31 things to do around Denver during the holiday season

DENVER — The holiday season is here and there is a lot to do around Colorado.

From several ice skating options to Santa’s running down a street – Colorado is the best place to spend the holidays.

We have 31 events below – some for the whole family while others are just for the adults. And there’s even ways to give back to the community.

The events are in chronological order.

The Rink at Belmar

The Rink at Belmar (Photo: Belmar)

When: Nov. 16 – Jan. 28

Where: Belmar, 464 S Teller St. Lakewood, CO

Cost: $9.50 for adults, $7.50 for kids 12 and under, free for children under two and seniors over 65

The 7,000 foot ice rink is located on Belmar Plaza and has several different events throughout the season – including skating with Santa every Saturday in December. The price of admission includes skate rental.

Denver Christkindl Market

When: Nov. 17 – Dec. 23

Where: Skyline Park, 16th and Arapahoe Streets

Cost: Free

The Denver Christkindl Market turns Skyline Park into an “old world” European Christmas village with several different vendors offering a variety of items and food. The market is open Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park

When: Nov. 22 – Feb. 14

Where: Skyline Park, 16th and Arapahoe Streets

Cost: Free admission; skate rentals $6-8

The Skyline Park skating rink is open for its 8th season. While skating is free, skate rental is available for $6 for kids 12 and under, and $8 for adults. You can also purchase a season pass for unlimited individual skate rentals for $35 for kids 12 and under, and $50 for adults. On Sundays, all kids 12 and under can rent skates for free.

FOX31 Serving Those Who Serve Toy Drive 

When: Nov. 22 – Dec. 23

Where: 15 Front Range Hand & Stone locations

Cost: Depends

In part of Serving Those Who Serve, FOX31 Denver and The Salvation Army are proud to put on this year’s Serving Those Who Serve Toy Drive. All you have to do is purchase any variety of toy, visit any participating Hand and Stone location, and place the new, unwrapped toy in the Toy Drive barrel.

Channel 2 Angel Tree

When: Nov. 23 – Dec. 22

Where: 11 Front Range Macy’s locations

Cost: Depends

Channel 2, Macy’s, and The Salvation Army are proud to team up for Angel Tree. There will be toy barrels and Angel Trees at 11 area Macy’s locations. Meet some of the  news team from Channel 2 at the Macy’s locations at Park Meadows, Cherry Creek, and Orchard on Dec. 9 from 1-3 p.m.

44th annual Turkey Trot

When: Nov. 23, 8 a.m. registration/ 10 a.m. race begins

Where: Washington Park

Cost: Free to watch/ $45 for adults to register, $35 for seniors and military members, $30 for kids 12 and under

FOX31 and Channel 2 are proud sponsors of this year’s Turkey Trot. Money raised will go directly to Mile High United Way and will be reinvested into the community, to fight for the education, health, and financial stability for everyone in metro Denver.

Miracle on Little Raven pop-up bar

When: Nov. 24 – Dec. 24, 6 p.m. – midnight

Where: Inside the Wayward restaurant, 1610 Little Raven St.

Cost: Depends

At Miracle on Little Raven, adults can enjoy holiday cocktails (some that are served in mugs like Santa’s lower half) inside a bar that’s decked out in holiday decorations and Christmas music.

Hot Cocoa Sleigh Rides

When: Thanksgiving – Easter

Where: Sombrero Stables at Snow Mountain Ranch, 1101 Co Rd 53, Granby, CO

Cost: $42 for adults, $36 for children 6-11, $18 for kids 3-5, under 3 are free

Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snow covered forest with food and hot chocolate. Blankets are provided and they encourage caroling. The winter sleigh rides are offered every day at noon, 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 7 p.m. You can book your reservation online.

Denver International Airport Ice Rink

When: Nov. 24 – Jan. 7, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Where: Denver International Airport

Cost: Free

The ice skating rink at the airport opened on the DEN Plaza last season and was such a hit that they brought it back this year.

