Tis the season in Denver: 20+ holiday events, markets and celebrations

Here’s our guide to making your days merry and bright.

The Denver City and County Building lit up for the holidays. Nov. 16, 2016.

The Denver City and County Building lit up for the holidays. Nov. 16, 2016.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
200707-MAGGIE-DONAHUE-STAFF-PHOTO-KEVINJBEATY-01-sq

The snow may be late to Denver, but it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. String lights are going up all over the city, the aisles of grocery stores are filled with cranberry sauce, candy canes and stocking stuffer toys, and holiday music is back on KOSI 101.1.

As holiday cheer takes over Denver, we’re also seeing the return of many celebrations that were cancelled or pushed online last year.  To help you get in the holiday spirit, we’ve put together a list of ways to celebrate the season, including holiday markets, arts experiences like Camp Christmas and the Hip Hop Nutcracker, ice skating, and Denver’s best light shows.

Happy Holidays, Denver!

Note: This is a running list. We will continue to update it as we learn of more holiday celebrations. 

 

ART AND PERFORMANCE

A Christmas Carol

What: “God bless us, everyone!” This Christmas favorite returns to Denver after a year’s hiatus. Let DCPA’s theatrical retelling of Dickens’ classic tale of ghosts, redemption and good will warm your heart this winter.

Where: Wolf Theatre, Speer Boulevard and Arapahoe Street.

When:  Nov. 19-Dec. 26, 2021. Times vary.

COVID: All ticket holders 12+ must provide proof of vaccination, and children under 12 must provide proof of a recent negative COVID test. All audience members 2+ must wear face coverings.

Tickets: Range from $35-$90, depending on the day and where you sit. Members, students, seniors and military members get special discounts, and a select number of discounted tickets are available to the public for $10.

Kids and adults ride a merry-go-round set up at Lonnie Hanzon's Camp Christmas in Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park. Dec. 2, 2021.

Kids and adults ride a merry-go-round set up at Lonnie Hanzon's Camp Christmas in Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park. Dec. 2, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Lonnie Hanzon's Camp Christmas at Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park. Dec. 2, 2021.

Lonnie Hanzon's Camp Christmas at Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park. Dec. 2, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Camp Christmas

What: Lonnie Hanzon’s beloved immersive holiday experience is back, but in a new, outdoor location. This year, guests will explore six acres of light and art while guided by a brand new audio tour. You’ll have the chance to sample seasonal cocktails and snacks, collect virtual “Merry Badges” to win a reward or just enjoy the art.

Where: Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park, 801 S. Yarrow St., Lakewood

When: Nov. 18, 2021-Jan. 2, 2022.

COVID: Masks are required in indoor spaces for all ticket holders 2+, and are encouraged in outdoor spaces.

Tickets: Range from $8-$25, depending on date and time. Members, students, seniors and military members get special discounts, and a select number of discounted tickets are available to the public for $10.

 

Joaquin’s Christmas

What: Joaquin’s Christmas has become a Christmas tradition at Su Teatro. Originally a puppet show, the musical production tells the story of a working class family living in Pueblo during the steel workers strike as they grapple with questions about family, hardship and the true meaning of Christmas.

Where: Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Dr.

When: Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and Sundays matinees, December 2 -19.

COVID: Audience members 12+ must show proof of full vaccination. Kids under 12 must provide proof of a recent negative COVID test.

Tickets: $20 for General Admission, $17 for students and seniors. You can buy online or at (303)296-0219.

 

The Nutcracker

What: Colorado Ballet’s annual yuletide show returns in person this year. Performances will feature new sets and costumes, but the same traditional choreography and tale.

Where: Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 1385 Curtis St.

When: Nov. 27-Dec. 24.

COVID: All ticket holders 12+ must provide proof of vaccination, and children under 12 must provide proof of a recent negative COVID test. All audience members 2+ must wear face coverings.

Tickets: Range from $40-$175, depending on the day and where you sit.

 

Hip Hop Nutcracker

What: A remixed version of the classic, this show takes the story to a modern-day New York City set, where a cast of contemporary dancers will perform choreography set to Tchaikovsky’s original music.

Where: The Buell Theatre, 1350 Curtis St.

When: Nov. 19-20.

COVID: All ticket holders 12+ must provide proof of vaccination, and children under 12 must provide proof of a recent negative COVID test. All audience members 2+ must wear face coverings.

