You can't tell that we're in the last month of 2021 by the weather, but a blizzard of holiday events has filled the calendar. The city is snowed under with holiday markets (see our list of Denver markets here
). For those who've already spent their money shopping, there are plenty of free events around town, too (see our list of Ten Free Things to Do here
And more festivities are coming! Check our naughty and nice list of things to do around Denver that are worth the price of admission:
Artisan Holiday Craft Fair
Sunday, December 5, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Museum of Boulder, 2205 Broadway, Boulder
Turn a shopping trip into a learning experience at the Museum of Boulder’s Sunday Artisan Holiday Craft Fair, and do both for the museum gate fee of $8 to $10 (members and kids 5 and under get in free), plus enjoy one free coffee or hot chocolate and a custom laser-cut ornament as you shop for handmade jewelry, ceramics, porcelain and original art and photography, all by local artists. If you don’t drop after you shop, check out the museum’s exhibitions, too. Find details and buy tickets in advance at Eventbrite
Festival del Tamal y Atole
Sunday, December 5, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Rise Westwood, 3738 Morrison Road
The street-food combo pairing homemade tamales with the vanilla-scented masa drink atole makes any day a holiday. Feast on both, each prepared in myriad ways, this weekend at Rise Westwood, where numerous vendors will be trading tastes of their own secret recipes for tickets bought in advance in bundles of ten, twenty or a hundred. Each day will be a little bit different in terms of vendors and flavors; on opening night, First Friday at D3 Arts, 3632 Morrison Road, will be rolled into the event with live music and additional vendors. Find ticket pricing, vendors and schedules here
Sunday, December 5, 1 p.m.
Factory Five Five, Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street, Suite 200
Regardless of which winter celebration your family observes, it never hurts to familiarize kids with more — which this interactive theater experience does at the same time it entertains. The collection of tales based on four children’s books — Eric Kimmel’s The Chanukah Guest
, Donna Washington’s Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa
, Tomie dePaola’s The Legend of the Poinsettia
and Susan Cooper’s The Shortest Day
—dramatize what each celebration is about for children. And if you like the stories enough, the books will also be available for purchase. Performances repeat through December 19, and admission is $8 in advance at Eventbrite
or $12 at the door. Find details here
Frequent Flyers: Gravity & Relativity
Up in the air with Frequent Flyers.
Sunday, December 5, 2 p.m.
Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street, Boulder
Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance is back to swinging through the air at the Dairy Arts Center after a long year away, making a perfect three-day comeback with Gravity & Relativity, a breathtaking evening of flying high on aerial silks. The price for over an hour of too many oohs and aahs to count? Just $23 to $27. Reserve tickets and learn more here
Sunday, December 5, 2 p.m.
Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive
Su Teatro continues its fiftieth-anniversary programming with Joaquin’s Christmas
, a favorite holiday show with a heartwarming denouement. It’s about Joaquin, a seven-year-old growing up in Pueblo in the ’50s, who is jonesing for a Christmas bicycle at the same time Papa is contemplating going on strike. An unusual cast of unexpected characters, including Joaquin's magical abuela, a cigar-smoking dog and the lady in the clouds, come along to set him straight — and he’s a little like a pint-sized Mexicano Scrooge reformed. Shows continue through December 19; find info and tickets, $17 to $20, here
A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant
Sunday, December 5, 2 p.m.
Aurora Fox Art Center, 9900 East Colfax Avenue
If you’ve seen A Christmas Carol
a million times (and ditto for any number of classic holiday plays), the satirical musical A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant
is a slightly fractured retelling of L. Ron Hubbard’s life story, detailing some of the more unbelievable myths of Dianetics. Learn everything you ever wanted to know about Xenu, the mysterious E-meter and the immortal Thetans. It’s not really for kids, so call a babysitter; get info and tickets for performances Thursdays through Sundays (through December 19), $15 to $40, here
South Pole: The Cave of Yuletide Villains
Sunday, December 5, 5 p.m.
HQ, 60 South Broadway
Andrew Novick is at it again, with the immersive South Pole: The Cave of Yuletide Villains
, a pop-up bar/art installation/performance that pulls audiences into the North Pole’s old-world pagan parallel universe — the South Pole, where all the Christmas villains hang out — while you sip themed cocktails over charcuterie and desserts. Cheers! The event continues into December on select dates, and admission is $50 for a table for two; sign up and learn more here
Happy campers in Lakewood
Through Sunday, January 2, 5 to 10 p.m.