Grand Illumination


When: Nov. 24

Where: Union Station, City and County Building, and other buildings

Cost: Free

Downtown Denver landmarks will light up for the holidays during the Grand Illumination on Nov. 24. In addition to Union Station and the City and County Building, lights will also illuminate the 16th Street Mall, Skyline Park, the D&F Clock Tower, 14th Street, Larimer Square and more.

A Hudson Christmas

When: Nov. 24 – 25, Dec. 1-3, 8-10, 15-31, 5 p.m – 8 p.m.

Where: Hudson Gardens, 6115 S Santa Fe Dr. Littleton, CO

Cost: $9 for adults, $6 for children 4-12, $7 for military members, free for children 3 and under

A Hudson Christmas is a magical stroll through lights in trees and decorated pathways. Santa visits the gardens through Dec. 23. Tickets are available online or at the door on event nights.

Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens

When: Nov. 24 – Jan. 1, 5-9 p.m.

Where: Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St.

Cost: For tickets in advance $15 for adults, $12 for children 3-15, $13 for military members and seniors over 65

The Blossoms of Light transforms the Botanic Gardens into a festive winter wonderland with several interactive LED light displays throughout the park.

Tickets are increased by $5 if you purchase them at the door. Members of the Botanic Gardens also get a $2 discount on admission.

Santa’s Village at Chatfield Farms

When: Nov. 24 – Dec. 24

Where: Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms, 8500 W Deer Creek Canyon Rd. Littleton, CO

Cost: $20 for adults and children ages 3-15, $15 for military members and seniors over 65

Santa and Mrs. Claus work as Chatfield Farms is transformed into a Christmas village. It features hayrides, movies at Santa’s cinema, and unique gifts in Santa’s workshop.

St. Nick on the Bricks

When: Friday and Saturdays Nov. 24 – Dec. 23, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Where: Boulder Visitor Information Center, 1301 Pearl St.

Cost: Free

Kids can meet Santa for free every Friday and Saturday throughout December in Boulder. Bring your camera and your wishlist to capture a holiday memory.

Holiday Lighting and Wine Walk

When: Nov. 24, 6-9 p.m.

Where: Downtown Glenwood Springs

Cost: Free

You can kick off the holidays in Glenwood Springs with a lighting at Hotel Colorado followed by a light show in downtown Glenwood Springs. For the adults, there’s a wine walk in local businesses throughout downtown.

Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker

When: Nov. 25 – Dec. 24

Where: Ellie Caulkins Opera House

Cost: $30 – $155

The 57th annual production of The Nutcracker puts on a show that was named the best-loved Nutcracker in the U.S. in 2016. Tickets are still available for most shows, but are quickly selling out.

Denver Zoo Lights

When: Dec. 1 – 31, 5:30 – 9 p.m.

Where: Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele St. Denver, CO

Cost: $13 for adults, $9 for children ages 3-11, $11 for seniors over 65 (Dec. 1 -14)

The Denver Zoo is lights up for the holiday season during Zoo Lights as illuminated animal sculptures swing through trees and appear in places around the park.

Admission for Zoo Lights goes up on Dec. 15 to $17 for adults, $12 for children, and $14 for seniors. There’s a $2 discount for zoo members and those who buy tickets online.

Louisville Parade of Lights

When: Dec. 1, 5:30 – 9 p.m.

Where: Downtown Louisville

Cost: Free

Enjoy a night in downtown Louisville starting with an art walk from 5-6:30 p.m. with choirs, Santa, carolers, ice skating and more. The parade starts at 7 p.m. and features local schools and churches providing music along with a petting zoo and Santa.

Denver Holiday Flea

bracelet store

When: Dec. 1-3

Where: The Sports Castle, 1000 Broadway

Cost: $5-35

On Dec. 1, those over 21 years old can attend a holiday party for pre-Flea shopping. The cost for admission is $35. Everyone of all ages are welcome to attend on Saturday and Sunday when the cost is $5 starting at 10 a.m.  to stock up on gifts for everyone on your list. You can buy your tickets online.