Tickets: Range from $25-$80.

 

Film on the Rocks – Holiday Drive-In

What: Once again, Denver Film is offering drive-in movies with Red Rocks as the backdrop. This year’s holiday lineup includes favorites like A Christmas Story, Home Alone and Die Hard.

Where: Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, Lower South Lot 2 parking area.

When: Weekends Nov. 26- Dec. 4.

COVID: Guests are required to remain in their cars.during the film.

Tickets: $59.50 per vehicle, which includes a snack pack made up of popcorn and candy.

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance's show Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum. (Courtesy of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance)

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance's show Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum. (Courtesy of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance)

 Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum

What: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance’s annual holiday dance performance, featuring stories from Park Robinson’s travels.

Where: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre, 119 Park Ave. W.

When: Dec. 11, 12, 16, 17, 18 and 19.

COVID: Guests must provide proof of either vaccination or a recent negative COVID test, and are expected to wear a mask when not actively eating or drinking.

Tickets: $35 for seniors and youth, $45 adult GA.

 

Holiday Follies! Classics, Carols, and Camp 

What: The Denver Gay Men’s Chorus sings all of your favorite holiday hits in this festive return to the stage.

Where: Multiple Denver-area locations

When: Multiple dates and times Dec. 2-12

COVID: Face masks and proof of vaccination required.

Tickets: $25 GA, $15 for students, and select shows offer $75 VIP tickets. You can purchase tickets online. 

 

The Twelve Dates of Christmas

What: This one-woman show takes audience members through the bizarre, cringy, comical and wonderful moments of Mary’s dating life post heartbreak.

Where: Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora

When: Select dates December 3 – December 26

COVID: Guests must provide proof of either vaccination or a recent negative COVID test, and must wear masks except when actively eating or drinking in the lobby.

Tickets:  $20 – $34. You can buy online or by calling 303-856-7830.

 

Who’s Holiday!

What: A grown-up Cindy Lou Who reflects on that fateful Christmas when she met the Grinch, and the direction her life has taken in the time since.  It may be based on a Dr. Seuss classic, but this holiday show is just for adults.

Where: Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora

When: Select nights December 1 – December 31

COVID: Guests must provide proof of either vaccination or a recent negative COVID test, and must wear masks except when actively eating or drinking in the lobby.

Tickets:  $25. You can purchase tickets online.

 

South Pole: The Cave Of Yuletide Villains

What: Every month, HQ’s Delerium hosts an immersive, art-inspired pop-up bar experience. This season’s event takes visitors to the South Pole, where they’ll  get the chance to interact with characters like Krampus, Scrooge and Frau Perchta. Themed beverages and snacks will be available for purchase.

Where: HQ, 60 South Broadway.

When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings in December.

COVID: Proof of vaccination required for entry.

Tickets: $50 for a table of two

 

HOLIDAY MARKETS AND POP-UPS

Cherry Creek Holiday Market

What: More than 30 vendors will take over Fillmore Plaza this season, selling artisan goods and specialty foods out of European chalet-style shipping containers. Visitors can sip seasonal beverages as they enjoy live music. And while you’re there, wander over to Cherry Creek North’s Winter Wanderland Light Walk, a canopy of more than 600 illuminated trees, some of which are set to holiday music!

Where: Fillmore Plaza between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

When: Nov. 18-Dec. 24. Hours vary.

COVID:  Face coverings required.

Tickets: Free to attend!

Little wooden men for sale at Old German Christmas, a booth at Skyline Park's  Christkindl Market, Dec. 4, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Little wooden men for sale at Old German Christmas, a booth at Skyline Park's Christkindl Market, Dec. 4, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver Christkindlmarkt

What: Denver’s German village-themed market is back in Civic Center this year. Once again, you can sample traditional German foods like sausages and Knödel and holiday beverages like Glühwein as you enjoy live music and relax in the market’s tented Festival Hall. And while you’re there, check out Light the Lights, the timed light show that illuminates the City & County of Denver​ Building at 5:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m each night!

Where: Civic Center Park, 101 W. 14th Ave.

When:  Nov. 19-Dec. 23. Hours vary.

Tickets:  Free to attend! You can choose to reserve Festival Hall tables for $70 if you’re planning to go with a group.

