The holidays are here, with seasonal events both simple and sensational. You can stroll decorated streets for free, or sit back in a comfortable theater seat and be entertained by a Christmas classic.
See our list of holiday markets here, check our calendar for concerts, and keep reading for dozens of things to do in and around Denver this year.
December and January:
Zoo Lights: Through January 15; Sundays through Thursdays, 5:30 to 8 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, 5:30 to 9 p.m., $10 to $25. Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele Street, 720-337-1400, denverzoo.org.
Downtown Denver Rink: Open daily and on holidays through February 14; free admission, $9 to $11 skate rental (or bring your own), $5 skate walker. Downtown Denver Rink, Skyline Park, 1601 Arapahoe Street, rink hotline: 303-825-6787, winterindenver.com.
Snow Much Fun: Self-Guided virtual AR Tour: Through January 31, after dusk, free. Downtown Boulder (map at website), boulderdowntown.com.
Holiday Lights Mini Golf: Now through January 8, 5 to 9 p.m. nightly except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; free to $12.75 at the gate; Adventure Golf and Raceway, 9650 Sheridan Boulevard, Westminster, 303-650-7587, adventuregolfandraceway.com
Santa’s Rocky Mountain Adventure: Daily through December 31 (closed on Christmas); $25.95 to $35 and up (lap riders under age 3 free); Georgetown Loop Railroad, Devil’s Gate Depot, 888-456-6777, georgetownlooprr.com/winter-holiday-trains.
Mile High Tree: America’s tallest digital tree, a seven-story, 39-foot-diameter conical structure with 60,000 programmed LED lights joins the Christkindlmarket in Civic Center Park in 2022. Through December 31, 5 to 10 p.m. nightly, Civic Center Park, 101 West 14th Avenue, denver.org/milehighholidays.
Blossoms of Light: Through January 8, 4:30 to 9 p.m. nightly, closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas; $17 to $24 (free for children ages 2 and under); Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, 720-865-3500, botanicgardens.org.
Christmas in Color Drive-Through Animated Light Show: Through January 1, 5:30 to 10 p.m. nightly; $35 to $55 per carload; Bandimere Speedway, 3051 South Rooney Road, Morrison; Water World, 8800 Pecos Street, Federal Heights; Arapahoe County Fairgrounds, 25690 East Quincy Avenue, Aurora;
Downtown Festival of Lights and Winter Wonderlights, Downtown Edition: Holiday lighting continues through January 1. Fourth Street, downtown Loveland, downtownloveland.org.
Christmas at Gaylord 2021: ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas™, $19.99 to $35.99. Cirque Spirit of Christmas, $35 to $45. Merry Snoopy Christmas Scavenger Hunt, $11.99. Breakfast With Charlie Brown and Friends™, $19.99 to $32.99. Discounted ticket bundles available, Through January 1. Gaylord Rockies, 6700 North Gaylord Rockies Boulevard, Aurora, 720-452-6900, christmasatgaylordrockies.marriott.com.
POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride: Through January 1, selected dates, shows usually at 5:15, 6:50 and 8:25; $29 to $93; Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, 877-872-4607, 479 Main Avenue, Durango, durangotrain.com.
Longmont Ice Pavilion: Public recreational skating, drop-in hockey, youth hockey program and classes, through March 9 (daily, times vary), $6 to $8 ($4 skate rental, $11 skate sharpening), 725 8th Avenue, Longmont, 303-774-4777, longmontcolorado.gov.
Olde Town Arvada Skating in the Square: Through January 29, hours vary, $7 to $10 (includes skate rental). Olde Town Square, 5700 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada, facebook.com.
Loveland Winter Wonderlights: Through January 2, 5 to 9 p.m., admission free. Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra, Sky Pond Drive, Loveland, visitlovelandco.org.
Forest of Stories: Holiday exhibit of more than 120 decorated trees all dressed up in stories and spread out at all Douglas County Library locations, through January 7, during library operating hours, free. Douglas County Libraries, locations and itinerary listed at dcl.org/forest-of-stories.
Green Mountain Falls Skyspace: Artist James Turrell’s one-of-a-kind experiential art experience, which begins and concludes with an exhilarating hike through the Red Butte Recreational Area in Green Mountain Falls. Open to the public Thursdays through Sundays year-round, weather permitting. Currently taking reservations through February: tickets $5; Skyspace is also available to visit without a ticket in its natural state, after sunrise and before sunset on days the Skyspace is open, unless the trail system is closed for weather or maintenance. Access: Joyland/Pittman Trailhead: 10605 Ute Pass Avenue, Green Mountain Falls, or Lower Turrell Trailhead: 10392 El Paso Avenue, Green Mountain Falls, greenboxarts.org/skyspace.
Light the Lights: An eight-minute choreographed light and music holiday show, through January 23, 5:45 and 6:45 p.m. nightly, free. Light the Lights Celebration: Mayor Hancock switches on the holiday lights at the Denver City and County Building, 1437 Bannock Street, denver.org.
Grand Illumination: Merry & Bright Lights Show: through December 27, 5 to 10 p.m. nightly; free. Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop Street, 303-592-6712, unionstationindenver.com.
Luminova Holidays: Larger-than-life holiday displays and immersive experiences, through Sunday, January 1, 5 to 10 p.m.; $24.99 to $34.99. Elitch Gardens, 2000 Elitch Circle, luminovaholidays.com.
A Hudson Christmas: Through December 31, twelve select nights, 5 to 9 p.m.; $17 to $20 (children three and under free). Hudson Gardens, 6115 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton, 303-797-8565, hudsongardens.org.
Lighting of the Headframes: Through January 1, open weekends (and nightly between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day), free. Cripple Creek, stcfg.com; find a map here.
A Christmas Story: Through December 30, select dates, 7 p.m.; $25 to $40. Breckenridge Theater, 121 South Ridge Street, Breckenridge, 970-547-3100, backstagetheatre.org.
10th Mountain Legacy Parade: Skiers dressed in traditional 10th Mountain Division Ski Trooper uniforms perform a Torchlight Ski Down to the base of Gondola One, followed by a parade of military veterans. 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 30; Friday, January 13; and Sunday, February 26. Base of Gondola One, Vail Village, discovervail.com.
New Year’s Eve at Copper Mountain: Celebrate the New Year with a DJ set, torchlight parade, fireworks, and dinner and drinks. Saturday, December 31, 5 to 10:30 p.m., Eagle's Landing, Center Village, Copper Mountain, coppercolorado.com.
Sixteenth Annual Vail Winterfest: Sunday, January 1, through January 31, details TBD, International Bridge, Willow Bridge Road, Vail Village, discovervail.com.
Winter X Games 2023: 100 of the world’s best action sports athletes return to Buttermilk Mountain to compete in fourteen disciplines (live event coverage will be broadcast on ESPN and ABC. Follow @Xgames across digital and social media platforms for up-to-date information); Friday, January 27, through Sunday, January 29, full schedule TBD, live spectating free. Buttermilk Mountain, Aspen, aspenchamber.org.
These listings appeared in our annual Winter Guide inserted in the November 17 issue of Westword; see the digital version here.