Elitch Gardens, 2000 Elitch Circle
Looking for something different in the holiday lighting category? Elitch Gardens will be all aglow this season with the arrival of Luminova, a three-million-bulb display that includes a 65-foot-tall Christmas tree, along with a gigantic snowman and larger-than-life ornaments and gift packages. Visitors can also walk through a candy-cane tunnel ablaze with glowing lights, enjoy limited amusement park rides, play a game of light-up hopscotch and have a word with old Saint Nick and his elves. Admission is $24.99 to $34.99; get tickets and details here
A Hudson Christmas
Through December 31, 5 to 9 p.m. (select nights)
Hudson Gardens, 6115 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton
After a two-year hiatus, Hudson Gardens again hosts the lighting display A Hudson Christmas, and it's celebrating the return with more lights on more trees — towering trees, dancing trees and just plain gorgeous trees in rainbow colors — as well as giant snowmen, a curving light tunnel, glittering reindeer and more. Tickets are $12 to $20 (children three and under admitted free) and must be purchased in advance online here
Trail of Lights at Chatfield Farms
Through January 2, 5 to 8:30 p.m.
Chatfield Farms, 8500 West Deer Creek Canyon road, Littleton
The Denver Botanic Gardens will light up its Chatfield Farm location with LED lights along the pathway through the Green Farm, Crossroads, Deer Creek Discovery Children's Play Area and 1880s Hildebrand Ranch homestead. Special features include synchronized music in the children’s play area, singing Christmas trees, illuminated antique and model tractors on display, and hot beverages, nuts and kettle corn available for purchase. Tickets are $15 adults, $10 children and members; get all the details here
Blossoms of Light
Through January 8, 4:30 to 9 p.m. nightly except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day
Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street
Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens is a real thing of beauty: a fairyland blinking with millions of LED lights in colors that rival the beauty of the botanical attraction’s summer flowers. Perfect for holiday-lights nerds of all ages, it’s one of the best reasons in town to let the little ones stay up late and gulp hot chocolate on a frosty winter night. And don’t miss the new 200-foot-long, 17-foot-tall tunnel of animated lights lining the O’Fallon Perennial Walk. Find information and get timed-entry tickets, $16 to $21, here
Cirque Dreams Holidaze
Through January 2
Gaylord Rockies Resort, 6700 North Gaylord Rockies Boulevard, Aurora
Have a merry, acrobatic holiday with Cirque Dreams Holidaze, just one of the many holiday attractions Gaylord Rockies has to offer — and one of the few that will satisfy a multi-generational audience with its classic Christmas themes, performed cirque style. Tickets start at $29 and are going fast; get yours here
Through January 2
Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park, 801 South Yarrow Street, Lakewood
Immersive master Lonnie Hanzon has outdone himself to bring Camp Christmas, formerly an indoor affair, to life in a six-acre outdoor environment. But he’s had plenty of experience with al fresco holiday displays in the past, at Hudson Gardens, the Houston Zoo and even Denver's Parade of Lights. Camp Christmas, a collaboration with the Denver Center for Performing Arts Off-Center, is a different sort of holiday display: It has a campy personality that dictates such displays as pun trees, a glamping Santa, an emotional baggage check and drag queen tours. There's also a bar fit for a fairy queen! See for yourself; see the schedule (hours vary) and get tickets, $8 to $25 (with optional add-ons available) here
Zoo Lights: A Toast to Love, 125 Years + Beyond
Through January 2, 5 to 10 p.m.
Denver Zoo, 2350 Steele Street
In celebration of the Denver Zoo’s 125th anniversary, this year’s Zoo Lights extravaganza has been beefed up with new installations and portable bars serving holiday craft cocktails, and nightly ice-carving demos have returned. While viewing of zoo animals is limited to indoor habitats and a few cold-hardy outdoor beasts, chances are good that folks will mostly be looking up at the lights. Admission ranges from $15 to $25; get tickets here
Looking for still more to do? Check our list of all the holiday events in 2021.
Know of another great event around town? Send information to [email protected]