Well, the weather has officially turned, and the holidays are really already upon us! With so much shopping and cooking to do, make sure you leave time for some of these wonderful Denver area holiday festivities. From holiday lights to ice skating, we have you covered on where you want to celebrate this holiday season.
Santa Breakfasts, Santa Photos, & Santa Hangouts
Holly Jolly Santa Party! – (December 5 | 8:30 – 9:30am) – Join Park Meadows mall for a Santa Breakfast party with activities, crafts, balloon animals, and more! Register at www.bagsoffun.org and support rehabilitative play for children in Colorado with long term and life threatening illnesses.
Santa at Union Station – Saturday, December 5 & 12 | 9am-3pm, December 19 | 10am-6pm, December 24 | 11am-4pm) – Take the kids to meet old St. Nick in the Great Hall at Union Station, and grab something to eat at one of the wonderful restaurants in the area!
Cherry Creek Shopping Center Ice Palace – (November 6 – December 24) – This year the Cherry Creek Ice Palace Experience will allow you to interact with the Peanuts gang from The Peanuts Movie. Enjoy getting snowed on and visiting Santa along with all of the great holiday shopping you can do while you are there.
Skate with Santa Saturdays (December 5, 12, & 19 | 1pm-3pm) – The rink at Belmar is open for the season, and on Saturdays throughout December, you can join Santa for a skate around the Rink at Belmar free with admissions.
Breakfast with Santa at the Aquarium (December 5 & 6, 12 & 13, 19 – 24) – Make reservations to have breakfast buffet with Sharkey and Santa before going exploring throughout the Aquarium. Reservations required: Call 303-561-4450
Santa on the Square (Weekends in December: Saturdays 10am – 6pm, Sundays 12 – 5pm, Christmas Eve 11am – 4pm) – Deliver your wishlist directly to Santa, while enjoying the holiday atmosphere down in Larimer Square. Santa visits will be running on weekends throughout December
Breakfast With Santa (December 5 | 9am) – Bring the entire family for breakfast with Santa at Apex Community Recreation Center. Afterward, enjoy entertainment and visit with Santa. Bring your own camera! An adult must accompany children. Ages 3 to 103 must pay. Children two and under are free, but still need to register. No tickets sold at the door. Register by Dec. 2.
Breakfast with Santa – (December 12 | 8:30 – 10:30am) – Enjoy a magical morning with Santa at Table Mountain Inn in Golden, CO! Includes buffet breakfast, entertainment, and goodie bags for each child. Space is limited and reservations are required.
Santa’s North Pole Adventure – (Starts November 21 & ends January 4 | various days and times) – Head up to Georgetown to ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad as Santa returns in mid-November to pass out more presents and treats. Join Santa and his helpers aboard decorated, enclosed, heated coaches on weekends starting Nov 21st, the weekend before Thanksgiving, through Dec 14th, and then daily through Dec 24th. After the holiday, from Dec 26 though the 4th of Jan, except Jan 1st, Santa comes back on vacation, and willbe passing out goodies to the little ones.
Santa’s Lighted Forest Train – (Starts November 21 & ends January 4 | various days and times) For evening fun through December, Georgetown Loop Railroad has a ride that allows you to relax from your shopping endeavors and enjoy beautiful synchronized holiday music & light show in the forest above Georgetown. Join Santa and his helpers while winding through the beautiful snow covered Colorado Rocky Mountains in our enclosed heated coaches. It is a unique wintertime experience!
Cog Railway Santa Train – (Starts November 15 & ends December 24 | various days and times) – Ho Ho Ho to the North Pole we go! Come enjoy a whole new experience with Santa Claus and his elves as you take the Cog Railway to the North Pole at 4-Mile Siding. Ride the train and take pictures with Santa or Mrs, Claus and some of their elves enjoy some hot chocolate and Christmas cookies, and sing carols! At the end of the trip, children will be given a small gift bag from Santa and his elves.
SOLD OUT: Polar Express Train Ride – (November 12 – December 23) – Bundle up your little ones in their pajamas and experience the Polar Express at the Colorado Railroad Museum! This incredible night includes the telling of The Polar Express, a train ride to the North Pole, special treats, and meeting Santa! This is an extra special trip your little ones will not soon forget!