 

Rockin’ Around McGregor Square Holiday Market

What: Shop for the holidays in Denver’s McGregor Square as you enjoy live entertainment, a holiday bar with themed cocktails, and visits with Santa.

Where:  Second floor of The Rally Hotel, 1600 20th St.

When: Nov. 26-28; Dec. 3-5; Dec. 10-12; Dec.17-19; and Dec. 22-23.

Tickets: $5 cover.

 

Horseshoe Holiday Market

What: This market is committed to building a community of local artists and crafts folk. Head to Globeville to explore the 100+ local vendor booths, shop for artisan gifts and foods, sip on cocktails and enjoy live music and workshops.

Where: The former Salvation Army Campus, 4751 Broadway​.

When: Nov. 27-28, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Tickets:  Admission is free, though a $5 donation is encouraged — a portion of proceeds goes to the Food Bank of the Rockies.

 

2nd Annual Après Ski Holiday Market 

What: This market is inspired by the European ski village aesthetic. Guests will visit with Santa, shop at vendor booths and enjoy live music performances.

Where: Dairy Block, 1800 Wazee St.

When:  Nov. 26-28; Dec. 3-5; Dec. 10-12; and Dec. 17-19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets: Free to attend!

 

Tinseltown
What: A cozy, Christmas-themed popup bar. Guests you enjoy holiday music, decorations, food and drinks!
Where: 1000 Broadway
When: December 2-December 30
COVID: Must provide proof of either vaccination or a recent negative COVID test.
Tickets: $21 per person, which includes one festive drink!

 

LIGHT DISPLAYS

Blossoms of Light

What: Botanic Gardens’ Denver location will light up for the holidays in a dazzling display of light, color and sound, including a massive, 200-foot long tunnel of light. The light is designed to work with the Gardens’ flora, creating a surreal, magical botanic landscape. Guests can also buy holiday drinks and snacks at the Gardens’ cafe.

Where: Denver Botanic Gardens, York Street Location. 1007 York St.

When: Nov. 19-Jan. 8, from 4:30-9 p.m. Timed entry must be reserved online. The Gardens will be closed Nov. 25 and December 25.

COVID: Masks and social distancing encouraged.

Tickets:  $16-$19 for Members and $18-$21 for Non-members. Admission is free for children 2 and under.

Denver Botanic Garden holiday lights. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver Botanic Garden holiday lights. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Trail of Lights

What: Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms offers a similar, if more remote, experience. Sip hot beverages and snack on nuts and kettle corn as you wander down an enchanted, luminous trail lined with singing trees.

Where: Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms Location, 8500 W Deer Creek Canyon Rd., Littleton.

When: Fridays-Sundays, Nov. 26-Dec. 12, and every night Dec. 17-Jan. 2 except Christmas.

COVID: Masks and social distancing encouraged.

Tickets: Admission is $15 for Adults, and $13 for Students, Seniors 65+, military members and Children 3-15.  Adult Members are $13 and Child Members are $10. It’s free for children 2 and under.

 

Denver Zoo Lights 

What: Check out the Zoo’s animals and wander through a display of two million LED holiday lights in this annual festive celebration! Expect old favorites like the event’s beloved ice sculptures, as well as brand new installations and experiences.

Where: Denver Zoo, 2900 E. 23rd Ave.

When: Nov. 22-Jan.2, 5-10 p.m.

COVID: Masks are encouraged for all unvaccinated and immunocompromised guests 3+.

Tickets: $10-$25, depending on age and membership. Member tickets are on sale now, and general admission tickets go on sale Nov. 15 at 10 a.m.

 

Mile High Tree

What: Denver’s 110-foot-tall Christmas tree sculpture is back! The tree’s timed light show is set to holiday music. During open times, guests can step inside the tree to experience the show.

Where: 16th St. Mall at Welton St.

When: Nov. 19-Jan. 1 from 5-10 p.m.

Tickets: This event is free to attend!

The big man himself. Parade of lights. Dec. 2, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  parade of lights; holiday; christmas; civic center; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;

The big man himself. Parade of lights. Dec. 2, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) parade of lights; holiday; christmas; civic center; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;

9NEWS’ Annual Parade of Lights

What: After operating as a stationary parade last year, 9NEWS’ annual live event is back with more than 40 holiday floats, character balloons, bands and more, as well as appearances from Major Waddles the Penguin and Santa himself.

