday art market, live theater, a dazzling light display along Clear Creek, Santa encounters, shopping, dining, and so much more. visitgolden.com/olde-golden-christmas/

A Very Vintage Holiday Show at The Galleria at the Arts Complex
Dec. 5-21
This delightful show is a tribute to Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters, during the nostalgic White Christmas era. A Very Vintage Holiday blends upbeat vocal harmonies and engaging showmanship with a little bit of comedy and plenty of nostalgic holiday tunes to provide festive entertainment for all ages. Featuring The Denver Dolls and s12pecial guests, this show will warm any Colorado heart on even the coldest winter day!  These are FREE events presented by The Next Stage NOW. www.artscomplex.com

  Extreme Sports: Beyond Human Limits at Denver Museum of Nature and Science
September 13, 2019 – April 12, 2020
“Extreme Sports: Beyond Human Limits” takes guests inside the minds and bodies of extreme athletes to explore the psychology, physiology and physicality of some of the most extreme activities in the world. In this high-energy exhibition, guests experience the thrill of extreme sports in exciting, interactive exhibits and immersive environments. Meet passionate athletes, hear their incredible stories and take in the artistry, motivation and thoughtfulness that goes into everything they do. dmns.org
 
Tiger Encounter at the Denver Zoo
Nov. 8 – Dec. 31, 2019
Experience The EDGE through the eyes of a tiger! This tour will take you behind the scenes at The Edge, Denver Zoo’s Amur tiger exhibit. You will get an up close view of a training session with one of The Edge’s resident tigers and learn from animal care experts about what they do every day to ensure that these cats receive the best care. You’ll be in awe of the amazing relationship animal care staff have with these 400-pound furry felines! Please note that because of safety regulations, guests will not receive direct contact with the tigers, but rather will get a closer look than public perspective allows with exclusive access and interactions. denverzoo.org
 
Christmas at Gaylord Rockies
Nov 22, 2019 – Jan 5, 2020
The season-long experience will include ICE! featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a larger-than-life ice sculpture adventure; exclusive Cirque Dreams Holidaze theatrical performances; ice skating, tubing and bumper cars; a Naughty or Nice Escape Room; character breakfast; family-friendly activities; and themed décor with an impressive holiday light display. marriott.com
 
Images from the Tracks at the Colorado Railroad Museum
January 28, 2019 – January 5, 2020
One of the foremost photographers to photograph the great American West, William Henry Jackson’s images had an immense influence on the public’s perception of the American West. A portion of those images were captured here in Colorado as Jackson traveled throughout the west by rail. This exhibit not only showcases the Museum’s collection of Jackson photographs but provides visitors with the opportunity to visit the rail car he traveled and lived in – the Denver & Rio Grande Western business car – the Rico.

Marine Biologist for a Day at the Downtown Aquarium
Jan 1- Dec 31, 2019
See if you have what it takes to become a Marine Biologist! Spend a day behind the scenes where all the scientific action happens. Experience close encounters with exotic species from the deep sea to shallow reef and everywhere in between. You’ll even get to dissect a squid! Program includes guided tour, biologist dive show, squid dissection, animal feedings and much more! T-shirts & lunch included.

First Light Family Space at the Denver Art Museum
June 1-Dec. 31, 2019
Step into the shining world of the new First Light Family Space and try hands-on activities inspired by the exhibition, The Light Show. Trace a shadow, make a mirror, play with patterns and create a colorful city. The museum of free for kids under 18 for kids. Have fun learning about artwork with gallery games similar to I spy, bingo, and memory matching with Gallery Games. Create Playdate’s artmaking with little ones is on the second Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. DenverArtMuseum.org.

Get inside the Mile High Tree for an immersive experience

Denver’s holiday season just got bigger and brighter with the spectacular new Mile High Tree.

Step inside the brilliantly lit 110-foot tall immersive holiday tree, opening November 30 in Sculpture Park at Denver Performing Arts Complex – free every evening.

Amazing lights and music shows take place every 30 minutes along with holiday treats, drinks and photo ops.

Lights & Music Shows

  • Date: Nov. 30, 2019 – Jan. 31, 2020 
  • Time: every 15 minutes, alternating between two different shows. Stay for both!

Classic Songs & Performances

  • What: surround yourself with the classic songs of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other holiday celebrations, all choreographed to a dazzling display of the tree’s digital lights. Between programs, enjoy recorded performances by the Colorado Symphony 
  • Date: Nov. 30, 2019 – Jan. 1, 2020
  • Time: 5 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Lights & Music Shows After Holidays

  • What: the lights and music show will feature homegrown Denver and Colorado musicians as well as music inspired by the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo 
  • Date: Jan. 2-31, 2020
  • Time: 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Date Night Special Drinks

  • What: Thursday is date night at the Mile High Tree! We’ll have special drinks going all evening long at the bar
  • Date: Thursday, Dec. 12 and 19
  • Time: 5 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Dog Meet & Greet With Santa

  • What: Your furry family members can meet Santa at the Mile High Tree during a special pet-friendly night
  • Date: Sunday, Dec. 22
  • Time: 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Kwanzaa Celebration

  • What: Bring the whole family to celebrate this Pan-African holiday
  • Date: Friday, Dec. 27
  • Time: 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Plus, Denver invites you to ring in the New Year in style. The Mile High City is the perfect place to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Make a night of it with two amazing fireworks shows, live music, parties and champagne toasts. Here’s to 2020!

52 best family events in Denver this week

Don’t miss Freezie Fest at Pearl Street Mall, Breakfast with Santa, Winterfest and more! See our event calendar for more information.

Also, don’t miss Family Travel: 40+ Holiday Vacation Ideas in Colorado and Denver guide to the holidays: Santa Arrivals & Christmas events!

Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers at Pepsi Center 
Dec 12, 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers at Pepsi Center.

WinterFest at Colorado Chautauqua 
Dec 13  – 15 
The Colorado Chautauqua presents a weekend of holiday festivities in Boulder’s most magical setting! Enjoy kid’s concert with Jeff & Paige, Breakfast with Santa, historic cottage tours and more.

Free Day at Four Mile Historic Park 
Dec 13, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Discover this tranquil, 12-acre historic oasis and the site of Denver’s oldest house. Tour the museum, stroll the gardens and grounds, pan for “gold”, and visit our farm animals. Exhibits, demonstrations, and special programming compliment cultural and natural history to enrich your park experience.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker at Paramount Theatre 
Dec 13  – 14 
Moscow Ballet’s Gift of Christmas Tour – This Christmas give your family the gift of Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker! Step into a simpler time filled with sweet dreams and Christmas magic. With world-class artists, over 200 dazzling costumes, stunning sets, towering puppets and soaring birds, don’t miss your chance to ring in the holidays with this acclaimed Christmas extravaganza. 

Englewood Holiday Express at Englewood Farm and Train at Belleview Park 
Dec 13  – 14 
Join us for the third annual Englewood Holiday Express event this winter. The Englewood Farm and Train will be transformed into the North Pole with festive lights and decorations to create the essential Winter Wonderland experience.

Brewery Lights at Anheuser-Busch Biergarten and Tour Center
Dec 13  – 15 
The holiday lights are lit, the cocoa is hot, and the 30-foot inflatable snowman is back – it’s beginning to look a lot like Brewery Lights at the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten and Tour Center in Fort Collins! The fifth annual Brewery Lights celebration begins Nov. 15, with guests of all ages invited to spread holiday cheer at a variety of festive activities during the wonderful holiday experience.

A Colorado Christmas at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex 
Dec 13  –  15 
The warm sounds of the holidays fill the Hall with festive seasonal favorites including ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, narrated from stage by beloved Denver vocalist Devin DeSantis! This family-friendly evening, led by Assistant Conductor Bertie Baigent, features traditional Christmas carols, your favorite new winter tunes, and even some newly arranged surprises – all with a chance to sing along to your heart’s content! And you better not pout because Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to see who’s naughty and who’s nice in preparation for the big night!

Colorado Avalanche vs. New Jersey Devils at Pepsi Center 
Dec 13, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Colorado Avalanche vs. New Jersey Devils live at the Pepsi Center!

“The Secret of Christmas” A Cappella Christmas Show @ University of Denver | Newman Center for the Performing Arts 
Dec 13  – 15 
A favorite Denver tradition, the annual sell-out Christmas a cappella spectacular combines classic Christmas carols, popular holiday songs and the chorus’s much-loved telling of the Christmas Story. In this year’s program, “The Secret of Christmas,” we will transport you to Denver’s 16th Street Mall, where a father discovers the true gifts of the holiday as he scrambles to do his last-minute Christmas shopping.

Arapahoe Philhmarmonic Presents Holiday Movie Night at Denver First Church of the Nazarene
Dec 13, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Enjoy the music from your favorite holiday films! The Arapahoe Philharmonic will perform these works and many others:

Breakfast with Santa at Denver Union Station 
Dec 14, 8:00 am – 11:00 am
Santa Claus will be making a special stop this holiday season at Denver Union Station for Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 14th from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. Located in Union Station’s lower Gallery level, this one-of-a-kind breakfast buffet will feature an interactive storytime led by St. Nick and the chance to take professional photos. Adults can enjoy complimentary seasonal cocktails and each family will take home a keepsake Denver Union Station holiday ornament.

Breakfast with Santa at Downtown Aquarium 
Dec 14  – Dec 15

Santa is stopping by the Aquarium this holiday season! Dine with him and our mascot, Sharkey, and enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet, exhibit discounts and more!

Breakfast with Santa at Recreation Center at Eastridge 
Dec 14, 9:00 – 10:30 am
Want to treat your family to a magical morning and make your dreams come true? Come enjoy sleigh loads of fun at the December 14 Event. The ‘Jolly Ole Elf’ himself arrives for a 9:00 a.m. start and will be perched in his Royal Chair accompanied by his merry elves until 10:30 a.m. listening to every good child’s special wish for Christmas.

Inside the Orchestra’s Christmas Tiny Tots Concerts at PPA Event Center 
Dec 14, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Tiny Tots gets children truly inside the orchestra by seating the audience on the floor and surrounding them with a 30+ piece orchestra. Designed for children six and under, this 45-minute program gives young ones the chance to interact with the music and learn about the instruments in the process.

Brunch with Father Christmas at Four Mile Historic Park 
Dec 14, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Father Christmas himself will join you at Four Mile Historic Park for a delicious brunch buffet courtesy of Serendipity Catering! Your ticket also includes a merry ride through the Park on our tractor-pulled Holiday Wagon with complimentary hot cocoa or hot cider, a yule log hunt, supplies for a holiday craft, and a guided tour through the historic Four Mile House.

Firefly Handmade Holiday Market at Balch Fieldhouse at the University of Colorado 
Dec 14 –  15 

Shop Firefly Handmade for the Holidays at this old school, cozy, and cool venue! Firefly your holidays at our most festive market of the year and the Front Range’s premier marketplace for exclusively handmade artisan goods, including 100+ creatively curated new and returning artisans, live music, and free admission! Discover unique handmade home goods, jewelry & accessories, adult & children’s fashion, skincare, ceramics, art, artisanal food, paper goods, pet goods, and more, and visit with the artisans who make them.

Free Day at Longmont Museum 
Dec 14, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Longmont Museum, housed in a distinctive contemporary building, features changing exhibits in history, art, and science, as well as the award-winning Front Range Rising, a long-term exhibit on the history and culture of this region. The Museum also features the 250-seat Stewart Auditorium and Cone-Shortall stage, the Swan Atrium, and the Kaiser Permanente Education Center. The Museum hosts hands-on education programs for all ages, indoor and outdoor concerts and performances, film series, lectures and historic tours, and a gift shop featuring local history books, souvenirs, and exhibit-related materials.

Holiday Brassfest at Denver Performing Arts Complex 
Dec 14, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
COME ALL YE BRASS PLAYERS!
Join Denver Brass and 100+ other local musicians for a free public concert! All participants will receive their own music book and tips to get you in shape. There will be a morning rehearsal leading up to the concert. Find out more and pre-register online at DENVERBRASS.ORG or call 303-832-HORN(4676).

Winter Fest at Cherry Creek North 
Dec 14, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Winter Fest is another FREE event here at Cherry Creek North. Winter Fest is on December 14th (time TBD) and visitors are invited to experience the true joy of the holiday season at Winter Fest on Fillmore Plaza and at participating businesses throughout the Cherry Creek North area.

Tea with Santa at The Ritz-Carlton, Denver 
Dec 14, 10:30 am – 3:00 pm
Afternoon Tea with a cheerful twist, the whole family will delight in a winter wonderland while savoring assorted sandwiches, hot chocolate, a complimentary glass of bubbly, and more at the Mile High City’s premier luxury hotel. Families will enjoy decorating cookies, sending letters to the North Pole and finding one-of-a-kind gifts at the holiday market. Take home a tangible keepsake with a commemorative photo with Santa. $59 per adult, $35 per child 12 and younger exclusive of tax and gratuity. Advance purchase required.

Freezie Fest at Pearl Street Mall 
Dec 14, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
A snowman themed extravaganza including train rides, free face-painting, carolers, and free Reindeer Games (crafts and other activities for all).

Winter Fest at Cherry Creek North 
Dec 14, 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Launched in 2016, Winter Fest is a free, outdoor event open to people (and dogs) of all ages. The main event takes place on Fillmore Plaza (between 1st & 2nd Avenue) and features live ice sculpting, temporary fire pits with seating areas, exciting performances, complimentary treats & beverages and more!