9News Parade of Lights – (December 4 | 8pm & December 5 | 6pm) – This annual tradition brings in the holiday season for many who line the streets year after year. The parade is two miles long with floats, marching bands, and lots and lots of lights. This year the parade will run on December 4th at 8pm and December 5th at 6pm. You can view the parade anywhere along the route for free or purchase grandstand tickets.
Olde Golden Holiday Parade – (December 5, 12, & 19th | 11am) – Watch Santa zoom around in his sidecar motorcycle, heckle the Grinch as he drives by in his corvette, or cheer on elves as they race on unicycles during the weekly parade which travels down Washington Avenue from 10th to 13th Streets –
Skating at Skyline Park – (November 24th through February 15th) – The skating rink at Skyline Park downtown is open to the public for free. You can bring your own skates or rent skates a pair there for just $2! Don’t miss this traditional holiday fun downtown!
The Rink at Belmar – (November 19 – December 23 | Sunday – Thursday 11am – 9pm, Friday – Saturday 11am -10pm) – The skating rink at Belmar opens for the season and on November 19-22 you can skate for half price with the donation of non-perishable goods. Enjoy a little spin around the rink before or after (or instead of) your holiday shopping!
Holiday Light Displays
Blossoms of Light – (November 27 – January 2 | 5:30 – 9pm) – The Denver Botanic Gardens hosts this annual family-friendly event with thousands of lights. Wander the gardens and enjoy refreshments with the whole family. Adults cost $11 and children ages 3-15 are $8.
Trail of Lights – (November 27 -January 2 | 5:30 – 9pm) – At the Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, families can follow trails of lights through the gardens to the barn and ending at the children’s play area. Adults cost $11 and children ages 3-15 are $8. You can also add on a visit with Santa and a hayride for an extra cost.
Downtown Denver Illuminations – (Nightly – New Years Eve) – Celebrate the beauty of lights downtown from Denver Union Station to the City and County Building, Denver is aglow with holiday cheer!
Denver Zoo Lights – (December 4 – January 3 | 5:30 – 9pm) – Expected to span nearly 70 acres of the Denver Zoo this year, the Zoo Lights are an annual family tradition for many. Besides the real animal stars, you will find illuminated animals in action throughout the Zoo Lights experience. Admission for adults is $13 and children $9.
A Hudson Christmas Holiday Light Show – (December 5 & 6, December 12 – January 3 | 5 – 8:30pm) – A one mile outdoor path throughout Hudson gardens, this holiday lights show also includes visiting with Santa and wagon rides.
Lakewood Lights featuring the Mayor’s Tree Lighting – (December 4 & 5 | 5:30-8:30 pm) Visit the Lakewood Heritage Center and enjoy free museum tours, freetractor pulled hay-wagon rides, free photos with Santa, hot cocoa & cookies, holiday ornament making, and gift shopping.
Candlelight Walk and Homestead Holidays – (December 4 | 5:00 – 11:45pm) – Golden’s Newest Christmas Tradition. For the first time ever, Clear Creek History Park will be set aglow for the holidays. Thousands of Christmas lights will illuminate the park and historic buildings—inside and out—for a festive gathering and event space.
Highlands Ranch Christmas – (Nightly – New Years Day | Dusk – 10pm weeknights, Dusk – 10:30pm weekends, Dusk – 11pm Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) – Not up for putting 100,000 lights on your home? Well, this Highlands Ranch family does exactly that, and then programs the lights to 12 holiday songs you can stream in on 97.7 FM (you must be close to the house). Running from Thanksgiving to New Years Day from dusk to 10pm.
If you’re looking for some amazing residential light displays in your area, check out The Denver Post Holiday Lights Map! You won’t be disappointed!
Holiday Dance and Theatre
Denver Center of Performing Arts – (November 27 – December 27) – Denver Center of Performing Arts has a number of seasonal shows throughout November and December that make for a great family holiday outing. Here are some of the upcoming holiday shows:
A Christmas Carol – November 27-December 27
The SantaLand Diaries – November 27-December 27
The Nutcracker – November 28-December 27
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis – December 12 & 13
A Christmas Story, The Musical – December 16-27
Special Holiday Events
Denver Pavilions Holiday Carousel ( December 11 – 23 | 9am – 10pm daily) – Have more shopping to do? Why not head on down to the Denver Pavilions for some food, shopping, and fun.
