Thanksgiving is still many days away, but the holiday merriment has started in earnest, with seasonal markets and shows popping up all over. But there's lots of other fun to be had in and around the Mile High City; keep reading for the 21 best things to do in Denver this week.
Monday, November 18
Katie Hartman and Nick Ryan, of Brooklyn-based grassroots theater company the Coldharts, are swinging through Denver again after a stop at the Savoy at Curtis Park in September, this time with a different show — one that could be taken as a coda to the Halloween season. The two-person musical comedy Edgar Allan, adapted from Poe’s short story William Wilson, is a darkly autobiographical riff on the author’s own life that climaxes with a schoolboy face-off between two Edgar Allans. It’s not at all what you think; you just have to see for yourself. The Coldharts perform Edgar Allan at 7:30 p.m. Monday, November 18, at the Savoy, 2700 Arapahoe Street. Learn more and get tickets, $18, at theartibus.com.
Tuesday, November 19
Colorado leads the country in teen suicides. Challenge Denver, a youth empowerment organization, is out to change that, and at 6 p.m. Tuesday, November 19, it will join with the Denver Waldorf School to host a free screening of Screenagers: The Next Chapter, which explores solutions for improved adolescent well-being in the digital age. The movie will be followed by a discussion with panelists including young leaders and reps from the Denver Waldorf School and Project Helping. The program is at the school, 2100 South Pennsylvania Street, and admission is free; for more information, go to challengedenver.org or denverwaldorf.org.
Wednesday, November 20
Learn how to explore backcountry powder when Fritz Sperry, author of the Making Turns in Colorado series, comes to the state on Wednesday, November 20. Making Turns chronicles hundreds of backcountry routes in the state, and Sperry's latest installment dives into terrain throughout northern Colorado and in the Park, Gore, Swatch and Tenmile/Mosquito mountain ranges. The event is free, and so is the beer, provided by Upslope Brewing. The fun starts at 6 p.m. at Bent Gate Mountaineering, 1313 Washington Avenue in Golden. For more information, go to bentgate.com.
Once again, Denver has been named "America's Worst City to Find Love" by the Great Love Debate, a series of live, town hall-style theatrical events that tours the globe. The Mile High City received the same dubious distinction in 2017, was narrowly edged out of the top spot in 2018 by Seattle, but has reclaimed the throne in 2019. At a special show at the Denver Improv, 8246 Northfield Boulevard, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 20, Great Love Debate host Brian Howie will dissect Denver's disappointing dating dynamic. "Denver sees itself as an active city," says Howie. "Which is true. [It is] actively getting worse at dating and relationships." Make a date to find out why; tickets start at $20. Get them at greatlovedebate.com.
Thursday, November 21
If a Christmas pageant mated with Meow Wolf, you’d probably get something like Camp Christmas, the new, glittery, family-friendly, 10,000-square-foot immersive collaboration between the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Off-Center and maker/wizard Lonnie Hanzon. It’s a selfie paradise and campy romp through holiday history, laden with lush ornamentation and surprises at every turn. The fun starts at 2 p.m. Thursday, November 21, at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora, and continues through January 5. Plan your trip between 10 a.m. and noon any Saturday before Christmas, and snapshots with Saint Nick will be part of the package (these tickets will go fast!). Explore Camp Christmas with hot cocoa or cocktails in hand daily (except December 25 and 28) between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.; timed-entry tickets vary, from $8 to $21 (free for children two and under), at denvercenter.org.
A time-honored sale with a botanical bent, the decades-old Winter Gift Market returns to the Denver Botanic Gardens with a new selection of in-house Garden Guild herbal vinegars and seasonings alongside a glorious spread of beautiful handmade merchandise offering something for everyone on your list (not to mention yourself…). Shop and support the DBG, 1007 York Street, from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, November 21, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, November 22, and Saturday, November 23, and enjoy free admission to the gardens for your trouble; if you're a member, you’ll also get a 10 percent discount on your purchases. Learn more at botanicgardens.org.