Grand Opening at Goldfish Swim School of Superior 
Dec 14, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Goldfish Swim School will host its grand opening event: a free fun-filled party the whole family will enjoy. Attendees are encouraged to test the waters—literally—and get to know the school’s certified instructors and lifeguards who help teach children a life-saving skill in a fun and positive environment.

Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder at Pepsi Center 
Dec 14, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder at Pepsi Center.

3rd Annual Improv for a Claus at Aspen Academy 
Dec 14, 8:00 – 9:30 pm
This is an original sketch comedy show & charity fundraiser, written by Colorado talent with holiday & Colorado themes and presented in the style of a Second City Revue. Directed by a former member of The Second City – Chicago. The Parker Players believe in the power that improvisation has to change lives and we are happy to present this show in an effort to support world poverty relief. 100% of all ticket sales from this show will be donated to Feed My Starving Children. Feed My Starving Children provides nutritionally complete meals specifically formulated for malnourished children. FMSC consistently receives the highest awards for accountability and transparency, with more than 90 percent of total donations dedicated directly toward feeding kids in need.

Denver Nuggets vs. New York Knicks at Pepsi Center
Dec 15, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Denver Nuggets vs. New York Knicks at Pepsi Center.

ONGOING EVENTS

Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens
Nov. 29, 2019 – Jan. 3, 2020
IThe Gardens’ signature event for over three decades, this annual holiday lights extravaganza transforms our York Street location into a twinkling winter wonderland. With fresh and exciting new features, along with some fan favorites, this year’s display is brighter and more expansive than ever before. Join us for this family-friendly event that has become a holiday tradition for thousands of Front Range families. botanicgardens.org

Santa’s Village at Chatfield Farms
Nov. 29 – Dec. 15
Santa and his friends transform Chatfield Farms into a magical village! Hop on the hayride to catch a short movie at Santa’s Cinema or walk under the magical light displays. Stop at Elf Boulevard to drop off your letters to Santa. Let the kids play in a real elf house and see the elves hard at work. Enter a life-size snow globe.www.botanicgardens.org

Fetch Holiday Markets at Denver Sports Castle
Nov. 30 – Dec. 15
For three weekends this winter, that gigantic, historic building on Broadway will be your home for all things holly-jolly. This is so much more than shopping, though. We’re filling it with festive drinks, activities, and gifts for everyone on your list! It’s going to be the kind of Christmas party you wish your company could throw — with hundreds of makers, artists, creators and YOU. thisisfetch.com/holiday-markets

A Christmas Carol at Simpich Showcase
Nov. 8 – Dec. 4
A CHRISTMAS CAROL’s timeless narrative is brought to life with sparkling vitality on the Simpich stage with over twenty handmade marionette actors animated by Dickens himself. In this original adaptation by puppeteer David Simpich, Ebenezer Scrooge is launched into and transformed by a night of delightful and poignant Christmas remembrances and foreboding forecasts. The outcome is both a continuing inspiration and celebration of the Promise of the Season. tickets.vendini.com

Camp Christmas at the Hangar at Stanley Marketplace
Nov. 21, 2019 – Jan 5, 2020
Not for the faint of festivity, this over-the-top indoor immersive installation turns the holiday spirit all the way up with mesmerizing displays of decorations that shift time and reality. Camp Christmas is Denver’s newest holiday experience, where yuletide traditions of the past and present get merrily mashed together in a massive 10,000-square-foot wonderland. It’s not just pretty lights and mistletoe. denvercenter.org

A Christmas Carol – The Musical  at Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities
Nov. 22, 2019 – Dec 22, 2019
Bring the whole family to enjoy this holiday classic,  Charles Dickens’ classic tale takes us on a journey to the past, present and future this holiday season! With music by Alan Menken ( Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid ) and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime, Seussical ), this musical version of curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge’s life and ultimate redemption is the perfect holiday tradition for the entire family. christkindlmarketdenver.com

A Hudson Christmas
Nov. 29 – Dec. 31
A Hudson Christmas has become a holiday tradition for thousands of families and friends from across the Denver area! Walk arm-in-arm with loved ones at this winter wonderland decorated with thousands of outdoor lights. Explore the trails where bursts of light and color wrap around trees, shimmer on bodies of water, illuminate happy faces, and bring a twinkle to your eye. Share your holiday wish list with Santa Claus, watch Christmas trees dance to holiday music, sip a steaming cup of hot chocolate, and stop for photo opportunities along the way. www.altitudetickets.com

The Nutcracker at Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Nov. 30 -Dec. 29
Audiences simply can’t get enough of Colorado Ballet’s acclaimed production of The Nutcracker. Returning for its 59th season, this beloved holiday favorite sells out every year. Experience this whimsical trip to the sugar plum kingdom where magical dances come alive. Secure your seats early for this holiday tradition as most performances fill up prior to opening night. tickets.coloradoballet.org

Christkindl Market at Skyline Park
Nov 22, 2019 – Dec 23, 2019
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!

Ella Enchanted at the Arvada Center
October 11-December 29, 2019
Join Ella as we journey to the fairytale land of Frell on a path to self-discovery! The stage musical of Ella Enchanted has recently been adapted from the beloved Newbery Honor book by Gail Carson Levine. Ella must navigate her world with the “gift” of complete obedience given by her misguided fairy godmother. Adventures will ensue with ogres, giants, elves, wicked stepsisters, and true friends that help Ella find her voice! These whimsical characters make this a captivating tale for children and adults of all ages. arvadacenter.org/ella-enchanted

Christmas in Color at Water World
Nov. 22 – Jan. 4
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. www.showclix.com

Night Light Denver at the Daniels & Fisher Tower
Nov. 7 – Jan. 31, 2020
The Denver Theatre District’s ongoing, year-round projection mapping installation will be projected on the Arapahoe Street side of the Daniels & Fisher Tower every Thursday through Saturday evening. Night Lights Denver will include rotating content, designed by artists and the community, featuring a wide range of art. nightlightsdenver.com

Mile High Tree
Nov. 30 – Jan. 31
Denver’s holiday season just got bigger and brighter with the spectacular new Mile High Tree! Experience the Mile High Tree by stepping inside this brilliantly lit, 110-foot tall immersive holiday tree, opening November 30 in Sculpture Park at Denver Performing Arts Complex – free every evening for the whole family! Amazing lights and music shows take place every 30 minutes along with holiday treats, drinks and photo ops. www.denver.org/milehighholidays/tree

Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park
Nov. 26, 2019 – Feb 16, 2020
The Downtown Denver Partnership proudly invites you and your family to join us at the Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park – Downtown’s destination for fun this winter. Winter of 2019 celebrates one decade of the Downtown Denver Rink which offers free ice skating seven days a week from November to February.  Entry is free! Skate rentals are $7 for kids 12 & under and $9 for adults 13 & older. Purchase your season pass at the Rink for $35 for kids 12 and under and $50 for adults. Skaters are welcome to bring their own skates.

Goodnight Moon at the DPAC/The Randy Weeks Conservatory Theatre
October 4, 2019 – February 16, 2020
A musical twist on the beloved bedtime story. For the past 72 years, families around the world have made Goodnight Moon a part of their bedtime ritual. Now, the beloved children’s book comes to life on stage for a musical adventure! As the clock strikes seven o’clock, it’s time for Bunny to go to sleep. Say goodnight with magical moments filled with songs, kittens and mittens, bears and chairs, a red balloon, a quiet old lady, and – of course – the moon in this delightful tale. denvercenter.org

Zoo Lights: Illuminated with Life
Nov. 29 – Dec 30
Zoo Lights celebrates its 29th year as one of Denver’s most beloved and popular holiday traditions. To protect the magic of the season tickets are limited by date and issued for a one-hour entry time window. Most evenings sell out in advance and tickets will not be available at the door for evenings that sell out. www.denverzoo.org/events/zoolights/

Denver Pavilions’ Holiday Carousel at 16th Street Mall and Glenarm Place
Dec. 20 – Jan. 2
The Denver Pavilions’ Holiday Carousel returns to Downtown Denver. This year the Blue Knights Brass Ensemble will kick off the season with a free performance in front of the carousel at 2 pm on Sat. December 21. Rides will be offered for a nominal fee of $3 or free with a voucher from any Denver Pavilions’ merchant or community partner. Food Bank of the Rockies has once again been chosen as Denver Pavilions’ designated charity partner for the attraction. Partial proceeds from rides will be donated to this vital charity within the community that helps fight food insecurity in the area. denverpavilions.com

Olde Golden Christmas
Nov. 30 – Dec. 31
Each year during the holiday season, Golden takes a step back in time. Back to a simpler time of strong family traditions and small-town holiday celebrations. The authentic and historic main street of Golden will be the central festive location for Olde Golden Christmas, a city-wide, month-long celebration from November 30th to December 31st including a candlelight walk, holiday art market, live theater, a dazzling light display along Clear Creek, Santa encounters, shopping, dining, and so much more. visitgolden.com/olde-golden-christmas/

A Very Vintage Holiday Show at The Galleria at the Arts Complex
Dec. 5-21
This delightful show is a tribute to Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters, during the nostalgic White Christmas era. A Very Vintage Holiday blends upbeat vocal harmonies and engaging showmanship with a little bit of comedy and plenty of nostalgic holiday tunes to provide festive entertainment for all ages. Featuring The Denver Dolls and s12pecial guests, this show will warm any Colorado heart on even the coldest winter day!  These are FREE events presented by The Next Stage NOW. www.artscomplex.com

  Extreme Sports: Beyond Human Limits at Denver Museum of Nature and Science
September 13, 2019 – April 12, 2020
“Extreme Sports: Beyond Human Limits” takes guests inside the minds and bodies of extreme athletes to explore the psychology, physiology and physicality of some of the most extreme activities in the world. In this high-energy exhibition, guests experience the thrill of extreme sports in exciting, interactive exhibits and immersive environments. Meet passionate athletes, hear their incredible stories and take in the artistry, motivation and thoughtfulness that goes into everything they do. dmns.org
 
Tiger Encounter at the Denver Zoo
Nov. 8 – Dec. 31, 2019
Experience The EDGE through the eyes of a tiger! This tour will take you behind the scenes at The Edge, Denver Zoo’s Amur tiger exhibit. You will get an up close view of a training session with one of The Edge’s resident tigers and learn from animal care experts about what they do every day to ensure that these cats receive the best care. You’ll be in awe of the amazing relationship animal care staff have with these 400-pound furry felines! Please note that because of safety regulations, guests will not receive direct contact with the tigers, but rather will get a closer look than public perspective allows with exclusive access and interactions. denverzoo.org
 
Christmas at Gaylord Rockies
Nov 22, 2019 – Jan 5, 2020
The season-long experience will include ICE! featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a larger-than-life ice sculpture adventure; exclusive Cirque Dreams Holidaze theatrical performances; ice skating, tubing and bumper cars; a Naughty or Nice Escape Room; character breakfast; family-friendly activities; and themed décor with an impressive holiday light display. marriott.com
 
Images from the Tracks at the Colorado Railroad Museum
January 28, 2019 – January 5, 2020
One of the foremost photographers to photograph the great American West, William Henry Jackson’s images had an immense influence on the public’s perception of the American West. A portion of those images were captured here in Colorado as Jackson traveled throughout the west by rail. This exhibit not only showcases the Museum’s collection of Jackson photographs but provides visitors with the opportunity to visit the rail car he traveled and lived in – the Denver & Rio Grande Western business car – the Rico.

Marine Biologist for a Day at the Downtown Aquarium
Jan 1- Dec 31, 2019
See if you have what it takes to become a Marine Biologist! Spend a day behind the scenes where all the scientific action happens. Experience close encounters with exotic species from the deep sea to shallow reef and everywhere in between. You’ll even get to dissect a squid! Program includes guided tour, biologist dive show, squid dissection, animal feedings and much more! T-shirts & lunch included.

First Light Family Space at the Denver Art Museum
June 1-Dec. 31, 2019
Step into the shining world of the new First Light Family Space and try hands-on activities inspired by the exhibition, The Light Show. Trace a shadow, make a mirror, play with patterns and create a colorful city. The museum of free for kids under 18 for kids. Have fun learning about artwork with gallery games similar to I spy, bingo, and memory matching with Gallery Games. Create Playdate’s artmaking with little ones is on the second Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. DenverArtMuseum.org.

Winter Family Vacation in Colorado: 50+ New Events, Attractions, Lodging Deals & More

 Coming off of one of the snowiest winters on record, Colorado is buzzing with new developments, lodging offerings, unique adventures and special events for the season ahead. With newsworthy offerings including new lift service and terrain on the state’s storied slopes, the Sopris Splash Zone adventure river, the full immersion dog sled experience, the opening of the highly anticipated U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum and Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, the world premiere of Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature at the Denver Art Museum and an exciting line-up of events and anniversaries, Colorado is the place to be this winter.

Following is a sampling of what’s new in Colorado. 

Exciting New Events, Festivals & Anniversaries:

The Science Behind Pixar Exhibit Debuts at The Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Oct. 11, 2019: This exhibit will provide a unique look into the Pixar process and explore the science and technology behind some of the most beloved animated films and their characters.

Old West Fest, Ridgway, Oct. 11-13, 2019: 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the movie True Grit that was filmed in Ridgway and Ouray County. The first annual Ridgway Old West Fest will celebrate Ridgway’s brief transformation into Fort Smith, Arkansas half a century ago. Festivities will highlight Ridgway’s film, ranching and railroad heritage and celebrate Western arts and culture.

Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature Makes World Premiere in Denver, Oct. 21, 2019 – Feb. 2, 2020: The Denver Art Museum will host the most comprehensive U.S. exhibition of Monet paintings in more than two decades. The exhibition will feature more than 120 paintings that span Monet’s entire career and will highlight the celebrated French impressionist artist’s enduring relationship with nature and his response to the varied and distinct places in which he worked.

Ouray Celebrates 25th Anniversary of the Ouray Ice Festival, Jan. 23-26, 2020This annual ice festival transforms the southwestern town of Ouray into an absolute ice climbing mecca. The Ouray Ice Festival celebrates the growing sport of ice climbing with daily vendor exhibitions, climbing clinics, demo opportunities and the chance to watch some of the world’s best ice and mixed climbing talent compete.

Winter Folk: Music & Photography Showcase Premieres in Longmont, Feb. 7 – March 1, 2020: Winter Folk will take place Friday-Sunday for four consecutive weekends featuring 40 bands such as Brett Dennen, Adam & Ben of Yonder Mountain String Band, Josiah Johnson formerly of the Head & The Heart, Daniel Rodriguez of Elephant Revival and more. The event will also feature multiple photographers in a showcase. Proceeds from the event provide Colorado schools with instruments and allow the Future Arts Foundation to host free youth arts workshops.

The Westin Riverfront’s 10th Mountain Division Ski Trooper Experience, Feb. 18-21, 2020The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa Avon in the Vail Valley will host an exclusive ski weekend with professional skier Chris Anthony to celebrate and explore the incredible history of Colorado’s legendary 10th Mountain Division Ski Troopers. The experience includes guided ski and snowboard days on both Vail and Beaver Creek Mountains, a snowmobile tour of Camp Hale, a visit to Vail’s Colorado Snowsports Museum & Hall of Fame, a private whiskey dinner featuring 10th Mountain Distillery and much more.

Leadville Chosen to Host the 2020 U.S. National Snowshoe Championships, Feb. 28 – March 1, 2020: The highest-elevation city in North America, Leadville, Colo., will host the 2020 U.S. National Snowshoe Championships and will be the highest-elevation competition in the U.S. Nationals’ history. The course passes through lush lodgepole pine forests with unparalleled views of Colorado’s two highest peaks, Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive.

Barstool Racing Returns to Minturn March 2020: Each winter “athletes” affix a pair of skis to the base of a barstool and come out to “race” down a snow-covered course in Minturn, just west of Vail. The rules are simple: If it supports a tush, and rolls downhill then it’s “street” legal.

Enticing New Attractions, Activities & Adventures:

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Opens Water’s Edge: Africa Exhibit: Opening in the fall of 2019, this new exhibit will allow guests to waddle alongside penguins, teeter over a hippo yard on a suspension bridge and view an island of lemurs. Other onsite animal interactions include feeding the largest reticulated giraffe herd in captivity, the resident elephants and even a black rhino. 

Colorado Mountain School Offers New Backcountry Programming: Estes Park’s Colorado Mountain School is expanding its winter programming to include a new multi-day development series combining multiple courses into a structured progression and includes mountaineering and rock climbing and, new for winter 2019, will expand to include ice climbing, backcountry and avalanche training.

Estes Park Rock Climbing to Offer New Elkins Snowshoe Tours: Estes Park Rock Climbing has partnered with the award-winning Elkins Distillery to provide a new exclusive package that includes a four-hour morning snowshoe tour in the picturesque backcountry of Rocky Mountain National Park. After the snowshoe tour, a catered lunch will be provided alongside some of Colorado’s finest whisky.

Glenwood Springs’ Hotel Colorado Offers New Historic Tours: The Hotel Colorado now offers Walk Back in Time Historic Tours guided by the “ghosts” of colorful characters from Glenwood Springs’ past in partnership with The Glenwood Springs Historical Society and Frontier Museum. Each character portrayer will share unique and haunting stories of The Hotel Colorado’s history during a one-hour tour.

Sopris Splash Zone Open at Glenwood Hot Springs: Opened in August 2019, the highly-anticipated Sopris Splash Zone is the family-friendly resort’s newest addition to the hot springs, spa and lodge property in Glenwood Springs. It features a fast-moving adventure river for older kids and adults, and a wade-pool with waterfalls for younger children as well as fountain designed for both play and show. 

First and only U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum and Hall of Fame To Open in Colorado Springs: The $90M project will be the most accessible museum in the world with an array of tailored, high-tech exhibits opening spring 2020. Colorado Springs is home to the U.S. Olympic Committee and Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center.  

Vista Verde Dude & Guest Ranch to Offer New Snoga & Ice Fishing Experiences: New for winter 2020, Vista Verde will debut Snoga in which the ranch’s yoga instructor guides guests on snowshoes for a short hike out to the rustic Homestead cabin, where a cozy fire and yoga mats are ready to go for yoga class. The ranch will also offer guided ice fishing in a heated shelter where guests can either drill their own fishing hole or observe the professionals.

Major Ski Resort News and On-Mountain Improvements:

The winter 2019/20 season welcomes major upgrades to improve the guest experience at ski areas and resorts across Colorado. 

In Breckenridge, the Peak 8 Base Area is being transformed with new escalators, skier services, and amenities including an outdoor ice skating rink.

Both Crested Butte and Mary Jane ski areas are adding new lifts while Steamboat Resort will unveil a new gondola that will increase capacities and decrease ride times. 

Copper Mountain’s new Tucker Mountain lift will unlock access to 273 acres of expert terrain previously serviced by the Tucker snowcat and backcountry hiking. 

Cooper is significantly expanding terrain and will install a new surface lift. The expansion gives guests access to nearly 100 acres of intermediate and, for the first time in its history, truly expert terrain will be available.

Vail Ski Resort will unveil the first phase of an ambitious snowmaking expansion that will create more reliable early- and late-season conditions with high-quality snow. 

Beaver Creek Resort is expanding its snowmaking system at Red Buffalo Park while showcasing a newly renovated Children’s Ski School and a remodeled Village.

Monarch Mountain celebrates its 80th anniversary with more gladed tree skiing and a new kid-friendly, interpretive ski run. 

Guests to Telluride Ski Resort can experience 40 new acres of north-facing gladed terrain around Lift 9 this upcoming winter. This new tree skiing will be for advanced and expert skiers and will also include new natural features like steep chutes and rock drops.

A $4 million expansion has begun at Sunlight Mountain Resort that will expand gladed tree skiing, add five new hike back runs and an additional 500 vertical feet of skiing in the expert only area. When completed, the entire project will feature a new lift and 100 acres of new terrain. 

Powderhorn Resort will welcome a new food and beverage location in its base area, an Umbrella Bar for visitors to sit back and enjoy. Guests will also have the option of staying slope-side in the new tiny home village year-round.

Purgatory Resort will offer free ski and snowboard lessons to all first-time skiers and riders of all ages.

New Lodging Properties and Major Renovations: 

Grand Hyatt Vail Opens: The Grand Hyatt Vail recently opened marking the first in a U.S. mountain resort destination. The 285-room, ski-in/ski-out resort sits at the base of the iconic Vail Mountain on the banks of Gore Creek and offers guests their own ski lift for convenient access to world-class skiing and snowboarding.

Gravity Haus Debuts in Breckenridge: Gravity Haus will debut in December 2019 and is a ski-in/ski-out boutique property in Breckenridge. Designed to activate a community of like-minded outdoor enthusiasts year-round, Gravity Haus will offer ongoing insider experiences ranging from outdoor excursions to social programming and will feature 60 distinctly curated rooms. Onsite amenities at Gravity Haus will include Dryland fitness and a sports recovery center, expert-led backcountry experiences, a super trampoline, farm-to-cup Unravel coffee, nourishing dining at Cabin Juice, Japanese-inspired onsen and more.

The Hotel Colorado Unveils Major Renovations in 2019: The Hotel Colorado is finishing up major renovations to be completed by winter 2020. Under its new ownership, the hotel is remodeling its meeting rooms, guest rooms and common spaces staying true to its history while implementing state-of-the-art improvements. In the process, there have been some significant historic discoveries.

Kinship Landing to Open in Downtown Colorado Springs: Opening in 2020, Kinship Landing is a new hotel concept that will offer what today’s travelers demand: authentic and engaging travel experiences that connect them to the local community. The boutique hotel will feature a community space to talk about the day’s adventures along with lockers equipped with charging stations and available for gear storage, an inviting bar area and more.

New LOGE Breckenridge Hotel Inspires Exploration and Community: Fully opening in fall 2019 and inspired by the surfing, climbing and camping culture of the ‘70s and the relaxed energy of road tripping with friends, LOGE encourages guests to get out and explore together. LOGE Breckenridge features 38 rooms and a 20-bed hostel, meeting space for 48, bar/café, mountain bike and ski demo center, outdoor stage and common area and fire pits, all next door to some of Breckenridge’s best trails.

W Aspen and The Sky Residences at W Aspen Now Open: Opened September 2019, the new W Hotel and Residences in Aspen offers 88 guestrooms and 11 W-branded fractional residences. Conveniently located at the base of Aspen Mountain, the development features a 12,000-square-foot rooftop bar and pool with expansive views of Aspen Mountain as well as unbeatable ski-in/ski-out access. 

The Little Nell Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Remodel: To mark the 30th anniversary of Aspen’s famed Little Nell hotel, the property underwent an interior renovation of the living room, lobby and the après-ski bar called Chair 9. The hotel will celebrate with commemorative events and happenings that will take place throughout the 2019/20 winter season.

New Hostel Style Lodging Now Available at YMCA of The Rockies: New for fall 2019, the YMCA of The Rockies will offer an additional lodging option to their traditional cabins and lodge rooms. The Hostel at Ranch House will allow guests 18+ to book single-beds in shared rooms. Housed in one of the property’s traditional mountain lodges, guests at the Hostel at Ranch House will have access to a full kitchen, shared living areas and bathrooms. Guests also receive a day pass to participate in all of the YMCA’s activities and facilities.

Enticing Lodging Packages & Amenities:

YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch Full Immersion Dog Sled Experience: New for winter 2020, Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby is offering a full immersion dog sled experience that will provide guests instruction and will allow them to work up to a solo sled ride with a team of dogs on the expansive resort property.

First Tracks/Last Tracks at The Limelight Hotels in Aspen & Snowmass: Offering guests the chance to ski/ride freshly groomed corduroy or powder before Snowmass Mountain opens to the public, The Limelight Hotel’s First Tracks program will take place every Friday beginning January 2020. This service is complimentary and available to the first six guests who register. Additionally, the hotel’s Last Tracks program allows guests to join the ski patrol at both Aspen and Snowmass Mountains to be a part of the Patrol’s safety measures that includes a final “sweep” of the mountain.

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Celebrates 30 Years with $30K Package: In celebration of Park Hyatt Beaver Creek’s 30th Anniversary, the property is offering an exclusive $30,000 package for two that will include accommodations in the property’s luxurious 1,760 square foot Rial Oxford Suite, lift tickets for Beaver Creek Mountain, rental equipment and a $3K shopping spree with personal shopper at Gorsuch, cat skiing with Vail Powder Guides, a private butler, a sleigh ride dinner to Beano’s Cabin, spa experiences and much more.

Interesting Food and Beverage Offerings:

Double Barrel Club and Rose & Thorn Open in Denver’s LoDo Neighborhood: Opened in September 2019, Rose & Thorn serves upscale international street food with a Latin emphasis and Agave bar. Guests enjoy flavored artisan ice enhanced cocktails from the world’s first Ice Laboratory and explore mouthwatering culinary delites. Located below Rose & Thorn is a 1950’s rum speakeasy where visitors experience the feel and taste of old Havana.

The Collective Opens in Snowmass: The winter 2019/2020 season brings the completion of a build out of the interior of The Collective Snowmass – the Base Village’s new community center. The project includes the construction on mixsix, a new restaurant, bar and outdoor patio by acclaimed Aspen chef Martin Oswald.

.La Nonna Opens in Vail: Executive Chef Simone Reatti serves up authentic Italian fare in his recently opened restaurant La Nonna Ristorante. Nonna, which means grandma in Italian, is both a name and inspiration for Chef Reatti as his own grandmother introduced him to cooking.

Maine Shack Now Open in Denver’s LoHi Neighborhood: Opened in July 2019, Maine Shack is a coastal seafood joint inspired by chef and owner Max Mackissock’s New England roots. The menu offers lobster rolls, New England specialties and more, showcasing a variety of ingredients sourced from the Gulf of Maine. 

Pikes Peak Brewing Company to expand to Colorado Springs: Pikes Peak Brewing Company will expand into downtown Colorado Springs with the establishment of its Lager House, anchoring a new market concept. Lager House will produce small batch, hand crafted lagers and will also offer signature beers from the original brewery established in Monument in 2011. The market will be a community of independent Colorado businesses collectively offering a place to eat, drink, shop and connect.

Sam’s Debuts at the Top of Snowmass Mountain: New for the winter season, Aspen Snowmass introduces a new Italian restaurant located at 10,620 feet at the top of Sam’s Knob on Snowmass. The new restaurant, aptly named Sam’s, is a modern Italian concept that will offer diners sweeping views of the Elk Mountains and a sophisticated, lively dining experience.

Sunday Vinyl to Open Fall 2019: From James Beard Foundation Award-winning team of Frasca Inc., including Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey and chef Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson, Sunday Vinyl will open fall 2019 in Denver. Inspired by Europe’s vibrant wine bar culture and by Stuckey’s tradition of drinking great wines and listening to an eclectic soundtrack of vinyl albums on Sunday, his day off, Sunday Vinyl will offer a large by-the-glass wine program, a streamlined menu of European classics, and a boisterous vinyl-only playlist curated by Stuckey in partnership with Vinyl Me Please.