Holiday’s Evening at the Littleton Museum (December 13 | 5:30 – 8pm) – Visit the Littleton Museum on December 13 and feel like you step back in time. Enjoy refreshments, wagon rides, luminaries, and music while costumed volunteers make the historic buildings come to life.
Highlands Ranch Holiday Celebration (December 5th | 9:00am – 3:00pm) – Celebrate at the Highlands Ranch Mansion with entertainment, games, performances, hay rides, vendors, and a special visit from Santa Claus.
Olde Golden Christmas (November 3 – December 31) – Historic downtown Golden will feature Victorian carolers, performances, visits with Santa, Newfoundland cart rides, parades, breakfast and photos with Santa, and holiday lights along the downtown area. Don’t miss Golden’s awe-inspiring Candlelight Walk with fireworks on Dec. 4 and holiday parades on Dec. 5, 12, 19.
Menorah Lighting and Grand Latke Cookoff ( December 10 | 6pm) – The Evergreen community unites to celebrate the Festival of Lights with a Menorah Lighting, Latke Cook-Off and Silent Auction. The celebration, an annual coming together of at least eight local organizations, takes place at the Lake House in Evergreen. The event includes Menorah Lighting, food and entertainment.
Chanukah Bazaar at Har HaShem (December 1 – 13 | hours vary) – Need a new menorah or some gelt to help you celebrate? Head to Boulder’s Congregation Har HaShem to get everything you need for Chanukah! Menorahs, candles, gelt, gifts for everyone on your list!
Frozen Chanukah (December 9 | 5:30 – 7:30pm) – If you’re looking for a night of Chanukah fun for the entire family, then “Let it Glow!” and get going to an evening of frozen fun on Wednesday, December 9 from 5:30 – 7:30pm at the Family Sports Center in Centennial! There will be a lighting of a giant ice menorah, skating to Jewish music, latkes & other Chanukah treats, arts & crafts, and lots of games! Tickets are $10 in advance, $13 at the door!
Holiday Markets and Shopping
Denver Christkindl Market – (November 20th – 23) – Located at Skyline Park downtown, this market includes vendors from all over Europe as well as local artists. If you are shopping for handcrafted gifts you can find them here along with traditional German food, beer, and entertainment. The market will be running from 11am-7pm Sundays through Thursday, 11am-9pm Fridays and Saturdays.
Georgetown Christmas Market – (December 5 – 13 ) – The town of Georgetown transforms for two weekends into a bustling Christmas scene reminiscent of Christmas of long ago. Thousands of people gather to experience a traditional Holiday where Christmas hasn’t changed in 100 years. There will be roasted chestnuts, shopping, horse-drawn wagon rides through Historic Georgetown, and wonderful sights and smells.St. Nicholas in his traditional dress and the daily procession of the Santa Lucia, as well as carolers in Victorian costume and dancers will all bring Christmas to life for Colorado families!
Denver Flea : Holiday Flea – (December 3 – 6 | times and ticket prices vary) – Head to this contemporary marketplaces showcasing Colorado’s finest makers and retailers. Thursday and Friday evenings feature extra fun with live music, drinks, and a great party in the 70,000 square-foot warehouse! Saturday and Sunday will feature the same 150 fabulous Holiday Flea vendors, tasty beverages, and local entertainment- but at hours easier to handle with the little ones in tow! Holiday Flea is the perfect place to indulge yourself while finding that perfect gift
New Year’s Eve
Downtown Denver New Year’s Eve Fireworks (December 31 | 9pm and Midnight) – Spend New Year’s Eve downtown on the 16th street mall enjoying fireworks and entertainers with a family-friendly show at 9pm and then the second show at midnight.
Noon Year’s Eve at the Children’s Museum (December 31st | 9am – 4pm) – Enjoy this family-friendly version of “Noon” Year’s Eve. Running from 9am-4pm with ball drops and a countdown on every hour along with entertainment, art projects, storytimes, and bubble-wrap “fireworks.”