The Universal Language
Hosted by the African Community Center of Denver, the Refugee First Thanksgiving has brought together refugees and other metro Denver residents for a meal that crosses cultures (but includes the classics) for fourteen years. There will be two seatings this year, at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., on Thursday, November 21, at Mango House, 10180 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora; bring your appetite and an item (or three) to help stock ACC's pantry for newly arrived refugee families. Admission is free, but a $15 donation is suggested to offset costs. Register and learn more at eventbrite.com.
Are we living on Silicon Mountain? That's the reputation Denver is earning as startup events explode around town. And at 6 p.m. Thursday, November 21, WorkAbility Coworking will introduce Mile High Pitch 2019, designed to help smaller businesses with smaller budgets get a leg up. A panel of five trailblazers and innovators who've helped pioneer the flourishing Denver startup community will advise and judge the five startups pitching at this inaugural event at WorkAbility, 1576 Sherman Street. Be there when the Next Big Thing is chosen; the action is free to watch. Learn more and RSVP at nightout.com/events/mile-high-pitch.
For absolutely no reason, sex is still a taboo topic in this country. Here to change that narrative is the Feminine Collective, which will host Let's Talk About Sex, Bae-Be, an evening of sex-positive talk and feminine mingling that's sure to leave you feeling enlightened — and your senses heightened. The $25 price of admission ($30 day-of) includes a lecture on reclaiming your sexuality, a pop-up shop, unlimited drinks and access to FemFit classes, with your choice of yoga or dance. Get down with your sexy self on Thursday, November 21, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue; get tickets and learn more at eventbrite.com.
Friday, November 22
Ogling outdoor Christmas lights is a time-honored holiday tradition, but what if you had the opportunity to go inside some beautifully decorated homes? The Central City Opera Guild has made that happen for 42 years as the host of L'Esprit de Noël, a holiday home tour, and it's back for a 43rd. The annual CCO fundraiser will take holiday revelers inside homes in the University Park neighborhood, near the University of Denver campus, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, November 22, and Saturday, November 23; find tickets, $28 to $50, and more information at lesprithometour.com.
The Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center brings a Disneyland atmosphere to Colorado this year with sparkling holiday lighting, ice displays, a skating rink, an ice bumper-car attraction and other activities. But on the more sophisticated side, the Broadway-style stage show Cirque Dreams Holidaze will wow the whole family with aerial acrobatics and a pageant of holiday characters in Gaylord’s Bubly Theater, with shows beginning Friday, November 22, and running daily except Mondays through January 4, including Christmas and New Year’s Day. Find the castle on the plains at 6700 North Gaylord Rockies Boulevard in Aurora; Cirque Dreams tickets range from $29 to $99 at tickets.gaylordrockies.com.
Cheery Christmas markets are a staple in Germany, but no need to buy a plane ticket: Just visit the Christkindl Market, which returns to 1515 Arapahoe Street on Friday, November 22, with its abundant artisan marketplace, authentic German cuisine and beer, live music and more. Admission is free, but bring your wallet and holiday shopping list. The market runs through December 23; find times and more info at christkindlmarketdenver.com. It's the most wonderful time of the year!
An open mic in an art museum? Why the heck not? It’s totally in character for MCA Denver, where hip pastimes cross paths with contemporary art on a regular basis. MCA’s freewheeling Open Mic Soapbox is license to rant, sing, poetize or dance — or whatever — to an audience that’s ready for anything you can dish out. Drop in and do your thing at the rooftop MCA Denver Cafe, 1485 Delgany Street, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, November 22; admission is free with the regular evening museum fee of $5. Can’t make this one? The monthly open-mic series wraps up for the year on December 20. Find details at mcadenver.org.
The nine-piece brass and percussion ensemble Slavic Soul Party!, fresh from New York City, blends Balkan melodies and New Orleans-style rhythms like nobody’s business. And, yes, you can dance to it. See for yourself on Friday, November 22, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 South Allison Parkway in Lakewood, when the band tears down the house with a special program showcasing Duke Ellington’s “Far East Suite.” Find information and tickets, $22 to $47, at lakewood.showare.com.