Tributary Food Hall & Drinkery Opens in Golden: Opened in August 2019, Tributary Food Hall & Drinkery brings eight carefully curated food and beverage artisans to the heart of downtown Golden. A new concept from celebrated chef Daniel Asher and restaurateur Josh Dinar, Tributary is the town’s first food hall and offers inspired cuisine for diners to sit and savor in a cool, hip environment.

Major News on the Horizon for Spring/Summer 2020 and Into 2021:

Denver Art Museum to Collaborate with Award-Winning Chef, Jen Jasinki on New Restaurant ConceptsOpening in June 2020 and coinciding with the first reopening phase of the DAM’s Martin Building, The Denver Art Museum will debut two new dining options in collaboration with  James Beard Award winner and celebrated Denver chef Jennifer Jasinski. The Ponti will combine art and dining, presenting a locally-sourced and inspired menu with high standards of sustainability. Cafe Gio will offer quick-service, casual dining.

Flying W Ranch to Reopen in Colorado Springs Memorial Day Weekend 2020: After a complete loss during the Waldo Canyon Fire, this western Chuckwagon supper and dinner theater returns to the Pikes Peak region. The brand-new venue will feature the area’s best BBQ and performances by the acclaimed Flying W Wranglers.

The Sheraton Denver Downtown to Undergo $80M Transformation: Slated to debut in April 2020, the Sheraton Denver Downtown has kicked off a transformation that will touch all aspects of the hotel including a new arrival experience, 133,000 square feet in renovated meeting space and 1,231 newly redesigned guest rooms as well as new, world-class culinary and beverage experiences.

Copper Mountain to Welcome Its First Hotel in 2020: Center Village at Copper Mountain will welcome a new hotel in 2020. The anticipated four-story hotel will have 127 guest rooms and offer a mix of two queen beds, king beds and suites. 

MeowWolf Comes to Denver in 2021: Santa Fe’s lauded arts and entertainment group, MeowWolf, will be opening a new immersive arts experience in Denver in 2021. Meow Wolf is comprised of over 300 employees creating and supporting art across a variety of media, including architecture, sculpture, painting, photography, video production, cross-reality (AR/VR/MR), music, audio engineering, narrative writing, costuming and performance.

New Pikes Peak Summit House Experience To Open in 2021: Pikes Peak is one of the nation’s most iconic mountains and inspired Katharine Lee Bates to pen the words to “America the Beautiful.” The new 38,000-square-foot Pikes Peak Summit House complex will include a newly designed and constructed Summit Visitor Center, elevating the experience for visitors who summit the peak via car, bicycle or foot.

Pikes Peak Cog Railway To Reopen in 2021: The Pikes Peak Cog Railway will reopen after a multi-year hiatus for repairs in 2021. The Pikes Peak Cog Railway is one of Colorado Springs’ top attractions and since 1891, has taken thousands of people to the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak.

For more information and travel ideas, visit www.COLORADO.com.

62 family events in Denver this week

Fun events this week include Lights of December Parade, Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas and the Oxford Hotel Dolls’ Tea!  See our event calendar for more information.

Also, don’t miss Family Travel: 40+ Holiday Vacation Ideas in Colorado and Denver guide to the holidays: Santa Arrivals & Christmas events!

Fetch Holiday Markets at Denver Sports Castle 
Nov 30  – Dec 15 
‘Tis the Season to be Shopping.at the Fetch Holiday Markets! Remember The Denver Flea? What about last year’s Union Station Holiday Market? Both us! We’re still here — just rebranded and ready for another unforgettable holiday season at The Denver Sports Castle.

The Nutcracker at Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Nov 30  – Dec 29 
Audiences simply can’t get enough of Colorado Ballet’s acclaimed production of The Nutcracker. Returning for its 59th season, this beloved holiday favorite sells out every year. Experience this whimsical trip to the sugar plum kingdom where magical dances come alive. Secure your seats early for this holiday tradition as most performances fill up prior to opening night.

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at The Buell Theatre 
Dec 3  – Dec 7
Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical returns to Denver to steal Christmas after a blockbuster debut in 2014. More than 2.5 million theatre-goers across America have been delighted by this heart-warming holiday musical, featuring the hit songs “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas” from the original animated TV special. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small,” decides to steal Christmas away from the holiday loving Whos.

The Polar Express at Colorado Railroad Museum 
Dec 4 –  8 
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!

A Very Vintage Holiday Show at Denver Arts & Venues
Dec 5  –  21 
This delightful show is a tribute to Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters, during the nostalgic White Christmas era. A Very Vintage Holiday blends upbeat vocal harmonies and engaging showmanship with a little bit of comedy and plenty of nostalgic holiday tunes to provide festive entertainment for all ages. Featuring The Denver Dolls and special guests, this show will warm any Colorado heart on even the coldest winter day!

Disney on Ice: Mickey’s Search Party at Pepsi Center 
Dec 5  –  8 
Join Mickey Mouse and his friends at Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party, a brand-new adventure filled with world-class skating, high-flying acrobatics and unexpected stunts! Make memories with your whole family during Aladdin, Toy Story and The Little Mermaid as the search party becomes an all-out magical celebration on the ice, in the air, and all around! *Note: Costumes not permitted for guests 14 years & older.

A Broadway Christmas Carol at CU Presents, University Theatre 
Dec 5 –  8 
What the Dickens happened to Scrooge? He sings (show tunes), he dances (time steps and classic Fosse), he turns into a ham (and we’re not talking spiral-cut). In an event that’s perfect for both the young and young at heart, Charles Dickens’ famous festive tale is whipped into a holidaze confection, peppered with hilarious parodies of dozens of your favorite Broadway songs.

SKEA Sample Sale at SKEA Limited 
Dec 5 –  7
Join us at our warehouse in Golden for our semi-annual sample sale and knock out some Holiday shopping! Our three-day sample sale will have tons of ski and outerwear styles, both brand new and vintage! Shop parkas, jackets, ski pants, sweaters, vests, accessories, and more! Limited availability of kids and men’s ski pants and parkas.

Free Day at Museo de las Americas
Dec 6, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Located in the heart of the Art District on Santa Fe, Museo de las Americas is the premier Latin American art museum in the Rocky Mountain region. Museo de las Americas is dedicated to educate our community through collecting, preserving, interpreting and exhibiting the diverse arts and cultures of the Americas from ancient to contemporary, through innovative exhibitions and programs.

Holiday Fair & Artisan Market at The Denver Waldorf School 
Dec 6  –  7
Ring in a heart-warming holiday season at our 45th annual Holiday Fair at The Denver Waldorf School- join us during two days of festivities and shopping! On Friday, December 6, come enjoy our UnWined Artisan Market and Toy & Book Sale, an adults-only evening with live music, beer & wine, and shopping among more than 50 hand-selected artisans featuring unique, holistic, hand-made treasures and food.

A Candlelight Christmas at First United Methodist Church 
Dec 6  – 7 
Join the Larimer Chorale and guest artists in a unique surround-sound presentation of holiday pageantry and wonder, featuring season music for accompanied and unaccompanied voices and the Chorale’s signature candle-lighting vignette.

Englewood Holiday Express at Englewood Farm and Train at Belleview Park
Dec 6  –  7 
Join us for the third annual Englewood Holiday Express event this winter. The Englewood Farm and Train will be transformed into the North Pole with festive lights and decorations to create the essential Winter Wonderland experience. Visit Santa in his workshop and drop off your wish list, but only if you’ve been nice this year! Then sit down by our open fire, enjoy a hot drink, and roast some s’mores. Be sure to enjoy unlimited train rides and the beautiful lights all evening.

Christmas Lights of Denver at History Colorado Center 
Dec 6 @ 4:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Come enjoy the history and beauty of Denver’s holiday lights with History Colorado! It’s all aboard a comfortable, heated bus as we drive through some of the Denver area’s most beautiful neighborhoods. Your host will delight and entertain you with stories of Denver’s holiday lore. We design a new route for this annual event every year, so join us for some unexpected lighting surprises! Includes cookies, hot chocolate and bus transportation.

Brewery Lights at Anheuser-Busch Biergarten and Tour Center 
Dec 6  – Dec 8 
The holiday lights are lit, the cocoa is hot, and the 30-foot inflatable snowman is back – it’s beginning to look a lot like Brewery Lights at the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten and Tour Center in Fort Collins! The fifth annual Brewery Lights celebration begins Nov. 15, with guests of all ages invited to spread holiday cheer at a variety of festive activities during the wonderful holiday experience.

Colorado Christmas Adventure at Mission H620 Southpark Dr., Littleton, CO 80120
Dec 6  –  7 
The Colorado Christmas Adventure, presented by Mission Hills Church, is a free, family-friendly event featuring Christmas stories and characters, a gingerbread house display and competition, live musical performances, kids crafts, cookie decorating, and much more. Kids of all ages will be surprised and delighted to find exciting activities around every corner.

Lakewood Lights at Lakewood Heritage Center 
Dec 6  –  7
Gather your friends, family and neighbors for this annual celebration! Join us for a tree lighting ceremony, then enjoy a stroll among the light displays or hop on a wagon ride, listen to festive live music and warm up with roasted chestnuts and hot chocolate. Spin the dreidel to get coin-shaped chocolate gelt. Snap a photo with jolly old Santa Claus or craft an ornament to commemorate this happy holiday.

9News Parade of Lights at Downtown Denver 
Dec 6  –  7 
The 9NEWS Parade of Lights is a magical nighttime event, which features more than 40 units including extravagantly illuminated floats, giant helium-filled character balloons, magnificent marching bands, traditional equestrian units and vibrant cultural entries. Join us at Civic Center Park!

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians at Bug Company Theater 
Dec 6 – 7 
Martians’ ruler is upset that the children of Mars are lazy and under the influence of too much pop culture from Earth – they are obsessed with the planet’s television programs and don’t want to do much of anything. In an attempt to pep the kids up again, he orders the kidnapping of Santa Claus, hoping the jolly old toymaker will know how to cheer Martian children up again.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians at Bug Theatre Company 
Dec 6  – 7 
Martians’ ruler is upset that the children of Mars are lazy and under the influence of too much pop culture from Earth – they are obsessed with the planet’s television programs and don’t want to do much of anything. In an attempt to pep the kids up again, he orders the kidnapping of Santa Claus, hoping the jolly old toymaker will know how to cheer Martian children up again. After two Earth children are also nabbed, complicating things for the Martian Ruler, chaos ensues! Part film, part live stage production, you won’t want to miss this hilarious new adaptation of the classic 1964 cult holiday hit!

Sensory Santa at Southlands Shopping Center
Dec 7,  8:00 am – 6:30 pm
A specially trained Santa who works with those with sensory-processing disorders, autism and those with sensory sensitivities will be at the Southlands Shopping Center to talk with those kids who can benefit from lower lights, quieter music and less activity. It is the only location in the state to offer this service.

Breakfast with Santa at Downtown Aquarium 
Dec 7 –  8 
Santa is stopping by the Aquarium this holiday season! Dine with him and our mascot, Sharkey, and enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet, exhibit discounts and more!

Inside the Orchestra’s Christmas Tiny Tots Concerts at Cielo at Castle Pines 
Dec 7, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
Tiny Tots gets children truly inside the orchestra by seating the audience on the floor and surrounding them with a 30+ piece orchestra. Designed for children six and under, this 45-minute program gives young ones the chance to interact with the music and learn about the instruments in the process.

Free Day at Denver Art Museum 
Dec 7, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
General admission to the Denver Art Museum is FREE to all youth age 18 and under every day, granting more kids access to art than ever before. General admission is free on the first Saturday of the month thanks to Your 6 Hometown Toyota Stores and the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD).

Thornton Arts and Culture Division (ArtsThornton) at Margaret W. Carpenter Recreation Center – Multipurpose Room
Dec 7. 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
ArtsThornton presents its annual Art For Less Than $100 (Art4<$100) winter show to support local artists and to encourage Thornton residents to shop locally for holiday gifts. Two dozen artists are expected to exhibit and sell their artwork in various sizes, styles and materials. Cash and credit cards accepted for art purchases. Refreshments will also be provided at this family-friendly event. All are welcome to dress in holiday attire and share the spirit of the season. Admission and parking is free.

Swedish Christmas Market at Calvary Baptist Church 
Dec 7, 10:30 am – 3:00 pm
Swedish Christmas Market – An Authentic Holiday Celebration. Come celebrate the holiday season with Swedish foods, unique gifts and crafts, Swedish candy, musical entertainment and activities for the children: Enjoy glögg and gingerbread cookies (included with entrance fee) in a for the season beautifully decorated room. Visit the café that offers open-face sandwiches, waffles, and other traditional foods, and bring home delicacies like lussekatter, cinnamon buns and limpa-bread.

The Gentle Nutcracker at Vance Brand Civic Auditorium 
Dec 7, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
The Longmont Symphony Orchestra and the Boulder Ballet present a sensory-friendly abridged version of Tchaikovsky’s beloved Nutcracker Ballet for individuals with special needs and their families.

Holly Jolly Lowry Holiday at Eisenhower Chapel 
Dec 7, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
The Lowry Foundation is hosting a free family holiday open house in the historic Eisenhower Chapel, celebrating many cultures and religious denominations. Visit with Santa from 2:30-4:30 p.m.; photos will be available. Enjoy local choirs, kids’ crafts, refreshments, and a giving tree.