Parade of Lights

When: Dec. 1 & 2

Where: Civic Center Park

Cost: Free

This holiday tradition has been part of the holiday’s in Denver since 1975. The parade features marching bands, floats, and Santa all lit up and ready to warm you up. The parade starts at 8 p.m. on Friday and 6 p.m. on Saturday. The two-mile route begins at Civic Center Park.

Georgetown Christmas Marketplace

When: Dec. 2 & 3, 9 & 10

Where: 6th Street in Georgetown

Cost: Free

The 57th annual Christmas market features free holiday entertainment along with horse-drawn wagon rides and appearances by Santa.

Race of the Santa’s and Lighting of Breckenridge

When: Dec. 3

Where: Main Street, Breckenridge

Cost: Free

After a lighting at Blue River Plaza, 100’s of Santa’s run, skip, walk, and jump down Main Street in Breck in the annual Race of the Santa’s.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis

When: Dec. 9-10

Where: Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis Streets

Cost: Starting at $44

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis has been America’s favorite holiday favorite for more than 30 years. It features their Christmas classics in an intimate setting with multimedia effects.

ELF: The Musical

When: Dec. 13-17

Where:  Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis Streets

Cost: Starting at $25

The musical is based on the hit movie that tells the tale of Buddy, a human that mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. He then embarks on a journey to find his father in New York City. Tickets are available for purchase online.

Denver Pavilions’ Holiday Carousel

When: Dec. 15 – Jan. 2, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Where: Denver Pavilions, 500 16th Street

Cost: $3 or free with voucher from a Denver Pavilions merchant

The carousel is the Denver’s first and only carousel downtown. It is also the same carousel featured in the movie “Selena” starring Jennifer Lopez, according to the pavilions. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Food Bank for the Rockies.

Colorado Symphony: A Colorado Christmas

When: Dec. 15-17

Where: Boettcher Concert Hall, 1000 14th St

Cost: $15-$89

The Colorado Symphony will perform your favorite holiday songs throughout four shows at Boettcher Concert Hall. There will also be an oppertunity to meet Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.

Discounted lift tickets at Aspen Snowmass

(Photo: ThinkStock)

When: Dec. 15

Where: Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort, 120 Carriage Way, Snowmass Village, CO

Cost: $6.50

In honor of their 50th anniversary, Aspen Snowmass will have $6.50 single-day lift tickets on Dec. 15. It’s the same price the resort charged when they opened in 1967. There will be several other events that will take place to celebrate on Dec. 16 and 17.


When: Dec. 17, 1-2 p.m.

Where: Skyline Park

Cost: Free

More than 300 tuba and baritone players will put on the 43rd annual TubaChristmas concert. It is one of the longest running holiday events in Colorado.

Denver New Year’s Eve fireworks


When: Dec. 31

Where:  16th Street Mall

Cost: Free

You can close out 2017 with fireworks in downtown Denver. Each year the city puts on two shows – one at 9 p.m. for families and another at midnight to officially mark the start of 2018.

First Night Fort Collins

When: Dec. 31, 5:30 – 10 p.m.

Where: Downtown Fort Collins

Cost: Free

Celebrate the new year in Fort Collins. It’s a family-friendly event that is non-alcoholic. It’s an art-based celebration with over 30 performances across seven venues throughout downtown Fort Collins. There’s a fireworks show at 10 p.m. from Civic Center Park.

Torchlight Parade and Fireworks in Steamboat

When: Dec. 31, 5:30 p.m.

Where: Base of Steamboat Ski Area in Gondola Square

Cost: Free

The torchlight parade is one of three Steamboat Springs does each year – the others on Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. The on-snow parade down the mountain is lit only by torches. Following the parade, a fireworks show will provide a great ending to the evening.