Where: Two miles of Downtown Denver. 

When: Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. in Downtown Denver. You can also watch at home on 9NEWS KUSA-TV, Channel 9. Floats will be displayed throughout December, and the parade will also be played on KUSA on Dec. 11, 6-7 p.m., Dec. 24 from 10:35-11:35 p.m., and on My20 (KTVD) Dec. 18 from 7-8 p.m.

Tickets: This event is free to attend. You can purchase VIP parade viewing tickets for $30-$1,500

 

Luminova Holidays at Elitch Gardens

What: This inaugural holiday celebration will light up Elitch’s with more than 3 million lights. Visitors can enjoy train rides, light trails, visits with Santa, interactive light activities, live entertainment, a 200-foot candy cane tunnel, select rides, holiday food and drinks, and much more!

Where:  Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park​, 2000 Elitch Circle.

When:  Nov.24-Jan. 2 from 5-10 p.m.

Tickets:  $34.99, or $24.99 if you purchase before November 22.  Reservations are required. 

 

Merry & Bright Lights Show

What:  Every day, the outside of Union Station will light up with holiday cheer in a spectacular sound and light show. While you’re there, visit Santa and Mrs. Claus on select dates, and sip seasonal cocktails at the Miracle at Union Station pop-up bar.

Where:  Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop St.

When:  Nov. 26-Dec. 27, from 5-10 p.m. The show kicks off with a “Grand Illumination,” a live performance event celebrating the lighting of the Station’s 40-foot-tall Christmas tree.

Tickets: Free to attend!

 

Night Lights Denver 3D Holiday Projection Program

What: Every month, Night Lights Denver projects works by different artists onto the Downtown Daniels & Fisher tower. This holiday season, the program will display rotating, holiday-inspired artworks by Chris Bagley, Kim Shively, Koko Bayer, Eileen Roscina, Estee Fox, and Meow Wolf, each of which is 3D compatible. Night Lights Denver is giving away 20,000 free 3D glasses, though you can enjoy the show without the glasses.

Where: The Daniels & Fisher Tower at 1601 Arapahoe St. You can view the lights from the Arapahoe Street side of the building.

When: 5 – 11:59 p.m. every night in December.

Tickets: This event is free to everyone. You can pick up free 3D ChromaDepth™ glasses at Understudy Denver and The Downtown Denver Rink.

 

RECREATION

Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park

What: After shutting down last year due to the pandemic, the downtown ice skating rink is back. Visitors can skate while surrounded by Denver’s city lights and holiday displays. When you’re done, warm up with food and beverages at the rink’s concessions!

Where:  1611 Arapahoe St.

When: Nov.4-Feb. 20. Hours vary. Free skating lessons are available every Saturday from 9-10 a.m.

Tickets:  Admission is free. Skate rentals are $7 for kids 12 and under and $9 for adults 13 & older. You can also get a season pass for $35 for kids and $50 for adults.

The seasonal skating rink off the 16th Street Mall on a relatively warm Saturday. Jan. 4, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The seasonal skating rink off the 16th Street Mall on a relatively warm Saturday. Jan. 4, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Holiday Lights Mini Golf

What: Holiday light-themed mini golf is back at Adventure Golf and Raceway. Enjoy more than 100,000 interactive lights, as well as festive snacks and beverages like spiked hot chocolate, as you move through the course with your pod.

Where: Adventure Golf and Raceway, 9650 N. Sheridan Blvd., Westminster.

When:  Nov. 5-Jan. 9 from 5-9 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas.

COVID: Unvaccinated guests must wear masks.

Tickets: Must be purchased onsite. $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and kids 4-12, $9 for Colorado residents. Toddlers 3 and under can attend for free.

 

Four Mile Historic Park’s December Delights

What: An open-air winter wonderland featuring ice skating, seasonal food and beverages, a scavenger hunt, video games, art installations and kids activities.

Where: Four Mile Historic Park, 715 South Forest St.

When: Wednesday-Sunday evenings from Nov. 27-Jan. 2. There will also be a member preview night on Friday, Nov. 26.

Tickets: Range from $8-$10 for children 7-17, $14-$16 for adults, depending on whether or not patrons are park members. Seniors and military members can attend for $15, and children 6 and under can attend for free. Ice skating rink admission is an additional $5 and includes skate rentals for those who don’t have them.

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