The Nutcracker with Ballet Ariel at Lakewood Cultural Center 
Dec 7 – Dec 15
Ballet Ariel’s imaginative and winsome interpretation of The Nutcracker returns at the height of the holiday season to the Lakewood Cultural Center. Tickets are on sale now.
Ballet Ariel’s professional company and 30 students from the Ballet Ariel School and Lakewood Dance Academy brilliantly perform this eternal classic. Directed by Ilena Norton and Oleg Dedogryuk, Ballet Ariel’s The Nutcracker once again defines the season.

Holiday Family Sing-along, A Time of Wonder at Augustana Lutheran Church
Dec 7, 2:30 – 5:00 pm
It’s the time of year for cookies, cocoa, and the best holiday deal for families! The Colorado Women’s and Men’s Chorales, joined again this year by Kent Jones and the Colorado Saints Chorale, will be performing one of our most fantastic shows of the year for a bargain price. Our annual Family Holiday Sing-Along offers a beautiful choral concert followed by a holiday festival with games, cookie decorating, and photos with Santa Claus himself.

Lights of December Parade at  Downtown Boulder 
Dec 7, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Spectators are invited to enjoy floats created and decorated by local businesses, churches, schools, and civic groups. The grand finale includes an appearance by the jolly old man himself – Santa Claus!

Lone Tree Symphony Presents a Very Cherry Christmas at Lone Tree Arts Center 
Dec 7 –  8
The symphony will perform your favorite holiday music with a cherry on top! In December, the LTSO and Cherry Creek Chorale join together to put you in the holiday spirit with Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from The Messiah, plus lovely choral tunes such as “Ocho Kandelikas,” “Jingle Bells,” and more. Join them for a Very Cherry Christmas!

Free Day at Denver Museum of Nature & Science 
Dec 8, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Museum Admission is free on the dates listed below. To add a temporary exhibit, IMAX or Planetarium show, purchase tickets at the Museum on the Free Day; upgrade rates apply. Reservations and amenities (lunchroom, coat and lunch storage, bus drop off, etc.) for school groups are not available on SCFD Community Free Days.

Low-sensory Morning at Downtown Aquarium 
Dec 8, 8:30 am – 9:45 am
For our guests that prefer a calmer and more sensory-friendly environment join us for a special morning. We will open early at 8:30am, turn up the lights and turn down the ambient sounds in the exhibits. Stay as long as you would like.

Oxford Hotel Dolls’ Tea 
Dec 8, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Experience one of Denver’s favorite family traditions this holiday season with The Oxford Hotel Dolls’ Tea Party on Sunday, Dec. 8th. Held for more than 50 years at LoDo’s most historic boutique hotel, The Oxford Dolls’ Tea is a classic tea party featuring tea, sandwiches, hot cocoa and treats. Children are encouraged to bring their favorite doll along to enjoy the festivities.

Celtic Woman: The Best of Christmas Tour at  Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex 
Dec 8, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Celebrate this holiday season with the celestial voices of multi-platinum Irish singing sensation Celtic Woman with your Colorado Symphony. Featuring music from the all-female ensemble’s most favorite Yuletide songs performed by them over the years. Prepare for an enchanting and festive evening filled with mesmerizing music, performance, and holiday cheer.

Scotty Wiese Mile High Magic at  Bovine Metropolis Theater 
Dec 8, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Mile High Magic is an unforgettable theater experience presented by world-renowned magician Scotty Wiese. What makes Mile High Magic so unique is the tremendous way Scotty blends magic and his life experiences to tell stories, form a community, and motivate others to chase their own dreams.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Calgary Flames @ Pepsi Center 
Dec 9, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Colorado Avalanche vs. Calgary Flames live at the Pepsi Center!

ONGOING EVENTS

Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens
Nov. 29, 2019 – Jan. 3, 2020
IThe Gardens’ signature event for over three decades, this annual holiday lights extravaganza transforms our York Street location into a twinkling winter wonderland. With fresh and exciting new features, along with some fan favorites, this year’s display is brighter and more expansive than ever before. Join us for this family-friendly event that has become a holiday tradition for thousands of Front Range families. botanicgardens.org

Santa’s Village at Chatfield Farms
Nov. 29 – Dec. 15
Santa and his friends transform Chatfield Farms into a magical village! Hop on the hayride to catch a short movie at Santa’s Cinema or walk under the magical light displays. Stop at Elf Boulevard to drop off your letters to Santa. Let the kids play in a real elf house and see the elves hard at work. Enter a life-size snow globe.www.botanicgardens.org

Fetch Holiday Markets at Denver Sports Castle
Nov. 30 – Dec. 15
For three weekends this winter, that gigantic, historic building on Broadway will be your home for all things holly-jolly. This is so much more than shopping, though. We’re filling it with festive drinks, activities, and gifts for everyone on your list! It’s going to be the kind of Christmas party you wish your company could throw — with hundreds of makers, artists, creators and YOU. thisisfetch.com/holiday-markets

A Christmas Carol at Simpich Showcase
Nov. 8 – Dec. 4
A CHRISTMAS CAROL’s timeless narrative is brought to life with sparkling vitality on the Simpich stage with over twenty handmade marionette actors animated by Dickens himself. In this original adaptation by puppeteer David Simpich, Ebenezer Scrooge is launched into and transformed by a night of delightful and poignant Christmas remembrances and foreboding forecasts. The outcome is both a continuing inspiration and celebration of the Promise of the Season. tickets.vendini.com

Camp Christmas at the Hangar at Stanley Marketplace
Nov. 21, 2019 – Jan 5, 2020
Not for the faint of festivity, this over-the-top indoor immersive installation turns the holiday spirit all the way up with mesmerizing displays of decorations that shift time and reality. Camp Christmas is Denver’s newest holiday experience, where yuletide traditions of the past and present get merrily mashed together in a massive 10,000-square-foot wonderland. It’s not just pretty lights and mistletoe. denvercenter.org

A Christmas Carol – The Musical  at Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities
Nov. 22, 2019 – Dec 22, 2019
Bring the whole family to enjoy this holiday classic,  Charles Dickens’ classic tale takes us on a journey to the past, present and future this holiday season! With music by Alan Menken ( Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid ) and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime, Seussical ), this musical version of curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge’s life and ultimate redemption is the perfect holiday tradition for the entire family. christkindlmarketdenver.com

A Hudson Christmas
Nov. 29 – Dec. 31
A Hudson Christmas has become a holiday tradition for thousands of families and friends from across the Denver area! Walk arm-in-arm with loved ones at this winter wonderland decorated with thousands of outdoor lights. Explore the trails where bursts of light and color wrap around trees, shimmer on bodies of water, illuminate happy faces, and bring a twinkle to your eye. Share your holiday wish list with Santa Claus, watch Christmas trees dance to holiday music, sip a steaming cup of hot chocolate, and stop for photo opportunities along the way. www.altitudetickets.com

The Nutcracker at Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Nov. 30 -Dec. 29
Audiences simply can’t get enough of Colorado Ballet’s acclaimed production of The Nutcracker. Returning for its 59th season, this beloved holiday favorite sells out every year. Experience this whimsical trip to the sugar plum kingdom where magical dances come alive. Secure your seats early for this holiday tradition as most performances fill up prior to opening night. tickets.coloradoballet.org

Christkindl Market at Skyline Park
Nov 22, 2019 – Dec 23, 2019
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!

Ella Enchanted at the Arvada Center
October 11-December 29, 2019
Join Ella as we journey to the fairytale land of Frell on a path to self-discovery! The stage musical of Ella Enchanted has recently been adapted from the beloved Newbery Honor book by Gail Carson Levine. Ella must navigate her world with the “gift” of complete obedience given by her misguided fairy godmother. Adventures will ensue with ogres, giants, elves, wicked stepsisters, and true friends that help Ella find her voice! These whimsical characters make this a captivating tale for children and adults of all ages. arvadacenter.org/ella-enchanted

Christmas in Color at Water World
Nov. 22 – Jan. 4
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. www.showclix.com

Night Light Denver at the Daniels & Fisher Tower
Nov. 7 – Jan. 31, 2020
The Denver Theatre District’s ongoing, year-round projection mapping installation will be projected on the Arapahoe Street side of the Daniels & Fisher Tower every Thursday through Saturday evening. Night Lights Denver will include rotating content, designed by artists and the community, featuring a wide range of art. nightlightsdenver.com

Mile High Tree
Nov. 30 – Jan. 31
Denver’s holiday season just got bigger and brighter with the spectacular new Mile High Tree! Experience the Mile High Tree by stepping inside this brilliantly lit, 110-foot tall immersive holiday tree, opening November 30 in Sculpture Park at Denver Performing Arts Complex – free every evening for the whole family! Amazing lights and music shows take place every 30 minutes along with holiday treats, drinks and photo ops. www.denver.org/milehighholidays/tree

Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park
Nov. 26, 2019 – Feb 16, 2020
The Downtown Denver Partnership proudly invites you and your family to join us at the Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park – Downtown’s destination for fun this winter. Winter of 2019 celebrates one decade of the Downtown Denver Rink which offers free ice skating seven days a week from November to February.  Entry is free! Skate rentals are $7 for kids 12 & under and $9 for adults 13 & older. Purchase your season pass at the Rink for $35 for kids 12 and under and $50 for adults. Skaters are welcome to bring their own skates.

Goodnight Moon at the DPAC/The Randy Weeks Conservatory Theatre
October 4, 2019 – February 16, 2020
A musical twist on the beloved bedtime story. For the past 72 years, families around the world have made Goodnight Moon a part of their bedtime ritual. Now, the beloved children’s book comes to life on stage for a musical adventure! As the clock strikes seven o’clock, it’s time for Bunny to go to sleep. Say goodnight with magical moments filled with songs, kittens and mittens, bears and chairs, a red balloon, a quiet old lady, and – of course – the moon in this delightful tale. denvercenter.org

Zoo Lights: Illuminated with Life
Nov. 29 – Dec 30
Zoo Lights celebrates its 29th year as one of Denver’s most beloved and popular holiday traditions. To protect the magic of the season tickets are limited by date and issued for a one-hour entry time window. Most evenings sell out in advance and tickets will not be available at the door for evenings that sell out. www.denverzoo.org/events/zoolights/

Denver Pavilions’ Holiday Carousel at 16th Street Mall and Glenarm Place
Dec. 20 – Jan. 2
The Denver Pavilions’ Holiday Carousel returns to Downtown Denver. This year the Blue Knights Brass Ensemble will kick off the season with a free performance in front of the carousel at 2 pm on Sat. December 21. Rides will be offered for a nominal fee of $3 or free with a voucher from any Denver Pavilions’ merchant or community partner. Food Bank of the Rockies has once again been chosen as Denver Pavilions’ designated charity partner for the attraction. Partial proceeds from rides will be donated to this vital charity within the community that helps fight food insecurity in the area. denverpavilions.com

Olde Golden Christmas
Nov. 30 – Dec. 31
Each year during the holiday season, Golden takes a step back in time. Back to a simpler time of strong family traditions and small-town holiday celebrations. The authentic and historic main street of Golden will be the central festive location for Olde Golden Christmas, a city-wide, month-long celebration from November 30th to December 31st including a candlelight walk, holiday art market, live theater, a dazzling light display along Clear Creek, Santa encounters, shopping, dining, and so much more. visitgolden.com/olde-golden-christmas/

A Very Vintage Holiday Show at The Galleria at the Arts Complex
Dec. 5-21
This delightful show is a tribute to Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters, during the nostalgic White Christmas era. A Very Vintage Holiday blends upbeat vocal harmonies and engaging showmanship with a little bit of comedy and plenty of nostalgic holiday tunes to provide festive entertainment for all ages. Featuring The Denver Dolls and special guests, this show will warm any Colorado heart on even the coldest winter day!  These are FREE events presented by The Next Stage NOW. www.artscomplex.com

  Extreme Sports: Beyond Human Limits at Denver Museum of Nature and Science
September 13, 2019 – April 12, 2020
“Extreme Sports: Beyond Human Limits” takes guests inside the minds and bodies of extreme athletes to explore the psychology, physiology and physicality of some of the most extreme activities in the world. In this high-energy exhibition, guests experience the thrill of extreme sports in exciting, interactive exhibits and immersive environments. Meet passionate athletes, hear their incredible stories and take in the artistry, motivation and thoughtfulness that goes into everything they do. dmns.org
 
Tiger Encounter at the Denver Zoo
Nov. 8 – Dec. 31, 2019
Experience The EDGE through the eyes of a tiger! This tour will take you behind the scenes at The Edge, Denver Zoo’s Amur tiger exhibit. You will get an up close view of a training session with one of The Edge’s resident tigers and learn from animal care experts about what they do every day to ensure that these cats receive the best care. You’ll be in awe of the amazing relationship animal care staff have with these 400-pound furry felines! Please note that because of safety regulations, guests will not receive direct contact with the tigers, but rather will get a closer look than public perspective allows with exclusive access and interactions. denverzoo.org
 
Christmas at Gaylord Rockies
Nov 22, 2019 – Jan 5, 2020
The season-long experience will include ICE! featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a larger-than-life ice sculpture adventure; exclusive Cirque Dreams Holidaze theatrical performances; ice skating, tubing and bumper cars; a Naughty or Nice Escape Room; character breakfast; family-friendly activities; and themed décor with an impressive holiday light display. marriott.com
 
Images from the Tracks at the Colorado Railroad Museum
January 28, 2019 – January 5, 2020
One of the foremost photographers to photograph the great American West, William Henry Jackson’s images had an immense influence on the public’s perception of the American West. A portion of those images were captured here in Colorado as Jackson traveled throughout the west by rail. This exhibit not only showcases the Museum’s collection of Jackson photographs but provides visitors with the opportunity to visit the rail car he traveled and lived in – the Denver & Rio Grande Western business car – the Rico.

