Holiday Guide 2018: 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.

Denver Christkindl Market

When: Nov. 16 – 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. 20 – Feb. 3

Where: Skyline Park, 16th and Arapahoe Streets

Cost: Free admission; skate rentals $6-8

The Skyline Park skating rink is once again open for the 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.

A Christmas Carol at Denver Center

When: Nov. 21 – Dec. 24

Where: Stage Theatre

Cost: Starting at $30

“A Christmas Carol” is a holiday musical tradition for families ” that traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption.” Tickets are still available.

45th annual Turkey Trot

When: Nov. 22, 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 at Avanti Wolf Bar pop-up bar

When: Nov. 23 – Dec. 23

Where: Avanti Food and Beverage, 3200 N Pecos St.

Cost: Depends

At Miracle at Avanti Wolf Bar, 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.

Christmas in Color

When: Nov. 23 – Dec. 31

Where: Water World

Cost: $25-$30 per vehicle

Drive through a Christmas display with more than 1.5 million LED lights while listening to Christmas music that is synchronized with the display. It’s $25 Monday through Thursday and $30 on weekends.

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. 23 – Jan. 7, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Where: Denver International Airport

Cost: Free

This is the third year of the popular free ice skating rink at Denver International Airport.

Grand Illumination

When: Nov. 23

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. 23. 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

A Hudson Christmas (Photo provided by Hudson Gardens)

When: Select nights Nov. 23 – Dec. 31 from 5 p.m – 9 p.m.

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

Cost: $10.50 for adults, $8 for children 4-12, $9 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. 23 – Jan. 1, 5-9 p.m.

Where: Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St.

Cost: For tickets in advance $16 for adults, $13 for children 3-15, $14 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. 23 – Dec. 23

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. 23 – Dec. 22, 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 Flea at Denver Union Station

When: Weekends Nov. 23 – Dec. 16

Where: Union Station

Cost: $5

Starting on Black Friday, 100s of Colorado makers and brands will be in the plaza of Union Station to help you stock up on gifts for everyone on your list. You can buy your tickets online.

Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker

When: Nov. 24 – 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.

FOX31 Problem Solvers Toy Drive 

When: Nov. 26  – Dec. 21

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. 26 – Dec. 21

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.

Denver Zoo Lights

When: Nov. 30 – Jan. 6, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

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

Cost: $20 for adults, $14 for children ages 3-11, $17 for seniors over 65

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.

There’s a discount for zoo members and those who buy tickets online.

58th Olde Golden Christmas

When: Nov. 30 – Dec. 31

Where: Downtown Golden

Cost: Free

Downtown Golden will feature an elf run, candlelight walks, holiday art market and a light display along Main Street. They will also have free horse-drawn carriage rides on the weekends in early December. Check their website for more.

Parade of Lights

When: Nov. 30 and Dec. 1

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.

Dillon Ice Castles

Credit: Ice Castles LLC

When: Depends on weather – sometime in December

Where: Dillon

Cost: N/A

A favorite pastime from last winter is returning to Colorado. Ice Castles are expected to open in Dillon in late December. Tickets cost between $16 and $25 last year. Pricing for this year has not been announced.

We’ll update when we have an opening date.

Georgetown Christmas Marketplace

When: Dec. 1 & 2, 8 & 9

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.

9th Annual 1940s White Christmas Ball

When: Dec. 1

Where: Hyatt Regency Downtown Denver Convention Center, 650 15th St.

Cost: $67

Step back in time for a 40s and 50s themed Christmas party. This years theme is It’s A Wonderful Life. More information and ticket information is available on their website.

Race of the Santa’s and Lighting of Breckenridge

When: Dec. 8

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.

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.

TubaChristmas

When: Dec. 16, 12:30 p.m.

Where: Skyline Park

Cost: Free

More than 300 tuba and baritone players will put on the 44th annual TubaChristmas concert. It is one of the longest running holiday events in Colorado.

LIGHT! at Gaylord Rockies

When: Dec. 18

Where: Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center

Cost: Free

“LIGHT! at Gaylord Rockies,” is a walking experience designed to immerse guests in color, patterns and light as they follow a path of illumination while exploring the resort’s western grounds.

They say this is a preview of the brand’s event called “ICE!” The resort opens on Dec. 18 – but FOX31’s Drew Engelbart got our first look inside.

Denver New Year’s Eve fireworks

When: Dec. 31

Where:  16th Street Mall

Cost: Free

You can close out 2018 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 2019.

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.

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