A blizzard of fun has landed on Denver, with even more holiday events opening — and the first winter season of Film on the Rocks closing with the classic A Christmas Story.
Don't miss our list of free events here; we've also kept track of holiday markets here. Now keep reading for fifteen more of the best things to do this weekend.
Through Monday, December 12
Main Street, Breckenridge
The purpose of Ullr Fest, now entering its 58th year, is to persuade the old Norse god of snow to send more precip of the powdery variety to Breckenridge. But it’s okay to have fun, too, and that’s an easy task at a mountain winter festival that starts with a parade and an attempt at setting the longest Shotski® “unofficial” World Record, and continues through the weekend with a curling tournament, an ice skating party and performance, a rad snowboard adventure film, and the unforgettable Ullr bonfire celebration. See the schedule and register for ticketed events here.
Sunday, December 12, noon to 5 p.m.
Colorado Chautauqua, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder
If you like celebrations with horse-drawn carriage rides and chilly family jaunts in the great outdoors, Colorado Chautauqua’s WinterFest is a holiday dream come true, a weekend of good, clean fun with a combination of free and ticketed events for all ages. Join a caroling trek, singing your heart out to the trees; choose a history tour of the national landmark’s grounds, if you like to learn while you stroll; visit Santa’s cottage or shop a holiday market. And don't forget to vote for your favorite of fifteen bear sculptures decorated by local artists. Get more info, a schedule and tickets here.
South Pole: The Cave of Yuletide Villains
Sunday, December 12, 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.
Film on the Rocks: Holiday Drive-In
Sunday, December 12, 4:30 p.m.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
The first holiday season of Film on the Rocks draws to a close with A Christmas Story closing off the season at 4:30 p.m. December 12. Admission is $59.50 per car; get more details and tickets here.
The Other Josh Cohen
Through May 1, 7:30 p.m. daily except Monday; 2 p.m. Sunday matinees Garner Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
For theatrical fare without a single jingle bell, The Other Josh Cohen, by Steve Rosen and David Rossmer, is the ticket. Opening a long run at the Garner Galleria this weekend, It’s a small, sweet rock-and-roll musical comedy with two actors playing the leading role, separated by the span of one year. We could all use a laugh this time of year — or anytime. Tickets — $35 through December 16, and then $46 through May 1 — are already selling out into 2022; plan ahead and get yours ASAP here.
Connections: Following the Trail to Justice for Anna Mae Aquash
Wednesday, December 15, noon, online
As part of the Insights & InPerson series hosted by History Colorado, retired Denver Police Detective Abe Alonzo will discuss his work on the kidnapping and murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash in 1975. In 1994, Alonzo and U.S. Marshal Ecoffey began working together on this investigation along with Bureau of Indian Affairs investigator and Oglala tribal member Mitch Pourier, and FBI Special Agent James Graf, starting a relentless ten-year journey whose sole destination was justice for Anna Mae Aquash. Learn about past programs and register for this one, $5, here.
A Very Merry Dyketopia
Wednesday, December 15, 7 to 9:30 p.m.
The Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street
Ready to make your Yuletide gay? Join local comedians Lee Robinson and Kate McLachlan at the Bug for A Very Merry Dyketopia. The night will include standup comedy acts, games and prizes, as well as a special performance from drag Santa and other holiday treats. Tickets, $12, went fast; you can join the waitlist for the event here. Follow @dyketopiacomedy on Instagram for updates and more.
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]