Saturday, November 23
Give thanks: Vail is introducing a new Thanksgiving festival this weekend to officially kick off the ski season and welcome the brilliance of winter. Revely Vail will include family-friendly activities throughout Vail Village, starting with cooking classes and ice skating on Saturday, November 23, and continuing with astronomy nights, a gingerbread contest, the Kris Kringle market, the Explosion of Lights walk, the 10th Mountain Legacy Parade on Friday, November 29, and a concert on Saturday, November 30, followed by a tree lighting at Slifer Sq uare. Some events are free and some require tickets; for a complete schedule and more details, go to reneventproductions.com.
A contract dispute between Altitude, the regional sports network that airs Nuggets and Avalanche games, and television providers has kept games off the airwaves this season, which is as good of an excuse as any to see the teams play live. The Colorado Avalanche will take on the Toronto Maple Leaves on Saturday, November 23, at the Pepsi Center; doors open at 4 and the game starts at 5 p.m. Head to altittudetickets.com to find tickets and more info.
The Denver nonprofit ArtHyve will further its goal of helping Colorado artists document their careers with the return of Archives as Muse, a live artist showcase that focuses on music and performance in 2019. And it won’t be the usual fare, by any means: Selected artists include Eric Nord, whose performance blends home movies with an original music composition; Eric Dallimore, with his sculptural installation “i wish for you to just go away”; the sister duo of Eriko and Anu Tsogo, performing “Musicalgorithms,” a multimedia piece inspired by the Clyfford Still Museum archives; and composer John Clay Allen, who will bring along a string quartet to perform a composition using materials from the Boulder Public Library’s Maria Rogers Oral History Collection. Get a taste of Colorado’s cutting edge on Saturday, November 23, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue; get info and tickets, $15, at eventbrite.com.
Tote bag-toting public-radio lovers have spent hours listening to Ira Glass muse about myriad human foibles on the Peabody Award-winning storytelling program This American Life. After working his way up from an unpaid editorial position to public-radio host and segment producer, Glass parlayed the windfall of a MacArthur Fellowship into the production of his signature show, which has become a broadcasting institution over its 24-year history, launching the careers of David Sedaris and Mike Birbiglia as well as the podcast phenomenon Serial. Despite having one of the most recognizable voices on the airwaves, Glass maintains a low-key public profile, so seize the opportunity to spend some time with him at Ira Glass — The Seven Things I've Learned at 8 p.m. Saturday, November 23, at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Street. Tickets are $20 to $100 and going fast; get them at altitudetickets.com.
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Go on a Saturday night trip this weekend when burlesque mover and shimmy-shaker Honey Touche teams up with Arlo White of Hypnotic Turtle for Psychedelic Burlesque Jungle. The tiki-and-acid-themed evening of ’60s pop culture will deliver an all-star cast of vivacious local ladies and retro tunes courtesy of Tammy Shine and DJ Alf. You’ll find it all at the Broadway Roxy, 554 South Broadway, on Saturday, November 23, from 8 p.m. to midnight; admission is $15 in advance ($20 day of show) at brownpapertickets.com.
Sunday, November 24
Nothing gets us in the holiday spirit like the sparkling lights and Christmas decorations at the sumptuous Brown Palace Hotel & Spa. Every year, the hotel, at 321 17th Street, kicks off the season with a champagne cascade and toast, where more than twenty layers of champagne glasses are stacked into a pyramid and filled with bubbly from the top down. Arrive at 10 a.m. on Sunday, November 24, to grab a spot with the best view of the 32nd Annual Champagne Cascade, welcome Santa Claus at 11 a.m., and witness the champagne sabering and pouring at noon. Tickets, available at eventbrite.com, go for $25 each ($20 for kids twelve and under), or $175 for a VIP viewing. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, so raise a glass to the spirit of giving — the Brown Palace will raise one even higher.
Just when you thought you’d never have to hear your kids sing “Let It Go” again, Disney’s gone and made a Frozen sequel and dropped "Into the Unknown,” a brand-new earworm for your children to torture you with. You're also going to be strong-armed into watching Frozen II in the theater, so you might as well make an event out of it: On Sunday, November 24, the Alamo Drafthouse will host Frozen II Family Parties, with a photo booth, snowman and reindeer crafts, and games galore. Let it go starting at 10:30 a.m. at the Littleton location, 7301 South Santa Fe Drive, and noon at the Sloan's Lake outpost, 4255 West Colfax Avenue; find tickets, $13.42, at drafthouse.com.
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