Marine Biologist for a Day at the Downtown Aquarium
Jan 1- Dec 31, 2019
See if you have what it takes to become a Marine Biologist! Spend a day behind the scenes where all the scientific action happens. Experience close encounters with exotic species from the deep sea to shallow reef and everywhere in between. You’ll even get to dissect a squid! Program includes guided tour, biologist dive show, squid dissection, animal feedings and much more! T-shirts & lunch included.

First Light Family Space at the Denver Art Museum
June 1-Dec. 31, 2019
Step into the shining world of the new First Light Family Space and try hands-on activities inspired by the exhibition, The Light Show. Trace a shadow, make a mirror, play with patterns and create a colorful city. The museum of free for kids under 18 for kids. Have fun learning about artwork with gallery games similar to I spy, bingo, and memory matching with Gallery Games. Create Playdate’s artmaking with little ones is on the second Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. DenverArtMuseum.org.

Colorado’s Top Holiday Markets

All the delights of the winter season can be experienced at Colorado’s specialty markets, where Santa makes regular appearances, handcrafted gifts overshadow items bought at the mall and sweet treats abound. We have several versions of the holiday bazaar, including ones modeled after old-fashioned markets in Europe and others that offer modern twists on the tradition. 

EUROPEAN-STYLE MARKETS

Enter a wonderland where vendors sell gifts in rustic wooden stalls, choirs croon joyful tunes and be-scarfed patrons sip mulled cider.

Denver Christkindl Market, Nov. 22–Dec. 23, 2019

Skyline Park is transformed into a miniature German village during this favorite Denver event, where Bavarian musicians play classic carols and dance-worthy melodies, and vendors dish up specialties served at traditional German Christmas markets, including baked apples, gingerbread biscuits, charcoal-grilled sausages and, of course, spicy mulled wine (gluehwein).

Pick up cuckoo clocks, beer steins and other imported gifts for your loved ones, and sip gluehwein (something that might result in you picking up even more clocks and steins than you originally planned) as you get lost in the twinkling landscape. For more festive fun, stroll to Skyline Park’s Southwest Rink for some ice skating.

Georgetown Christmas Market, Dec. 7–8 and 15–16, 2019

Historic Georgetown’s old-school charm is enhanced at one of the state’s most cherished wintertime traditions. At the market, horse-drawn wagon rides take patrons through snow-blanketed streets past decorated storefronts; a Victorian-robed St. Nicholas greets rosy-cheeked tots who never whine or cry, and stalls feature handicrafts by local artisans.

A giant lit-up tree, the harmonic voices of choirs and views of the snow-dusted mountains above add to the dreamy scene. For the ultimate experience, take a Christmas museum tour of the Hamill House or Hotel de Paris, or book a special holiday-themed ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad.

OTHER HOLIDAY-SHOPPING EVENTS IN COLORADO

From winter produce to works by respected Colorado artists, these less-traditional markets boast local treasures and merry entertainment. 

Colorado Springs Sugar Plum Food & Gift Mart, Oct. 19–20, 2019

At the largest gift show of its kind in Colorado Springs, adults can peruse booths selling gourmet food, artwork, jewelry, seasonal décor and more, while little ones visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and walk through a “Winter Wonderland” display.

Winter Market & Holiday Fair in Eagle, Nov. 16, 2019

You’ll find everything from handmade crafts to culinary delights and beauty products at this Eagle gift fair. Bring your kids (and your dogs) to pose for Santa photos. Face-painting and adult beverages make this event fun for all. 

Holiday Art Market at Olde Golden Christmas, Nov. 18–Dec. 29, 2019

More than 100 Colorado artists show off their prized works at Golden’s Foothills Art Center, where you can browse for jewelry, ceramics, glass, photography, paintings and more. Other notable festivities include a parade with Newfoundland dog-cart rides for kids (as if they were the only ones to appreciate a dog parade!), candlelight walk and more.

Denver Botanic Gardens Winter Gift Market, Nov. 21–23, 2019

Wander Denver Botanic Gardens‘ peaceful grounds before browsing speciality vendors at this holiday extravaganza. Shop for frangrant herbal vinegars and seasonings (made from hand-picked herbs grown right at the Gardens), specialty foods, bath and body products, as well as antiques. 

Grand Junction Holiday Art and Craft Fair, Nov. 22–24, 2019

Head to Grand Junction for holiday goodies at The Art Center‘s annual fundraiser. Stock up on delicious jams and jellies, hand-knit socks, paitings and ornaments for under the tree. Then amble through The Art Center’s exhibits gallery for more Western Colorado artists.

Telluride Arts Holiday Bazaar, Nov. 29–Dec. 1, 2019

Join this lively holiday tradition at Telluride‘s Elk’s Lodge, with three days of celebratory cheer, fine crafts, artisan jewelry, gourmet food, clothing, ceramics and more. All gifts are handmade. Always happening the first weekend in December, the bazaar kicks off Telluride’s rambunctious holiday season for visitors and locals alike. 

Fetch Holiday Market, Nov. 30–Dec. 1, Dec. 6–8 and Dec. 13–15, 2019

Walk through Denver’s historic Sports Castle while sampling crafts from hundreds of Colorado’s best makers and artisans this holiday season. With four weekends of fun, the Fetch Holiday Market has something for everyone on your list. Enjoy live music and plenty of eats and drinks at this shopping wonderland hosted by the oh-so-hip Fetch

Boulder County Farmers Markets Winter Market, Dec. 7–8, 2019

Some of the best farmers and artisans on the Front Range bring their coolest goods to this bustling market at Longmont’s Boulder County Fairgrounds. Nibble on freshly baked cookies and other treats while you visit booths featuring works by more than 50 artists and tons of vendors selling organic veggies, honey, wine, coffee and more. Enjoy free giftwrapping, live music and kids’ activities. 

Holiday Market at Durango Farmers Market, Dec. 14, 2019

Groove to live music at La Plata County Fairgrounds as you shop for locally farmed meats, produce and cheeses to spice up your upcoming holiday gorging. Then, grab some coffee and have your photo taken with performers in Victorian-era garb.

Christmas Craft Fair at Cripple Creek’s Gold Camp Christmas, Dec. 13–14, 2019

Craft-rusty individuals seeking handmade gifts will hit the jackpot at this unique Cripple Creek celebration, where shopping opportunities include the bazaar, Sugar Plum Gift Shop and Elf Emporium. Don’t miss the Gold Camp Holiday Headframe Lighting, when the headframes (towers above underground mine shafts) at area mines are illuminated.

Minturn Winter Market, Dec. 7 and 14, 2019

Crackling bonfires, s’mores and carolers add pizzazz to the Minturn Market, a summer farmers’ market that becomes a winter delight for two Saturdays in December. From woodwork to homemade fudge, shoppers won’t be disappointed with the vendors, most of which are dedicated to using local ingredients and materials. 

Want More?

Read more about cold-weather celebrations in Colorado, including winter festivals, carnivals and competitions and holiday-lighting fun for additional ways to herald the season.

Colorado.com. Photo Credit: Denver Christkindl Market 

55 family-friendly events in Denver this week

The holidays are in full swing with Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, the Grand Illumination, Zoo Lights and more. See our event calendar for more information. Don’t miss our Denver Guide to the Holidays and 40+ Holiday Vacation Ideas in Colorado

Colorado Avalanche vs. Edmonton Oilers at the Pepsi Center 
Nov 27, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Colorado Avalanche vs. Edmonton Oilers live at the Pepsi Center!

Arvada Fair for the Band at the Arvada High School 
Nov 29 – 30 
Join us for the 3rd Annual Arvada Fair for the Band, handmade arts and craft fair at Arvada High School. Fine art, quality crafts, seasonal gifts, food, student musical performances, children’s’ craft area, and much more.

Jefferson Park Farm & Flea at Jefferson Park Neighborhood 
Nov 29
The Jefferson Park Farm & Flea is an urban marketplace dedicated to bringing the community the best food, handmade items, vintage finds, quality produce and urban homesteading goods and information. See website for times.

Clyfford Still Museum Family Tour at Clyfford Still Museum 
Nov 29, 10:30 – 11:30 am
Play, create, and explore on these interactive tours with trained Clyfford Still Museum gallery teachers. During the Still: Elemental, exhibition, Family Tours explore four of the five elements (earth, air, water, and fire) using all our senses. Bring the whole family and join us for these special art adventures.

Stapleton Holiday Bazaar at Northfield Stapleton 
Nov 29 – Dec 1 
Get your Holiday Shopping lists ready because the Stapleton Holiday BAZAAR is returning to The Shops at Northfield Stapleton for a full weekend this year!

The Nutcracker with Boulder Ballet at Macky Auditorium 
Nov 29  – Dec 1 
Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, Gary Lewis, conductor. A Boulder tradition for 30 years. A feast for the senses with professional dancers, beautiful sets, and your Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra.

Santa’s Village at Chatfield Farms at Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms 
Nov 29  – Dec 15
Santa and his friends transform Chatfield Farms into a magical village! Hop on the hayride to catch a short movie at Santa’s Cinema or walk under the magical light displays. Stop at Elf Boulevard to drop off your letters to Santa. Let the kids play in a real elf house and see the elves hard at work. Enter a life-size snow globe.

A Hudson Christmas 
Nov 29 kick-off 5:00 – 8:00 pm
Light up the holidays at A Hudson Christmas—an extravaganza of dazzling, colorful Christmas lights. A Hudson Christmas has become a holiday tradition for thousands of families and friends from across the Denver area! Walk arm-in-arm with loved ones at this winter wonderland decorated with thousands of outdoor lights. Explore the trails where bursts of light and color wrap around trees, shimmer on bodies of water, illuminate happy faces, and bring a twinkle to your eye. Share your holiday wish list with Santa Claus, watch Christmas trees dance to holiday music, sip a steaming cup of hot chocolate, and stop for photo opportunities along the way.

Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens 
Nov 29  – Jan 3 
The Gardens’ signature event for over three decades, this annual holiday lights extravaganza transforms our York Street location into a twinkling winter wonderland. With fresh and exciting new features, along with some fan favorites, this year’s display is brighter and more expansive than ever before. Join us for this family-friendly event that has become a holiday tradition for thousands of Front Range families.

Brewery Lights at Anheuser-Busch Biergarten and Tour Center 
Nov 29  – Dec 1 
The holiday lights are lit, the cocoa is hot, and the 30-foot inflatable snowman is back – it’s beginning to look a lot like Brewery Lights at the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten and Tour Center in Fort Collins! The fifth annual Brewery Lights celebration begins Nov. 15, with guests of all ages invited to spread holiday cheer at a variety of festive activities during the wonderful holiday experience.

The Grand Illumination at Denver Union Station 
Nov 29, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
An iconic holiday tradition returns! Join Denver Union Station for the ceremonious lighting of the building and our 40 foot-tall Plaza Christmas tree on Friday, November 29. Featuring a vintage holiday performance by the Denver Dolls, holiday jingles by the Denver Bronze, and an appearance by Santa and Mrs. Clause! Entertainment will take place from 5 pm – 8 pm. The lighting will take place at approximately 6:15 pm. This event is FREE and open to the public!

Zoo Lights at Denver Zoo 
Nov 29  – Dec 30
Zoo Lights celebrates its 29th year as one of Denver’s most beloved and popular holiday traditions. To protect the magic of the season tickets are limited by date and issued for a one-hour entry time window. Most evenings sell out in advance and tickets will not be available at the door for evenings that sell out.

Colorado Mammoth vs. Saskatchewan Rush at Pepsi Center 
Nov 29, 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
The 2019-20 Colorado Mammoth season is going to kick off the NLL season on Faceoff Weekend 2019 with the third annual Teddy Bear Toss! Over the last two seasons, the Mammoth have collected and donated thousands of teddy bears that were donated to kids who may otherwise go without a gift during the holiday season. After the Mammoth’s first goal in the second quarter, fans will throw teddy bears onto the turf. Bears thrown will be gathered and donated to A Precious Child, just in time for the holidays. New this season, fans can bring their own new teddy bears into the arena to throw for the toss.

Home Alone in Concert at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex 
Nov 29, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Celebrate modern holiday classic, Home Alone, with your Colorado Symphony! The event features renowned composer John Williams’ charming and delightful score performed live as the film is screened for your enjoyment! 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.

Santa Breakfast at Evergreen Lake House 
Nov 30, 9:00 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. Four 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 among the guests, pose for multiple pictures and speak to children individually. Tickets are sold online and at Seasonally Yours in downtown Evergreen. This event always sells out. 

The Rocky Mountain Train Show at The Ranch Complex 
Nov 30, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
All Aboard! The Rocky Mountain Train Show will be steaming into Loveland on Saturday, November 30th and Dec 1st ,2019. 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. For the family, it is fun for everyone. The show is appropriate for all ages. There will be Story Time, Trains that kids can run, *Face Painting, and more than 12 operating layouts.

Fetch Holiday Markets at Denver Sports Castle 
Nov 30  – Dec 15 
‘Tis the Season to be Shopping…at the Fetch Holiday Markets! Remember The Denver Flea? What about last year’s Union Station Holiday Market? Both us! We’re still here — just rebranded and ready for another unforgettable holiday season at The Denver Sports Castle.

