Season's greetings! Outdoor Denver is lighting up this weekend, with the Denver City & County Building now glowing for the holidays...and many other traditinoal holiday shows will debut before Thanksgiving. But there's plenty to do if you'd rather stay safe inside your own home, too. You have plenty of shopping options, whether you do it online or hit one of the outdoor spots on our holiday market roster.
Keep reading for the ten best events in and around town (and online) this weekend.
Zotto: A Supernatural Immersive Adventure
Through December 31, 24 hours a day
Start at Pacific Mercantile, Sakura Square, 1925 Lawrence Street (also virtual)
Here’s a COVID-safe immersive experience with staying power: Zotto, the product of a crew of local visual artists, voice actors, dancers, musicians and sound designers, was created under the aegis of the Japanese Arts Network. Zotto rolls out in chapters and on two platforms — one you navigate in your car, and the other a completely virtual album on Bandcamp. The cross-cultural journey blends Japanese folklore and the less-than-perfect history of our city as experienced by minorities and the disenfranchised, all enhanced by audio and video tracks, interactive stops, and cues received by mail. Either option costs $25; learn more and register in advance here.
L’Esprit de Noël Holiday Home Tour
Through December 25
After 43 years as a signature holiday event in Denver, L’Esprit de Noël Home Tour goes virtual for the first time ever in 2020. The Central City Opera Guild’s only fundraiser of the year, L’Esprit has a long history of featuring Denver’s most interesting neighborhoods through a two-day walking tour of grand and historical homes. This year, “Le Petit” tour moves online, in the form of a video walk-through of the incredible Fisher Mansion, complete with performances by Central City Opera artists. Although it's free to watch, donations are definitely requested to support Central City Opera. Find out more here.
Mile High Tree
Through January 2, 5 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturdays, 5 to 8 p.m. Sundays
16th and Welton streets
The Mile High Tree, a 110-foot digital-art installation, returns to downtown Denver to light up the night, courtesy of Visit Denver. For its second year, the tree is moving to a new location, and it will also have public-safety guidelines in place. But there will still be a light show, programmed to holiday music. It's free to visit; find out more here.
I Love Christmas Movies
Through January 3
Gaylord Rockies, 6700 North Gaylord, Aurora
The giant Gaylord complex has a new Christmas pop-up experience: I Love Christmas Movies. The multi-sensory exhibition was created in collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and allows guests to experience beloved holiday movies in a completely new, COVID-safe way. Take photos in front of the Griswolds' house adorned with thousands of Christmas lights; travel with Buddy the Elf from Santa's North Pole workshop to New York City. Tickets start at $24.99 for adults and $13.99 for children, and there are many package options, including overnights and such activities as skating and bumper cars; explore them all here.
Blossoms of Light
Through January 16, 4:30 to 9 p.m. nightly (closed November 26 and December 25)
Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street
Let there be light! It’s a big weekend for holiday light shows switching on for the season, beginning with the most sublime of displays: Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Hot drinks (how about that peppermint-spiked “special” latte?) and grilled cheese sandwiches will be served this year outdoors at the Hive Garden Bistro, but those paper holospex and souvenir mugs won’t be available, in keeping with COVID protocols, which will also dictate mask-wearing, social distancing and one-way pathways through the light show. Reserve timed-entry tickets, $16 to $21 (free for children two and under) in advance here.
Christmas in Color
Through January 3, 5:30 to 10 p.m. nightly
Federal Heights: Water World, 8801 Pecos Street
Morrison: Bandimere Speedway, 3051 South Rooney Road
Load up the kids in the car and head to one of two Front Range locations of Christmas in Color, a drive-through attraction packed with visuals, including lights synchronized to music you can play on your radio, lighted tunnels, trees lit up in candy colors and animated snowmen and snowflakes. At $30 per vehicle, it’s more expensive than driving all over town to see Christmas lights, but it's also a lot easier: No GPS required. Find more information and make reservations here.
Monday, November 23, through December 3 (members only)
December 4 through December (general public), 5 to 10 p.m.
Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele Street
Zoo Lights hits its thirtieth anniversary this year, but this round will be taking many COVID precautions. Animated lighting elements and more than a million twinkling lights will be spread out over eighty acres for your viewing pleasure; for an extra fee, you can reserve a spot for feeding time at the giraffe house or an animal meet-and-greet, or go VIP for a whole Santa’s sack full of extra perks and add-ons. Timed-entry tickets are $15 to $25 in advance, and a five-ticket limit will be enforced; get details and make your reservations here.
Drawing Parallels: Community Art & Artifacts From 2020
Through March 1, 2021
Museum of Boulder, 2205 Broadway, Boulder
This fall, the Museum of Boulder put out a call to regional artists, first responders and the community for artwork, objects and minutiae reflecting how history repeats itself, even in years like 2020, when it seems like everything bad converged around the globe — the pandemic, politics, world issues, civil rights at home. The goal? To provide a frame of reference, and maybe to work out some solutions. For more information, go to museumofboulder.org.
Know of a great event in and around Denver? Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org. And don't miss our holiday market lineup.
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