From dogsledding to light displays, you'll find plenty of family-friendly activities around Denver in December. Celebrate the season of joy with your loved ones at a few of our favorite local events and institutions.
1. Santa Meet & Greet
Denver Union Station
Saturday, December 24
Stroll on down to Denver Union Station to say hello to Santa and Mrs. Claus. They'll be stationed inside the Great Hall on Saturday, December 24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Photos are free (don't forget to bring your own camera). While you wait to tell Santa what's on your list, grab a scoop or two from Milkbox Ice Creamery or sip a steaming hot chocolate from Pigtrain Coffee. There are plenty of adult goodies, too, at the Terminal Bar. For more information, visit Denver Union Station's website.
2. Santa on the Square
Bull and Bear Courtyard
Saturday, December 24
The holidays are in full swing on Larimer Square, which is all dressed up for the season. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be back on the block from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Christmas Eve to hear any last-minute Christmas wishes. Find out more at larimersquare.com.
3. The Polar Express Train Ride
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Through January 3
All aboard! Now through January 3, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is celebrating this magical month with a holiday-themed train ride that’s become a seasonal mainstay for families nationwide. Based on the 1985 book by Chris Van Allsburg and 2004 animated film, the Polar Express Train Ride is one of the D&SNGRR’s biggest events of the year, bringing to life the timeless tale of a child’s journey to the North Pole aboard a historic steam locomotive. During an hour-long ride, passengers sip hot chocolate and interact with characters from the book — all while heading toward the North Pole to pick up the big man himself! Once aboard, Santa Claus visits train cars, gives every child a special gift and leads guests in caroling. Guests are encouraged to wear pajamas, and should arrive at the train depot at least thirty minutes prior to departure. The D&SNGRR also runs Christmas-tree trains and a New Year’s Day brunch train. For details on rides, visit the D&SNGRR’s website.
4. Lights in the Lobby
The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa
The Brown Palace's iconic lobby, which is decorated with more than 130 poinsettias, 100,000 LED lights and 4,800 ornaments, is a popular December destination for families of all ages. Don’t miss the massive chandelier suspended from the stained-glass ceiling of the hotel’s eight-story lobby; it's covered in more than 10,000 beads. Visitors can enjoy holiday decorations over cocktails and small plates in the atrium from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday; seating is available on a first-come basis. For more information, visit the Brown Palace’s website.
5. Southwest Rink
Southwest Rink at Skyline Park
Now through February 14
Bundle up the whole family and head to 16th and Arapahoe in downtown Denver for a few laps around Southwest Rink at Skyline Park, a free urban rink that opened on November 22. The rink's open daily through February 14, and hours are posted online; if you need skates, you can rent a pair for $2 (rental is free on New Year's Day).
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6. Holiday Lights Mini Golf
Adventure Golf & Raceway
Just in time for the most wonderful time of the year, Adventure Golf & Raceway — located at 9650 Sheridan Boulevard in Westminster — has transformed its space with an impressive display of 100,000 holiday lights spread over 54 holes of miniature golf. Kids of all ages will adore the twinkling strands and beautifully decorated features, including an erupting volcano, a booming fireball and Woody, the giant talking tree. Light holiday treats and beverages — think hot chocolate, s'mores and select adult spirits — are available for purchase at the park. Hours and prices are listed online.