Pup Pix with Santa at GoodTurn Cycles at Aspen Grove 
Nov 30, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Bring your furry friend for a visit with Santa at Good Turn Cycles at Aspen Grove. Photos available with donation to Humane Society of the South Platte Valley or feel free to bring your own camera. Pets must be sociable with other animals and on a leash, please

Shop Small and Local: Small Business Saturday on the Square at Larimer Square 
Nov 30 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
While every day on the square provides an opportunity to shop local, Small Business Saturday marks the official kick-off of the 2019 holiday season on the block, with Larimer Square, serving as a Neighborhood Champion and retailers and restaurants participating in the annual event.

StoryTime with Mrs. Claus at Panera Bread at Aspen Grove 
Nov 30, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Kick-off the season with a holiday story from Mrs. Claus, cocoa and cookies at Panera Bread at Aspen Grove. Share a story with someone in need by bringing a book to donate to Reach Out and Read Colorado. The event is open to kids 10 and under.

Break the Ice-Holiday Kick-off Event at The Shops at Northfield Stapleton 
Nov 30, 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Come celebrate the holiday season with a street party, aerial performances, character meet & greets, ice skating performances and ice skating with Santa.

Mile High Tree at Sculpture Park Denver Performing Arts Complex
Nov 30, 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Denver’s holiday season just got bigger and brighter with the spectacular new Mile High Tree! Experience the Mile High Tree by stepping inside this brilliantly lit, 110-foot tall immersive holiday tree, opening November 30 in Sculpture Park at Denver Performing Arts Complex – free every evening for the whole family! Amazing lights and music shows take place every 30 minutes along with holiday treats, drinks and photo ops.

Bunk with the Beasts: Wild Lights, Wild Winter at Denver Zoo 
Nov 30  – Dec 1 
Kick-off the holiday season with a special Zoo Lights “Bunk with the Beasts” overnight! Together, you and your family will enjoy dinner, hot cocoa and crafts and a variety of activities that explore how animals survive even the coldest of winters. Stroll through our lights display and wake up to a warm breakfast and a before-hours private tour of the Zoo.

The Nutcracker at Ellie Caulkins Opera House 
Nov 30  – Dec 29 
Audiences simply can’t get enough of Colorado Ballet’s acclaimed production of The Nutcracker. Returning for its 59th season, this beloved holiday favorite sells out every year. Experience this whimsical trip to the sugar plum kingdom where magical dances come alive. Secure your seats early for this holiday tradition as most performances fill up prior to opening night.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks at Pepsi Center 
Nov 3 7:00, 7 pm – 9:00 pm
Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks live at the Pepsi Center!

Sensory-friendly Playtime at WOW! Children’s Museum 
Dec 1, 8:00 – 10:00 am
For some children with autism spectrum or sensory processing disorders, a visit to a museum-like WOW! is difficult or overstimulating. In 2015, we launched Sensory Friendly Playtime, a low sensory event where children with autism spectrum or sensory processing disorders can explore the Museum without the noise, crowds, and stimulation of a typical day. We limit the number of families who can attend, turn down sounds and lights, and provide adaptive equipment such as noise-reducing headphones and weighted vests.

Denver Broncos vs. Los Angeles Chargers at Broncos Stadium at Mile High 
Dec 1, 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Denver Broncos vs. Los Angeles Chargers at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.

Scotty Wiese Mile High Magic at Bovine Metropolis Theater
Dec 1, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Mile High Magic is an unforgettable theater experience presented by world-renowned magician Scotty Wiese. What makes Mile High Magic so unique is the tremendous way Scotty blends magic and his life experiences to tell stories, form a community, and motivate others to chase their own dreams. Prepare to witness astonishing, hilarious, and surprising moments inches from your face

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at The Buell Theatre 
Dec 3  –  7

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical returns to Denver to steal Christmas after a blockbuster debut in 2014. More than 2.5 million theatre-goers across America have been delighted by this heart-warming holiday musical, featuring the hit songs “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas” from the original animated TV special. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small,” decides to steal Christmas away from the holiday loving Whos.

Free First Tuesday Nights at Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus 
Dec 3, 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Families can play for FREE the first Tuesday of every month from 4 – 8 pm. Create in The Art Studio, power a hot air balloon or make giant bubbles. There is always something new to explore!

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers at Pepsi Center 
Dec 3,  7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers at Pepsi Center.

ONGOING EVENTS

Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens
Nov. 29, 2019 – Jan. 3, 2020
IThe Gardens’ signature event for over three decades, this annual holiday lights extravaganza transforms our York Street location into a twinkling winter wonderland. With fresh and exciting new features, along with some fan favorites, this year’s display is brighter and more expansive than ever before. Join us for this family-friendly event that has become a holiday tradition for thousands of Front Range families. botanicgardens.org

Santa’s Village at Chatfield Farms
Nov. 29 – Dec. 15
Santa and his friends transform Chatfield Farms into a magical village! Hop on the hayride to catch a short movie at Santa’s Cinema or walk under the magical light displays. Stop at Elf Boulevard to drop off your letters to Santa. Let the kids play in a real elf house and see the elves hard at work. Enter a life-size snow globe.www.botanicgardens.org

Fetch Holiday Markets at Denver Sports Castle
Nov. 30 – Dec. 15
For three weekends this winter, that gigantic, historic building on Broadway will be your home for all things holly-jolly. This is so much more than shopping, though. We’re filling it with festive drinks, activities, and gifts for everyone on your list! It’s going to be the kind of Christmas party you wish your company could throw — with hundreds of makers, artists, creators and YOU. thisisfetch.com/holiday-markets

A Christmas Carol at Simpich Showcase
Nov. 8 – Dec. 4
A CHRISTMAS CAROL’s timeless narrative is brought to life with sparkling vitality on the Simpich stage with over twenty handmade marionette actors animated by Dickens himself. In this original adaptation by puppeteer David Simpich, Ebenezer Scrooge is launched into and transformed by a night of delightful and poignant Christmas remembrances and foreboding forecasts. The outcome is both a continuing inspiration and celebration of the Promise of the Season. tickets.vendini.com

Camp Christmas at the Hangar at Stanley Marketplace
Nov. 21, 2019 – Jan 5, 2020
Not for the faint of festivity, this over-the-top indoor immersive installation turns the holiday spirit all the way up with mesmerizing displays of decorations that shift time and reality. Camp Christmas is Denver’s newest holiday experience, where yuletide traditions of the past and present get merrily mashed together in a massive 10,000-square-foot wonderland. It’s not just pretty lights and mistletoe. denvercenter.org

A Christmas Carol – The Musical  at Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities
Nov. 22, 2019 – Dec 22, 2019
Bring the whole family to enjoy this holiday classic,  Charles Dickens’ classic tale takes us on a journey to the past, present and future this holiday season! With music by Alan Menken ( Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid ) and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime, Seussical ), this musical version of curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge’s life and ultimate redemption is the perfect holiday tradition for the entire family. christkindlmarketdenver.com

A Hudson Christmas
Nov. 29 – Dec. 31
A Hudson Christmas has become a holiday tradition for thousands of families and friends from across the Denver area! Walk arm-in-arm with loved ones at this winter wonderland decorated with thousands of outdoor lights. Explore the trails where bursts of light and color wrap around trees, shimmer on bodies of water, illuminate happy faces, and bring a twinkle to your eye. Share your holiday wish list with Santa Claus, watch Christmas trees dance to holiday music, sip a steaming cup of hot chocolate, and stop for photo opportunities along the way. www.altitudetickets.com

The Nutcracker at Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Nov. 30 -Dec. 29
Audiences simply can’t get enough of Colorado Ballet’s acclaimed production of The Nutcracker. Returning for its 59th season, this beloved holiday favorite sells out every year. Experience this whimsical trip to the sugar plum kingdom where magical dances come alive. Secure your seats early for this holiday tradition as most performances fill up prior to opening night. tickets.coloradoballet.org

Christkindl Market at Skyline Park
Nov 22, 2019 – Dec 23, 2019
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!

Ella Enchanted at the Arvada Center
October 11-December 29, 2019
Join Ella as we journey to the fairytale land of Frell on a path to self-discovery! The stage musical of Ella Enchanted has recently been adapted from the beloved Newbery Honor book by Gail Carson Levine. Ella must navigate her world with the “gift” of complete obedience given by her misguided fairy godmother. Adventures will ensue with ogres, giants, elves, wicked stepsisters, and true friends that help Ella find her voice! These whimsical characters make this a captivating tale for children and adults of all ages. arvadacenter.org/ella-enchanted

Christmas in Color at Water World
Nov. 22 – Jan. 4
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. www.showclix.com

Night Light Denver at the Daniels & Fisher Tower
Nov. 7 – Jan. 31, 2020
The Denver Theatre District’s ongoing, year-round projection mapping installation will be projected on the Arapahoe Street side of the Daniels & Fisher Tower every Thursday through Saturday evening. Night Lights Denver will include rotating content, designed by artists and the community, featuring a wide range of art. nightlightsdenver.com

Mile High Tree
Nov. 30 – Jan. 31
Denver’s holiday season just got bigger and brighter with the spectacular new Mile High Tree! Experience the Mile High Tree by stepping inside this brilliantly lit, 110-foot tall immersive holiday tree, opening November 30 in Sculpture Park at Denver Performing Arts Complex – free every evening for the whole family! Amazing lights and music shows take place every 30 minutes along with holiday treats, drinks and photo ops. www.denver.org/milehighholidays/tree

Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park
Nov. 26, 2019 – Feb 16, 2020
The Downtown Denver Partnership proudly invites you and your family to join us at the Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park – Downtown’s destination for fun this winter. Winter of 2019 celebrates one decade of the Downtown Denver Rink which offers free ice skating seven days a week from November to February.  Entry is free! Skate rentals are $7 for kids 12 & under and $9 for adults 13 & older. Purchase your season pass at the Rink for $35 for kids 12 and under and $50 for adults. Skaters are welcome to bring their own skates.

Goodnight Moon at the DPAC/The Randy Weeks Conservatory Theatre
October 4, 2019 – February 16, 2020
A musical twist on the beloved bedtime story. For the past 72 years, families around the world have made Goodnight Moon a part of their bedtime ritual. Now, the beloved children’s book comes to life on stage for a musical adventure! As the clock strikes seven o’clock, it’s time for Bunny to go to sleep. Say goodnight with magical moments filled with songs, kittens and mittens, bears and chairs, a red balloon, a quiet old lady, and – of course – the moon in this delightful tale. denvercenter.org

Zoo Lights: Illuminated with Life
Nov. 29 – Dec 30
Zoo Lights celebrates its 29th year as one of Denver’s most beloved and popular holiday traditions. To protect the magic of the season tickets are limited by date and issued for a one-hour entry time window. Most evenings sell out in advance and tickets will not be available at the door for evenings that sell out. www.denverzoo.org/events/zoolights/

Denver Pavilions’ Holiday Carousel at 16th Street Mall and Glenarm Place
Dec. 20 – Jan. 2
The Denver Pavilions’ Holiday Carousel returns to Downtown Denver. This year the Blue Knights Brass Ensemble will kick off the season with a free performance in front of the carousel at 2 pm on Sat. December 21. Rides will be offered for a nominal fee of $3 or free with a voucher from any Denver Pavilions’ merchant or community partner. Food Bank of the Rockies has once again been chosen as Denver Pavilions’ designated charity partner for the attraction. Partial proceeds from rides will be donated to this vital charity within the community that helps fight food insecurity in the area. denverpavilions.com

Olde Golden Christmas
Nov. 30 – Dec. 31
Each year during the holiday season, Golden takes a step back in time. Back to a simpler time of strong family traditions and small-town holiday celebrations. The authentic and historic main street of Golden will be the central festive location for Olde Golden Christmas, a city-wide, month-long celebration from November 30th to December 31st including a candlelight walk, holiday art market, live theater, a dazzling light display along Clear Creek, Santa encounters, shopping, dining, and so much more. visitgolden.com/olde-golden-christmas/

A Very Vintage Holiday Show at The Galleria at the Arts Complex
Dec. 5-21
This delightful show is a tribute to Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters, during the nostalgic White Christmas era. A Very Vintage Holiday blends upbeat vocal harmonies and engaging showmanship with a little bit of comedy and plenty of nostalgic holiday tunes to provide festive entertainment for all ages. Featuring The Denver Dolls and special guests, this show will warm any Colorado heart on even the coldest winter day!  These are FREE events presented by The Next Stage NOW. www.artscomplex.com

  Extreme Sports: Beyond Human Limits at Denver Museum of Nature and Science
September 13, 2019 – April 12, 2020
“Extreme Sports: Beyond Human Limits” takes guests inside the minds and bodies of extreme athletes to explore the psychology, physiology and physicality of some of the most extreme activities in the world. In this high-energy exhibition, guests experience the thrill of extreme sports in exciting, interactive exhibits and immersive environments. Meet passionate athletes, hear their incredible stories and take in the artistry, motivation and thoughtfulness that goes into everything they do. dmns.org
 
Tiger Encounter at the Denver Zoo
Nov. 8 – Dec. 31, 2019
Experience The EDGE through the eyes of a tiger! This tour will take you behind the scenes at The Edge, Denver Zoo’s Amur tiger exhibit. You will get an up close view of a training session with one of The Edge’s resident tigers and learn from animal care experts about what they do every day to ensure that these cats receive the best care. You’ll be in awe of the amazing relationship animal care staff have with these 400-pound furry felines! Please note that because of safety regulations, guests will not receive direct contact with the tigers, but rather will get a closer look than public perspective allows with exclusive access and interactions. denverzoo.org
 
Christmas at Gaylord Rockies
Nov 22, 2019 – Jan 5, 2020
The season-long experience will include ICE! featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a larger-than-life ice sculpture adventure; exclusive Cirque Dreams Holidaze theatrical performances; ice skating, tubing and bumper cars; a Naughty or Nice Escape Room; character breakfast; family-friendly activities; and themed décor with an impressive holiday light display. marriott.com
 
Images from the Tracks at the Colorado Railroad Museum
January 28, 2019 – January 5, 2020
One of the foremost photographers to photograph the great American West, William Henry Jackson’s images had an immense influence on the public’s perception of the American West. A portion of those images were captured here in Colorado as Jackson traveled throughout the west by rail. This exhibit not only showcases the Museum’s collection of Jackson photographs but provides visitors with the opportunity to visit the rail car he traveled and lived in – the Denver & Rio Grande Western business car – the Rico.

