The Best Holiday Markets in Denver in December
What are you waiting for? It's holiday shopping time at the Denver Flea and thirteen more December markets.
If you’re having a hard time girding for holiday shopping this year, you’re not alone. The weather’s been all wrong and so are the politics, and it’s hard to turn your thoughts to trimming the tree and filling the space beneath it when nothing feels quite right. Here’s a secret to turn things around: Pick and choose where you shop. Think small, and choose gifts with a personal, just-for-you spirit — and give back to nonprofits and the community while you’re doing it. Support local businesses and craftspeople while you indulge in a little holiday nostalgia, too. There are plenty of places where you can shop local; here are the fourteen best holiday markets this weekend.
1. Fine Art Market Show and Sale/ACES
Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
Daily, December 1 through 18
Opening reception: 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, December 1
Now in its thirtieth year, the Arvada Center’s Fine Art Market is more than a holiday sale. Think of it as a collectors’ opportunity, whether you delight in hand-wrought, one-of-a-kind jewelry and art-to-wear, or paintings, prints and photography priced for all pocketbooks. Browse work by more than 100 artists and artisans in the main and upper galleries, and be sure to stop by the concurrent annual Arvada Center Educational Studios (ACES) sale, featuring work by students and professional instructors alike; meet the artists at the opening reception, or drop by any day through December 18 with list in hand.
Sean Trujillo, CHAC
2. Celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe/Christmas Mercado
Thursday, December 1, through Saturday, December 24
Opening reception: 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, December 2
Third Friday reception: 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, December 16
CHAC welcomes the season with old traditions, including an exhibit depicting la Virgen de Guadalupe; the gallery’s annual mercado of handmade, eco-friendly craft items; and an open-entry bounty of gift-worthy jewelry, santos, ornaments and art. From noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, December 10, designer Susan M. Luna will present a pop-up for her artist-decorated Lunapparel clothing line, including a fashion show at 1 p.m.
DAVA student Edith puts the finishing touches on some prints.
3. DAVA Holiday Show
Downtown Aurora Visual Arts
Thursday, December 1, through January 13
Opening reception: 4 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 1
DAVA does important work all year long, pairing at-risk youth with artist mentors for art workshops and skills training while also providing a safe place to hang out and find community. The annual DAVA Holiday Show is a true showcase for how well its programs work, mixing an affordable palette of works by DAVA kids, Community College of Aurora students and professional Colorado artists and teachers. Find everything from kid-crafted lamps and block prints to fiber art by Sandra Clark and ceramics by Jason Bade — and every sale helps DAVA fund another year of exemplary service. The exhibit is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, and by appointment. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-367-5886.
Craft Boner, Denver Flea
4. Denver Holiday Flea
Sports Castle, 1000 Broadway
5 to 9 p.m. Friday, December 2
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, December 3
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, December 4
Admission: $30 Friday, $5 Saturday and Sunday
If you like to sample brews and spirits as part of your holiday shopping ritual, the Holiday Flea is the place to be: For a special $30 all-you-can-drink fee on opening night, you can enjoy New Belgium tappings, cider and cocktails from the Flea Speakeasy while haggling with more than 100 quality craft and lifestyle vendors. Don’t care for drinking? Regular weekend admission is $5 — and this year’s venue, the former Sports Castle at Tenth Avenue and Broadway, adds charm to the whole shopping ordeal, with its built-in ramps and spacious floors. Party on.
5. Friday Micro Market: Holiday Lights
5 to 8 p.m. Friday, December 2
Ink Lounge pays homage to holiday lights on First Friday with a hand-picked spread of light-happy vendors, including assemblage diorama master Mister Christmas (aka Scott Hildebrandt), recycled-bottle lamp maker Idarado and tintype portraitist Patrick Andrade’s Relic Fine Art Photography. As usual, Ink Lounge will kick in with its own collection of screenprinted items, from cards to calendars, as well as a make-and-take wrapping paper craft, and the bar will be stocked by Bear Creek Distillery, Divino Wine and Ratio Beerworks.
Mai Wyn Schantz
6. Wonderlands 2
Mai Wyn Fine Art
Friday, December 2, through January 21
Preview reception: 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, December 1
First Friday reception: 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, December 2
Don’t let Denver’s prolonged autumn dry spell fool you. Winter is coming, and it’s going to be beautiful. Wonderlands 2, opening December 2 at Mai Wyn Fine Art, will transform the gallery in shades of white, with jewelry, ceramics, sculpture, photography and paintings all touched by a magical hoarfrost befitting the season. Give the gift of winter.
Everyone loves the Olde World Santa at South Pearl Street's WinterFest.
