The most wonderful time of year is rapidly approaching. In fact, there is only 8 days until Thanksgiving; 39 days until Christmas; and 45 days until we ring in the New Year, which means a serene sense of seasonal magic has immersed the Mile High City.
Whether you’re visiting Denver for the first time, or you’ve lived here your entire life, there is a bounty of staple holiday activities and lesser-known delights that await you in a city of three million (FYI: That adds up to a lot of holiday cheer).
Continue reading for the ultimate list of things to do in Denver during the holidays – and don’t forget to bundle up when exploring all the city has to offer. You may also want to outfit your home with insulating window treatments as temperatures drop.
#1. Zoo Lights
When: December 2, 2016 to January 1, 2017
Where: Denver Zoo
2300 Steele St.
Denver, CO 80205
What: Spanning 70 acres, Zoo Lights features nightly entertainment, animal encounters, Santa meet-and-greets and, of course, illuminated animal sculptures that swing through trees, jump across lawns, hide in bushes, and appear in places where they’re least expected. Visit website for more information, including pricing.
When: Friday, December 2nd, at 8 p.m. & Saturday, December 3rd, at 6 p.m.
Where: Downtown Denver
What: Now in its 42nd year, the Denver Parade of Lights sets the stage for Colorado’s brightest tradition, as marching bands, ornate floats, Major Waddles, and Santa himself all make appearances. Grab your hot chocolate and ear-muffs, and join countless numbers of residents and visitors for this free event.
When: November 26th to December 24th
Where: Buell Theater, Denver Performing Arts Complex
1400 Curtis St.
Denver, CO 80204
What: Experience the magic of the season this December by joining the Colorado Ballet as they unfold the tale of a young girl’s magical fantasy in the classic story of “The Nutcracker.” This larger-than-life holiday tradition continues to be as popular as ever, with nearly all performances sold out in previous years, so make sure to get your tickets now.
When: December 3, 4, 10, 11, 2016
Where: Historic Georgetown
6th Street, Georgetown
What: Each December the town of Georgetown transforms for two weekends into a bustling holiday scene reminiscent of holidays long ago. Thousands of people come to this tiny mountain town to experience a traditional holiday complete with roasted chestnuts, holiday shopping, horse-drawn wagon rides, and magical sights and smells. Visitors also delight in appearances by St. Nicholas in his traditional dress. You won’t want to miss this free event.
When: December 9–11, 2016
Where: Boettcher Concert Hall, Denver Performing Arts Complex
1400 Curtis St.
Denver, CO 80204
What: The warm sounds of the holidays fill Boettcher Concert Hall in this annual Christmas spectacular. “A Colorado Christmas” focuses on the music and magic of the season, showcasing the Colorado Symphony’s annual collaboration with the Colorado Children’s Chorale and the Colorado Symphony Chorus. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to see who’s naughty or nice in preparation for the big night.