Marine Biologist for a Day at the Downtown Aquarium
Jan 1- Dec 31, 2019
See if you have what it takes to become a Marine Biologist! Spend a day behind the scenes where all the scientific action happens. Experience close encounters with exotic species from the deep sea to shallow reef and everywhere in between. You’ll even get to dissect a squid! Program includes guided tour, biologist dive show, squid dissection, animal feedings and much more! T-shirts & lunch included.

First Light Family Space at the Denver Art Museum
Through May 31, 2020
Step into the shining world of the new First Light Family Space and try hands-on activities inspired by the exhibition, The Light Show. Trace a shadow, make a mirror, play with patterns and create a colorful city. The museum offers free general admission to kids 18 and younger.  Have fun learning about artwork with gallery games similar to I spy, bingo, and memory matching with Gallery Games. Create Playdate’s artmaking with little ones is on the second Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. DenverArtMuseum.org.

​​​Celebrate Fresh Air Friday on Black Friday with FREE Colorado State Parks Pass

Colorado Parks & Wildlife encourages you to take some time this Thanksgiving weekend to explore the outdoors and make new memories with the people you love. Turn Black Friday into a blue skies Friday, a green trees Friday, a white snow Friday… a Fresh Air Friday!

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is pleased to partner again this year with Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to offer free access to all 41 Colorado state parks on Fresh Air Friday. Throughout the year, CPW offers family-friendly activities, fun-filled adventures and opportunities to learn and try new things at all of our state parks. 

 Every outdoor activity is the right way to celebrate Fresh Air Friday, whether exploring a state park, skiing in the high country, or playing a game of freeze tag in the backyard. Studies show that spending time outdoors – no matter the activity – can improve one’s ability to focus, decrease fatigue and even help improve short-term memory! So whatever activity you choose, get out and give thanks.​​​

Events

Fresh Air Friday at Ridgway State Park
Friday, November 29

Two hikes will be offered to get outside for Fresh Air Friday at Ridgway State Park: Dallas Creek Nature Trail at 11 am- Meet at Confluence Parking Lot in Dallas Creek for a 1-mile hike in a great riparian ecosystem. Enchanted Mesa Hike at 1 pm- meet at Enchanted Mesa Trail Head in Pa Co Chu Puk. It will be a 2-mile hike, but you are free to go further on your own. There are great views in all directions from the top of Enchanted Mesa.

After Gobble Wobble on Fresh Air Friday at Chatfield State Park
Friday, November 29

Avoid the hazardous shopping centers after Thanksgiving and instead enjoy the fresh morning air at Chatfield State Park! Entrance into all Colorado State Parks is FREE on Fresh Air Friday! It’s time to walk off all that turkey you ate! Join a Ranger on a leisurely 2-mile walk through the Plum Creek Nature Area. Look for wildlife while breathing in the fresh, crisp morning air.

Fresh Air Friday Hike – Little Rainbow at AHRA State Park
Friday, November 29

Join us for Fresh Air Friday as we take a walk on the Little Rainbow Trail. Walk off that Thanksgiving dinner and enjoy a free day at State Parks!

Hike Outlook Ridge Loop at Mueller State Park
Friday, November 29

Want to avoid shopping centers today? Join us for Fresh Air Friday! Visit an overlook to view the valleys in the foreground and the Continental Divide in the distance, led by Naturalist Cindi. Loop back by Lost and Geer Ponds for a 3.5-mile moderate hike including a few steep hills. Dress in layers and bring lots of water.

The Great Waddle Walk-off at Barr Lake State Park
Friday, November 29

Thinking you might over-do-it at Thanksgiving? It’s all about family, friends and delicious food, but wouldn’t it be nice to add an adventure in the great outdoors, where you can stretch your legs and fill your lungs with wonderful fresh air?

 

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27 family-friendly events in Denver this week

There are a lot of holiday event kick-offs like the Christkindl Market and Switch on the Holidays and Festival of Trees. See our event calendar for more information.

Also, don’t miss Family Travel: 40+ Holiday Vacation Ideas in Colorado and Denver guide to the holidays: Santa Arrivals & Christmas events!

A Broadway Christmas Carol at CU Presents
Nov 15  – 22 
What the dickens happened to Scrooge? He sings (show tunes), he dances (time steps and classic Fosse), he turns into a ham (and we’re not talking spiral-cut). In an event that’s perfect for both the young and young at heart, Charles Dickens’ famous festive tale is whipped into a holidaze confection, peppered with hilarious parodies of dozens of your favorite Broadway songs.

Signing Santa at Cherry Creek Shopping Center
Nov 20 – 21
Cherry Creek Shopping Center is proud to continue the tradition of providing deaf and hard-of-hearing children with a very special visit with Signing Santa.

The Polar Express at Colorado Railroad Museum 
Nov 20 – 24
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!

Free Day at Plains Conservation Center 
Nov 21, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
This Aurora-based center helps students and adults grow their knowledge and appreciation of the prairie ecosystem and the cultural history of Colorado through a variety of educational programs managed by Denver Botanic Gardens. In cooperation with the City of Aurora.

Aspen Academy Presents Beauty and the Beast Jr. at Aspen Academy 
Nov 21, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
The classic story tells of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity.

DEN Free Ice Skating Rink at Denver International Airport, open-air plaza between the terminal and Westin 
Nov 22, 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Lace up your skates and start practicing your axels, jumps and spins as the free ice skating rink on the Denver International Airport (DEN) outdoor plaza returns for its fourth season. DEN invites passengers and community members to join in on the winter fun this season.

Christkindl Market at Skyline Park
Nov 22  – 23 
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.

Brewery Lights at Anheuser-Busch Biergarten and Tour Center 
Nov 22 –24
The holiday lights are lit, the cocoa is hot, and the 30-foot inflatable snowman is back – it’s beginning to look a lot like Brewery Lights at the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten and Tour Center in Fort Collins! The fifth annual Brewery Lights celebration begins Nov. 15, with guests of all ages invited to spread holiday cheer at a variety of festive activities during the wonderful holiday experience.

A Christmas Carol – The Musical at Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities
Nov 22, 6:00 – 8:30 pm
Bring the whole family to enjoy this holiday classic. Charles Dickens’ classic tale takes us on a journey to the past, present and future this holiday season! With music by Alan Menken ( Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid ) and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens ( Ragtime, Seussical ), this musical version of curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge’s life and ultimate redemption is the perfect holiday tradition for the entire family.

Denver Nuggets vs. Boston Celtics at Pepsi Center 
Nov 22, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Denver Nuggets vs. Boston Celtics at Pepsi Center.

Sugar Plum Bazaar at Denver Mart Drive-In 
Nov 23 – 24
Sugar Plum bazaar is a makers market featuring over 120 vendors from multiple states. About 95% of the items sold are handmade and all are small independent businesses.

Festival of Trees at Evergreen Memorial Barn 
Nov 23, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
The Barn will be open to the public for a free viewing of the trees and will include visits with Santa. Vote for your favorite decorated items and help determine People’s Choice awards for the Festival.

Annual Tree Lighting + After Party at Cherry Creek Shopping Center 
Nov 23, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Join us to kickoff the holiday season with Nick Ferguson at Cherry Creek Shopping Center! Enjoy hot chocolate, sweet treats, and entertainment as we countdown to the lighting of our 60’ Christmas tree! Then, gather inside for an after-party and more festivities!

Colorado Avalanches vs. Toronto Maple Leafs at Pepsi Center 
Nov 23, 5:00 – 6:30 pm
Colorado Avalanche vs. Toronto Maple Leafs live at the Pepsi Center!

Switch on the Holidays at Pearl Street Mall 
Nov 24, 5:00 – 6:00 pm
Kicking off the Holiday season, Santa counts down the grand illumination of the Boulder County Courthouse and the Pearl Street Mall.

Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns at Pepsi Center 
Nov 24, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns at Pepsi Center.

Black Hawk Holiday Lighting at Stroehle Square Gazebo 
Nov 25, 5:00 – 6:00 pm
Celebrate the start of the holiday season in Black Hawk. Help us count down and light the holiday lights. The Gilpin School choir will perform holiday favorites! Hot chocolate, cider, and cookies will be served!

ONGOING EVENTS

A Christmas Carol at Simpich Showcase
Nov. 8 – Dec. 4
A CHRISTMAS CAROL’s timeless narrative is brought to life with sparkling vitality on the Simpich stage with over twenty handmade marionette actors animated by Dickens himself. In this original adaptation by puppeteer David Simpich, Ebenezer Scrooge is launched into and transformed by a night of delightful and poignant Christmas remembrances and foreboding forecasts. The outcome is both a continuing inspiration and celebration of the Promise of the Season. tickets.vendini.com

Ella Enchanted at the Arvada Center
October 11-December 29, 2019
Join Ella as we journey to the fairytale land of Frell on a path to self-discovery! The stage musical of Ella Enchanted has recently been adapted from the beloved Newbery Honor book by Gail Carson Levine. Ella must navigate her world with the “gift” of complete obedience given by her misguided fairy godmother. Adventures will ensue with ogres, giants, elves, wicked stepsisters, and true friends that help Ella find her voice! These whimsical characters make this a captivating tale for children and adults of all ages. arvadacenter.org/ella-enchanted

Night Light Denver at the Daniels & Fisher Tower
Nov. 7 – Jan. 31, 2020
The Denver Theatre District’s ongoing, year-round projection mapping installation will be projected on the Arapahoe Street side of the Daniels & Fisher Tower every Thursday through Saturday evening. Night Lights Denver will include rotating content, designed by artists and the community, featuring a wide range of art. nightlightsdenver.com

Goodnight Moon at the DPAC/The Randy Weeks Conservatory Theatre
October 4, 2019 – February 16, 2020
A musical twist on the beloved bedtime story. For the past 72 years, families around the world have made Goodnight Moon a part of their bedtime ritual. Now, the beloved children’s book comes to life on stage for a musical adventure! As the clock strikes seven o’clock, it’s time for Bunny to go to sleep. Say goodnight with magical moments filled with songs, kittens and mittens, bears and chairs, a red balloon, a quiet old lady, and – of course – the moon in this delightful tale. denvercenter.org

 Extreme Sports: Beyond Human Limits at Denver Museum of Nature and Science

September 13, 2019 – April 12, 2020
“Extreme Sports: Beyond Human Limits” takes guests inside the minds and bodies of extreme athletes to explore the psychology, physiology and physicality of some of the most extreme activities in the world. In this high-energy exhibition, guests experience the thrill of extreme sports in exciting, interactive exhibits and immersive environments. Meet passionate athletes, hear their incredible stories and take in the artistry, motivation and thoughtfulness that goes into everything they do. dmns.org
 
Tiger Encounter at the Denver Zoo
Nov. 8 – Dec. 31, 2019
Experience The EDGE through the eyes of a tiger! This tour will take you behind the scenes at The Edge, Denver Zoo’s Amur tiger exhibit. You will get an up-close view of a training session with one of The Edge’s resident tigers and learn from animal care experts about what they do every day to ensure that these cats receive the best care. You’ll be in awe of the amazing relationship animal care staff have with these 400-pound furry felines! Please note that because of safety regulations, guests will not receive direct contact with the tigers, but rather will get a closer look than public perspective allows with exclusive access and interactions. denverzoo.org

Christmas in Color at Bandimere Speedway
Nov. 15-Jan. 4, 2020
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. showclix.com/event/christmas-in-color-at-bandimere-speedway-2019 

Images from the Tracks at the Colorado Railroad Museum
January 28, 2019 – January 5, 2020
One of the foremost photographers to photograph the great American West, William Henry Jackson’s images had an immense influence on the public’s perception of the American West. A portion of those images were captured here in Colorado as Jackson traveled throughout the west by rail. This exhibit not only showcases the Museum’s collection of Jackson photographs but provides visitors with the opportunity to visit the rail car he traveled and lived in – the Denver & Rio Grande Western business car – the Rico.

Marine Biologist for a Day at the Downtown Aquarium
Jan 1- Dec 31, 2019
See if you have what it takes to become a Marine Biologist! Spend a day behind the scenes where all the scientific action happens. Experience close encounters with exotic species from the deep sea to shallow reef and everywhere in between. You’ll even get to dissect a squid! The program includes a guided tour, biologist dive show, squid dissection, animal feedings and much more! T-shirts & lunch included.

First Light Family Space at the Denver Art Museum
Through May. 31, 2020
Step into the shining world of the new First Light Family Space and try hands-on activities inspired by the exhibition, The Light Show. Trace a shadow, make a mirror, play with patterns and create a colorful city. The museum offers free general admission to kids 18 and younger.  Have fun learning about artwork with gallery games similar to I spy, bingo, and memory matching with Gallery Games. Create Playdate’s artmaking with little ones is on the second Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. DenverArtMuseum.org.