Charlotte Elich, 5 Green Boxes
7. South Pearl Street WinterFest
1400 and 1500 blocks of South Pearl Street
5 to 9 p.m. Friday, December 2
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, December 3
Whether or not you can safely dream of a white Christmas in 2016, South Pearl Street is ready to at least give you an old-fashioned one: WinterFest returns to the cozy retail drag with its tried-and-true, family-friendly blend of merchant open houses, Friday-evening visits with a velvet-clad Olde World Santa, romantic horse-and-wagon rides, complimentary cocoa and hot cider, roasted chestnuts, an Open Aire Market of gift items, trees and greenery — and so much more, including live music all day Saturday. And if you’re looking to tackle that holiday family photo, drop in at Lea Marlene Actors Studio, 1601 South Pearl Street, for $20 digital group photo ops against a winter backdrop. Take yours home on a zip drive to do with as you please; appointments are not necessary.
Koko Bayer and Thomas Scharfenberg
8. Koko Bayer and Thomas Scharfenberg: eyes, hearts and body parts, installation and art sale
6 to 9 p.m. Saturdays, December 3, 10 and 17
Wheat-paste muralist Koko Bayer and pattern-painter Thomas Scharfenberg teamed up for eyes, hearts and body parts, a walk-through sensory light-show of an installation at Megafauna in late November, and so wowed the public at the opening that the show's run has been extended for three Saturdays in December. See the indescribable collaboration fully lit, then shop for affordable mementos by the artists, including prints, paintings, photos and painted objects, as well as Megafauna’s usual local-leaning stock of art, clothing and gear.
Thriving Lotus Creations, Sweet William Market
9. Sweet William December Market
MCA Community Center, Stapleton
8371 East Northfield Boulevard
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, December 3
Sweet William’s Kim Kouba brings back the fair-weather Stapleton flea market for an indoor holiday fling, curating a roster of thirty favorite artisan and vintage vendors that will set up in Stapleton’s MCA Community Center. Parking is plentiful, and festivities will include live music, eats and drinks, boutique trucks and free admission.
All Good Wishes
10. Crafted Life Handmade Holiday Craft Market
East Simpson Coffee Company
414 East Simpson Street, Lafayette
1 to 6 p.m. Saturday, December 3 and Saturday, December 10
Lafayette-based online crafters’ supply and gift shop Crafted Life will reappear for two Saturdays after closing its brick-and-mortar. You’ll find an eclectic selection of handcrafts, home decor, bath and body items and food products, and if you like coffee, double bonus: Both markets, each featuring a different spread of twenty vendors, take place inside a working java shop, so save some pennies for a hot cocoa or a holiday latte.
11. Holiday Book Sale/Emerging Vision
Colorado Photographic Arts Center
6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, December 3
Got a photog on your list? Buy a gift for that shutterbug at CPAC’s holiday sale of photography books and limited-edition zines — and benefit the art center at the same time — on December 3, while also taking in Emerging Vision, a show of work by 28 budding photographers from across the nation. Admission is free.
Cat Care Society
12. Santa Paws Festival
Cat Care Society
5787 West Sixth Avenue, Lakewood
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, December 3, and Sunday, December 4
Join in furry festivities at the Cat Care Society’s annual holiday fundraiser, which rolls up a bake sale, a holiday handmade bazaar, the Santa Paws prize raffle, photos with Santa and more into one great family-friendly purr party. It also gives feline fans a chance to tour the shelter, meet adoptable cats and buy kitty gifts in the year-round Meow Mart store. All proceeds benefit CCS shelter cats, and if you want to go the extra mile for them, donate $5 for an ornament picturing a cat currently living at the shelter.
Visit Georgetown, Colorado
13. Georgetown Christmas Market
Sixth Street, Georgetown
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, December 3-4 and 10-11
Tradition runs strong at the Georgetown Christmas Market, a snow-touched, old-world take on the holidays with a European artisan marketplace, horse-drawn wagon rides, festive museum tours at the Hamill House and Hotel de Paris, roasted chestnuts, Victorian carolers, food vendors and twinkling lights. But the highlight of the annual festivities might just be the daily Santa Lucia processions, with a traditional St. Nicholas leading the way.
Broken Shovels Farm Facebook Page
14. Broken Shovels Holiday Gift and Cheese Markets
Broken Shovels Farm
1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, December 4, and Sunday, December 18
Broken Shovels is its own kind of place: An artisanal cheesery, working goat farm, animal shelter, petting zoo, concert venue and rural pocket of love, Andrea Davis’s patch of land in Adams County has a welcoming spirit that’s as simple as a jam-and-cheese sandwich grilled over an open fire. That should be enough to convince you to set a while here, and these two Sundays will be your last chance to do so until spring. Davis will have holiday-worthy cheeses for sale (and promises new, farm-exclusive items) to help you get ready for a houseful of jolly, hungry people. But more important, every purchase you make will help keep the farm and animals going over the winter months. Come out for an afternoon, snap a photo with Barley the cow, and have a good time!
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